Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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How to Understand John Lyons’ “memoir” Balcony Over Jerusalem

How to Understand John Lyons’ “memoir” Balcony Over Jerusalem Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

The recently published book by John Lyons, Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir (co-written with Lyons’ wife, Sylvie Le Clezio) is being billed as a “memoir” of Lyons’ six years as Middle East correspondent for the Australian newspaper, from 2009 until January 2015...

However, on anything to do with Israel and the Palestinians, it becomes very unlike a memoir. Lyons’ book goes far beyond simple reporting and reminiscences and instead sets out to make arguments and judgments that nearly uniformly are devoted to criticising Israel, its Jewish citizenry and the country’s national character.

Print edition
Prime Minister Turnbull addressed Beersheba Dialogue event co-hosted by AIJAC
PM Malcolm Turnbull addresses the "Be'er Sheva Dialogue Afternoon Tea", sponsored by ASPI, the BESA Centre and AIJAC, in Tel Aviv on Nov. 1

Prime Minister Turnbull addressed Beersheba Dialogue event co-hosted by AIJAC Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media Releases    

Prime Minister Turnbull saluted the achievements that the Dialogue, an annual meeting of Australian and Israeli strategic analysts and defence experts, had made in a short time - identifying areas of collaboration in defence between Australia and Israel for their mutual benefit...

Sanctioning Iran's Revolutionary Guard
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard: a pervasive role in the Iranian economy

Sanctioning Iran's Revolutionary Guard Author: Annie Fixler Categories: Iran, United States    

Given the Revolutionary Guard's pervasive role in the Iranian economy, any company doing business with Iran runs the risk of violating this new designation.

Noted and Quoted - November 2017
The Lowy Institute's Roger Shanahan

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

Lowy Institute analyst Rodger Shanahan bizarrely argued that "much of Iran's attraction in the Arab world is the result of discriminatory policies towards Shia populations in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, or the unwillingness of Arab states... to compete diplomatically or economically with Iran..."

Since the 1979 Iranian revolution the regime has run a foreign policy based on exporting its radical anti-Western pro-Shi'ite Islamism to the rest of the region. It has everything to do with Iran's hegemonic ambition for Iranian-led Shi'ite Islam to overwhelm the majority Sunni strand. It is therefore not popular, but overwhelmingly unpopular, among Sunni Arabs - that is, most Arabs.

Behind the News - November 2017
Jabhat Fateh al-Sham fighters near the Golan Heights

Behind the News - November 2017 Categories: Egypt, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Syria    

Israel has said it will prevent ISIS operating close to its border. Both the Islamic State-affiliated Khalid ibn al-Walid Army and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the al-Nusra Front, linked to al-Qaeda, already reportedly have a presence close to Israel's Golan borders.

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Deconstruction Zone: How Palestine "occupies" itself
Palestinian obsession with the “occupation” has rendered them disempowered and unaccountable

Deconstruction Zone: How Palestine "occupies" itself Author: Asaf Romirowsky Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

A consistent Palestinian strategy for seeking statehood while blaming Israel for its absence has been codified through the narrative of "occupation." The anniversary of the 1967 war brought this to the forefront in endless accusations regarding the Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank. There is even an assertion that Gaza is still "occupied."

Hamas, Iran and Palestinian Reconciliation
Hamas’ Arouri with Iranian official Ali Velayati

Hamas, Iran and Palestinian Reconciliation Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Hamas, Iran, Palestinians    

In a historic reawakening, Iran is once again meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians. This does not bode well for the future of "reconciliation" between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority's (PA) Fatah faction run by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. The re-emergence of Iran, as it pursues its efforts to increase its political and military presence in the region, does not bode well for the future of stability in the Middle East.

Asia Watch: Decapitation not always fatal
Malaysian Dr. Mahmud Ahmad: A key leader after the Marawi seige

Asia Watch: Decapitation not always fatal Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

The death in Marawi of the top two leaders of the Islamic State-aligned forces in Southeast Asia was a significant achievement for the Philippines military. However, few believe it will end Islamist terrorism in the southern Philippines and neighbouring regions, as the remnants of the Marawi campaign scatter to remote areas to reconvene and reorganise.

ISIS after the fall of Raqqa
While some ISIS fighters have been captured, many have escaped

ISIS after the fall of Raqqa Author: Ely Karmon Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

With the looming defeat of ISIS, and with many of the surviving fighters unable to return to their homes, the question arises as to where the remaining ISIS fighters will scatter as they look for safe havens and attempt to rebuild a territorial stronghold.

Media Microscope: Trial by Media

Media Microscope: Trial by Media Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

If you are a high profile supporter of Israel and criticise the reporting of a Middle East correspondent, prepare for blowback, even if what you say is completely correct.

