Julia Gillard: Israel views my own

Julia Gillard is Australia's first female Prime Minister

Julia Gillard is Australia's first female Prime Minister

Australia’s first female Prime Minister has denied claims her stance on Israel is influenced by her partner’s connection to a Jewish businessman.

Jewish groups have also denounced the smear against Julia Gillard by a former Australian ambassador to Israel.

The Welsh-born politician, who won the leadership after ousting fellow Labour politician Kevin Rudd, was accused by diplomat Ross Burns of being "remarkably taciturn on the excesses of Israeli actions."

Mr Burns, Australian ambassador to Israel between 2001 and 2003, criticised Ms Gillard for the fact her partner, works for a well-known supporter of Israel.

He queried why Tim Mathieson, a hairdresser now working as an estate agent, had been employed by Albert Dadon.

Mr Dadon organised a delegation of Australian politicians, including Ms Gillard, to visit Israel in 2009.

But Ms Gillard said she had made up her own views about Israel.

“I made them publicly known well before there was any suggestion that my partner would work in a property group associated with Mr Dadon.”

She added that her partner "has got a right to live his life too."

John Searle, the president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, said the reports did not accurately portray Ms Gillard’s views.

Her record on Israeli matters has been debated by various groups. A former leader of an Australian Jewish group, Isi Leibler, praised Ms Gillard’s election as “outstanding” for Israel and said she is “one of Israel’s closest friends.”

But although Mr Leibler said she was supportive of Israel’s position during Operation Cast Lead, she has called Israel to freeze construction in the Palestinian territories.

Ms Gillard has also come under fire from Christian groups after she revealed she does not believe in God.
She said: "I am not going to pretend a faith I don't feel."

Last updated: 6:46pm, June 30 2010