Australian Prime Minister Accuses Opposition of “Behaving in an Anti-Semitic Way”
Last week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed the Labor Party was “behaving in an Anti-semitic way.”
This accusation was brought up during question period during a debate on moving Australia’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The Labor Party claimed this was only to get votes in the upcoming by-election in Wentworth, where around 12.5 percent of people are Jewish and the candidate running is Dave Sharma, the former ambassador to Israel.
This by-election came out of the ousting of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull six weeks ago and caused Morrison to eventually take his position. The Labor Party also claimed this would hurt relations with Indonesia, a country whom they have been close with and are currently preparing to sign a new trade deal with.
The Indonesian Foreign Minister contacted her Australian counterpart, venting anger about the move. This announcement was also made during the Palestinian Foreign Minister’s trip to Indonesia.
The new Prime Minister’s position is in contrast to Turnbull’s policy on the issue. The accusation of Anti-semitism was brought up during the discussion after the Prime Minister stated he will discuss with Indonesia their views.
“I know the New South Wales Labor Party, with their good mates who banned the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies from attending the Labor Union Multicultural Action Committee. So we have a New South Wales Labor Party which is behaving in an anti-Semitic way,” Morrison said.
He is referring to the Labor Union Multicultural Action Committee launch in which Muslim MP Shaoquett Moselmane barred NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff from entering.
The Labor Party leader Luke Foley apologized for the incident, but it was not the first time the MP has taken issue with the Jewish community. The Labor Party leader called for the statement to be withdrawn.
The controversy over the embassy did not help them in the days following. Sharma lost the by-election to Kerryn Phelps on October 20. Phelps, an independent, is now the first Jewish female to be elected to parliament.
This has cost the Liberal Party Coalition to lose their slim majority government and will have to work with independents and also hope they do not oust him before next year’s election.
Matt Rodgers is a lead contributor to The Daily Lead.