Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Discussing Islamism and anti-LGBT bigotry in the wake of Orlando

Discussing Islamism and anti-LGBT bigotry in the wake of Orlando Categories: America, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

In the wake of the murderous attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which took place on Sunday, and was claimed by ISIS (details on the ISIS claim are dissected here) this Update explores some of the debates that have broken out since: on the link to ISIS and Islamist ideology more generally in the attack and how it should be talked about, and on the connection between Islamism and anti-LGBT bigotry.

The Paris Conference/ Hamas' Mentality

The Paris Conference/ Hamas' Mentality Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

This Update deals with analysis of the French-organised international conference on promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace that took place, without either Israeli or Palestinian participation, last weekend. In the end, the conference issued a fairly unremarkable communique re-asserting the importance of advancing a two-state peace - you can read it here. As Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post reports, the fairly uncontroversial outcome was the result of intense Israeli and US diplomatic efforts to get France to water down language that Israel would have found much more unpalatable. 

This Update also contains a revealing report from inside Gaza demonstrating the mindset of Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists there as they prepare for another round of fighting with Israel  - and Hamas claims responsibility for the murderous terror attack in a Tel Aviv cafe on Wednesday, which left 4 people dead.

Print edition
Statement on Tel Aviv Terror Attack

Statement on Tel Aviv Terror Attack Categories: Israel, Media Releases, Palestinians, Terrorism    

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council mourns the four victims of the murderous attack at Tel Aviv's Sarona Market on Wednesday 8 June and joins prayers for the full and speedy recovery of the wounded.

We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of terror against innocent victims who were simply dining at a cafe - murdered merely because they were Israeli Jews.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati – the real face of the Iranian post-election regime

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati – the real face of the Iranian post-election regime Author: Ari Wenig Categories: Iran, Updates    

The results of the parliamentary election in Iran at the end of February have often been represented as a victory for the moderates, reformists, and other supporters of 2013-elected President Hassan Rouhani. And it is true that, according to unofficial election results, Rouhani’s allies look to have gained a plurality in the 290-seat parliament, holding the most sway since 2004 and therefore, in theory, apparently carrying the potential to challenge the influence of the hard-line conservatives, who suffered humiliating losses in the elections. (Never mind that many of the candidates now considered part of the reformist bloc were previously identified as hardliners and only were named as affiliated with the reformist bloc just before the election after most genuine reformists were prevented from running.)

Biblio File: The Heirs of Jabotinsky

Biblio File: The Heirs of Jabotinsky Author: Jonathan Rynhold Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Publicly, the Zionist Right was united by territorial maximalism. Yet Shindler demonstrates that, unlike the rest of the Right, Jabotinsky considered supporting the 1938 Peel Plan which called for partition of British Mandatory Palestine; though he eventually came down against it for practical rather than ideological reasons. Moreover, Jabotinsky strongly opposed - in principle - the transfer of part of the Arab population of the proposed Jewish state also suggested by the Peel Plan.

Noted and Quoted - June 2016 Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

Palestinian terror and the rejection of Israeli offers of a state were two key issues that the visiting mayor of Bethlehem Vera Baboun did not want to talk about when interviewed on ABC Radio.

On ABC Radio National "Religion" (May 11), Baboun complained that Bethlehem is separated from Jerusalem by a wall and is also subject to "many checkpoints". Host Andrew West said he travelled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem in 1999 which "took about 20 minutes. I'm not sure I could do that today, could I?"

Neither West nor Baboun pointed out the seminal difference.


Why plans to "moderate" the Iranian regime are failing Categories: Iran, Updates    

It is now widely being acknowledged that there is little sign that the Iranian regime is moderating its internal or external policies in the wake of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), signed last year and supposedly implemented in January. This Update features three pieces which each suggest some explanations of why moderating the Iranian regime is likely much more difficult than policymakers in Washington and elsewhere realised.

The company Corbyn keeps

The company Corbyn keeps Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Israel, United Kingdom    

If it was true that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, Jeremy Corbyn would be an Israel-hating, antisemitic, Holocaust-denier. The newly elected leader of Britain's Labour Party would vehemently deny he is any of the above, but some of his best friends are one or more of these things.

Behind the News - June 2016

Behind the News - June 2016 Categories: Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Palestinians, Syria, Terrorism    

On May 5, the IDF discovered a Hamas tunnel stretching from southern Gaza into Israel and estimated to be 30 metres underground. The tunnel was the second discovered within a month. The Shin Bet internal security service has announced that it has obtained a large amount of valuable information about the Hamas tunnelling program, including the locations of tunnels, from two Hamas members caught after infiltrating into Israel

Asia Watch: Enter the "Strongman"

Asia Watch: Enter the "Strongman" Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia    

There is no shortage of opinions about the Philippines' President-elect, 71-year-old Rodrigo Duterte. A brash, foul-mouthed, misogynistic, fascistic strongman; a courageous, uncompromising, vengeful practitioner of rough "justice" that brought law and order to a city beset by criminal and political violence.

