Sunday, 04 Dec 2022

Jewish groups blindsided by Labors reversal of recognition of West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Jewish groups blindsided by Labors reversal of recognition of West Jerusalem as Israeli capital


Jewish groups blindsided by Labors reversal of recognition of West Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Several Jewish community leaders say they were blindsided by the Albanese government's decision to reverse recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel's capital, describing the handling of the issue as "shoddy" and "a gratuitous insult".

A Labor parliamentarian has also privately said the government "mishandled" the sensitive issue and should not be "making foreign policy on the fly" after Israel's foreign ministry summoned the Australian ambassador to demand an explanation.

Jewish community representatives were surprised by a Guardian Australia report on Monday revealing the Morrison government-era decision was being reversed, and contacted the government seeking clarity.

It is understood a number of community representatives were informed on Monday that no decision had been made, only to be notified the following morning of the outcome of Tuesday's cabinet meeting shortly before the public announcement.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) said it was "extremely disappointed" the government had made the decision in an "opaque manner" without public consultation or opportunity for public debate.

The group said stakeholders had "simply been presented with a fait accompli" and noted "with regret that this decision was communicated to us on the Jewish holyday of Simchat Torah, when we were precluded from making any public response".

"There is a bitter irony in the fact that the government made its decision in the way that it did on a day when Jews celebrate receiving the Torah, the ethical basis of western civilisation," it said.

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