There are some interesting values on display in the Western reaction to the forged passports used in the Dubai murder of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.
When the Israelis invaded Lebanon in 2006, reduced the southern suburbs of Beirut to rubble with great loss of life, and carried out widespread attacks on civilian infrastructure, we had nothing to say, except that Israel has a right to defend itself (everything Israel does is defensive).
When Israel invaded Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, with a loss of up to 1,400 Palestinian lives, many more wounded and tens of thousands rendered homeless, we had nothing to say, except that Israel has a right to defend itself.
When the Goldstone Report analysed the behaviour of Israelis and Palestinians in the Gaza War found evidence that the Israel Defence Force had committed a number of war crimes, and suggested that these be investigated, we didn’t think so, we didn’t think that any of these documented events warranted closer scrutiny.
When it appeared that Mossad had carried out an extra-judicial killing in Dubai, we had nothing to say. Then, it suddenly appeared that some of the supposed Mossad agents were travelling on forged Australian passports, and the Australian Government had to feign outrage at this turn of events. The Israeli Ambassador is called in, the press is backgrounded that he has been told that this is not the action of a friend and that the Australian Government expects the Government of Israel to give full cooperation to the Australian Federal Police in its investigation of the matter.
It is all theatre. There will be no Israeli cooperation with the AFP, and there will be no consequences for Israel’s relationship with Australia. Australia has given reflexive and unswerving support to the Israeli state since 1948. Australia has asked for nothing in return, and nothing is what it has received. That situation is not about to change, and the Israelis know it.
An Australian government will show that it is serious the first time it takes a public position that is at odds with the Israeli position. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.