Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Fresh AIRmore posts rss

Voices of Dialogue and Hope
Maajid Nawaz: Voice against Islamist extremism

Voices of Dialogue and Hope Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Antisemitism, Interfaith Dialogue, International Jewry    

This June the American Jewish Committee (AJC) hosted its annual Global Forum conference in Washington DC, bringing together leaders and commentators to grapple with the defining challenges of our time in Jewish and Israel affairs - including rising antisemitism, the anti-Israel boycott, prospects for a two-state resolution and Iran's nuclear threat. I had the pleasure of not only attending the conference but of liaising with AJC's Communications team in the month leading up to the Global Forum - a product of AIJAC's long-standing relationship with AJC, a leading organisation in international Jewish advocacy.

Scribblings: Incitement Watch
Sheikh Khaled Al-Mughrabi

Scribblings: Incitement Watch Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Antisemitism, Iran, Israel, Palestinians    

It seems worthwhile to again revisit the issue of incitement in the Palestinian media because some people seem to doubt that this is really a serious problem. Anyone who cares about peace should care about the blatantly antisemitic, pro-terrorist or insanely conspiratorial things ordinary Palestinians are being told by their official media. 

Editorial: Three Reports On Gaza Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Last year's fifty-day Gaza War, known in Israel as "Operation Protective Edge", has returned to the fore recently as the subject of several internal and external inquiries.

The media has focused on the very questionable United Nations Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) commission's report released on June 22 - the mandate for which was a UNHRC resolution that openly declared Israel, and Israel alone, guilty of war crimes before any investigation had taken place. Yet two other recent reports (both of which can be found through links on AIJAC's website) are actually much more valuable to anyone truly interested in learning the reliable facts about this conflict.

Print edition

Statement: AIJAC condemns antisemitic tweets Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Media Releases    

There is no place for racism in Australian society, and AIJAC commends Libertas Financial Planning for terminating financial adviser James Howarth's authorised representative status following Howarth's vile antisemitic tweets attacking Assistant Treasurer The Hon. Josh Frybenberg MP.

We are also pleased that the Financial Services Institute of Australia has launched an investigation...

Multiple expert reports contradict UN’s findings in Gaza conflict

Multiple expert reports contradict UN’s findings in Gaza conflict Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released the results of its official inquiry into the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. The Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène, appears to have come to a superficially balanced conclusion: that both Israel and ‘Palestinian armed groups' may have committed war crimes.

A full list of documents published by the UN can be found here, and includes the full 183-page detailed report, a briefer 34-page summary, and a question-and-answer document concerning the Commission's conclusions.

There are several resources that readers can turn to for a more comprehensive assessment of the conflict, and that fill in several important gaps that the UN report appears to skim over.

UNHCR report on Gaza/ Bipartisan group expresses concern on Iran deal Categories: Iran, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This Update brings readers two of the many critical responses to the report of the independent commission created by the UN Human Rights Council to examine last year's Gaza conflict. It also calls attention to a bipartisan statement by 18 senior Washington policymakers and experts implicitly critical of where the US Administration is currently heading in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Fairfax takes its readers on a propaganda tour

Fairfax takes its readers on a propaganda tour Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Anti-Zionism, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Fairfax's arts supplements don't set aside space for letters to the editor, so there's little recourse for the public to respond to an article with a blatantly political slant, or factual problems.

Such was the case on Sunday - in the arts supplements for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Canberra Times, which featured a fawning interview of Irish "travel writer" Dervla Murphy in its "Books" section.

App
ABC and SBS: Latest lawsuit against Al Jazeera shows once again that it is no normal news network

ABC and SBS: Latest lawsuit against Al Jazeera shows once again that it is no normal news network Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: America, Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

AIJAC has previously written about and continues to highlight the anti-Israel biases of Qatari-owned news outlet al-Jazeera, which become particularly problematic as the taxpayer-funded ABC and SBS continue to use stories from the network as part of their own radio and TV news programming.

Now, new evidence has surfaced from al-Jazeera America that further undermines the legitimacy and reliability of al-Jazeera, and arguably raises doubts as to whether ABC and SBS should treat al-Jazeera as a news source as credible as the BBC, for example, or Deutsche Welle.

Gaza casualties:  Israeli report refutes widely cited UN figures
Israeli analysis questions Palestinian casualties

Gaza casualties: Israeli report refutes widely cited UN figures Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

A mainstay of many news stories mentioning last year's war between Israel and Hamas is the claim that the United Nations has found that 69 per cent of the 2,100 plus Palestinian fatalities were civilian.

Now, a new report by the Israeli Government into last year's war, ably puts forward figures which appear to not only comprehensively refute that universally cited 69 per cent statistic but also to demonstrate why it is so far off reality...

Senator Xenophon confuses the issues in Senate Estimates

Senator Xenophon confuses the issues in Senate Estimates Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

An exchange during Senate Estimates Committee hearings on June 3 between Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, DFAT's head of its Middle East and Africa division Marc Innes-Brown and Attorney-General George Brandis has featured a rather puzzling conversation about the nature of Israel's demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state as part of any peace agreement.

