Australia has a history with the Jews.  The most famous quote from the failed 1938 Evian Conference, convened to rescue the Jews from Hitler, came from the Australian delegate who said: “It will no doubt be appreciated also that as we have no real racial problems, we are not desirous of importing them.”  If Australia had done the right thing then, perhaps some of the other countries would have followed.  Instead, they all closed their doors and thus were complicit in the holocaust.

Senator Barnett of Tasmania, in a 2011 speech, said: “It is a matter of national shame that White’s statement on behalf of the government of Australia is still visible at the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.”

Now Australia can add another shameful statement to its history with the Jews. Scott Morrison announced that Australia would move its embassy to West Jerusalem and establish a Palestinian embassy in East Jerusalem only after a peace deal. He knew America was right to move its embassy to Jerusalem, and initially indicated he would follow suit, but he gave in to the threats and bullying of Muslim countries.  But those who flinch and give in to bullying will still be bullied and threatened.  Even with the watered down statement, there is a call to Arab and Muslim states to drop Australian exports.

He could have taken the moral high ground and led the rest of the world.  He could have helped erase Australia’s stain, but instead he added to it.

For two thousand years Jews have fought for Jerusalem.  Now that it is finally Jewish, now that all the bloodshed is not in vain, Scott Morrison callously dismisses Jewish history and sacrifice with his self-serving pronouncement.  Give half of Jerusalem to the enemies of the Jews because Australia wants to trade with Muslims?   Shame on you Scott Morrison, and shame on Australia!

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Helen Applebaum
Helen Applebaum is an artist, writer, and teacher who has lived in New York City for most of her life. Her artwork is in the permanent collection of the Museum of the City of New York. Her articles have appeared in Women in the Arts newsletters, Art Times Journal, and Salt Magazine. She has visited Australia six times and plans to relocate there soon.

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