Federal Labor MP Michael Danby experienced trial by media over two ads in the Australian Jewish News (Sept. 28/Oct. 5) questioning ABC Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill's story selection.

Austria and Israel's dilemma
Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache

Austria and Israel's dilemma Author: Herb Keinon Categories: Europe, Far Right, Israel    

Israel has not yet clearly reacted to the elections in Austria that will likely catapult the far-right Freedom Party into the government, but this outcome poses a clear challenge to Jerusalem: Should it engage with European far-right parties if they become a part of a government?

Is Iran really complying with the Nuke Deal?
IAEA head Yukiya Amano (right) with Iranian nuclear agency head Ali Salehi: Armano says he cannot offer assurances on weaponisation

Is Iran really complying with the Nuke Deal? Author: Alan Dershowitz Categories: International Security, Iran    

The evidence is mounting that Iran is not only violating the spirit of the no-nukes deal, but that it is also violating its letter. The prologue to the deal explicitly states: "Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons." This reaffirmation has no sunset provision: it is supposed to be forever.

The Last Word: Retro-corrective
“The oldest hatred” has not disappeared

The Last Word: Retro-corrective Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Europe    

Court judgements in Europe have legitimised acts of violence and vandalism as acceptable political protest - including attacks on synagogues!

Some mainstream left and right wing political parties have removed any real stigma from antisemitism, tolerating, rationalising and excusing political allies who, objectively, crossed the lines from unpleasant to unacceptable.

Scribblings: Putting the Israeli in Israeli Arab
Israeli Arab Dima Taya: Unapologetic defence of Israel

Scribblings: Putting the Israeli in Israeli Arab Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel    

Surveys of Israeli Arabs continue to make one thing perfectly clear - people who say Israel is some sort of "Apartheid" state are flying in the face of the majority view of the people who are supposed to the be the primary victims of that Apartheid - Israel's Arab minority. Israel's Arab citizens have their concerns, but overall, most view their country as a good place to live...

AIR New Zealand: Wellington Surprise
Under new management: Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

AIR New Zealand: Wellington Surprise Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel    

Ardern's views on Israel are simply unknown. While she spent time in Israel as president of the International Union of Socialist Youth, she hasn't yet made any public comment about Israel-related issues.

Balancing out these uncertainties is Peters who will become both Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Peters publicly opposed 2334 and has long been a vocal supporter of Israel.

Iran and the Fall of Kirkuk
Iraqi forces enter Kirkuk – heavily backed by Iranian militias

Iran and the Fall of Kirkuk Author: Jonathan Spyer Categories: Iran, Iraq    

Iraqi forces took Kirkuk city from the Kurds in mid-October with hardly a shot fired. Twenty-two Kurdish fighters were killed in the sporadic and disorganised resistance, while seven Iraqi soldiers also lost their lives. It is a remarkable setback for the Kurds, who just a few weeks ago held an independence referendum.

Print edition
Three things to fix in the Iran Deal
The JCPOA signatories in 2015 failed to agree on any reasonable sanctions for Iranian violations

Three things to fix in the Iran Deal Author: Robert Satloff Categories: International Security, Iran, United States    

Two years ago, I urged US Senators to vote "no" on the Iran nuclear deal. My goal was not to have them scrap the accord, which had numerous positive benefits, but to give President Barack Obama leverage to repair its serious flaws. "No," I argued, "doesn't necessarily mean ‘no, never.' It can also mean ‘not now, not this way.' It may be the best way to get to ‘yes.'"

The Balfour Declaration Centenary

The Balfour Declaration Centenary Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, United Kingdom, Updates    

November 2, this Thursday, marks exactly 100 years since Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Minister at the time, issued his famous Declaration. The Balfour Declaration was a letter sent to Lord Rothschild, head of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain, stating that:

"His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

This Update looks at the background to and actual significance of that historic document, correcting some myths along the way.

Trump’s third way
Trump: Neither certifying nor abrogating the nuclear agreement

Trump’s third way Author: Clifford May Categories: International Security, Iran, United States    

US President Donald Trump made a tough call on Oct. 13. European diplomats and an "echo chamber" in the mainstream media were insisting he "recertify" the nuclear weapons deal his predecessor concluded with Iran's rulers in 2015.

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A New Deal for Gaza?
The Fatah-Hamas deal signed in Cairo under Egyptian patronage

A New Deal for Gaza? Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Egypt, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

Half a year after its arch-rival set out to choke it, Hamas appears to have effectively surrendered.

What began with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas' decision in April to cease paying for Gaza's fuel shipments from Israel has now culminated in Hamas' ostensible agreement to relinquish civilian rule of the coastal strip to the PA.