The growing influence of Iran under the failing nuclear deal and the ongoing importance of the Australia-US relationship were key messages shared during this week’s visit by American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris.
Hosted and organised by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), Harris and his delegation – together with AIJAC’s Dr Colin Rubenstein and Joel Burnie – held meetings in Canberra and Melbourne with senior members of the Federal Government, including Finance Minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Mathias Cormann, and Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge; senior members of the Labor Party, including Opposition Leader Bill Shorten; senior members of the Victorian Parliament, including Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy; diplomats; journalists and foreign affairs officials.
Harris also attended a reception in his honour hosted by the Israeli Ambassador to Australia Mark Sofer, was the guest speaker at a lunch of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel and also spoke at a function for 70 community leaders and another for journalists, both hosted by AIJAC in Melbourne.
Dr Rubenstein, AIJAC’s executive director, noted the trip had provided an important opportunity to remind Australian leaders and decision-makers of the dangers posed by the failing nuclear deal with Iran and of US President Donald Trump’s May 12 deadline to fix its fatal flaws. It was also a chance to stress the need to seriously reconsider Australia’s national interest in re-aligning with the current US Administration’s approach and in not alienating the Arab Sunni world, with whom Australia shares substantial trade and security interests.
“David has a unique insight into the thinking at the highest levels of the US Government and its diplomatic corps,” Dr Rubenstein said. “His visit helpfully alerted our leaders to the risks that Iran continues to pose to security in the Middle East and to the flawed nuclear deal, especially the unfulfilled expectation of the Obama-Kerry team that the deal would moderate Iranian behaviour, whereas in reality, the exact opposite has happened.”
Following his visit to Australia, Harris made a short stopover in Singapore.
“AIJAC, with its longstanding relationships with key figures in South-East Asia and ongoing outreach work in the region, also welcomes the AJC’s continued interest in our near neighbours, which is an increasingly important region for Australia, Israel and the broader Jewish world,” Dr Rubenstein said.
“I thank David for his visit and look forward to welcoming him to Australia again soon to enhance the important work that both our organisations do.”
“AIJAC and the AJC have, for more than 25 years, been global partners sharing an agenda to promote open, democratic, pluralist societies, the welfare of Jewish communities worldwide and the security and well-being of Israel,” Dr Rubenstein concluded.
For additional information, contact AIJAC on (03)-9681-6660.