A brilliantly successful inaugural meeting of the Friends of Israel – Western Australia was held earlier today (Sunday) in Perth – see here. for their website and a summary of the organisation.
Mission statements included:
Support Israel as the State of the Jewish people; Defend Israel’s right to live in peace and security; Ensure accurate and fair reporting on the Middle East.
According to an initial article: 1500 West Australians, including over 100 Federal and State Parliamentarians and community leaders converged on the Victory Life Centre in Osborne Park to stand up and support Israel.
The Centre’s main auditorium, which seats 800 was quickly filled to capacity, and the second overflow auditorium (linked by video to the proceedings) was also soon overflowing, requiring a third overflow room to be hastily set up in the lobby of the centre.
Attendance at the pre-Launch seminar and book launch were also attended beyond all expectation. Clearly there is a quiet but powerful bond between Western Australia and and Israel. All that was needed was an opportunity to express that feeling, and Western Australia responded resoundingly.
The event was chaired by inaugural Chairman of the FOIWA, Bob Kucera (former State Minister) and Vice Chairman, Ray Halligan (former State Upper House Member). A statement of support by Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Opposition was given by Ray Halligan.
Bob Kucera passionately expressed the importance of support for Israel as a “friend in need” and urged everyone present to join the organisation and look forward to hearing quality speakers, seminars and being kept informed.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith re-iterated Australia’s support for Israel’s right to live in peace and security, from the outset and across the political spectrum.
Michael Keenan, Federal Member for Stirling; Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs urged all Australians to support Israel, especially our leaders. he also delivered a message of support form the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbot.
Michael Sutherland, Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly, and Kate DoustKate Doust MLC, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Council; Shadow Minister for Energy; Science and Innovation, who are co-conveners of the State Parliamentary Friends of Israel both spoke of their recent study tour of Israel and urged all West Australians to join the organisation and help it work for peace.
“The Friends of Israel (WA) Inc (“FOIWA”) enables Western Australians to take a stand for democratic values and freedoms by supporting Israel, a champion of those values in the Middle East; and a nation on the front lines of the global battle between those who love life and those who glorify death… Join us and identify with the many Western Australians who aren’t fooled by the relentless propaganda campaign by Israel’s enemies to vilify her, undermine her legitimacy, and ultimately destroy the only homeland of the Jewish people. We don’t need to agree on everything, but we respect diversity, and we do believe in democracy, freedom, respect for life and that Israel deserves our support.”
Congratulations to Western Australia for this step that emphasises the bipartisan support of Israel, and the common values and historical ties that link Australian and Israel, particularly important during these times of threat to Israel and Western values, and bias and efforts at delegitimisation of Israel.