Indigenous Friends of Israel (IFI) co-founders Norman and Barbara Miller said, “We condemn the decision by the Albanese government to throw Israel under a bus by calling its holiest sites including the Temple Mount and Western Wall ‘occupied territories.’ At best, they are the heartland of Israel, Judea, and Samaria. At worst, disputed territories.

“Foreign Minister Penny Wong has asserted in The Australian 9/8/23 that Australia remained a ‘committed friend of Israel’ based on a ‘shared commitment to democracy and the rule of law.’ If that’s how we treat our friends, who needs enemies? 

“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and the terrorist organization Hamas had as its stated aim to wipe Israel off the map.

“This undermines the peace process and is a capitulation to left-wing party members prior to the ALP National Conference to garner support for the AUKUS deal. 

“As Indigenous Friends of Israel, we condemn the inaccurate propaganda that Israel is a racist, apartheid colonizer state. Jews have been in the land we now call Israel since the time of Abraham, 4,000 years ago. Jerusalem was made the capital of the Jewish state 3,000 years ago by King David. Jews were conquered and removed at various times through history but a remnant has always been in Israel, renamed Syria Palaestina by the conquering Romans. Arabs conquered and colonialized Jerusalem in the relatively recent time of 636-637 AD. They came from Saudi Arabia. They are not Indigenous,” said IFI.

“In 1967 when Arab nations went to war against Israel, the so-called West Bank, which had been illegally occupied by Jordan, returned to Israel. 

“In 1948 when Arab nations attacked Israel after it declared statehood, there were a similar number of Jews as refugees from Arab nations from which they were expelled as Arab refugees from Israel. The Arab refugees fled the war or were displaced. Jewish refugees were absorbed by Israel but the Arab nations refused to absorb Palestinian Arab refugees so they could weaponize them against Israel. 

“Israeli Arabs are not treated in a racist apartheid manner as they are in the Knesset (Parliament), judiciary, police service, academia, business, and various professions. Israel is one of the most multicultural nations in the world.

“Of grave concern is the ALP policy of recognizing the Palestinian state passed at the 2021 ALP National conference and likely to be reaffirmed this year.  Palestine does not meet the requirements of a state and the final status has not been agreed on between the parties.

“The Palestinians have rejected a number of generous statehood offers by Israel including ‘more than 90% of the West Bank, all of Gaza and compensating territory from Israel proper’ as Greg Sheridan stated in The Australian 9/8/23. However, they want the issue to continue to fester rather than settling it. 

“We are also concerned at the Albanese government’s reversal of the Morrison government’s decision to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel despite its being the site of its national parliament and court etc. 

“However, the Albanese government has form on this matter increasing funding last September for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from $10 million to $20 million. This perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by claiming that Palestinians and their descendants are ‘refugees’ and promoting a ‘right of return’ to Israel, rather than organising resettlement, as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees does for all other refugees. So, this is discriminatory treatment in favour of Palestinians.

“Australia has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism and we should abide by this,” said Barbara Miller who has written a Handbook on the Holocaust and the Australian Aboriginal Response for educators, high school students, and adult education. It was published by the WE ARE HERE! Foundation and is a free resource.”

Signed Norman Miller and Barbara Miller

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