Canberra – Given the extraordinary efforts of our Legal Counsel Andrew Tucker (picture), ECI has been able to reach out and have an impact in the capitals of Australia and New Zealand, the furthest destinations from our headquarters in Brussels! Andrew Tucker was born in Australia and thus has a natural connection and interest in the continent.
New Zealand is currently a member of the UN Security Council and in this capacity is a key player at the UN. In mid- June, Tucker traveled to both capitals to meet with senior government officials to explain the case against a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN as well as the positive agenda of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy.
The Government of Australia under Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Foreign Minister Julia Bishop is today one of the strongest supporters of Israel in the international community and the meeting with the government reflected this kinship. The officials expressed a sincere interest in continuing contact with ECI and staying actively involved with the FCD at the UN.
The meetings in Wellington also proved to be successful. Government officials listened to ECI’s message on the dangers of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN as expressed in the ECI briefing paper, which had previously been shared with UN and EU officials. The NZ Government had previously indicated that it would use its term as President of the UN Security Council in July to present a resolution with France which would impose parameters and conditions for a final peace agreement, however according to the government officials this is no longer the case.
Tucker later commented that the meetings in both capitals were successful mainly because nobody else is presenting our case. ’It is not that anyone would disagree with what we are saying, but they have simply not heard these arguments before, and when they hear them, they realise that they make perfect sense!’
The meeting in New Zealand was coordinated by our long-standing, ECI friend Brenda Parshotam (picture), who is launching a new initiative called ”New Zealand for Israel,” which will operate in partnership with ECI. This initiative illustrates the organic and relational nature of ECI as Parshotam was a close friend of ECI for many years before launching the new initiative.
The mission to Australia and New Zealand once more illustrates what makes ECI’s work unique, in that we try to foster respectful personal relationships with government officials and work through a network of committed friends. Those who want to learn more about New Zealand for Israel can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.