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Australia’s Friend of Hizbollah

It has been revealed that Australian Labor party MP Leo McLeay met Hezbollah terrorist Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon almost three years ago.

One has to wonder what exactly the purpose of the meeting was, given Leo McLeay’s manifest bias against Israel.

Consider this interview with McLeay from September last year. (You can also listen to the interview here).

HAMISH ROBERTSON: The bid by the Opposition leader, Simon Crean, to reassure the Jewish community about Labor’s views on Israel has failed to ease tensions within the party.

Mr Crean told members of Melbourne’s Jewish community last night to ignore dissenting views on Israel from within Labor.

Labor backbenchers, Leo McLeay and Julia Irwin, who’ve both spoken out against the Israeli Government’s actions towards the Palestinians, were recently stopped from speaking in a Federal Parliamentary debate.

Mr McLeay says it was a mistake and is vowing to continue to speak out, as he told Alexandra Kirk in Canberra.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Leo McLeay, do you accept Simon Crean’s mantra that there should be no question about the strength of Labor’s commitment to Israel as an independent, democratic Jewish state and that support for Israel must not only be strong, but it must be bi-partisan?

LEO MCLEAY: Simon outlined Labor’s policy, which was a two-state policy. A strong support for Israel, and a strong support for a Palestinian state.

I certainly don’t condone suicide bombers, but I certainly also don’t condone some of the policies of the Israeli Government, such as Sharon’s version the Berlin Wall and the proliferation of settlements in the occupied territories.

I particularly donít condone the killing of children by the IDF or Hamas.

And to be critical of the Israeli Government, Alex, is not against ALP policy. And itís certainly not anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But it has been seen as such, hasn’t it?

LEO MCLEAY: Well people who see it as such won’t hear both sides of the story. We have a strong policy in favour of Israel, and in favour of a Palestinian state.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Are you disappointed that you weren’t able to speak in the Parliament yourself, and Julia Irwin?

LEO MCLEAY: Of course I was. Of course I was.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And will you speaking out in future?

LEO MCLEAY: I intend to ensure that I have my say on Labor policy as supporting the policy of being in favour of both an Israeli state and a Palestinian state. For too long no-one’s been listening to the other side of this equation.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And why do you think that is?

LEO MCLEAY: Well thatís for others to judge.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But what is your view about that?

LEO MCLEAY: I’ve been battling for both sides to be heard for some time, and I’ll keep battling for both sides to be heard.

This should not be a one-sided conversation, as some people would want it to be.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Do you feel that you have been muzzled?

LEO MCLEAY: Well I think that was a mistake. And I think that we should have let backbenchers have their say, but whenever we deal with this issue, we should hear both sides of the story. We shouldn’t just hear one side of the conversation.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Well Simon Crean says that you know, there are a couple of backbenchers that express their views, he won’t stop that, but people shouldn’t look to them for Labor policy, that he is stating Labor’s policy and that it is unequivocal support for an Israeli state.

LEO MCLEAY: No. Labor’s policy is support for a Jewish state and for a Palestinian state. It’s both. It’s not one. You cannot have one without the other, and that’s what our policy is.

HAMISH ROBERTSON: That was Labor backbencher, Leo McLeay. He was speaking to Alexandra Kirk in Canberra.

And what was McLeay’s excuse?

Mr McLeay said he had met Hezbollah secretary-general Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut on July 10, 2001. He said the Hezbollah political wing headed by Sheikh Nasrallah had never been banned in Australia as a terrorist organisation.

But surely McLeay knows what Hizbollah do and what they stand for. And this is the truly worrying thing about this meeting. Does anyone honestly believe he visited Nasrallah to try and bring peace to the region? Only if peace involves the destruction of Israel.

I hope the Labor party do the right thing and sack McLeay. And maybe we can help by emailing the Labor party at [email protected], and letting them know what we think.

Update: Gnu Hunter has more on this issue.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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