Bob Carr: Why I’m now a friend of Palestine rather than Israel

Bob Carr is a former NSW premier and foreign minister. This is part of an address he gave to the Australian Friends of Palestine Association in Adelaide last night.


Former foreign minister Bob Carr holds a copy of his new book- Diary of a Foreign Minister. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Former foreign minister Bob Carr holds a copy of his new book- Diary of a Foreign Minister. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP


Why I’m now a friend of Palestine rather than Israel

Bob Carr

The Australian
November 08, 2014

PENNANT Hills Golf Club in Sydney is an unusual place for an epiphany on the changes in Israel. Still, it was there I met a Christian volunteer who went to the occupied territories to escort Palestinian children to school, to protect them from verbal and physical -violence by Israeli settlers.

Violence against Arab kids? Christian volunteers to protect them? From Jewish settlers?

None of this was around in 1977 when I rented a room in Sydney Trades Hall and called on Bob Hawke, ACTU president, to help me launch Labor Friends of Israel.

In 1977 the Israeli occupation was 10 years old. There were 25,000 settlers. It was easy to believe the Israelis were holding the West Bank only as a bargaining chip. Arabs were terrorists.

Now the occupation has lasted 47 years. There are 500,000 settlers. Up to 60 per cent of the Israeli cabinet is on record as opposing a two-state solution. Palestinians have been part of a peace process for 25 years.

Israel has gone from secular to religious. The ultra-Orthodox and religious Zionists hold 30 of the 120 seats in the Knesset. It has gone from cosmopolitan to chauvinist, with some ministers -espousing a brand of radical -nationalism like that of France’s Le Pen or Austria’s Jorg Haider.

“The symbol of Israel used to be the kibbutz,” says a friend in the British Labour Party. “It’s now the settlement.” They have doubled in the past 54 months alone. The -Atlantic reported the Obama -administration is deeply offended at how the Israelis use settlements to wreck any peace deal. Settlers won’t move. The Israeli government won’t force them. So an -indefinite occupation morphs into the extremists’ goal of a Greater Israel.

With one catch. It will have two classes of citizen.

“A term used about another country on another continent”, Ehud Barak told me when I as foreign minister discussed this very dilemma. The word is apartheid, of course, used by another former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, and the only word that can be applied if, within one nation, there is one set of laws for one race and an inferior set for the other — the other being the majority.

US President Barack Obama meets Palestinian girls who performed Dabke dance for him in Ramallah, Palestine, on March 21, 2013. (Photo: Keren Manor/

US President Barack Obama meets Palestinian girls who performed Dabke dance for him in Ramallah, Palestine, on March 21, 2013. (Photo: Keren Manor/

Barack Obama says that if settlement expansion keeps growing he can’t manage the fallout for Israel. That fallout has begun, with Sweden joining 138 nations that have already recognised Palestine and Britain’s House of Commons endorsing recognition. In the British debate, Richard Ottaway, a Conservative and long-term supporter of Israel, -declared, “If they are losing -people like me, they will be losing a lot of people.”

He and others in centrist politics have been sickened by religious fanatics standing on seized Palestinian land declaring that God gave them Judea and Samaria, and the Arabs are inferior anyway. Sickened by the routine violence of the settlers, serious enough to warrant front-page treatment in that voice of the US foreign policy establishment, Foreign Affairs: settlers smashing the windows of Palestinian flats to drive families out, uprooting the date and olive trees on Palestinian farms, spraying graffiti on -churches and mosques.

In 1977 the Palestine Liberation Organisation was blowing up planes. Now for 25 years Palestinians have been committed to a negotiated solution, most recently to a demilitarised state with the presence of a US-led NATO force on the West Bank and East -Jerusalem.

Ilan Pappe Ethnic CleansingIn 1977 when we launched Labor Friends of Israel we knew, to our disgrace, none of their narrative. Now Israeli historians — this is a measure of Israel’s openness — have gone to the archives of their army to tell the full story of how massacres were used during the foundation of Israel in 1948 to drive out 700,000 Palestinians. The credibility of historian Benny Morris is confirmed when he declares he agreed with the policy and thinks David Ben-Gurion should have gone further until there were no Palestinians left.

