Climate of concern around independent candidates – The Australian Jewish News OCN News

An unusual feature of the upcoming federal election is the large number of candidates, all independents, receiving funding from Simon Holmes à Court’s Climate 200. And several Climate 200 candidates have past activities or ties that may well worry Jewish voters.

This is perhaps unsurprising, given that Holmes à Court himself repeated Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s controversial tweet on ANZAC Day 2017 three times, “we won’t forget (manus, nauru , syria, palestine)” and, also on Twitter, objected to Scott Morrison recognizing West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Holmes à Court was also a regular in the gallery during Michael Staindl’s legal challenge to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s eligibility to sit in Parliament on the basis of alleged dual nationality, dismissed in 2020. The case was considered by much as disreputable – taking advantage of Frydenberg’s mother’s family fleeing Hungary at a time of anti-Jewish violence after World War II, leaving her stateless – but Holmes à Court explained that he gave Staindl “support moral”.

Janet Holmes à Court, Simon’s mother, has a background of anti-Israel activism. visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Australia.

Perhaps the most controversial action by a Climate 200 candidate was Zoe Daniel, who opposed liberal Tim Wilson in Goldstein’s Victorian seat, signing “the virulent anti-Israel letter ‘Do better for Palestine’. in May 2021. After making various baseless insults against Israel, he essentially urges the media to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a one-sided and unbalanced way that prioritizes the Palestinian perspective.

Daniel has since stated that she “will always be a strong supporter of the State of Israel as a Jewish state, existing within safe and secure borders,” a position diametrically opposed to the letter. However, she refuses to withdraw her signature, saying it seems to her “insincere or a way out of cheating”. This raises questions about the sincerity of his current stated position on Israel.

Daniel also claimed, in an article written as an ABC reporter in December 2017, that by announcing he would move the US Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, US President Donald Trump sabotaged peace efforts in the Middle East. East and “satisfied its wealthy Jewish donors”. . (In fact, as Trump said at the time, the motivation was his evangelical base).

Additionally, on social media in 2020, Daniel’s campaign manager Sue Barrett wrote, “…Hitler altered reality with drugs and [Scott] Morrison uses religion,” and Barrett’s husband, campaign operations manager Jobst Schmalenbach said, “The right-wing Jewish lobby should just shut up. Palestine is an open-air prison.

Allegra Spender, challenging Liberal MP Dave Sharma in Wentworth in NSW, also ran into trouble with an anti-Israel campaigner – Blair Palese – one of the four core members of Wentworth Independents who drafted the platform of the group.

Palese complained on social media about Australia’s “shocking support for Israel in the killing of children and unarmed civilians”, and shared posts and tweets supporting the BDS campaign against the Sydney Festival. However Spender, who personally opposes BDS and says she supports Israel, says Palese was never on her campaign team.

Worst for the amount of anti-Israel activity is a current MP, Andrew Wilkie, MP for Clarke in Tasmania. In February 2020, when then-Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited parliament in Canberra, Wilkie addressed a “Vigil for Palestinian Rights” outside. He accused Israel of ‘treating its inner Palestinians’ and ‘Palestinians outside its borders’ as ‘second-class citizens’, invading and occupying surrounding territories and depriving residents of surrounding areas. of their sovereignty.

He has repeatedly called on Australia to immediately recognize a Palestinian state and has said at least twice that Australia’s political leaders “appear to be beholden to Israeli interests at the expense of the Palestinian people”.

On May 12, 2021, during the Gaza conflict, Wilkie told parliament that “the context” was “the Nakba, where in 1948 Jewish militia razed hundreds of villages and around 700,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes, becoming refugees. He added that “the illegal Israeli colonization of Palestinian territory” was “at the heart of the ongoing conflict”.

Wilkie and fellow Climate 200-backed independent MP Rebekha Sharkie, MP for Mayo in South Australia, signed a petition in November 2016 making various allegations about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children and calling for “urgent action to end ill-treatment”. Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system”.

Monique Ryan, standing against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in her Kooyong seat, was forced to apologize for sharing a post on social media in 2017. The post simulated Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf to show Donald Trump on the cover, with the book renamed “Covfefe” after Trump’s mysterious tweet about the word.

In January 2021, Kylea Tink, challenging Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney, also compared Trump to Hitler. She retweeted the comment: “When you read how Hitler failed in his first attempt to overthrow the government on November 8, 1923, was tried for treason and briefly imprisoned, but in eight years had succeeded, then you understand how it is important to condemn Trump and ban him from future federal office,” and added, “History should never be repeated x.

Jo Dyer, standing in the South Australian seat of retired liberal Nicolle Flint, in Boothby, tweeted in May 2021 that an article was “lucid” and “persuasive”. The article states: “The Israeli state depends on the dispossession of the Palestinians, and therefore, by its nature, will constantly create and recreate violence”, and effectively calls for the end of Israel by creating a “single and democratic state for all “.

Of course, Climate 200 candidates and staff are far from alone in this election when it comes to showing hostility toward Israel or making inappropriate comments about Hitler. However, it is important to consider this history when deciding whether to vote for them or give financial support to Climate 200 – especially given their potential to hold the balance of power.

Jamie Hyams is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Australia/Israel Council and Jewish Affairs.

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