Votes ‘against UN bias’

Votes ‘against UN bias’

Jewish communal leaders have expressed gratitude to the Australian government for 'fighting to achieve fairness for Israel' at the United Nations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne. Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP Image
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne. Photo: Mick Tsikas/AAP Image

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has thanked the Foreign Minister’s office for Australia voting “no” to five anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week.

The five resolutions adopted by the UNGA on December 3 – timed to mark the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 27 – are among 20 it will consider in the current session.

Condemning the votes, Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon said, “The international community has gone from holding a pragmatic approach, to fully embracing the Palestinian method and perspective. This stands in the way of ending the conflict as it encourages the Palestinians to refuse direct negotiations.”

ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said Australia’s “no” votes were “in effect votes against UN bias”.

“These repetitive, disproportionate and one-sided resolutions have become a standing indictment, not of Israel but of the UN and its culture of anti-western bias,” he said.

“The resolutions effectively give a leave pass to the intransigence and extremism of the other actors in the Middle East who remain hostile to Israel’s very existence. It acts as a disincentive to the parties to return to negotiations and is wholly counter-productive to the achievement of a just and lasting settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”

Accepting the Jerusalem Prize for his support of Israel last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that Australia under his leadership would continue to take “a strong stand against the targeting of Israel” at the UN.

Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler said, “Mr Morrison has stuck to his principles and his word and for that I thank him. The Australian Jewish community – and Israel – would support UN resolutions that sought to build a better relationship between Israelis and Palestinians, and lay the foundations for peace,” Leibler said.

“Sadly, these resolutions do the opposite, and it is right for Australia to reject them.”

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein also expressed gratitude to the government for “fighting to achieve fairness for Israel”.

He noted that Australia’s “no” votes of the five resolutions “comes on top of Australia’s approach, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, of vocally and repeatedly opposing the council’s practice of treating Israel differently to every other country in the world”.

“There are more biased anti-Israel resolutions coming up in the next few days and weeks at the UNGA, and we hope Australia’s principled stand in support of basic fairness will continue to be the basis for deciding our votes on those resolutions as well,” he said.

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