The Guardian November 12, 2003


Zionist lobby falls flat over Ashrawi

The visit of Dr Hanan Ashrawi to Australia to receive the 
Sydney Peace Prize, awarded by the Sydney Peace Foundation has 
had one unexpected consequence  it has split the Jewish 
community in Australia. A virulent campaign was waged by a 
Zionist lobby against her being awarded the Peace prize. Kathryn 
Greiner, one of the members of the Sydney Peace Foundation that 
awarded the prize, described the lobbying as "ferocious".

The split has seen people who consider themselves Zionists come 
out in opposition to the anti-Ashrawi lobbyists.

The Australian Jewish News reported that "the furore has 
focused on the perception that the Jewish community  or the so-
called Jewish lobby  has inappropriately used political and 
financial clout in an attempt to discredit Ashrawi".

It says, "Sharp differences over the issue have emerged within 
the Jewish community, which has sustained a great deal of 
critical press over the affair".

Prime Minister John Howard bought into the issue and attempted to 
nominate another Palestinian to receive the prize  none other 
than the former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Abbu 
Mazzin. The fact that the PM favoured Mazzin tends to confirm the 
perception that Mazzin is a stooge of outside forces.

The Israeli Ambassador had something to say too  "In order to 
get a peace prize you really have to be proactive, to do 
something in favour of peace, and to the best of my knowledge, 
Mrs Ashrawi has done nothing to enhance peace between Israel and 
the Palestinians".

The daily newspapers, TV and radio were full of the "debate". 
However, it was the political extremists in the anti-Ashrawi 
Zionist lobby that came off second-best in the face of the 
refusal of the Peace Foundation, NSW Premier Bob Carr and many 
others to back down. Bob Carr went ahead and presented the prize.

Dr Ashrawi was given a very warm reception at the public meeting 
in Sydney and at the function held in Parliament House at which 
she was presented with the award.

Not to be outdone in his support for the Zionist cause, the Prime 
Minister has moved, without any prior UN decision, to ban Hamas 
as a "terrorist" organisation. He called the Senate together in 
special session to get this decision rushed through Parliament.

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