“Regarding the recent motion by the Qld ALP regarding Israel, it is the Jewish people who have been subjected to ethnic cleansing from the land of Israel for many centuries,” said Norman and Barbara Miller, Convenors of the Indigenous Friends of Israel.
“If you want to talk about ethnic cleansing, the Assyrians forcibly removed the Israelites from their ancient homeland, the kingdom of Israel (Samaria) in the 8th century BC, and the Babylonians forcibly removed the Jews from the kingdom of Judah in the 6th century BC. (Israelites and Jews were the same people living in different kingdoms but a remnant always remained.) Even earlier than this, the Romans forbade the Jews access to Jerusalem after a rebellion by the Jews in 132 AD.
“Many nations have persecuted the Jews who have lived in the diaspora with ethnic cleansing of Jews from England in 1290, from Spain in 1492 and from Arab lands 1948-1973. Also, we have Hitler’s ethnic cleansing of Jews from Europe with 6 million Jews killed, 1.5 million of them children. Between 1948 and 1967, Jordan ethnic cleansed Jews from East Jerusalem and destroyed many synagogues and desecrated the Jewish cemetery,” said the Millers.
“Yes, there were Arab refugees from the 1948 war of independence when 5 surrounding Arab nations attacked Israel and some left because these Arab nations advised them to flee Israel and get out of the way. Some were dispersed by Israel in the war. There were a similar number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, a little-known fact. Israel has absorbed these but the Arab nations have not absorbed their own people, preferring to weaponise them against Israel.
“There are lies being circulated about the state of Israel,” One of these is that Israel is a colonial settler state settled by Jews from Europe. There has been a Jewish presence in the land for about 4,000 years with King David taking the throne of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah about 3,000 years ago.
“Since the state of Israel was reformed in 1948 as the modern state of Israel, there has been migration of Jews from Europe, Africa, Asia, the US etc. who have joined local Jews. There has always been a Jewish presence in the land since the days of Abraham despite attempts by various foreign powers to remove them from the land,” the Millers said.
“The Jews are Indigenous to the land of Israel,” said the Millers. “Judaea was renamed Syria Palaestina (later called Palestine) by the Romans in 135 AD to eradicate the Jewishness of its name after a Jewish revolt. The Arabs conquered and colonalised Jerusalem in the relatively recent time of 636-637 AD. They came from Saudi Arabia.
“The Ottoman empire ruled the area we know as Israel today from 1516 to 1917 being defeated in World War 1 by the Allies with the help of the ANZACS and the famous charge of the Australian Light Horse at Be’er-Sheva. Britain then ruled Palestine (Israel) until Israel’s independence in 1948,” said the Millers.
“The Palestinians are not descendants of the ancient Philistines as some claim. The Philistines were a seafaring people with cultural links to the Aegean who settled in Gaza in the 12th century BCE. They were conquered by Babylonia and disappear from historical and other records about 5th century BCE. Even if the Palestinians were descendants of the Philistines, the Philistines were not Arabs,” said the Millers.
“The Bedouins are originally from Arabia and so are Arabs but are not Indigenous to the land known today as Israel,,,, though they have lived there for some time now and need to be able to live in peace. Many Arabs whose families have lived in Israel for some generations have become citizens of Israel and want to live in peace. Jews should be able to live in their ancient homeland in peace as well and not be threatened by terrorist organisations to drive them into the sea.
“So as Indigenous Friends of Israel, we do not agree that Israel is a colonial power suppressing an Indigenous minority,” said the Millers.
Norman Miller 0407128199 and Barbara Miller 046676020