Gen. Jim Molan’s findings of a just Gaza war by Israel represent a larger group of international military experts

Gen. Jim Molan’s findings of a just Gaza war by Israel represent a larger group of international military experts Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: Israel, Middle East, United Nations, Updates    

Readers may have seen retired Australian Major General Jim Molan's article in the Australian, in which he argued that Operation "Protective Edge" - Israel's conflict with Hamas in Gaza last year - was a just war: "Given our examination of the cause of Operation Protective Edge, it would be indefensible to argue that Israel wanted it, initiated it or sustained it, or that Israel acted in anything other than defence of its citizens," Molan wrote. "On this basis alone, Israel's war was just."

Turkey's election/How Iran will use its nuclear deal windfall

Turkey's election/How Iran will use its nuclear deal windfall Categories: Iran, Turkey, Updates    

Today's Update features some comment on Sunday's dramatic parliamentary election result in Turkey - with the ruling AKP party and its increasingly authoritarian leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffering a major setback. Plus, it also contains some important new analysis of the likely regional effects of the expected monetary windfall Teheran is expected to get as a result of any nuclear deal.

Israeli investigation explains the tragic incident which killed four children on a Gaza beach
Hamas deliberately fires rockets in civilian areas

Israeli investigation explains the tragic incident which killed four children on a Gaza beach Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

Israel's military chief legal officer has closed an investigation into the IDF shelling of a Gaza beach on July 16, 2014 that tragically killed four Palestinian children, finding they were the victims of mistaken identity.

This tragic incident, which was captured on video by journalists, became the most frequently used by critics seeking to tar all of Israel's operations in Gaza as deliberately targeting civilians without justifiable military purpose.

A new low in moral equivalence
Notorious Aussie ISIS fighter Mohamed Elomar.

A new low in moral equivalence Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Australia's distinction as a major source of recruits joining "Islamic State" has been used as a pretext for a variety of commentators to defame Israel, through the morally vacuous argument that the phenomenon is no different to that of Jewish Australians who serve in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

Essay: End Times?

Essay: End Times? Author: Walter Russell Mead Categories: Egypt, Iraq, Middle East, Syria    

The Christian communities of Syria and Iraq have survived 2,000 years of tumult and war. In some of them, prayers are still said in Aramaic, the language that Jesus used in daily life. These communities now tremble on the brink of destruction.

The Biblio File: Facebook Fail

The Biblio File: Facebook Fail Author: Alexander H. Joffe Categories: Middle East    

This new book by the ever-controversial Prof. Juan Cole of the University of Michigan is yet another example of his scholarship and prognostications about a Middle East that just will not stay pegged to standard leftist tropes. In this case, Cole attempts to capture the significance of the so-called Arab spring, which he believes to be an earth-shattering phenomenon. But his theories have been decisively overtaken by events.

Print edition

Media Microscope: Testing Intelligence Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Reaction to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's announcement, during her visit to Iran on April 18-19, of a proposed intelligence sharing deal with Teheran to fight Islamic State and handle prospective Iranian asylum seekers was largely sceptical.

On Channel Ten's "The Bolt Report" (April 26) Piers Akerman said the "most disturbing thing" about Bishop's visit was "her sort of naivety" in thinking that the "murderous Revolutionary Guard [is] going to really share any worthwhile intelligence with Australia".

In Parliament - June 2015 Categories: Australasia, Israel    

Christopher Hayes (ALP, Fowler) - May 14 - "Last year's Gaza War has had a profound impact on me - a conflict which saw Israel attempt to suppress Hamas rockets but resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 Palestinians, of whom 538 were children...I still find it hard to shake the image of the four boys playing on the beach in Gaza cut down. While I have serious misgivings about the scale of the Israeli response, I am equally disturbed by the fact that civilian sites were used by Hamas to shield militia, and I deplore the fact that over 3,000 rockets were fired by Hamas, threatening the lives of Israeli citizens...

The Significance of Iranian Holocaust Denial

The Significance of Iranian Holocaust Denial Author: Emanuele Ottolenghi Categories: Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran    

In a recent issue of National Interest, former CIA analyst Paul Pillar lamented "the near-obligatory reference to Nazis in any anti-agreement writing about Iran." The comparison, he argues, is "an emotion-based effort to foster distaste for doing any business with such an ogre-like regime," which exaggerates the regime's sinister disposition at a moment when it is showing a clear desire to become "a more integrated member of the international community."

Islamist ambitions of Iran are far more dangerous than ISIS

Islamist ambitions of Iran are far more dangerous than ISIS Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: International Security, Iran, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Op-eds    

Should the US and its Western allies in the fight against Islamic State informally ally themselves with Iran, especially in Iraq?

Yes, Iran hates and fears Islamic State - so there is theoretically a shared interest in fighting it. However, to focus solely on this single supposed "shared-interest" approach is shortsighted, naive and counter-productive for many reasons.

App
President Obama's recent statements on Israeli-Palestinian peace/ After Abbas

President Obama's recent statements on Israeli-Palestinian peace/ After Abbas Categories: America, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

US President Barack Obama has been talking quite a lot in recent weeks about his relationship with Israel and his aspirations for Israeli-Palestinian peace.  This includes an interview with American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, an address to a Washington-area synagogue, and most recently, an interview with Israel's Channel 2, the country's leading TV station. This Update deals with some reactions to his statements on Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects in particular.