Israel received a surprise gift with Australia’s winning a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, with the help of spies and candy.
Pro-Israel Australia was selected along with Argentina, Luxembourg, Rwanda and South Korea to join the Council for a two-year term starting in January. They replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal, South Africa.
A secret ballot in the General Assembly resulted in Australia’s winning 140 votes, 11 more than the minimum needed to win a seat in the first round of voting. Finland had been the favorite to win a seat but instead lost out to Australia and Luxembourg.
Behind the victory were spies and candy.
Australia’s Saturday Age reported, “The campaign was designated a top secret intelligence collection priority in 2008 after then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd thrust Australia forward as a late entry to the race.”
A Wall Street Journal blog revealed that Australia used a “secret weapon” of handing out chocolate Koala bears to each United Nations delegate.
“We knew everyone was going to be there for a long time and thought a little bit of a sugar high might help things,” a spokesman for foreign minister Bob Carr told the newspaper.
The previous Liberal government always supported Israel, while the new Labor government also has backed the Jewish state even if a bit less than the previous administration.
The election of Australia "refuted decisively" detractors who argued that the country would fail to win a seat in the Council because of its support for the United States and Israel, Executive Council of Australian Jewry officials stated.
Jewish legislator Michael Danby declared that the outcome of the vote was "vindication" that the government "does not need to compromise Australian democratic values to win this position."