Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Israeli PM in Mexico and Colombia

Israeli PM in Mexico and Colombia Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Updates    

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made history as the first Israeli PM to visit Latin America. My earlier blog post looked at Netanyahu's historic visit to Argentina - this one reviews the Israeli PM's subsequent travels to Colombia and Mexico where friendships were reinforced and strengthened.

The crackdown on Palestinian freedom of speech – and why you probably haven’t heard about it

The crackdown on Palestinian freedom of speech – and why you probably haven’t heard about it Author: Shmuel Levin Categories: Palestinians, Updates    

In the last few months, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza have been busy. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has introduced a new "ban on websites". Like all laws passed since 2007, the new Electronic Crimes Law was passed in July 2017 by presidential decree without consultations with Palestinian civil society or the public.

Print edition
Iran will follow Kim Jong-un's lead in defying the world

Iran will follow Kim Jong-un's lead in defying the world Author: Shmuel Levin Categories: Asia, International Security, Iran, Op-eds    

Earlier this month, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test. According to South Korea's parliamentary defence committee chief, the blast had the explosive power of 100,000 tons of TNT, making it four to five times stronger than the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945.

But while most of the world has watched North Korea's increased nuclear activities with growing concern, one country has stood side-by-side with the North Korean regime throughout this entire time.

Biblio File: Getting Settled

Biblio File: Getting Settled Author: Evelyn Gordon Categories: Israel    

Sara Yael Hirschhorn's City on a Hilltop starts with two eminently reasonable premises. First: If you want to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you must understand Israeli settlers, since they're one of the players. Second: If you want to understand the settlers, you must move beyond the popular caricature of them as ultra-nationalist, ultra-religious fanatics, since most are neither.

Noted and Quoted - September 2017

Noted and Quoted - September 2017 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Narendra Modi's historic first time visit to Israel in July by an Indian Prime Minister was not unnoticed in Australia.

On ABC Radio National "Between the Lines" (Aug. 3), American Enterprise Institute fellow Sadanand Dhume explained the import of Modi's visit, saying, "This is really a revolution in Indian foreign policy... Not only did Modi visit Israel but he did not visit the Palestinian territories during that visit. He and Netanyahu were virtually inseparable during the course of Modi's visit and what Modi is essentially saying is that India is a big enough country, is a confident enough country to pursue its national interests with Israel and the Arab world and others are just going to have to suck it up."

Media Microscope: Over the Balcony

Media Microscope: Over the Balcony Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

Former Australian Middle East correspondent John Lyons' often one-dimensional and factually-challenged memoir, Balcony over Jerusalem, detailing his six-year stint in Israel, generated considerable TV and print coverage.

Media interest homed in on the book's wild accusations that Australian Jews, including AIJAC, campaigned against him and other journalists for merely reporting "the facts".

Essay: The Path to Self-Righteous Hatred
No other liberation struggle or territorial dispute excites such passionate intensity as the Palestinian cause... Why?

Essay: The Path to Self-Righteous Hatred Author: Jamie Palmer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Palestinians    

Among Palestine's progressive supporters... we are seeing a manifestation of the same perverse phenomenon George Orwell had observed among Western Stalinists at the end of the Second World War. Communism was believed by its adherents to be a more ethical and just system than capitalism and nothing Communist states actually did would be allowed to capsize this foundational moral judgement - not the gulags, not the famines, not the purges, not the pitiless persecution of free-thinkers and dissidents...

AIR New Zealand: Political drama, and policy obscurity
The anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334: An important issue for New Zealand’s Jewish community

AIR New Zealand: Political drama, and policy obscurity Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel    

New Zealand elections have never hinged around foreign policy, and this one is no exception.

This leaves Jewish Kiwis who are keen to get a handle on where prospective parties might sit with regard to Israel, rising antisemitism, and the controversy over New Zealand's co-sponsorship of one-sided and vehemently anti-settlement UN Resolution 2334 in January struggling to find answers.

Asia Watch: Staging Points
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army: A jihadist response to prolonged persecution

Asia Watch: Staging Points Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

The heightened activism has many regional analysts concerned that IS-affiliated militants are set to infiltrate and exploit the ongoing sectarian violence in Myanmar, as they are now referencing the conflict in IS media channels.

Israel and the UN: A new page?

Israel and the UN: A new page? Author: Gareth Narunsky Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

In September 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stood at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly and declared that "Israel has a bright future at the UN".

He also declared "the war against Israel at the UN is over" and that "a decade from now an Israeli prime minister will stand right here where I am standing and actually applaud the UN." Given some of the events at the UN which have transpired since... the prediction that it may take a decade for things to change at the UN today appears to be on firmer ground than the claim that the war on Israel at the UN is over.

The “targeting” and “pressure” that so annoyed John Lyons

The “targeting” and “pressure” that so annoyed John Lyons Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

Former Australian Middle East correspondent John Lyons - now headed for the ABC as their new "head of investigative and in-depth journalism" - apparently does not like AIJAC very much.

He's certainly been making that very clear of late in repeated public statements...

So what did we do that so upset Mr. Lyons? Mainly, we criticised some of his journalism when he was Middle East correspondent with the Australian from 2009 until January 2015...

So here are some examples of some of AIJAC's past critiques of Mr. Lyons - as well as several related critiques from other sources...

