Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Dilemmas of hopes for a future Palestinian state Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

While a two-state solution remains the only realistic hope for long-term resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this Update features some recent pieces highlighting some of the barriers to creating a Palestinian state that will both be humane toward its inhabitants and able to exist in peace alongside Israel. It also includes a new article highlighting how the Israeli military is shaping Israel's approach to conflict management until serious peace negotiations can resume.

Questions in Washington over the selling of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Questions in Washington over the selling of the Iran Nuclear Deal Categories: America, Iran, Israel, Updates    

This Update offers a small taste of a debate occurring in the US about the means by which the Obama Administration sold their nuclear deal with Iran, following a piece in the New York Times focussed on and featuring some quotes from deputy national security advisor for strategic communications Ben Rhodes, the Administration's point man for public relations on the deal. These seem to imply that the Administration essentially fabricated elements of their narrative to help their public relations campaign.

Print edition
68 Years Young

68 Years Young Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Updates    

This year Israel celebrates its 68th birthday - with much to be proud of. Israel's existence is the realisation of the self-determination of the Jewish people in their ancient homeland. Israel has provided a safe-haven for Jews fleeing antisemitism, including for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, and those fleeing the repression of the Soviet Union, famine in Ethiopia, and expulsion and exclusion in Arab lands. 

Israel's push for productive solutions
Gal Gadot in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

Israel's push for productive solutions Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Anti-Zionism, Asia, Europe, Israel, Op-eds    

THE Lebanese branch of the anti-Israel boycott movement has demanded that country's government ban the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice because, in the movie, Wonder Woman is played by the Israeli actor Gal Gadot.

Worldwide, the film has box office takings of over $1.2 billion. Many people - including in Lebanon, where the film is already screening - simply want to be entertained and don't care what nationality an actor in the film might be.

It is significant because anti-Israel campaigners and their supporters like to claim that Israel is becoming increasingly isolated internationally. Yet as millions of cinemagoers worldwide show, the reality is somewhat different.

Crisis in Baghdad/ ISIS in Libya

Crisis in Baghdad/ ISIS in Libya Categories: Iraq, Libya, Updates    

This Update deals with two major crisis areas in the Middle East, both with profound effects on the fight against ISIS.

One is the major political crisis in Iraq, where the government of Prime Minister Abadi seems paralysed and under threat from radical Shi'ite groups opposed to his reforms designed to reduce corruption and provide a role for the disaffected Sunni minority in government. This led radical militias to storm the Iraqi parliament last week - with major implications for the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

The other is the consolidation and extension of an ISIS emirate in Libya, just 320 kilometres from Europe.

Vale to French PM Valls’ efforts to combat French antisemitism?
France's tricolour on Jerusalem's Old City walls

Vale to French PM Valls’ efforts to combat French antisemitism? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Europe, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

This week's surprise visit to Australia by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in the wake of his country winning a $50 billion contract to build our next generation of submarines is a sign that the Franco-Australian relationship is at a high watermark.

But sadly, the Franco-Israel relationship is well and truly waterlogged with Valls' government on April 16 voting for a disgraceful UNESCO resolution omitting any link between Judaism and its holiest sites in Jerusalem.

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Noted and Quoted - May 2016 Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

The Age editorialised (March 28), following Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's visit to Australia in mid-March, that Australia and Iran "do not, and will not in the near future, see eye to eye on matters of human rights."

The paper attacked Zarif's "hypocrisy about human rights" calling it "breathtaking" that he had said on ABC TV Iran did not like "some aspects of the way Australia treats Iranians, who have been basically lied to by human smugglers." The paper said for Iran "to chastise this nation, when thousands of its own people have fled persecution, is rich indeed."

Islands of Stability?

Islands of Stability? Author: Eran Lerman & Joshua Teitelbaum Categories: Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia    

Having played a major role in sustaining the present Egyptian regime against political and economic challenges, the Saudis were now in a position to finalise the restoration of their sovereignty over the islands, control of which they had ceded to Egypt back in 1949 in the context of the latter's better ability to utilise them in the struggle with Israel - which has by now become irrelevant. Their legal case was apparently unassailable, and it was thus more a matter of when rather than whether they would actually assert their claim.

This came as no surprise to Israel.

Deconstruction Zone: Letter to a Jewish BDS supporter Author: Fred Maroun Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Palestinians    

While I support Israel because I see huge benefits for my Arab compatriots in emulating Israel and in adopting its human rights and democratic values and its enterprising spirit, you support Arabs while knowing that you and your community will get less than nothing in return.

Since you are educated (I assume that you are educated since you took a bold stand that most people in your faith community disapprove of) then you know that Jews like you were ethnically cleansed from all Arab countries. You also know that when Jews like you faced the Holocaust, no country in the world provided them a safe haven.

Media Microscope: Unspeakable truths about the UN Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, United Nations    

The Australian media generally presents the United Nations as an organisation staffed by good people, doing good work for the less fortunate.

However, through long and bitter experience, supporters of Israel feel somewhat more ambivalent towards the UN, seeing it as pathologically obsessed with excoriating Israel as inhumane tormentors of Palestinian paragons of victimhood.

Essay: Could the 1948 war have been avoided?

Essay: Could the 1948 war have been avoided? Author: Matthias Küntzel Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

On 29 November 1947 over two-thirds of the United Nations membership voted in favour of General Assembly Resolution 181 proposing a partition of Palestine: 56% of the mandate territory was assigned to a Jewish state and 43% to an Arab state, with Jerusalem under international administration. The Jews in Palestine danced for joy in the streets all night. The following day, eight Jews were murdered in three Palestinian Arab attacks. The Arab war to prevent the implementation of the UN resolution had begun.

