Whitlam's shifts in foreign policy 1972-1975: Israel and Soviet Jewry

Citation metadata

Author: Suzanne D. Rutland
Date: Annual 2012
From: The Australian Journal of Jewish Studies(Vol. 26)
Publisher: Australian Association of Jewish Studies
Document Type: Article
Length: 11,882 words

Main content

Abstract :

When Gough Whitlam's Labor Party was elected to government of the Commonwealth of Australia in December 1972, Whitlam sought to completely change the direction of Australia's foreign policy, moving from the United States' orbit towards that of the Communist and Third World powers. This change of direction affected his policies towards both Israel and the campaign for Soviet Jewry for freedom of migration. Chanan Reich has discussed the Whitlam government's change of policy direction viz-a-viz Israel. However, it is also necessary to examine his policies in relation to Soviet Jewry, and issues of lobby groups in Australia. This is seen most clearly in his constant criticism of the "Jewish lobby" and his strong support for the "Arab lobby," highlighted both in his discussions with Soviet representatives before his visit to the Soviet Union (the first by an Australian Prime Minister) and in his private correspondence with Lebanese born Australian businessman, Reuben F. Scarf. Whitlam's change of direction towards the Soviet and Arab world was motivated by a number of different factors: ideological considerations in foreign policy; electoral issues, with the growing Arab population in Australia; the influence of left-wing members of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), such as Bill Hartley; and financial imperatives of the Party.

Source Citation

Source Citation
Rutland, Suzanne D. "Whitlam's shifts in foreign policy 1972-1975: Israel and Soviet Jewry." The Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, vol. 26, annual 2012, pp. 36+. Accessed 7 July 2022.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A373371518