FORMER foreign minister Bob Carr has come under fire from members of his own party after lamenting the “Judaising” of the “great Arab city” of Jerusalem and saying politicians are being “seduced and bribed” with study tours to Israel.
Carr made the remarks at a dinner in Sydney late last month to mark the United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
“The people of Palestine are seeing street by street, the character, the nomenclature, of Jerusalem being changed,” he said.
“As Hanan Ashrawi said to me … the story of Jerusalem is now being fabricated. Judaising and eliminating the Arab character of this great Arab city, is a shocking thing to take place.”
Taking aim at Israel study trips such as the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council’s (AIJAC) Rambam program, he said: “All of them [politicians] are being seduced and bribed … A bloke was just elected … and the lobby was in his door offering him an all-expenses paid trip to Israel, it’s disgraceful.”
He also praised Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, who supports the Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, saying: “She’s been very strong and very brave on this over very many years as well.”
Condemning Carr’s comments, Deputy Labor leader and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Minister Tanya Plibersek told The AJN this week, “It goes without saying that Labor does not share those views. They are entirely unproductive, and do nothing to help get to a lasting peace.”
Western Australian Labor Senator Glenn Sterle, who is currently in Israel for the Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue, told The Australian Carr was suffering from “relevance-deprivation syndrome”.
“What really irks me is for Bob to even suggest that we’ve been bribed,” he said. “What a foolish remark to make.”
Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby said: “We can judge the character of a man by the company he keeps. Bob Carr’s praise of Lee Rhiannon speaks volumes.”
Western Australian Labor state executive delegate Luke Walladge told The AJN: “To hear a former Labor moderate speak in favour of genocidal terrorism, to hear the man who lowered the age of gay consent in NSW speak in favour of groups like Hamas, who murder young men in the mere suspicion of homosexuality, is to witness a quite shocking transformation.”
Carr also came under fire from the Liberal Party with his successor in the foreign affairs portfolio, Julie Bishop, saying he “risks undermining the longstanding bipartisan support for the right of the Israeli and Palestinian people to live within internationally recognised borders in peace and security.”
Meanwhile. Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said Carr’s diatribe against the Judaisation of Jerusalem “utilised the language of classical anti-Semitism”.
“It was also untruthful. For the last 3000 years Jerusalem has not been the capital city of any state other than a Jewish state,” he said.
AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein said Carr “has once again insulted the intelligence of the Australian people”.
“His derogatory statements, defaming both many members of the Australian Parliament and the Australian Jewish community, are frankly beneath contempt,” he said.
B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich and B’nai B’rith Australia and New Zealand president Morris Tobias said Carr’s incendiary rhetoric “feeds the prevailing anti-Israel narrative, which holds that Israel is a colonial intruder”.
“This sinister broadside against the Jewish state is destructive and deeply lamentable,” they said.
- Bob Carr
- Colin Rubenstein
- Tanya Plibersek
- Michael Danby
- Julie Bishop
- Peter Wertheim
- Lee Rhiannon
- B'nai B'rith
- United Nations
- Liberal Party
- Dvir Abramovich
- Boycott Divestment & Sanctions
- Anti-Defamation Commission
- Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)
- Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ)