Standing in solidarity with Palestine

Today in Parliament, Abigail contributed to a debate in response to a disgraceful motion by the Coalition, emphasising the significance of Al-Nakba to the Palestinian people.

Abigail said:

On 15 May 1948, the Israeli declaration of independence was proclaimed. The Palestinian people commemorate this day instead as Al-Nakba, Arabic for "the catastrophe". This occurred following a years-long campaign of massacres, bombings, looting, land confiscation and destruction of entire towns committed against the Palestinian people, killing around 15,000 Palestinians and making refugees of another 800,000 by 1949. Seventy-five years later, the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people continue. The catastrophe continues.

The Greens cannot support the celebration of the events that occurred on 15 May 1948. Members will note that The Greens also cannot support so-called Australia Day on 26 January. Instead we refer to it as Invasion Day in respect for those who are mourning the invasion of Australia by the British and the devastation that it brought to First Nations people then and ever since. It is a day in which we show our solidarity with First Nations people. The same day can mean two very different things to different groups of people.

The Greens were founded on four key pillars, one of which was peace and non-violence. As a party, we have a well-developed and sophisticated understanding of peace, violence, militarism and settler-colonialism. That is why we have been consistent in our support for the human rights of Palestinian people and have expressed our opposition to the Israeli Government's illegal occupation of the West Bank and its continued oppression of the Palestinian people long before the horrific events committed by Hamas on 7 October 2023 triggered the latest escalation of attacks on Palestinian civilians.

Once again I state that criticising the actions of the Israeli Government is not a criticism of Israeli people, either as individuals or as a population. Just as when the Australian Government is criticised for its human rights breaches in relation to the horrific harms it has inflicted on First Nations people, refugees and asylum seekers, and we on the left are grateful for the international condemnation of the Australian Government's actions, there are many people living in Israel who are grateful for those who are calling out the Israeli Government's continued human rights abuses and war crimes.

Many people are unhappy with The Greens criticising the actions of the Israeli Government, or even for simply standing in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the midst of the utter devastation being inflicted on them, for simply calling for peace for all. They have resorted to calling us antisemitic. Antisemitism is a real and very serious problem in Australia, fuelled primarily by a rise in right-wing fascism. Using the term to refer to any critique of the Israeli Government not only disrespects those who have suffered from real antisemitism but also cheapens and devalues the seriousness of its impacts. The Greens have consistently led the way in the condemnation of antisemitism and of creeping Neo-Fascism. Nothing has changed in that regard.


Read the full debate in Hansard here.

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