Where do Palestinians stand now? Gideon Levy wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that it leaves them living with mass arrests (760 in a recent sweep, 260 of them children) expulsions, demolitions. A former head of Shin Bet (Israel’s ASIO) said in the 2012 documentary The Gatekeepers that his paratrooper son invaded Nablus two or three times. He asked, “Did this bring us victory? I don’t think so.”

This week 100 ex-generals, senior police and a former head of Mossad issued a letter urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate with “moderate Arab states and with the Palestinians (in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as one)”. They know a two-state solution will not be perfect but preferable.

Permanent occupation means Israelis get cast as Afrikaners and the world will recognise Palestine and isolate Israel.

After all, the alternative would be unthinkable: to accept colonial rule with one religious and racial group enjoying the vote, the majority denied it.

From the writers of The West Wing came this. Discussing Gaza and the West Bank, a White House adviser says to another, “Revolutionaries will outlast and out-die occupiers every time.” No other colonial rule has survived, let alone with rich settlers on fortified hilltops with Los Angeles lawns, the wretched huddled in the gullies, their 12-year-old kids subject to military arrest and -detention.

We have politely pitched the case for Palestinian statehood as creating security for Israel. But in view of the settlements and settler violence, I now pitch the case in terms of the rights of the Palestinian people, recognised in international law and every draft peace statement supported by the world for a quarter of a century.

Palestinians must commit to non-violent resistance, not a third intifada. They must build international support. They must engage with the righteous Jews who condemn the takeover of Zionism by the fanatics.

Forty years ago I signed up to be president of Labor Friends of Israel; I still count myself a friend of the liberals in that country but it serves the cause of a just peace better by me this week becoming patron of Labor Friends of Palestine.

Bob Carr is a former NSW premier and foreign minister. This is part of an address he gave to the Australian Friends of Palestine Association in Adelaide last night.

Also see:

Related video:

The Occupier (Israel) does not have the right to self-defense… Any occupied population has the right to self defense — Palestinian Human Rights Advocate Rania Masri:


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4 Responses to "Bob Carr: Why I’m now a friend of Palestine rather than Israel"

  1. Chris Williams  November 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Good to see Bob Carr speaking plainly about the situation. Of course, this hasn’t been an immediate conversion – we have him to thank for at least overturning Gillard’s original intention (I think in 2012) to oppose the Palestinian recognition vote in the UN – a vote only opposed by the US, Israel Canada and I think the Marshall islands! It was Carr’s part-room leadership on this issue which was at least able to get that changed to abstention. But then, sadly, that has all since come to nought with the ascension of the real tools of the Jewish lobby, Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop who are doing their best to turn Australia into the Canada of the southern hemisphere.

  2. Old Jules  November 17, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Just the sort of article the world needs to see a lot of from every nation.

  3. rhys  November 17, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Bob Carr does deserve the respect of those who consider that it is time for Australia to reduce its favourable treatment of dual passported Zionists.

    If Australia is so pre-occupied with restricting the re-entry into Australia of those misguided people fighting in a foreign land for terrorists, even though such terrorists are funded by the USA, it is also wise to restrict those hundreds of Australian-born Jews who have gone to Israel to fight for and act as terrorists against the Palestinian people. A real fact of life.

    Have we read about them? Hardly. Certainly not in a Murdoch publication. But there are hundreds that have gone to “do their duty” and who have responded to the call, yes, that’s what it was, to harass, murder women and children and enforce the policies of Israel’s apartheid regime.

    Now there is a cause for a good lawyer. What’senough good for an ISIL terrorist is good for an Israel terrorist. Please do not expect that the initiative will come from Julie Bishop. In the recent case of the death of the dual passported Mossad spy, Ben Xygier not a word was uttered from that direction

    The group that encourages such activities, probably promulgated through the Israel Embassy, is called the Mahal Volunteer Programme.

    Check it out, Minister. It is right in front of your eyes.

  4. rexw  November 17, 2014 at 1:30 am

    The epiphany experienced by Bob Carr as described in this article, is now rather belatedly being experienced by most of the world …….and rightly so. The thin edge of the wedge, hopefully.

