LABOR’S Anthony D’Adam has been slammed for a parliamentary speech blaming Israel for killing Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Citing witnesses and videos, the Legislative Council member told Parliament, “Despite clearly being a member of the press, an Israeli soldier shot Abu Akleh in the face.
“Yet again journalists, wearing press vests, clearly identified, were targeted by Israeli snipers,” D’Adam said.
“They were not alongside demonstrators, they were not a threat – they have been targeted to prevent them bearing witness and telling the truth about the Israeli action in Jenin.
“The world has been shocked by the video footage of Abu Akleh’s body leaving the hospital which showed Israeli police attacking the funeral procession and clubbing the defenceless pallbearers to the point where they almost dropped Abu Akleh’s coffin,” D’Adam said.
“Even Israel’s most staunch supporters should condemn a government that kills journalists and beats unarmed mourners at a funeral.”
NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel chair Scott Farlow told Parliament that D’Adam’s statement was “littered with inaccuracies and assumptions” and showed a clear bias against Israel.
“It is not appropriate for members of this House to be spreading information that is unable to be verified and may turn out to be gross disinformation,” Farlow said.
“No one knows who shot the journalist. Jumping to conclusions in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy … corresponds with a typical narrative of Israel being immediately blamed for any incident, especially when the facts have not been fully established.”
Farlow also said D’Adam’s claim that Israeli police attacked the funeral procession was based on “falsehoods”.
Labor frontbencher and NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair Walt Secord also condemned D’Adam’s comments.
“Labor leader Chris Minns has made it abundantly clear that Anthony D’Adam has nothing to do with foreign affairs policy within in the NSW Labor Party and does not speak for NSW Labor,” Secord said.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark thanked Farlow and Secord for their “sharp rebuke and for stating facts rather than fiction”.
“It is utterly reprehensible to accuse Israel of bearing responsibility for Ms Abu Akleh’s death while an investigation into the circumstances of the incident is ongoing,” Bark said.
“Mr D’Adam further attacked the Jewish state with his assertion that Israel ‘kills journalists and beats unarmed mourners at a funeral’ without providing any context to the footage that was widely aired.”