PM Rudd and Steven Smith are no doubt mulling whether Australia should initiate any further response to the Dubai passport affair. The Australian in an excellent article here suggests that Australia has already done quite enough. The article notes that “The Opposition Leader (Tony Abbott) wants the Rudd government to ignore the precedent set by Gordon Brown’s government in London, which expelled an Israeli diplomat as punishment for the use of British passports in the Dubai killing.”
The article also points out a self-evident observation that was wilfully ignored by the British government and press ie that every secret service uses false passports. The article states “Sources have also told The Weekend Australian that Australian intelligence agencies use forged passports in their clandestine work. Analysts believe the agency most likely to do this is the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, which runs secret operations in numerous countries. Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop told The Weekend Australian: “It would be naive in the extreme to believe a foreign power never used a forged passport. The Australian government would have to be very careful to ensure that Australian agencies never used forged passports.”
PM Rudd is no doubt aware that an aggressive Australian act against Israel based on the passport affair would be met with Obama approval, and would further any Rudd ambition for Islamic country approval for a security council seat. But on the other hand, he will hopefully follow the reasoning of the conclusion of the article ie “The French, German and Irish governments, whose passports were also misused in Dubai, have not expelled any Israeli diplomats. Analysts believe the Brown government may have been motivated by a desire to move domestic scandals out of the news agenda and to seek the votes of anti-Israeli Britons in the forthcoming British election.”
The whole world may not be watching, but quite a few will be examining PM Rudd and Stephen Smith’s stance in the coming days regarding Israel.
Meanwhile the double standards employed against Israel versus other countries including our own Australia is reinforced by the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald. While articles related to Israel get their usual major billing and bold headlines, a short article “Soldiers could be charged over raid” is squeezed to the side by a colour photo of “A big night out: drinking, dancing, fingerprinting”. In the article, we are told that 6 Afghan civilians were killed by Australian commandos and are being investigated by The Defence Force’s chief military prosecutor. The article states that “The Herald has also confirmed that investigators did not visit the scene of the incident and did not meet survivors of the attack. It is understood that late last year, when investigators wanted to go to the scene of the incident, their request was blocked by other military personnel.”
Does anyone have any illusions that a human rights NGO will carry this further, any takers that a UN council will pay attention to an incident like this which no doubt has also occurred with U.S, French and other troops. Now substitute the word Israel for Australia and duck for cover from the brickbats that would be hurled at Israel. Double Standards lie deep in the heartlands.
The double standard response to the Passport affair reminds me of a local Australian press response to the heroic and successful outrage Raid on Entebbe. I can still recall being incredulous to read criticism of the Israeli so-called “invasion of Uganda’s national airspace”.