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Tue Oct 30, 2012, 07:16 AM

A lesson in remembering that Israel could learn from Australia [View all]

Even in Sydney's well-to-do neighborhoods, there are people who make sure to show their appreciation for the 'original custodians of this land.'

By Akiva Eldar | Oct.30, 2012 | 4:15 AM |


SYDNEY - On Sunday afternoon, after the end of the event at the local community center, it was hard to find a table at any of the cafes scattered along the length of Watsons Bay, one of Sydney's countless escapist venues. Parties, villas, cars, yachts and money (primarily money) are the favorite topics of conversation of the residents of the eastern suburbs that overlook white-sailed boats in their berths.

What do these privileged folks have to do with any troublesome, heretical thoughts about the sins of their forebears who came from faraway places? The teeth of the tanned young men zipping along in Mercedes convertibles seated beside smiling, blonde young women are as a white as can be. No wonder that young Israelis fed up with war and misgivings in a hard country to live in are attracted to this distant place.

However, at the modest little community center nearby, we had an opportunity to meet a different Australia, the one that sparks jealousy. Several dozen people crowded around simple wooden stalls displaying a selection of items from the culture of the aborigines, the original inhabitants of the area. A volunteer offered pins and small flags showing appreciation for the community, half of whose 500,000 members (the ones not wiped out by the whites and their alcohol) live in the greater Sydney area.

<snip>

Who said Iran and Israel don't have any political common denominator? Look, both of them voted a week ago to elect Australia a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Both of them helped make it so that over the next two years, Canberra will join the list of places eagerly courted by the two enemies. Even so, they both criticized the investment of $25 million in the campaign to join the exclusive diplomatic club. The budget was designated primarily for courting African and Arab countries.

Whatever Iran's reasons for supporting Australia, Israel certainly had a good reason to support such a step: Rarely do Australian governments disagree with their American friends when it comes to votes on Middle East affairs. An Australian commentator wrote in recent days that membership in the Security Council obligates the Canberra government to break away from Washington, including on the matter of the war in Afghanistan.

During the two-year tenure of the Australian ambassador at the UN, he may have to vote in favor (or against? ) stiffening the sanctions against Iran. If the Palestinians decide to submit their request to upgrade their status to the Security Council, it is possible that Australia, which supports the establishment of a Palestinian state (and opposes the settlements ), will face a tough dilemma: Should it deny its position and present itself to the whole world as the Americans' poodle, or should it display its independence and leave its big brother alone in the fight

http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/a-lesson-in-remembering-that-israel-could-learn-from-australia.premium-1.473122

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