Ed: 41: September/2016
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.
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...
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).
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.
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).
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.