A statement by federal ALP leader Kevin Rudd that a Labor government would seek to have Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad charged with "inciting genocide" attracted front-page coverage in the October 3 Australian and ridicule from foreign minister Alexander Downer.
The statement was made in interviews with both Rudd and PM John Howard, printed in the October edition of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council's Australia/Israel Review, in which they both affirmed their full support for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Both Howard and Rudd declared that this support was based on the "shared values" of Australia and Israel including "market economies, the rule of law and democracy" (Howard) and "human rights, democracy and the rule of law" (Rudd). Neither mentioned the other "shared value" of the two countries — colonial settlement, and brutal dispossession of, and racist discrimination against, their indigenous inhabitants.
Howard's and Rudd's hypocritical reiteration of longstanding Coalition and Labor support for the Zionist state was of course to be expected.
But desperate to appear more pro-Zionist than Howard, Rudd declared that the ALP "would like to initiate legal proceedings against President Ahmadinejad on a charge of incitement to genocide. This could occur through the International Court of Justice [ICJ] on reference by the UN Security Council...
"They refer to Ahmadinejad's statements about wiping Israel off the map, questioning whether Zionists are human beings and the recent abhorrent conference that he convened on the veracity of the Holocaust. It is strongly arguable that this conduct amounts to incitement to genocide — criminalised under the 1948 genocide convention."
The October 3 Australian reported that "Rudd's remarks come as he is deeply involved in campaigning in the Sydney seat of Wentworth where there is a large Jewish population and environment minister Malcolm Turnbull is fighting for his political life against a Jewish Labor candidate, George Newhouse".
Downer promptly dismissed Rudd's suggestion as a political stunt. He told the Australian that only countries could be taken to the ICJ, not individuals, and that individual leaders of countries could only be taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the approval of the UN Security Council.
"The reality is there is just no chance of the UN Security Council agreeing to send to the ICC ... President Ahmadinejad. Mr Rudd knows this ... but he says he will for a political purpose. He just comes up with stunts and the problem is that Australia's voice will be seen as a voice of stunts."
Downer added that Labor had been informed by the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo that such a prosecution was impossible. This view was endorsed by a range of legal experts cited in the corporate press the following day.
None of them, however, questioned the premise of Rudd's proposal — that Ahmadinejad had made remarks "inciting genocide". This premise is based on a frame-up that perpetuates the Zionist myth identifying the interests of all Jews with those of the Israeli state.
The Western media has widely reported that in an October 26, 2005 speech to the World Without Zionism conference in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said, "Israel must be wiped off the map".
The October 30 New York Times reported that his actual words were that "the occupying regime must be wiped off the map".
According to the official Farsi language version of his speech, Ahmadinejad said that what should be "wiped off the map" was "the regime occupying Jerusalem".
Ahmadinejad also argued in the speech that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be over "the day that all refugees return to their homes [and] a democratic government elected by the people comes to power".
Responding to the question "You have been quoted as saying Israel should be wiped off the map. Was that merely rhetoric, or do you mean it?" put to him by Time magazine in a September 2006 interview, Ahmadinejad replied: "Our suggestion is that the 5 million Palestinian refugees come back to their homes, and then the entire people on those lands hold a referendum and choose their own system of government. This is a democratic and popular way."
In his most recent speech on the issue, at New York's Columbia University last month, Ahmadinejad said that "we must allow the Palestinian people to decide about its future for itself. This is compatible with the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and the fundamental principles enshrined in it. We must allow Jewish Palestinians, Muslim Palestinians and Christian Palestinians to determine their own fate themselves through a free referendum."
Clearly, an incitement to genocide!