Senator Scott Ryan (Victoria) was sponsored by the Australia/Israel Jewish Affairs council on a paid business class trip to Israel in August 2009.
In his speech to the federal parliament yesterday Scott Ryan returned the AIJA favour by attacking the TIME TO HOLD ISRAEL ACCOUNTABLE ads placed in national newspapers by Australians for Palestine.
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 SENATE 103
Senator RYAN (Victoria) (7.53 pm) Several weeks ago we were informed that Israel had allegedly outrageously intervened to stop a so-called peace flotilla, with commandos launching themselves at a peaceful armada seeking nothing more than to take humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Excuse me if I was a little cynical when I first heard the news, for despite days of a highly orchestrated media campaign to vilify Israel and her defence forces, the truth subsequently came out.
These were not peace activists; they were agents of provocation, radicals seeking a violent confrontation as they broke the legal maritime blockade of Gaza.
I did not realise that peace activists were so well armed, in this case, with knives, chains, firearms, molotov cocktails and pepper spray.
By viciously attacking the soldiers, they quickly betrayed their true agenda with their anti-Semitic cries, as they did by their refusal to cooperate with the UN, Israeli or Egyptian authorities, who could have facilitated the entry of the humanitarian materials to Gaza.
This was no peace flotilla; it was part of an orchestrated campaign to vilify the state of Israel for doing nothing more than would be expected of us in this place: to protect her own citizens.
…So what was the real agenda of this alleged peace flotilla?
It was part of the campaign to delegitimise Israel in the West.
It was intentionally aimed at weakening the historic friendship between many nations of the West and the only liberal democratic state in the Middle East.
Over the past decade, a campaign of vili- fication against Israel has been undertaken by elements of the left in the West. Using NGOs, an occasionally ignorant media and a lack of understanding in the West of the existential threat faced by Israel, they have joined with other groups, including violent Islamic groups in the Middle East who seek to destroy Israel.
The incidence of academic boycotts and the use of terms such as apartheid are all an attempt to achieve through factual manipulation what the enemies of Is- rael have not been able to achieve through other means.
It could not be achieved by three wars and it could not be achieved by an unprecedented terror campaign against civilians, so now these organisations seek to weaken Israel by demonising and delegitimising it, weakening its alliance with other nations to diplomatically cripple and hopefully destroy it.
This was merely the latest media stunt in that campaign.
A group called ‘Australians for Palestine’ has been running a campaign entitled Time to hold Israel Accountable.
Israel is accountable to its people via elections, courts and the rule of law, while Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israels other neighbours are not. Israel has a right to protect itself, and the campaign to undermine this must be opposed.
More importantly, it must be exposed.
The lies and misrepresentation of facts and the application of double standards in considering Israels legitimate right of self-defence cannot go unanswered.
Contrast the Senator’s account of what happened aboard the ‘Mavi Mamara’ with that of one of the peace activists, Ken O’Keefe, who was aboard the ship when it was attacked in international waters by Israeli commandos:
“While in Israeli custody I, along with everyone else was subjected to endless abuse and flagrant acts of disrespect.
Women and elderly were physically and mentally assaulted. Access to food and water and toilets was denied.
Dogs were used against us, we ourselves were treated like dogs. We were exposed to direct sun in stress positions while hand cuffed to the point of losing circulation of blood in our hands.
We were lied to incessantly, in fact I am awed at the routineness and comfort in their ability to lie, it is remarkable really.
We were abused in just about every way imaginable and I myself was beaten and choked to the point of blacking out and I was beaten again while in my cell.
In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards and yet I also see my brothers.
Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them.
Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.”