From THE AUSTRALIAN, DECEMBER 17, 2013, by ALEXANDER RYVCHIN*:
...During a typically vitriolic and hateful speech in the Senate
earlier this month, [Greens senator Lee] Rhiannon urged Australia "to cease military
co-operation and trade with Israel ... ".
...Rhiannon justifies this call on the basis
that Israel perpetuates war and conflict to battle-test its weapons for
"public marketing by the Israeli arms industry" as a means of
boosting its sale of weapons to countries like Australia.
In her latest allegations, one detects a near pathological
aversion to the Jewish state.
she recognise that Israel has a very real and genuine need to defend itself.
Nor does she entertain the idea that the Israeli army could have any legitimate
defence function whatsoever.
...While presented as a pacifist's rebuke to militarism, Rhiannon's
argument is steeped in double standards. If she opposes militarism in all its
forms, why is Israel the only country with which Australia should sever
military ties? If indeed her message is one of peace and demilitarisation, one
could have expected her to start by calling for the disarming of a state less
vulnerable than Israel.
There is also an uncomfortable inconsistency between Rhiannon's
assault on Israel's means of defence and her history of support for the Soviet
Union, which built and maintained an empire through force and coercion and
whose arms exports had a uniquely deleterious impact on the world, not least in
the Middle East. In the 1980s, shortly after Rhiannon led solidarity
delegations to the Soviet Union, Moscow was responsible for 34 per cent of the
world's arms trade, and supplied such states as Libya, Syria and Iraq.
...Rhiannon's ...image of the Jew as a war profiteer, conspirator and driven solely by money
is steeped in anti-Jewish tradition .... Senator Rhiannon and her peers in the anti-Israel movement should
recognise that advancing Palestinian rights does not need the denial of
Israel's right to exist as a national home for the Jewish people.
*Alexander Ryvchin is the public affairs officer at the Executive
Council of Australian Jewry.