Political opportunities on the Asian economic frontier

Political opportunities on the Asian economic frontier

January 7, 2014 | Colin Rubenstein

Israel is fast finding a new economic frontier in Asia – one which offers distinct political and diplomatic benefits, as well as economic ones….

Anti-abuse laws pose no real threat to freedom of speech

Anti-abuse laws pose no real threat to freedom of speech

December 9, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

IT would be difficult to have missed the recent campaign in these pages and elsewhere against section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes conduct unlawful where it is done because of someone’s race/ethnicity and is reasonably likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” them.

For those who understand the operation of 18C, this campaign has been somewhat disheartening: 18C’s opponents have avoided making legitimate criticisms, instead relying on a number of half-truths and exaggerations to put their case forward.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is a true supporter of peace in the Middle East

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop is a true supporter of peace in the Middle East

December 2, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman

Australia’s decision to change its position and abstain on two United Nations resolutions regarding settlements and the Geneva Convention was the act of a true supporter of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Explaining the decision to change the vote, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the shift ”reflected the government’s concern that Middle East resolutions should be balanced” and said: ”The government will not support resolutions which are one-sided and which pre-judge the outcome of final status negotiations between the two sides.”

The reality is that the UN’s entrenched biases against Israel – reflecting the imbalance of power between one Jewish state versus 22 Arab states plus 56 majority Muslim states – have rendered it ineffective as a mediator. Arab states have long sought to use the UN to delegitimise Israel and seek an affirmation of the narrative about Israel being a usurper state existing on ”stolen” Palestinian land.

Flawed pact leaves Iran free to build a nuclear arsenal

Flawed pact leaves Iran free to build a nuclear arsenal

November 29, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

US Secretary of State John Kerry has touted the interim agreement over Iran’s illegal nuclear program as an achievement that makes the Middle East region safer. If only it were so.

In reality, this dangerously flawed pact normalises relations with a rogue regime, reverses the momentum of years of sanctions and leaves Iran, in six months’ time, closer to building nuclear weapons than it is today.

A dangerous deal on Iran

A dangerous deal on Iran

November 27, 2013 | Colin Rubenstein

The world is overwhelmingly united in agreeing on a number of points about the decades-old Iranian nuclear crisis. One is that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities, in violation of both the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and six legally-binding United Nations Security Council resolutions. Furthermore, it is agreed that a diplomatic deal with Iran is by far the most preferred way to attain this end. And thirdly, everyone agrees, in words used both by United States Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that “a bad deal is worse than no deal.”

Nonetheless, the interim deal reached in Geneva on Sunday appears to be likely to turn out to be just such a “bad deal” – or in the words of Netanyahu, a “historic mistake”

Pause for a rethink will help West

Pause for a rethink will help West

November 13, 2013 | Colin Rubenstein

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his colleagues among the P5+1 powers who are involved in nuclear negotiations with Iran are in full agreement: striking a bad deal in an attempt to curb Iran’s illegal nuclear program would be worse than making no deal at all.

This certainly applies to interim deals reportedly discussed in Geneva last week as much as for a final settlement. The current pause until talks resume next Wednesday offers a golden opportunity for the P5+1 to reassess their latest offer, and it’s imperative that they do so, because the interim deal discussed last week appears to have been a bad one.

BDS bigotry undermines peace prospects: Response to Randa Abdel-Fattah

BDS bigotry undermines peace prospects: Response to Randa Abdel-Fattah

November 4, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Does boycotting Israelis make someone racist? Randa Abdel-Fattah says no.

She disagrees with the claim being brought against Associate Professor Jake Lynch of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS) under Australia’s racial discrimination laws for engaging in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel (BDS). According to Abdel-Fattah, the lawsuit is “clearly an external political attack on Australian democratic principles and freedoms.” Israel, she says, is “exporting its brand of oppression into Australia.”

Letter: West Bank settlements are not ‘illegal’

September 11, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

On the issue of Israeli settlements, Tony Walker erroneously claimed that the US considers Israeli West Bank settlements “illegal”. Yet he then correctly quoted US Secretary of State John Kerry saying that the US views them as “illegitimate”

ALP

ALP, Coalition offer answers to key policy question for the Jewish Community

August 29, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman

The campaign teams of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott revealed some significant differences on aspects of both Middle East and domestic policies in their answers to ten policy questions posed them by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).

The questions and answers – published in the September edition of the Australia/Israel Review – deal with Israel and the peace process, communal education, counter-terrorism and communal security, the Iranian nuclear crisis, racial hatred laws and other issues.

The real obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace

The real obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace

August 23, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman

A great deal has been said and misrepresented regarding Israel’s recent announcement that it plans to build settlement units.  For example, Amin Saikal wrote in “Peace not on Israel’s agenda” (16/8) that it was a “deliberate” attempt to “sabotage ‘current peace talks'”.

However, such a response ignores US Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Israel pre-warned the US and the Palestinians that there would be some building announced during the talks.

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