‘Unprincipled and craven’: Morrison’s Israel pitch plumbs new depths of stupid
To betray the national interest to chase a few votes is irresponsible. To betray it for no votes at all is stupid as well as irresponsible.
Australia may move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, following US president Donald Trump’s lead.
The seat of Wentworth has a relatively big Jewish population of about 12 per cent. Morrison on Tuesday proposed two possible changes to Australian foreign policy designed to pander to them specifically. The effect is simply to appear to be wrapped in the flag of Israel.
And he’s done it by echoing Donald Trump positions, but not actually acting on them. Trump moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Why? To gratify Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to shore up the conservative right wing of the Republican party.
So Morrison has floated the possibility of Australia changing its policy to move the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If he does actually follow through, Australia would join Guatemala in mimicking the US and become the first significant country to do so.
Trump withdrew US support for the deal that blocks Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Why? To gratify Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to shore up the conservative right wing of the Republican party. So Morrison has announced that Australia will reconsider its support for the deal.
Why not? They’re not axiomatically bad ideas just because Trump embraced them. But they are the policies of a foreign country that are fundamentally ill-suited for Australia.
The US can be stridently, uniquely pro-Israel because it’s America. It’s a superpower. Australia is not. And America’s key strategic approaches are not dominated by the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation. Australia’s are. Indeed, Australia’s only strategically significant neighbour happens to be Indonesia. Indonesia’s political system is primed to take offence from Australia at any time. Politicians earn easy credit points by kicking Australia; they earn nothing by supporting it.
So Morrison has just invited a kicking for Australia in Jakarta. Worse, he’s made it hard for Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to pursue a positive relationship with Canberra. The President, known universally by his nickname Jokowi, is a friend of Australia. He has been pressing his government to conclude a free trade agreement with Australia. He proposed that Australia be permitted to join ASEAN.
Australia depends on Indonesia for vital cooperation on counter-terrorism. Australia’s policy of stopping the boats, Morrison’s greatest achievement, can only work with Indonesia’s acquiescence.
But for his own political survival Jokowi will now need to distance himself from Australia so long as Australia has a prime minister wrapped ostentatiously in the Israeli flag.
And anyone anywhere in the world who wants to dismiss Australia as a mere lap dog of America’s, a deputy sheriff to Donald, need only point to this.
That’s why it’s irresponsible. Why is it stupid? Because the Jewish vote in the seat of Wentworth is solidly with the Liberal candidate, Dave Sharma, already. The Liberals won’t gain any significant number of Jewish votes that aren’t already theirs. And Israel already considers Australia to be one of its best friends in the world.
The Jews of Wentworth shouldn’t feel gratified by Morrison’s gambit. They should feel insulted. He’s gaming them. And besides, he’s not committing to these policies, only toying with them. Who knows? Today he’s pitching for one ethnic and religious minority’s support, tomorrow he might be chasing another. In a general election he might need to court the Muslim vote on the other side of Sydney.
If he’s prepared to risk Australia’s vital interests for the Jewish vote in one seat, how far would he go for the Muslim vote in half a dozen seats? This is unprincipled and craven politics of a low order. And you probably thought Australian politics was as bad as it could get. It seems that there is no expectation so low that it can’t be disappointed.
Image Credit: Scott Morrison open to following Trump in moving the embassy to Jerusalem
Peter Hartcher is international editor.
6 thoughts on “‘Unprincipled and craven’: Morrison’s Israel pitch plumbs new depths of stupid”
Scott Morrison – according to his own party “thinking is not his strong point”
Scott Morrison does the knee jerker dance in – what he thinks is his own best interest.
His own best interest.
He wants to be loved by the Jews of Wentworth ??
Scott Morrison wants to be loved by Israel for himself & his future.
How long do you think this guy is going to be Prime Minister of Australia.
Who knows if he will make it to the next federal election even ??
And I will be surprised if the Lib/Coalitions win the next election.
Scott Morrison is thinking beyond his political life.
This is a Me, Me, Me, thing. 😛 😉
Honestly – I can\’t get my head around Bill Shorten.
This is going to sound bad – but – he reminds me of Stan Laurel of Laurel & Hardy.
As far as I am concerned, the only safe vote for Prime Minister of Australia is Pauline Hanson.
Because Australia is in a state of political chaos, all the politicians look alike, it is blatantly obvious that they all drink from the same trough, there is not even the slightest, believable attempt at discretion.
Australia needs a bolt of lightening & I believe that Pauline Hanson may just provide that shock necessary to send everyone back to their own corners to rethink what they are & are not.
They have grown way too comfortable for our good & the wellbeing of our beloved nation.
SLOTH has set in … mate!!
Australia will not fall to pieces because Pauline Hanson is voted in to the Prime Ministerial Office.
As for Jabawaki – he can come for Sunday lunch – my quiches are to die for & a nice salad – why – he won’t know himself.
Apart from the strong persistent Jew lobby in Aus what the hell have we to do with apartheid Israel. We should separate ourselves from their racist agenda and send their racist Lobby back to Israel. The Jew propaganda is the absolute in hypocrisy. They promote open immigration in Aus but close the borders in Israel. Israel for Jews only! We should read some ancient history. Palestine was not given to the Jews by any God. The Jew composed his own history to suit himself and force it upon us. Yes, we are stupid!
Well said !!
It is .. what is his name ?? .. Scott Morrison who yearns to be loved by Israel – look what it did for Trump.
There is life out there, if only one could get a leg up, running with the Global Elite Wolves is where it’s at – imagine Scott Morrison as an official Quase NeoCon / a Claytons NeoCon – you pucker up real nice & pray with all your might.