Is an independent Kurdistan finally about to be born? And if so, what does it mean for Israel?

Is an independent Kurdistan finally about to be born? And if so, what does it mean for Israel? Author: Shmuel Levin Categories: International Jewry, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Updates    

Despite being delayed several times before, Iraqi Kurdistan is now set to vote in an independence referendum on 25 September 2017.

The Kurdish people are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, at approximately 30 million people. They speak "various dialects of their own language, Kurdish, although governments have sometimes banned its usage", and are largely Sunni Muslim. Although they have no state of their own, they are indigenous to a mountainous region which covers territory in present day Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia.

Bibi's legal travails deepen
Netanyahu and former Chief-of-Staff Ari Harow, now a state witness

Bibi's legal travails deepen Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

Facing multiple police investigations and now also the enlistment by police of a state witness against him, on Aug. 9, an embattled Binyamin Netanyahu fronted 3,000 members of his Likud party who flocked from across the country to the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. They heard him deliver a Trump-like diatribe against his perceived enemies.

Deconstruction Zone: How Al Jazeera empowers Islamists
Political pawns: Mohamed Fahmy (centre) with Baher Mohamed (left) and Peter Greste (right) on trial in Egypt

Deconstruction Zone: How Al Jazeera empowers Islamists Author: Mohamed Fahmy Categories: Egypt, Gulf states, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia    

When I accepted a job as Cairo bureau chief for the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera English television news channel in September 2013, I demanded and was assured that my team would remain independent from the network's Arabic channels.

Scribblings: Non-sequiturs on Gaza's water problems
Gaza water worries: A consequence of the dysfunctional Hamas-Fatah relationship

Scribblings: Non-sequiturs on Gaza's water problems Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

While some of the claims one often hears about Gaza from UN and aid agencies are exaggerated, it is not a pleasant place to live and likely to get worse. The biggest problem is water - Gaza's water table has been over-pumped, allowing salt to creep into it and making most of the water unfit for domestic consumption.

Salafi-Jihadi Terror after the ISIS "Caliphate"
Islamic State may disappear, but their Salafi-Jihadi ideology will continue to inspire terror, not least among the residents of Europe

Salafi-Jihadi Terror after the ISIS "Caliphate" Author: Yoram Schweitzer Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

At the close of three years since the announcement of the "Islamic State", it is clear that al-Baghdadi's gamble in declaring his establishment of an Islamic empire has failed, but his influence on the Salafi-Jihadi movement in the Middle East theatre and other regions has grown.

Print edition
The Last Word: White Offs

The Last Word: White Offs Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Far Right, United States    

Let me be quite clear - whether or not Jews had been an issue, the far-right demonstrators were repulsive, repugnant and reprehensible. Amongst my personal acquaintances who I have discovered attended the counter protest were Muslims, Christians and Jews, international students and locals, the young and not so young. What they had in common was a belief that racist thugs needed to be aware that decent people oppose them.

But the antisemitism was neither accidental nor incidental.

Israel, the Palestinians and the "Tide of History"
Netanyahu was the only non-African leader at the ECOWAS summit in Liberia

Israel, the Palestinians and the "Tide of History" Author: Eran Lerman Categories: Israel, Middle East    

I've heard people in Australia, including people of former prominence, offering the suggestion that if you do not run with the pack on a pro-Palestinian agenda, you're running against the tide of history.

The exact opposite is the case.

In reality, Israel is now running through a fairly incredible sequence of diplomatic achievements which are part of a broader pattern.

Partners in Innovation
Israel and Australia sign an Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation on Technological Innovation during Netanyahu’s February visit

Partners in Innovation Author: Ross Beroff Categories: Australasia, Israel    

The Australian Government has an innovation agenda, and Israel, a small country halfway around the world may be the key to the goals of that agenda coming to fruition.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald (May 16, 2016) noted that, "it might not be a well-known fact in Australia, but Israel has one of the highest concentrations of start-ups in the world and is widely recognised as a global leader in research and development."

Europe and the Thousand-Headed Monster

Europe and the Thousand-Headed Monster Author: Eyal Zisser Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Barcelona is not just any other city in Europe. It's not London, Paris or Berlin, where ISIS terrorists have already carried out mass attacks claiming the lives of dozens of innocent civilians. Barcelona is part of Spain, which holds special status in the eyes of the Islamic State group.

Killers in Cars

Killers in Cars Author: Col. Richard Kemp & Arsen Ostrovsky Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Shortly after the horrific terror attack in Barcelona on August 17, which claimed the lives of 14 people including seven-year old Australian Julian Cadman, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said terrorism is Europe's main problem "right now"...

Jihadists have been waging terror in Europe for years now and "enough" was enough after the first attack. But European leaders have largely been in denial, only now beginning to concede there is a problem, and even still, many refusing to identify and confront the radical Islam at the root of this war.

Editorial: The Terrorism Connection

Editorial: The Terrorism Connection Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians    

In June, the South Australian Legislative Assembly passed a one-sided resolution, proposed by Labor MP Tony Piccolo, calling on the Australian Government to recognise the State of Palestine.

The resolution pointed the finger at settlements as being a "major obstacle to peace", and said not a word about the Palestinian Authority's refusal to return to negotiations or its continued incitement and delegitimisation of the Jewish State.