Trade mission hypocrisy

Trade Minister Andrew Robb cancelled his trade mission to Indonesia last month because of tensions relating to the imminent execution of Chan and Sukumaran.

Australia Indonesia Business Council president Debnath Guharoy claimed the executions were not ‘helpful’ as far as business was concerned.

Business with Israel, however, has not been impeded by its atrocities in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Since 1989 Australian politicians like Neville Wran, Richard Alston, Warren Truss, Helen Coonan and Bill Shorten have flocked to Israel in trade missions organised by the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce; no other country can compete with this level of attention.

The mission in May 2015 will be led by CSIRO chair, Simon McKeon, ex-director World Vision Australia and ex-chairman Global Poverty Australia who is eminently well informed about the consequences of Israel’s Gaza blitzkrieg in 2014. World Vision reports that more than 2,200 were killed, including at least 500 children and 11,000 wounded, 30 per cent of whom were children. 460,000 people (more than 25 per cent of the population) are seeking shelter; 16,700 homes have been damaged or destroyed (

McKeon states that part of his motivation in going to Israel is because of its ‘strong focus on philanthropy (sic), we will also seek to understand what Israel does in its social ventures and corporate social responsibility sectors’. Israel will use this trade mission and McKeon ‘s credentials to whitewash its decrepit image. We ask him to change his mind and boycott apartheid Israel.

Gareth W R Smith, Palestine Liberation Centre, Byron Bay


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