Countless numbers of Gazans are facing or dying from famine, while Israel continues to make extreme statements and settler violence against Palestinians continues. There is outrage in the Australian community about Israel’s actions. It is time for Australia to act on its severe concerns. The AJDS calls for the Australian Government to ban the importation of Israeli goods and services from the Occupied Territories and to cancel the contract for the purchase of $900 million of Elbit systems for Hanwha Defence Australia. These actions would send a clear message to the Israeli government while not threatening its security.

Open letter: 23 March 2024, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600

Dear Senator Wong,

Since its inception, over 30 years ago, the Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) has promoted a just solution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine; one that accounts for the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians in conflict resolution. We recognise that Israelis will never truly be free until Palestinians are also free; that for Israelis to be safe, there is no option but to achieve a robust political resolution with Palestinians that demands painful concessions on both sides, including recognising the reality of the other’s permanency.

The AJDS affirms its condemnation of Hamas for its attack on Israel. The slaughter of civilians and hostage-taking, including many foreign workers, are war crimes. However, the situation has gone from bad to worse with Israel’s disproportionate response that has resulted in a seemingly irresolvable quagmire. We believe that we represent the views held by a significant and growing number of Australian Jews who are appalled by the policies of the Israeli government and who feel the peak Jewish bodies (such as ECAJ) do not speak for them.

Countless numbers of Gazans are facing or dying from famine, while Israel continues to make extreme statements and settler violence against Palestinians continues.

There is outrage in the Australian community about Israel’s actions. While the Australian government has spoken out, words are not enough. Israel is not paying attention.

It is time for Australia to act on its severe concerns. The AJDS calls for the Australian Government to ban the importation of Israeli goods and services from the Occupied Territories and to cancel the contract for the purchase of $900million of Elbit systems for Hanwha Defence Australia because of the close connection between Elbit’s products and the war in Gaza and other action in the Occupied Territories. These actions would send a clear message to the Israeli government while not threatening its security.

Sincerely,

Dr Larry Stillman

Dr Helen Rosenbaum

Australian Jewish Democratic Society