Australia's Prime Minister - Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister - Senator Bob Carr - remain hell bent on consigning the Labor Party to Opposition and the political wilderness in this week's elections.
This view has been confirmed by Dan Goldberg in an article in Haaretz on 27 August titled "Jewish support swinging towards Liberal Party in Australian election"
The latest polls predict the Liberal Party will win the September 7 election by 53 percent to Labor's 47 percent. Voting is mandatory and Orthodox Jews have started to pre-poll because all Australian elections are held on Saturdays.
If the polls are accurate, it would spell the end of a bitter battle between Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Jewish leaders, who were infuriated in January when he joined British Foreign Secretary William Hague in stating that all Israeli settlements are "illegal under international law."
Carr, a founder of the New South Wales Parliamentary Friends of Israel group in the 1970s, reignited Jewish angst last month in a speech outside Australia's largest mosque. "All settlements on Palestinian land are illegal under international law and should cease," he said. "That is the position of Kevin Rudd, the position of the federal Labor government, and we don't make apologies for it."
When the inevitable post mortems are written after the elections - Carr's Lakemba Mosque Declaration tying Rudd and the Labor Party to Carr's own previously expressed viewpoint will be seen as emblematic of the failure of Rudd and the Labor Party to be honest and upfront with the Australian voters on a range of issues during the elections.
The Lakemba Mosque Declaration came as a complete surprise to the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council and the Zionist Federation of Australia - who were quick to voice their disapproval of what was in effect anti-Jewish-policy made on the run on the steps of the Mosque - not by the Prime Minister - but by his Foreign Minister.
Attempts to have Rudd confirm or deny that the views attributed to him and the Labor Party by Carr were in fact their views - have been studiously ignored and still remain unanswered by Rudd.
Instead Carr's spokesman weighed in with the following mealy-mouthed statement:
Words are very important and it's important they are not misrepresented. Yes, we have expressed "concern", we have expressed "grave concern" and we have expressed "disappointment" in relation to the settlements.This does not amount to a condemnation of Israel or anything like it.
Who the "we" is and when those words were used was left up in the air.
What was clearly said at the Mosque were the words "illegal in international law", "cease", " the position of Kevin Rudd ", the position of the Labor Federal Government" " and "we don't make apologies"
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