The Dubai Assassination

I really don’t think the most outrageous thing about this affair is faked Australian passports, and I really don’t think that it reflects well on Rudd that this is the Israeli action that outrages him. Anyway, Hartcher (who I generally don’t like or respect) had this in his column today.

But an Australian official said the Israeli secret service had probably calculated that, even if it were caught using forged Australian passports, Canberra would not retaliate.

”It wouldn’t matter whether it was John Howard or Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott in the prime minister’s chair, they know we wouldn’t sever relations. They know they’ve got us by the balls,” partly because of the strength of the Israel lobby, he said.

Yet a close colleague of the Prime Minister said this in no way reflected Rudd’s thinking: ”Israel should not assume that this friendship can be taken for granted,” he said, adding the caveat that Israel was the suspect, but not the proven perpetrator.

But the suspicion was specific enough that the Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, called in only one ambassador over the affair yesterday.

Smith demanded that Israel co-operate fully in an investigation. If it would not, Australia would be forced to draw ”adverse” conclusions.

I think we’ll be able to evaluate the strength of the Tel Aviv lobby based on what happens next, and how Rudd responds in action.


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