AS Kevin Rudd returned to The Lodge last week, communal leaders spoke of the strong relationship they had with the Prime Minister during his first term in office from 2007 to 2010.
Rudd, who also served as foreign minister under Julia Gillard from September 2010 until February 2012, defeated Gillard by 57 votes to 45 in a Labor caucus vote last Wednesday night to reclaim the leadership and premiership, almost three years to the day after he was deposed.
While there were rocky periods when Rudd last headed the government – namely during the passport affair and the Mavi Marmara affair – speaking on behalf of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), president Danny Lamm offered congratulations to the PM on his return to the top job.
“The ECAJ enjoyed an excellent relationship with Prime Minister Rudd following his election in 2007 and during his time as foreign minister,” he said.
“In particular, we note the Prime Minister’s strong leadership in condemning the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement and in showing solidarity with the victims of the movement.
“We sincerely hope that the Prime Minister will continue to condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, maintain a commitment to strong race discrimination laws and continue the work of his predecessor in moving Australia towards membership of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.”
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein and Zionist Federation of Australia president Philip Chester also congratulated Rudd.
“His solid support for Israel and the Jewish community in his previous term as prime minister, as well as his unequivocal opposition to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons capacity and his denunciation of the BDS campaign bodes well for the future,” Rubenstein said.
“We trust he will also lend his authority to promoting the immediate resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority without preconditions, as consistently proposed by Foreign Minister Bob Carr.”
Chester said: “We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with Mr Rudd in the past and look forward to working with him and his team again in the future.”
For full coverage, see this week’s AJN.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.