Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Stars Under The Southern Cross: Australians United For Israel

Just under a year ago, Melboune-based Luke William Martin, a part-time teacher completing a law degree, who has stood for state parliament in the Liberal interest, inaugurated a grassroots group, Australian Friends of Israel, intended as an expression of the views of what he considers the "silent majority".  It consisted mainly of non-Jews, drawn to Israel like himself. By October, the group had 300 members, about 60 per cent of them non-Jews.

As J-Wire noted at that time, the Facebook group has expressed concern over "the increasing rise of anti-Semitic violence and hatred in various sections of the world and even to some degree in the Lucky Country," and unequivocally supports the Jewish State:
"The Jews have as much right as any other people to live in freedom and without fear of harassment or persecution. Israel, the only truly free democracy of the Middle East is a beacon of light to the entire world. Since 1948, it has been transformed into a productive modern industrialized nation. Often provoked with suicide bombings and even invasions from hostile regimes, Israel shows incredible patience and grace towards its neighbours. For such reasons and many more; we stand side-by-side with our ally Israel. Like everybody else, Israelis have a right to live in a secure homeland."

Explained Luke Martin:
"We desperately need to reinvigorate a national consciousness and conversation in support of Israel. Whilst I do not want to over play the Max Brenner protests, they are an illustration of the fragility of the fabric that holds our society together. Without direct police intervention and opposition from the Coalition, Labor and the Jewish community, the prospect of how those ugly BDS protests might have developed is deeply concerning."
And with an admirable sense of history (the Anzacs helped to liberate Jerusalem from the Turks, and Australian "Doc" Evatt played a pivotal role in Israel's birth), he added:

"This is about Israel, and the Australian relationship with Israel. I want Australian Friends of Israel to assist in educating people. I want to remind my fellow Australians of our heritage – a heritage steeped in a love for Israel. Because moderate and respectable Australian patriotism has always been pro-Israel, we are entitled to enshrine our national friendship with Israel in the untouchable mystery and tradition of iconic Australian imagery such as ANZAC Day, Beersheba and the Australian founding fathers. If our founding fathers believed in Israel, so should we. I am doing this for my grandparents."
Now, what began as a group of like-minded Melbourne supporters of Israel has gone from strength to strength and has changed its name to Australians United For Israel. It's fully incorporated at both Victorian state level and federally, across Australia.

Mazal Tov, Luke!  Kol HaKavod!

(Incidentally, as Shirlee and an anonymous reader have kindly reminded me, a clear, cogent account of the controversy Down Under provoked by David Landau's visit has been carried by a section of the Israeli press.  Read it here)

6 comments:

  1. Good write up Daph !!!.. I've posted it on the Facebook page.


    This is the link to the inaugural meeting

    http://thehistoryofnow.net/AFOI

    and a link to the Facebook page. Best if I only give the new one
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Australians-United-for-Israel/179272802166882?sk=wall&filter=1

    The group should be launched in Sydney early in the new year, followed by Brisbane.

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  2. Thanks, Shirlee - I hope this will be one bandwagon that rolls on and on!

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  3. I'm not a joiner, but I will have to give some serious thought to joining this.

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  4. Good onya Rob !!

    Everyone is welcome. There's not much involved.

    Are you in Sydney or Melbourne?

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  5. You took the words right out of my mouth, Shirlee!

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  6. That's me Daph !!! Good at doing that. !

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