Tuesday, 28 April 2015

THE OZ NOV 10 2014 ‘Pope’ Bob Carr raises party ire on Israel apartheid claim

‘Pope’ Bob Carr raises party ire on Israel apartheid claim

Carr raises party ire on Israel claim
Former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr yesterday. Source: Supplied
LABOR MPs have criticised Bob Carr’s claim of creeping “apartheid” by Israel, with one describing the former foreign minister and NSW premier as the self-­appointed “Pope of Social Democracy”.
Mr Carr, the inaugural patron of Labor Friends of Palestine, hit back at claims he was “grandstanding” and a “dilettante” for leading a party push to recognise the Arabs’ 26-year-old claim to statehood. He said it was “inevitable” that Labor would support recognition of Palestine, possibly before the next election.
As the party prepares for a rancorous ALP national conference battle over the issue, several of Mr Carr’s former colleagues moved to distance themselves from his comments — or openly attack him. Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said recognition of Palestinian statehood must occur “in the context of a negotiated peace process”. “I don’t think we should diminish the seriousness of the apartheid struggle in South Africa,” the opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman told Sky News’sViewpoint.
Melbourne Ports MP Michael Danby accused Mr Carr, who founded Labor Friends for Israel with Bob Hawke in 1977, of obsessing about overturning Labor’s support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He called Mr Carr “the Pope of Social Democracy” pronouncing party policy. “Bob Carr never says anything about the seven million peaceful Tibetans living under Chinese oppression, “ he said.
“He has never said anything about the 300,000 North Koreans in concentration camps. He said little about the 200,000 dead in Syria, or the Christians and other minorities facing death right across the Middle East,” Mr Danby, one of two Jewish federal Labor MPs, told The Australian.
“We will not solve, let alone impose, a solution on the Israelis or Palestinians from Australia.”
Mr Carr now believes fanatics in the Israeli government favour ongoing “apartheid” over a two-state solution. He did not know how long it would take for the Labor Party to achieve a unified stance for a Palestinian state. “These things are being determined on the ground. In the West Bank, the living conditions of the Palestinians are getting worse,” Mr Carr said.
“Every week there’s a new settlement announcement. Every week another Israel cabinet minister announces formally and ­officially he’s opposed to a Palestinian state.”
Melissa Parke, a former Rudd government minister, said the intervention of a Right faction figure in Mr Carr was important in pushing the issue at the supreme policy meeting, the national conference.
“(Recognition) would be a ­fairly popular position within the Left and you would also have many people within the Right who have had a change of heart on this issue in recent years,” the Fremantle MP said. “If I were to say this, nobody would be surprised and it probably wouldn’t get much attention. But when it’s somebody like Bob Carr, such a respected figure in Australian politics over many years, it makes people stand up and take notice.”
Josh Frydenberg, the ­Coalition’s only Jewish MP, ­attacked Mr Carr as a “lazy” minister and a “dilettante” on foreign affairs.
“This grandstanding by Bob Carr is all about him. It is nothing else but an obsession on Bob Carr’s part,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News’s Australian Agenda.
“I just think it is because he has got relevance-deprivation syndrome. He was a failure as a state premier, he was a failure as a foreign minister.”
Mr Frydenberg also criticised Mr Carr’s “obsession” with Israel while remaining “silent” about ­Islamic State.
Mr Carr discounted Mr Frydenberg as a “fanatical Likud supporter” who supported settlements and opposed a two-state solution.
“Fanaticism adds nothing to this debate,” he said.
“ISIL (Islamic State) has got nothing to do with Palestinians. The spread of settlements or the loss of the opportunity for a two-state solution I think is the issue here. To suddenly throw ISIL up as a reason for no two-state solution is pure opportunism.”
Mr Carr said as more countries observed that a two-state solution was unlikely, and as settlements spread, other governments would follow Sweden’s lead in recognising a Palestinian state.
The British House of Commons also voted to recognise the state of Palestine last month in a symbolic and non-binding motion that passed 274 to 12. More than half of MPs abstained, although Labour leader Ed Miliband, who is Jewish, voted in favour.

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