Fremantle MP under pressure over Palestine comments

Josh Wilson.
Josh Wilson.

WEST Australian Labor MP Josh Wilson has angered Jewish groups with his comments on Israel’s treatment of Palestine, just days after the ALP lost a candidate to a similar controversy.

The West Australian has obtained video of Mr Wilson addressing the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network on the sidelines of the Labor conference last December.

Senator Sue Lines was also at the meeting.

“They are going to turn Palestine into Swiss cheese and that is what is happening,” Mr Wilson is seen as saying.

Executive director of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council Colin Rubenstein told the West Mr Wilson’s comments were “both insulting and insidious and should have no role in our national debate”.

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Israeli ambassador Mark Sofe was also critical.

“The obsession with demonising Israel, which thankfully is the domain of the few, does not at all help the Palestinians and serves only to hamper possible rapprochement in the Middle East”.

But Mr Wilson said he supported Labor’s policy on the issue.

“I support Labor’s policy of a two state solution, which recognises the right of Israel and Palestine to exist within secure and recognised borders,” Mr Wilson said.

“I have always supported peace and stability for the people of Israel and Palestine through meaningful progress towards such an outcome.

“Middle East politics is an issue many people have views about but Labor policy is clear and I fully support the policy.”

Mr Wilson holds the seat of Fremantle with a margin of 7.6 per cent.

On the weekend, Melissa Parke stood down as the Labor candidate for the Perth seat of Curtin for her comments on Palestine.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Mr Wilson should follow her lead.

“If Melissa Parke had to resign as the Labor candidate for Curtin because of her extreme anti-Israel views, why did Josh Wilson and Sue Lines not have to offer up their resignations at the same time,” Senator Cormann said