Asia Watch: Spotfires
Santoso: Elusive jihadist

Asia Watch: Spotfires Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

While the Islamic State territory in Syria and Iraq is receding, IS-linked entities still pose a deadly threat not only in Europe but also Southeast Asia, with hotbeds of activity in the southern Philippines and Indonesia's Central Sulawesi region.

Zarif's charm offensive continues - with a deceptive defence of the regime's Holocaust Denial

Zarif's charm offensive continues - with a deceptive defence of the regime's Holocaust Denial Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Antisemitism, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran, Updates    

Zarif's public relations campaign is in full swing, as seen from his interview with Robin Wright of the New Yorker on April 25. The New Yorker interview highlights Zarif's excuses and cover-ups for Iranian terrorism and Holocaust Denial. He also suggests the nuclear deal is fraying, blaming the US for the reluctance of Western banks to do business with Iran, while ignoring Iran's poor banking regulations.

Celebrating Terrorism, Palestinian Style
Palestinian cartoon celebrating the bus bombing

Celebrating Terrorism, Palestinian Style Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism    

Shortly after the Jerusalem bus terror explosion attack on April 18, a number of Palestinian factions rushed to issue statements applauding the "heroic operation" and urging Palestinians to pursue the path of armed struggle against Israel.

The Palestinian jubilation over the terror attack, the first of its kind since the suicide bombings during the Second Intifada more than a decade ago, is yet another reminder of the growing radicalisation among Palestinians. 

The Problem of Salafism

The Problem of Salafism Author: Jacob Olidort Categories: Islamic Extremism    

While the attacks in Brussels are a tragic reminder of the ambitions of ISIS, we have yet to understand the inner workings of its ideology. Just days prior to the tragedy, Belgian authorities raided the home of Algerian Mohamed Belkaid, who was linked to the Paris attacks. Among the items they found were a Kalashnikov, an ISIS flag and a book on Salafism.

Europe Europa: Jihad Jitters

Europe Europa: Jihad Jitters Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Terrorism    

For while Europeans are quick to differentiate between terrorists who strike within their borders and "militants" who strike in Israel, Israelis understand the fundamental nature of terrorism: whether it occurs in Europe or in Israel, it is essentially designed to visit indiscriminate death and destruction on the degenerate infidel, liberal and democratic.

The Last Word: The Second Fifty Years

The Last Word: The Second Fifty Years Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Europe, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Interfaith Dialogue    

I felt a firm grip on my arm - the sudden, unexpected gesture at once a sign of solidarity and an appeal for support.

We, amongst Jews and Catholics from five continents, were standing on the grounds of the Treblinka Murder Camp, fighting back tears as we sang, together, psalms and hymns.

We had already spent two days together, as participants in the International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee's twenty-third Consultation, this time in Warsaw, Poland.

Print edition
Biblio File: The “One State” Delusion

Biblio File: The “One State” Delusion Author: Einat Wilf Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

If Jews and Arabs are to exist peacefully and achieve justice in the framework of a single democratic state, as proposed by Perry Anderson, the acceptance by both peoples of the equality of the other, both as collectives and as individuals, is a necessary condition.

If Jews and Arabs are to draft a constitution that would be more than a useless piece of paper and which would secure their joint lives together, they must recognise each other as equal claimants to the land, and must recognise each other as people of equal value, regardless of their differences. 

Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing?

Why Is the Islamist Death Cult So Appealing? Author: Paul Berman Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Why do people who are not clinically crazy throw themselves into campaigns of murder and suicide? The sociological answer to this question assumes a pettiness in human nature, such that even the slightest of humiliations and misfortunes may be regarded as sufficiently devastating, under certain conditions, as to sweep aside the gravest of moral considerations. I prefer to invoke the history of ideas. 

Scribblings: Abbas' "Ethnic Cleansing Solution"

Scribblings: Abbas' "Ethnic Cleansing Solution" Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

If we go back in history, Abbas used to plump for ethnic cleansing of Palestine - which was more or less official PLO policy under the Palestinian National Charter of 1968.

Abbas wrote a book in 1981 entitled Taking Advantage of Victory penned in the lead-up to the first Lebanon war, and seeking to justify the PLO's strategy at the time of striking northern Israeli communities with rockets from Lebanon. 

The Sanders Middle East mirage

The Sanders Middle East mirage Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: America, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

The candidacy of Bernie Sanders for the Democrat nomination for president of the United States has excited many pro-Palestinian activists. Even academic Amin Saikal ("Bernie Sanders dares to challenge Israel", Times2, April 20, p5) has jumped on the bandwagon.

This Sanders euphoria is based on few facts and much posturing, vitriol and emotion.

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Kingdom Come: Saudi Arabia worries about its future Categories: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

Last week, US President Obama visited Saudi Arabia - at a time when it is generally agreed that ties between Riyadh and Washington have been at a low ebb. A few days later, Saudi Arabia announced a new plan to try to wean its economy off its dependence on oil exports - a plan said to be the brainchild of Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the 31-year old son of King Salman who is looking increasingly like the power behind the throne. This Update looks at the future of the Saudi kingdom both in terms of the apparent decline of the long-standing relations with the US, and economic changes in the region.

Ben-Gurion goes to Beijing

Ben-Gurion goes to Beijing Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: China, Israel    

Surveying the post-war international system in 1952, Israel's founder David Ben-Gurion wrote that European hegemony was on the decline, and that it stood to be replaced eventually by Asia.

As would happen with many of his varied insights, this one, too, proved prophetic.