Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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The Last Word: Politics as Unusual
Senator Hanson: Should not be met with “politics as usual”

The Last Word: Politics as Unusual Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism    

Senator Hanson did identify some real challenges we face in this country, such as the attraction of Australians to the ranks of Daesh (ISIS), issues of integration, employment, misogyny and sustainable urban development.

Yet there was nothing in her speech to indicate her concern was with these issues in a general sense - her focus was on Islam (which she portrayed as monolithic) and Muslims (who seem to be only acceptable, to her, if they completely dissociate from Islam).

The Retreat of ISIS
ISIS faces attrition of its manpower and its command and control structures

The Retreat of ISIS Author: Col. Jacques Neriah Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Syria    

Two years ago, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq's (ISIS) blitz assault across a swath of land as big as the United Kingdom led to the establishment of the self-proclaimed Caliphate and fragmented both Syria and Iraq. The recent defeats inflicted on Islamic radicals, however, have considerably shrunk the areas under ISIS control in both countries.

Editorial: A Meeting of Minds

Editorial: A Meeting of Minds Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians    

During her recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the beginning of September, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop once again put her wisdom and diplomatic skill on display in navigating the diplomatic minefields of the simmering conflict, while at the same time deftly strengthening Australian-Israel ties.

Print edition
Palestinian feminists contest issue of election discrimination & textbook stereotyping

Palestinian feminists contest issue of election discrimination & textbook stereotyping Categories: Events, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

Female activists in the Palestinian territories have had a lot to be concerned about over the past few weeks. First, several Palestinian electoral lists refused to publish the names and pictures of female candidates contesting the municipal election (originally scheduled for October 8), instead referring to these women as the ‘wife of' or ‘sister of' Palestinian men. Then, the release of new Palestinian textbooks to be taught in the first and second grade was met with outrage for its portrayal of women as witches and sorceresses.

Behind the News - September 2016
Muhammad el-Halabi: World Vision Gaza head and alleged Hamas operative

Behind the News - September 2016 Categories: Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Russia, Terrorism    

In the wake of the charges laid on August 4 by Israel against Muhammad el-Halabi, the head of the charity World Vision in Gaza, for allegedly diverting large amounts of aid to Hamas, Israel announced on August 9 that it had also arrested and charged a UN Development Program (UNDP) contractor, Waheed Borsh. It alleged Borsh was also diverting aid, including construction material, to Hamas and helping the terror group build a naval commando port...

AIR New Zealand: Controversy on Kiwi campuses
Prof. Scott Poynting: Odious comparison

AIR New Zealand: Controversy on Kiwi campuses Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Israel    

Last year a number of incidents occurred at several New Zealand universities which give cause for concern. One of these was an attempt - which failed - to block the visit, organised by the New Zealand branch of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS NZ), of two former IDF soldiers to Victoria University...

But the most widely publicised of these incidents was what became known as the Scott Poynting affair.

Settlement hype, not 'activity', reaches new high

Settlement hype, not 'activity', reaches new high Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

The significance of the issue of construction within Israeli settlements in the West Bank has long been overemphasised and exaggerated in international diplomacy, but White House and State Department criticism of Israel last week over construction in its West Bank settlements may just have set a new high-water mark for settlement hysteria.

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

Executive Council of Australian Jewry Public Affairs Director Alex Ryvchin ridiculed Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki's declaration that Palestinians will sue Britain for the 1917 Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish national home in Palestine.

Ryvchin noted that the Declaration did not give Jews anything but "simply expressed... support for the idea that the Jews, a people indigenous to the land, should be able to return there to reconstitute their national home if they so desired."

In fact, it was "the League of Nations, the [UN's] predecessor" that recognised these principles as "binding international pronouncements... long before the Holocaust" thus "mak[ing a] nonsense" of the frequent claim by some pro-Palestinian advocates that Israel was created "to make others pay for their sins in relation to the destruction of European Jewry," Spectator Australia (Aug. 13).

Radioactive Terrorism - the next big threat?
Can emergency services ever be truly ready to meet the challenge of a radioactive attack?

Radioactive Terrorism - the next big threat? Author: Michael Eisenstadt and Omar Mukhlis Categories: International Security, Terrorism    

Concerns about nonconventional terrorism at the Rio Summer Olympics, and reports that persons involved in the November 2015 Islamic State (IS) attack in Paris had conducted video surveillance of a scientist employed at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, have revived fears that terrorist groups may be interested in building a "dirty bomb" using radioactive materials - also referred to as a radiological weapon or an explosive radiological dispersal device (RDD).

Asia Watch: Own goal
Malaysia concedes: Top level international football is unlikely to visit anytime soon

Asia Watch: Own goal Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Israel    

Malaysians avidly follow football... The ultimate dream is to host the FIFA World Cup. To make this outside possibility a little more likely, in 2013 Malaysia offered and was accepted to host the 2017 FIFA Congress that will determine the host nation of the 2026 World Cup.

