Labor’s ugly positioning pales compared to that of its proxy GetUp. Queensland Labor’s resolution unsurprisingly echoed a video posted by GetUp board member and Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, APAN, activist, Sara Saleh. Sara Saleh’s emotive, biased, ideologically blinded, one-sided video used the false ethnic cleansing claim and even charged Australia, bizarrely, with being directly complicit.
Senator ABETZ (Tasmania) (19:46): This month Queensland Labor passed a fact-devoid resolution falsely accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing. This follows a resolution by federal Labor in March to foolishly seek unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. In May, the Melbourne university Labor club posted a photograph of Ms Kearney, a Labor member and shadow assistant minister, taking part in a pro-Palestine rally in Melbourne. The post was taglined, ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’ In other words: no room for Israel. It was extreme, ugly rhetoric which needs to be called out.
Labor’s ugly positioning pales compared to that of its proxy GetUp. Queensland Labor’s resolution unsurprisingly echoed a video posted by GetUp board member and Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, APAN, activist, Sara Saleh. Sara Saleh’s emotive, biased, ideologically blinded, one-sided video used the false ethnic cleansing claim and even charged Australia, bizarrely, with being directly complicit. Make no mistake, this 5½ minute video of vitriol was defended by none other than GetUp’s national director.
There is a horrible story to this. In January 2009, Antony Loewenstein, in a post entitled ‘GetUp! takes on Israel/Palestine’ blogged how he ‘was contacted last week by Get Up! to begin an online debate about this subject, as a way for the group to dip its toe into the problem. If, or when, the organisation decides to pressure the Labor government over this, the Prime Minister should be worried.’
In February 2016, Palestinian activist, Sara Saleh, joined the board of GetUp, which we know is a self-selecting undemocratic club whose directors are its only real members. Saleh had endorsed many of the racist Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions actions against Israel. In 2011 she signed an open letter supporting Marrickville council’s endorsement of the ugly global BDS campaign, and in 2014 she criticised Kmart for stocking SodaStream, a BDS target. Joining GetUp’s board did not deter Saleh’s anti-Israel BDS activity, which she has continued while simultaneously promoting her position at GetUp. At a speech to an Australians for Palestine symposium the month after her appointment to the GetUp board, Saleh proclaimed, ‘We must force Israel into a perennial state of existential anxiety.’ Really? This is truly unacceptable, horrible, racist and, yes, sadly indicative of GetUp.
The same year Sara Saleh joined GetUp she fronted APAN’s I Vote Palestine campaign. This campaign ended up rating the Greens the best of all the parties on Palestinian issues. Saleh was involved in canvassing candidates as part of this campaign, but Saleh actually went further than APAN’s I Vote Palestine campaign, by contributing to and promoting a how-to-vote guide for culturally and linguistically diverse communities which compared parties specifically on their support for BDS. This guide noted that, unlike Labor and the coalition, the Greens supported a limited BDS. This was at odds with the Greens’ public position, because the Greens then leader, Richard Di Natale, knew the electoral poison that such a position would be and so he asserted that the Greens did not support BDS. The freelance guide was compiled by Sara Saleh along with a Zaahir Edries. It was posted on an anonymous webpage registered to Zaahir Edries. Could this be the same Zaahir Edries who is now GetUp’s legal counsel and an apologist for GetUp’s disgusting bird-dogging activities harassing female candidates?
So we can see that GetUp’s anti-Israel stance has been in the works for a long time. Israel is the only true democratic country in the Middle East. She has stood with us. We have stood with her. Against all the odds, Israel recently celebrated its 73rd anniversary of independence. (Time expired)