Tuesday, August 10, 2010
The power of the pro-Israel lobby inside the Australian Labor Party
In the midst of a Federal election campaign WA politicians from both major political parties found common ground last week. They gathered in Perth in big numbers at the Victory Life Centre, a influential evangelical Church with strong connections to the WA Liberal Party, to launch the WA Friends of Israel and to pledge their support for the state of Israel and its occupation. That so many Federal and State Liberal and Labor politicians attended the launch, during an election campaign, speaks volumes about the political power of the Israel lobby. Given the amount of money donated by Australian-Jewish businessman to both political parties this is perhaps not surprising.
It is also interesting to ponder this fusion of the power of Jewish and Christian evangelical faiths represented by the coming together of politicians, Perth establishment figures, the Perth Jewish community, supporters of Israel and evangelical Christians.
The journalist, writer, author and blogger Antony Loewenstein has written a number of articles about the formation of the WA Friends of Israel (here).
In Crikey today Antony Loewenstein has written about the power of the Israel lobby inside the Australian Labor Party. He reveals the ways that pro-Israeli views have come to dominate and control the ALP, and alleges that money from wealthy Jewish businessman is used to win the support and commitment of ALP candidates. Loewenstein describes how union officials and right wing Labor Party power brokers use their power and influence to ensure that pro-Israel views dominate the Party. Loewenstein also documents the links between the Prime Minister and the Israel lobby, including the influential property developer and lobbyist for Israel Albert Dadon, who employs the Prime Minister's partner.
Both Antony Loewenstein and the blogger Middle East Reality Check have written about the possible role the pro-Israel lobby within the ALP played in the demise of Kevin Rudd, particularly over his decision to expel an Israeli diplomat involved in the illegal use of Australian passports and concern that that decision was affecting the capacity of the ALP to raise funds from Jewish supporters of Israel.