FEDERAL MP Julian Leeser delivered an impassioned defence of Israel’s right to defend itself in Parliament on Tuesday night.
“Hamas is a terrorist organisation listed here in Australia, known for indiscriminate rocket attacks, suicide bombings and kidnappings, with the ultimate objective of the destruction of Israel,” the Jewish MP said.
“Given the thousands of rockets which rained down on Israel, democratic Israel has every right to defend its citizens, prevent attacks and destroy the source of such violence.”
He said if such a situation occurred here, “we would expect our government to protect our citizens in this way too”.
“Unfortunately much of the commentary has painted Israel as the villain, because it had fewer casualties. Many of the Palestinian casualties were, tragically, human shields used in a Hamas propaganda war,” he said.
“No matter what view one takes about the recent tensions in Jerusalem, nothing can justify Hamas terrorists initiating another armed conflict by firing rockets at Israeli cities while shielding themselves behind Palestinian civilians, including children, in Gaza. Hamas’s armed escalation caused the death and suffering on both sides.”
Leeser said media coverage and “one-sided debate” has provoked a series of antisemitic attacks all around the world.
“In New York, pro-Palestinian protesters threw an explosive device into a crowd of Jews. In California, a group of men wearing keffiyehs bashed Jewish diners in a restaurant. Synagogues were vandalised in three American cities. In the UK, a rabbi was hospitalised after being attacked by two teenagers outside a synagogue,” he said.
“The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wrote about the new antisemitism in 2016. Antisemitism means denying the right of Jews to exist collectively as Jews with the same rights as everyone else.
“In the Middle Ages, Jews were hated because of their religion. In the 19th and early 20th century, they were hated because of their race. Today, they’re hated because of their nation-state, the State of Israel.”
He concluded, “The more countries that recognise a Palestinian state without Palestinian recognition of Israel and a cessation of terror, the less pressure there is on organisations like Hamas to lay down their arms and come to the table to make peace.
“Such a posture ultimately is no recipe for a lasting peace in the Middle East.”