As so often happens, politics trumped sport. That World Cup dream is now dust because of... Israel.

Explosion rocks Israeli satellite industry

Explosion rocks Israeli satellite industry Author: Rachel Kaye Categories: China, Events, Israel, Updates    

Israel's satellite industry is in crisis after a SpaceX rocket carrying an advanced Israeli communications satellite exploded on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida last Thursday 1 September. The accident and the subsequent loss of the Israeli-built satellite has been described as a "crushing blow" to Israel Aerospace Industries.

Essay: Bibi the Strategist?

Essay: Bibi the Strategist? Author: Lazar Berman Categories: Africa, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey    

In June, the Israeli journalist Amir Tibon wrote an article for Politico detailing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's long-standing and bitter fights with Israel's defence leaders. Former IDF chiefs of staff and spymasters described Netanyahu as messianic, driven by personal calculations, and incapable of protecting Israel's interests. His former defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, said the Prime Minister's conduct had caused him to lose faith in Netanyahu, and ex- Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin said he "represents six years of constant failures."

Rabin's Transport Revolution comes of age

Rabin's Transport Revolution comes of age Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

Having first climbed up from Jaffa in 1892, the original railroad to Jerusalem runs south of the highway to Tel Aviv. A scenic feat of engineering, it respects the topography of the Judean Mountains, entering them from Beit Shemesh, the biblical Philistines' westernmost outpost, before climbing patiently along the slopes of the Sorek Creek, where the Bible says Samson once lived in a cave.

The new train will have no such patience.

Print edition
Deconstruction Zone: Of Handshakes and Hate in Rio

Deconstruction Zone: Of Handshakes and Hate in Rio Author: David Rosenberg Categories: Antisemitism, Egypt, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

Israel can take some consolation from the official tut-tuts that followed Egyptian judoka Islam el-Shehaby's refusal to shake hands or ceremoniously bow to his Israeli opponent Or Sasson on August 12. 

Shehaby was reprimanded by the International Olympics Committee and Egyptian authorities sent him home. But the official and media response to the story only touched the surface of the incidents.

For the IOC, Shehaby's bad behaviour was "contrary to the rules of fair play and against the spirit of friendship embodied in the Olympic Values," but nothing more. For the media, the affair was another instance of Middle East tensions boiling over into the Olympics, like the Lebanese team refusing to let Israeli athletes board the same bus, and unconfirmed reports that Saudi judoka Joud Fahmy forfeited a match to avoid fighting an Israeli in the next round. 

Media Week - It's not all right; Church and Hate

Media Week - It's not all right; Church and Hate Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism    

On August 29, the Age, Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald websites ran a Washington Post report about the controversial Palestinian village of Susiya in Area C of the West Bank - that is the area under full Israeli control, with relatively few Palestinian residents.

The Israeli courts have ordered the village demolished, accepting arguments that it its residents are squatters and have illegally built there.

The report further stated that, "the Israeli government right now wants to formally annex Area C in the West Bank."

There is no Israeli government move or discussion to annex Area C.

On the Fringe
The Greens: Mixed results in 2016

On the Fringe Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Australasia    

While the Greens can hardly be called a minor party any longer, some of the party's views on certain issues, and especially those held by some members, are very concerning to the Jewish community.

The Greens would have mixed feelings about their results. They still hold only one seat in the House of Representatives - Adam Bandt's Melbourne, while their Senate representation dropped from ten in the previous parliament to nine, with their Senate vote actually falling by 0.58% to 8.65% of the national total. On the other hand, their total vote for lower house seats rose to 10.23%, a swing of 1.58%.

Vote for Us or Burn in Hell
Mufti Yunis Al-Astal: Vote for Hamas... or else

Vote for Us or Burn in Hell Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Palestinians    

It is election season in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are preparing to cast their votes in the local and municipal elections, scheduled to take place on October 8. The upcoming elections will be different from the last one, held in 2012 only in the West Bank, when Hamas boycotted the vote, allowing the rival Fatah faction to claim victory.

This time Hamas has decided to join the political fray - a move that caught Fatah and its leaders, including Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, by surprise.

Scribblings: Busting the UN's Zombie Resolutions
Druze leader Dulan abu-Saleh (right)

Scribblings: Busting the UN's Zombie Resolutions Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Syria, United Nations    

As readers are probably aware, UN bodies, especially the General Assembly, have a habit of passing the same anti-Israel resolutions every year, regardless of changing circumstances. Sometimes new resolutions are added to the annual package, or new clauses to existing ones, but the old resolutions are essentially immortal - renewed every year, apparently for eternity.

How kneejerk and ridiculous this has become has been particularly apparent in recent years in the wake of the Syrian civil war.