Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Abbas' UN "Bombshell"

Abbas' UN "Bombshell" Categories: Palestinians, United Nations    

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave his much-foreshadowed speech at the UN General Assembly yesterday, and it only partially contained the "bombshell" that Palestinian sources repeatedly said it would. Amid a litany of accusations against Israel, and a rejection of renewed negotiations, Abbas did make a rather ambiguous statement that " we cannot continue to be bound by" the Oslo Accords which he accused Israel of violating. However, he failed to offer any sort of specifics as to what this implied, turning this claim into more of a threat than a genuine change on the ground. This Update is devoted to analysis of Abbas' claims and supposed "announcement". 

Print edition
Media appearances by AIJAC guest Elliott Abrams

Media appearances by AIJAC guest Elliott Abrams Categories: America, Iran, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Middle East, Syria, Terrorism, Turkey, Updates    

UPDATED - A selection of links to writings, quotes and media appearances by AIJAC's distinguished guest Elliott Abrams - senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Deputy National Security Adviser and Special Assistant to President George W. Bush and an assistant Secretary of State to President Ronald Reagan.

Biblio File: The “Bloodlands” Explained? Author: Bernard Wasserstein Categories: Holocaust/ War Crimes    

The term "Black Earth" is often used to designate the rich agricultural areas of southern Russia. But Timothy Snyder uses it in a broader sense to denote the frontier zones of east-central Europe contested between Stalin and Hitler in the Second World War - the "Bloodlands", as he called them in an earlier book.

This is a history of the Shoah throughout Europe... The book offers not so much new evidence of what occurred as a bold argument about why and how it could have happened.

Dershowitz: Hunger strikes, administrative detention and human rights

Dershowitz: Hunger strikes, administrative detention and human rights Author: Andrew Friedman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Israel's leading political and medical establishment sweated for two weeks in mid-August as the health of an administrative detainee deteriorated rapidly as the result of a two-month hunger strike. Mohammed Allaan, a senior operative of the Islamic Jihad terror group, who has been held in administrative detention since November 2014, began refusing food in mid-June to demand that Israel either charge him with a crime or release him.

Behind the News - October 2015 Categories: Egypt, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Russia, Syria, Turkey    

In an unprecedented move, Israel's Defence Forces released a comprehensive document on Aug. 13 that set out its strategies and priorities through to 2020. It explores the fundamental changes in Israel's operating environment, arising from the challenges caused by the weakening of states and threats posed by sub-state actors, specifically Hamas and Hezbollah...

Incitement and tensions in east Jerusalem

Incitement and tensions in east Jerusalem Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Today’'s Update looks at the main causes of the recent escalation in tension and violence in east Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount where Israeli police have faced off against Palestinian stone throwers and reported finding pipe bombs. The stone throwing claimed the life last week of 64-year-old Alexander Levlovich whose car was hit by a rock whilst he was driving in east Jerusalem.

Noted and Quoted - October 2015 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Beverley O'Connor interviewed radical Palestinian British activist Ghada Karmi who was attending the Melbourne Writers' Festival.

Karmi backed the Palestinian Authority's (PA) call for the Palestinian flag to be raised at the United Nations, because "the Palestinians for so long have been left out of everything. And Israel's done its best, let's face it, to erase them, their memory, everything about them."

That's a stretch, considering how the Palestinians are the only people with a whole UN department dedicated to their wellbeing and more UN General Assembly resolutions passed on their behalf each year than for any other people...

AIR New Zealand: Controversial visit exposes hypocrisy

AIR New Zealand: Controversial visit exposes hypocrisy Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians    

Palestinian human rights activist Bassem Eid has been openly vocal in his opposition to, and condemnation of, the BDS movement and all that it represents. This may have played a part in the hostility that greeted his recent visit to New Zealand.

However, that hostility, in turn, exposed some of the ugly hypocrisy which is circulating in some sectors of New Zealand academia.

Asia Watch: In and out of focus

Asia Watch: In and out of focus Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, China, Terrorism, Turkey    

Despite the saturation coverage and the massive police and intelligence effort, information on the perpetrators of the Bangkok bombing has been slow to emerge, with lines of inquiry centring on possible retaliation for the Thai government's decision to deport more than 100 Uighur refugees to China in late June, an alleged human trafficking ring and the apparent Turkish links among the several arrest warrants issued.

Ultra-Orthodoxy joins the Jewish state

Ultra-Orthodoxy joins the Jewish state Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

"Zionism is more ruinous than all the false messiahs who arose in our nation," wrote a group of prominent rabbis in response to Theodore Herzl's manifesto "The Jewish State". 

Nearly 120 years on, this theological rejection remains nominally intact, while in every other respect - politically, socially, and culturally - ultra-Orthodoxy's defences have been steadily eroding, as has just been made manifest with its representative becoming a minister in the government of the Jewish state. 

The End for Abbas?

The End for Abbas? Author: Kobi Michael Categories: Palestinians    

In August, Mahmoud Abbas announced his intention to resign from the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee; his announcement was accompanied by the resignation of several senior PLO officials... The announcement came as no surprise to the Palestinian "street", which viewed it with cynicism and saw it as a political ploy to help Abbas gain greater legitimacy to extend his already lengthy tenure in this position.

