Anti-Israel stunts help nobody
Australia was right to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital
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.”