Monique Ryan defends record on Israel after Jewish principal slams Gaza post

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Kooyong independent MP Monique Ryan has defended her stance on the Israel-Hamas war after the principal of a prominent Jewish school in her electorate published a letter calling it “unacceptable” that Israel’s suffering wasn’t mentioned in the teal MP’s social media post calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Ryan wrote: “We have no greater responsibility than protecting our children. As a paediatrician, I find the human suffering in Gaza intolerable.

“I join my medical colleagues from around the world in calling for a humanitarian pause so that aid can reach people in desperate need.”

Monique Ryan said the principal’s statement misrepresented her positions on the Israel-Hamas conflict.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

On Thursday, Bialik College principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner said her “use of the word ‘intolerable’ is apt – the blindness of the apparently ethical to the suffering of one side is indeed intolerable”.

“[Y]our reference to the suffering only in Gaza is unacceptable,” Stowe-Lindner wrote in a letter to Ryan.

“Perhaps a reference to the intolerable suffering of the families of 1400 Israeli civilians on October 7 who were murdered, raped and beheaded would be appropriate too?”

But Ryan rejected the principal’s two-page statement, saying it misrepresented her positions taken publicly after Hamas’ initial attacks last month.

“As I have said in parliament, I unequivocally condemn the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, I call for the hostages to be released, and I reject antisemitism in the strongest possible terms,” Ryan said in a statement issued on Thursday night.

“I urge anyone with doubts about my record to read my speech in parliament and see my strong voting record on Israel, which is the same as the Coalition’s.

“Amid rising antisemitism, I have deep concern for the wellbeing and welfare of the Jewish community inside and out of Kooyong. I reject any suggestions to the contrary.”

Ryan split with two of her teal allies to vote against a Greens amendment to add a condemnation of Israeli war crimes to a motion passed in federal parliament last month, which condemned Hamas and affirmed support for Israel.

Teal independent MPs Kylea Tink and Sophie Scamps voted for the Greens’ proposed amendment, which was defeated after the Coalition and Labor, plus Ryan and all other crossbenchers, minus Andrew Wilkie, voted against it.

All teal independents eventually voted for the motion that passed without the Greens’ amendment.

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