Media Microscope: Samah time blues Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Pro-Palestinian activist and writer Samah Sabawi's play "Tales of a City by the Sea," set in Gaza during the 2008/09 Hamas/Israel war, made waves with media reports that 1,300 students are studying it as part of their drama course in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).

An opportunity for peace – if the Lieberman hype can be ignored

An opportunity for peace – if the Lieberman hype can be ignored Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Gulf states, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

To believe the hyped-up accounts of some media reports, the addition of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu coalition has made the current government the "most right-wing ever" in Israel. But do the facts support this, especially after Tuesday's historic news that Netanyahu is prepared to enter negotiations based upon the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative?

When Muslim Antisemitism comes to Australia

When Muslim Antisemitism comes to Australia Author: Tanveer Ahmed Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia    

As a boy, I spent many a Friday prayer in mosques hearing clerics wax lyrical about Jewish conspiracies and their intent to dominate the world and rid it of Islam. Descriptions of Jewish wealth, miserliness and hooked noses were commonplace. It just seemed normal and I didn't think twice about it until I started meeting Jews in high school, even being invited to my first bar mitzvah in Year 7.

AIR New Zealand: NZ FM disappoints community over Palestinian terrorism

AIR New Zealand: NZ FM disappoints community over Palestinian terrorism Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians    

Since New Zealand assumed its seat on the United Nations Security Council, Foreign Minister Murray McCully has raised eyebrows with some of his actions and statements regarding Israel.

He has regularly stated his desire to get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. But, while doing so, he has repeatedly pointed to Israel's settlement activity as the key item threatening the viability of the two state solution. Conversely, he has generally refrained from giving any specific comment on Palestinian inctitement or recalcitrance.

Deconstruction Zone: Deception and the Iran Nuclear Deal Author: Jonathan Tobin Categories: America, International Security, Iran    

Does the fact that the White House lied to the American people when it was selling the Iran nuclear deal to the media, Congress and the public matter? That's the question that a lot of the reactions to the astonishing New York Times Magazine profile of Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes by David Samuels (on May 8) haven't fully addressed. 

Print edition
Israel and Singapore - out of the shadows

Israel and Singapore - out of the shadows Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Asia, Israel    

While, in the past, it was always kept low-key, Israel and Singapore have a deep and enduring relationship that has lasted more than 50 years. Not only do these two small but prosperous states at opposite ends of Asia have extensive cooperation in commerce and defence trade, but they share a profound political alliance whose roots can be traced back to the founding of Singapore in 1965. Today, that previously quiet and low-key relationship is finally coming out of the closet.

Scribblings: Disagreement over an old agreement

Scribblings: Disagreement over an old agreement Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

Much ink is being spilled at the moment to mark the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement - the British-French deal, reached in the midst of the First World War, to, at war's end, divide up the Middle East possessions of the fading Ottoman Empire.

The intense interest in the agreement is perhaps understandable because of the current unstable situation in the Middle East - with central and important states like Iraq and Syria essentially ceasing to exist as political entities.

Head to Head

Head to Head Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Israel, Middle East    

In keeping with a long-standing pre-election tradition at the AIR, we sent a series of policy questions to the campaigns of both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, leading the Liberal/National coalition, and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, leading the Australian Labor Party. The questions focus on issues of special concern to the Australian Jewish community - dealing with matters including Israel and the peace process, communal education, counter-terrorism and communal security, the Iranian nuclear issue, multiculturalism, racial hatred laws and monitoring our public broadcasters.

Editorial: Democracy in Australia Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Israel    

With this year's long election campaign in full swing, many Australians are doubtless tiring of the often wearying daily grind of policy announcements, campaign public appearances, photo-opportunities, mutual mud-slinging, and over-analysed play-by-play journalism. Yet it is worth remembering the many blessings of Australia's democracy.

From Ya'alon to Lieberman

From Ya'alon to Lieberman Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

Nine of incoming Defence Minister Lieberman's sixteen predecessors were retired generals, a background that, rather than easing their path, frequently caused disharmony.

The Iran nuclear deal - there is more work to do

The Iran nuclear deal - there is more work to do Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: International Security, Iran, Op-eds    

The Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was officially "implemented" in January this year when world powers lifted sanctions on Iran. So is the Iranian nuclear problem now solved, with the only problem for the international community to continue implementing the JCPOA?

Actually, both the Iranian regime and the two presumptive US presidential candidates are today acknowledging that the JCPOA is far from a finished stand-alone agreement - and there is still much to resolve if it's to do what it's intended to do.