    From a country called Israel that had the sympathy of the world has come a terrorist team of nuclear armed, arrogant, self-obsessed people, a long term threat to world peace, by any measure one could name.

    The cause?

    What the displaced Jews from World War II have now become through the constant mind manipulations of successive Israeli governments, using all their cunning and devious skills to corrupt its citizens for decades, is what Israel has now become, examples of which the world now sees every day. Yes, even after all the efforts made by the people of the world to support their seriously exaggerated version of the holocaust, a tool they have used cunningly, they have well and truly used up their credit, many times over. Then, spreading their wings, they used the decent natures of those countries to inveigle their way into key positions through the familiar characteristics of bribery, corruption and now threats, to get their way.
    The US status quo, and doesn’t it show.

    Think on the USS Liberty, the death of JFK, the corruption of 70% + of the elected politicians in the USA, the AIPAC spy centre and who knows what threats are hanging over the head of Obama for him to have been so ineffectual for over two years. Sadly, he has 2 years of the same ‘marking time’ to come.
    Such is the influence of such people in America backed for decades by Rothschilds, that Israeli corruption is everywhere. All with the acceptance of the insouciant voters of course and electoral funding largesse by the truckload.

    A veritable spreading cancer

    Once the people who had the sympathy of the world, now the most hated people in history, making the Third Reich pale by comparison. 60 years as a hated occupying power. Inhumanity the keyword.

    Yes, all that in 60 years with the US veto in the United Nations propping them up at every turn. The world should never forget that and the people who made that happen, weak, corrupt Presidents, one after the other.

    So this is the Bob Carr story, from a man who promoted the “Friends of israel” to a man who now supports “Friends of Palestine” and full marks to him.
    Of course, he will have his detractors, most on the payroll of the influential Likudist, Murdoch, whose contribution to Israel’s current status cannot be dismissed lightly and who is, as a result, disliked intensely for that reason alone. However, in the current but temporary climate of tolerance for all things Zionist, he can survive. But for how long? Now that is good question.

    Let’s think on Australia, out of the British ‘frying pan’ into the US ‘fire’. Australia is in so many ways a weak country, neither fish nor fowl, but able to be manipulated like no other by those same Zionists. Such well-trained Jews were the product of the infamous Kibbutz brain-washing centres, expanded with Rothschilds assistance to positions of power where they have been able to corrupt people like Julia Gillard, a now shamed Prime Minister, controlling her since her days at University to make her what she is today, now something of a sad joke. But the damage she was able to do will leave its mark for some time. Jewish consultants appointed, a failed UN vote for Palestine, every major action had some connection to a Zionist objective, her purpose served, now well and truly discarded. But the remains are there for all to see….Liebler, Gonski, Finklestein, Spigelman and on. That’s the historical modus operandi for Zionism. Even today, shifting political allegiances as required like a colourful Chameleon, easy to do when it so suits your loyalty is to one cause only, Israel. They permeate the new feckless party in government, in their normal way….Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Defence Minister and reap the benefits that this brings them, but the interest is predominantly foreign policy. So they are here now and will be there again when the government changes, ready to adjust to all the swings and roundabouts. All the same to the Jewish lobby. Changing horses midstream, a simple task.

    As stated, all for the Israeli cause, regardless of price. Loyalty to the naive host? Never. Expeditious dual passports used to good effect.

    The need to avoid the merry band of sayanims, carefully schooled by the Melbourne Jewish lobby, makes it difficult to find a way of contacting Bob Carr to compliment him on his epiphany and above all, stopping the ex-Prime Minister Gillard from overturning Australia’s UN vote of recognising Palestine, directed as she was to do so by her masters in Melbourne. Since then, of course, the next Foreign Affairs Minister to take on the role, Julie Bishop, made that move within the first month of her appointment, being a true member of ‘Friends of Israel’.

    We hope therefore, that Bob Carr sees this comment as a vote for him by the millions of Australians, perhaps as high as 80%, who see the continued occupation of Palestine as the world’s greatest shame.

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