Scribblings: The Palestinian alternative to a "One-State" solution
Dr. Ghada Karmi: One-state advocate

Scribblings: The Palestinian alternative to a "One-State" solution Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Palestinians    

I've written before in this space that international "pro-Palestinian" activists who demand a "one-state solution" appear very out of step with what polls show the Palestinians themselves want. The latest polling data, aptly summarised by David Pollock in this edition on the opposite page, again supports this conclusion. According to the new survey he cites, only 18% of West Bank residents and 5% of Gazans tell interviewers that they want to see a "one-state solution in all of the land in which Palestinians and Jews have equal rights."

This is of course what "one-state solution" pro-Palestinian activists claim to advocate.

How Dangerous is ISIS to Israel?

How Dangerous is ISIS to Israel? Author: Efraim Inbar Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Middle East    

ISIS has killed thousands of people since it declared an Islamic caliphate in June 2014, with the city of Raqqa as its de facto capital... In Israel, concern is increasing as ISIS nears Israeli borders.

Yet, several analyses of the threat ISIS poses to Israel seem to be unnecessarily alarmist. ISIS is primarily successful where there is a political void. Although the offensives in Syria and Iraq showed the Islamic State's tactical capabilities, they were directed against failed states with weakened militaries.

The Last Word: A Unique Gathering

The Last Word: A Unique Gathering Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Europe, Interfaith Dialogue    

Visiting the new POLIN Jewish Museum in Warsaw can be a challenging experience. In the heart of the destroyed ghetto, a site of immense evil, of persecution and deprivation, a walk through its many impressive exhibitions is a walk in the company of ghosts.

With cultural, historical and political reference points specifically Polish, it should help Jewish visitors learn as much about that nation as its gives Poles greater understanding of Jews.

Media Microscope: Beautiful one day, ridiculed the next Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

The Queensland Labor Party conference's passage of a resolution, steered by the branch's vice-president Wendy Turner, exhorting a future federal Labor government to immediately recognise a Palestinian state, was roundly condemned in the Australian media.

Troy Bramston's report on the vote noted that "Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek refused to accept the Queensland motion. ‘State conferences don't make Labor foreign policy... This matter was resolved by Labor's national conference'" which committed to discuss recognising a Palestinian state only if there was no peace process progress and in the context of appropriate "conditions and timelines", Australian (Sept. 1).

Essay: Words that Matter

Essay: Words that Matter Author: Ben Cohen Categories: Antisemitism, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Iran    

At the height of negotiations with the Iranian regime over its nuclear program, Western advocates of a deal found themselves rationalising the Islamic Republic's uncompromising belligerence towards Israel. They did so as part of their bid to persuade a sceptical public that the mullahs would honour their agreements. Thus was born the "domestic consumption" theory of Iran's internal politics, advanced by, among others, US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Making Sense of ISIS

Making Sense of ISIS Author: Shirin Lotfi Categories: Iran, Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Syria    

Interview: Michael Weiss - co-author with Hassan Hassan of the New York Times bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror; Senior Editor at The Daily Beast and Editor of The Interpreter

Shirin Lotfi: How did you come to write this book?

Michael Weiss: I've been covering the Syria conflict since its inception. I started with a report on the Sunni opposition in June 2011 and got sucked in. I stayed with it as the crisis went from a peaceful protest movement to an armed insurgency to a mostly Jihadi-driven conflagration. My interest in ISIS derived from my reporting in Aleppo in summer 2012. I spent the night in a town called Al-Bab with a bunch of activists, Free Syrian Army (FSA) guys; Al-Bab had just been liberated from the regime...

Print edition
How to Destroy ISIS: Five Rules of Battle

How to Destroy ISIS: Five Rules of Battle Author: Michael Doran, Michael Pregent, Eric Brown & Peter Rough Categories: Iraq, Middle East, Syria    

On June 10, 2014, a little over a year ago, the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS) shocked the world by seizing Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. The government in Baghdad watched helplessly as its security forces crumbled and tens of thousands of residents fled their homes. Less than three weeks later, IS proclaimed itself the caliphate - that is, the legitimate successor to the state led by the Prophet Muhammad - thus casting its victory as the start of a new era of Islamic ascendancy.

Deconstruction Zone: What Palestinians Really Want Author: David Pollock Categories: Palestinians    

The long-term Palestinian political perspective has long been a subject of much polemical speculation - but without much evidence on either side. Do most Palestinians hope for a small state of their own at peace with Israel, or do they still aspire to reclaim all of Palestine someday? 

Editorial: Containing the Damage Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: America, International Security, Iran    

By early September it was clear US President Barack Obama had secured the support of enough US Senators - 34, all of them from his own Democratic party - to guarantee that his promised veto of any Congressional rejection of the Iran nuclear deal - known as the JCPOA - would not be over-ridden. Indeed, he is attempting to obviate the need for a veto by having Democrats filibuster a Senate bill disapproving the deal.

AIJAC applauds Treasurer Joe Hockey for pursuing a Double Taxation Agreement between Australia and Israel

AIJAC applauds Treasurer Joe Hockey for pursuing a Double Taxation Agreement between Australia and Israel Author: AIJAC Categories: Australasia, Media Releases    

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) applauds Federal Treasurer, The Hon Joe Hockey MP, on his announcement of the Government's intention to commence negotiations on a new Double Taxation Agreement between Australia and Israel.

AIJAC's National Chairman, Mark Leibler AC, spoke to Mr Hockey this morning to congratulate him on this move and to warmly welcome this important step.