Steve Lieblich, Vice President of the Jewish Community Council of Western Australia, expressed surprise and shock at the sudden resignation of Mark McGowan, who he calls a 'long-time friend' of the Jewish community.
The emergence of new leaders, particularly Roger Cook, who is aligned with the left faction of the Labor Party, raises concerns for Lieblich and others within the Jewish community.
Steve highlighted the current national shift within the party towards socialism and the potential implications for the Jewish community, given the rising anti-Israel sentiment.
He acknowledged the historically strong support for the Labor Party among the Jewish community but expressed concern over recent moves that have strained the relationship.
He specifically mentions the withdrawal of recognition of Jerusalem by the federal Labor party, which he views as a signal to anti-Israel groups. Steve called out the timing and manner of this decision, as well as the previous government's efforts to recognise Jerusalem being overturned.
I raised the issue of the Jewish community's red line with regards to supporting the Labor Party. He mentions the loyalty Jewish voters have shown in the past, even when it became apparent that the party was turning against Israel.
Steve emphasised the importance of the government's stance on Israel for the Jewish community in Australia, as it impacts their daily lives and the perception of their identity.
The discussion turned to the broader community's perspective on Israel and its significance. While the Jewish community holds Israel as a vital issue, Steve acknowledged that it may not carry the same weight for the wider community.
However, he notes a growing trend of anti-Israel sentiment and rising anti-Semitism, which is a concern for the Jewish community.
While some political groups, including the Greens, exploit the anti-Israel wave for their own political gains, even if they do not genuinely care about the issue, Steve agreed that certain parties perceive a constituency with such views, but he believes that the majority of Australians can distinguish between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism.
He highlighted the importance of distinguishing between criticising policies and demonising or delegitimising Israel.
Steve acknowledged the rising trend of anti-Israel sentiment and anti-Semitism, both globally and within Australia, but says that Australia, particularly Western Australia, still experiences it from a relatively low base.
He emphasised the influence of media and politics in shaping public opinion and acknowledges the prevalence of uninformed individuals who parrot biased views.