The teaching of the IHRA definition of antisemitism in our workplaces, schools, universities and sporting clubs is a good place to start. Education also demands an understanding of apartheid. I grew up in Zambia when apartheid was in full swing. Even as a child, I knew full well what it meant for millions of people with the same skin colour as me. I rile at descriptors of Israel in that light.
Dr ANANDA-RAJAH (Higgins) (10:31): The power of place cannot be understated to a people who were unmoored and adrift for thousands of years. The 14 million Jewish diaspora, of which I have 6,500 in Higgins, are anchored to Israel. If Israel is the homeland, then Jerusalem is its beating heart. At the confluence of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, Jerusalem is significant not just to the Jewish people but to humanity. My Jewish constituents are hurt following the announcement of our government’s position with respect to Jerusalem. Falling on a Jewish holiday only added insult to injury, for which I am sorry.
A departure from our government’s usual consultative approach was unfortunate because it heaped additional distress onto a community that is grappling with rising levels of antisemitism. There is no place for antisemitism. To feel threatened while walking the streets or studying at university or being inexplicably passed over for promotion are the spillover effects of hate. Confronting antisemitism is our collective responsibility. Actions matter. The teaching of the IHRA definition of antisemitism in our workplaces, schools, universities and sporting clubs is a good place to start. Education also demands an understanding of apartheid. I grew up in Zambia when apartheid was in full swing. Even as a child, I knew full well what it meant for millions of people with the same skin colour as me. I rile at descriptors of Israel in that light.
Australia’s ties with Israel trace back to its birth. Labor Attorney-General in the Curtin government, Doc Evatt, played a key role in establishing the state of Israel. His contribution led to the 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine, which Australia was the first country to vote yes on. Having a homeland is good, but it is not enough. Peace and security are prerequisites to thriving, and this is at the heart of the Albanese government’s position. We will support, not undermine, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian people, because peace is a worthy prize. The stability peace brings allows the tree of life to send deep its roots and grow branches that stretch into the sky, providing refuge for all.
Labor has always maintained—as have successive governments over 70 years, including the Gorton, Howard, Abbott and Turnbull governments—that Jerusalem is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of peace negotiations. Labor does not shuffle embassies around for political expediency, nor does it make foreign policy decisions because there is a by-election to win. That Israel has thrived with so much stacked against it—from a paucity of rainfall and arable land to continuous hostility—is testament to its culture of innovation. It offers us in Australia the blueprint of how to do more with less.