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.