And the prize for second-worst country on Palestinian rights goes to…

Israel-Palestine wall with soldier and child in front
Support us and go ad-free

The US has long been the undisputed worst country in the world in terms of brazen partisanship to the Israeli hard-right. But now, having also been a long-time offender, Australia is looking to decisively cross the finish line in second place.

Another embassy in Jerusalem?

On 16 October, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced that he is considering moving the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Morrison, who replaced Malcolm Turnbull in August, said that no decision has yet been made but that he will be consulting on the matter with his cabinet and other governments around the world.

Such a decision would make Australia the second Western country to relocate its major diplomatic office in Israel to the city, following US President Donald Trump’s move earlier this year. (The Czech Republic, Guatemala and Paraguay have also said they will make the switch, though Paraguay later back-peddled.)

Trump roundly criticized

The international community roundly criticized the Trump administration for the relocation, since Jerusalem is broadly considered to be contested territory. Most countries will hold off from recognizing it as Israel’s capital at least until the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict ends.

Many governments released statements opposing Trump’s move. And in a vote in December 2017, the UN Security Council opposed the decision by 14 to one, with the US representing the only “yes” vote.

Australia’s own record

Morrison’s announcement comes in the same week as the UN General Assembly voted on whether to appoint Palestine, which sits in the assembly as a non-state member, to lead the organization’s G77 group of developing nations. The vote passed with 147 votes in favor, three opposed, and 15 abstentions. The three “no” votes came from Israel, the US and Australia.

This adds to a long record of disappointing votes in the UN on the issue. Between 2004 and 2010, for instance, Australia was one of the few nations to vote “no” on the motion to support a “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine”, which takes place most years. In each case, almost all nations voted in favor, with Australia joining only Israel, the US and a handful of minor island nations in casting opposing votes.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Shameful history

Australia and Israel have a similar history. Like the US, they were both born out of settler-colonial situations; both of which caused great injustice to the people already there. Some have argued that it is therefore no coincidence that Australia would sympathize with the right-wing Zionist position.

Others have argued that Morrison is simply making a cynical, reckless and politically-motived calculation. His party faces a by-election in the parliamentary seat vacated by his predecessor in a district with a large Jewish population. And with a parliamentary majority of just one seat, Morrison’s governing centre-right Liberal Party would either have to rule as a minority government or lose power altogether should they fail to win.

Either way, this latest move adds another chapter to the country’s shameful history of cozying up to the worst elements of the Israeli right while putting one more stumbling block in the path to a Palestinian state.

Get Involved!

– Take action with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

– Support Jewish Voice for Labour (for UK readers), and Jewish Voice for Peace (for US readers). Also find out more about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

– In the UK, write to your national or local politicians to ask them to push for peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

– See more Canary Global articles on Facebook and Twitter.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via Justin McIntosh/Wikimedia Commons

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed