Anti-Is­rael stunts help no­body

Aus­tralia was right to ac­knowl­edge Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal

The Australian - - COMMENTARY -

What­ever its de­ci­sion on re­lo­cat­ing our em­bassy to Jerusalem, the Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment was right to op­pose the lat­est UN gam­bit aimed at declar­ing null and void any claims by Is­rael to the city as its cap­i­tal. The move, sup­ported by 148 Gen­eral As­sem­bly mem­bers, ig­nored 3000 years of Jewish his­tory and was lu­di­crous given Jerusalem has been the Jewish state’s cap­i­tal since it was founded in 1948. Yet only 10 coun­tries — Aus­tralia, the US, Canada, Nauru, Mi­crone­sia, Palau, Gu­atemala, Kiri­bati, the Mar­shall Is­lands and Solomon Is­lands — stood against this lat­est man­i­fes­ta­tion of the UN’s ca­pac­ity for self-delu­sion.

It is a pity more did not do so. As Colin Ruben­stein of the Aus­tralia/ Is­rael & Jewish Af­fairs Coun­cil pointed out, such anti-Is­rael res­o­lu­tions (the vote on Jerusalem was among 20 tar­get­ing Is­rael in an end-of-year flurry) “do not fur­ther the prospects of peace and ac­tively en­trench the Pales­tinian lead­er­ship’s on­go­ing re­jec­tion of the painful com­pro­mises both sides need to make to achieve a two-state out­come”. Even Rus­sia, which presents it­self as a close ally of the Pales­tinian cause, last year ac­knowl­edged that while East Jerusalem would be the cap­i­tal of any fu­ture Pales­tinian state, “we view West Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Is­rael”.

The Mor­ri­son gov­ern­ment’s stronger stance in op­pos­ing anti-Is­rael res­o­lu­tions at the UN is wel­come. There is no rea­son for us to apol­o­gise to any­one for vot­ing with the mi­nor­ity as we did on Jerusalem. As Alexan­der Downer is on record as say­ing, “Just be­cause you are in the mi­nor­ity, it does not mean you are wrong.”

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