Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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The Last Word: Hearts of Darkness

The Last Word: Hearts of Darkness Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

The murderous attacks on the office of Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket in Paris quickly became, for far too many commentators, nothing but pretexts for polemics and platitudes...

It is common for these worldviews to identify a section of humanity as the source of all woes, and then rationalise killing all those so identified. The shoppers in Hyper Cacher in Paris were murdered because they were Jewish.

Elsa Cayat, the only woman murdered at Charlie Hebdo, was selected because she was Jewish.

Essay: Mendacious Maps

Essay: Mendacious Maps Author: Shany Mor Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

You can't walk very far on an American or European university campus these days without encountering some version of the "Palestinian Land Loss" maps. This series of four - occasionally five - maps purports to show how rapacious Zionists have steadily encroached upon Palestinian land. It has featured in paid advertisements on the sides of buses in Vancouver as well as train stations in New York. It occasionally creeps into supposedly reputable media sources, like Al Jazeera English. [Ed note. In Australia, it has also been published as a graphic on the website, associated with News Corp. newspapers.]

From Sudan's Mahdi to IS' Caliph
Sudanese “Mahdi” Muhammad Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah

From Sudan's Mahdi to IS' Caliph Author: Giora Eliraz Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Sudan    

The idea of the Mahdi in Islam is strongly linked to Muslim messianic, apocalyptic traditions. According to these, the Mahdi (lit. "the guided one"), is said to appear shortly before the Day of Judgment in order to restore Islam to its former glory by removing evil and re-establishing righteousness. The Mahdi's appearance and rule are believed to coincide with the second coming of Jesus Christ (Isa), who is supposed to support the Mahdi in fighting and winning the final apocalyptic battle against Al-Masih ad-Dajjal (the false messiah), the embodiment of evil.

Print edition
The End of Personal Politics?
Shas in their late '90s heyday

The End of Personal Politics? Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

The one-man party, an odd fixture of Israeli democracy for the past three decades, seems headed to the political margins where its journey began ten elections ago.

Few people paid attention to this aspect of the situation in 1984, when a new party called Shas won four Knesset seats and inserted a marginal member into a cabinet of eight factions and 25 ministers. The small party was no player in that government's main task, solving an acute economic crisis. Shas' unique decision-making process was therefore mostly ignored.

Justice for Alberto Nisman?

Justice for Alberto Nisman? Author: David Horovitz Categories: America, Iran, Terrorism    

On August 14, 1993, in Mashad, Iran's second-largest city, the Iranian leadership's "Committee for Special Operations" convened to discuss its ongoing problems with Argentina - and specifically the flamboyant President, Carlos Menem.

Reorienting Argentina's policy, moving his country closer to the West and to Israel, the Syrian-born Menem had severed the hitherto fruitful partnership between Buenos Aires and Teheran on all matters nuclear, first suspending and then terminating the training of Iranian nuclear technicians in Argentina and the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran.

Courting Danger

Courting Danger Author: David Makovsky Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

On Dec. 30, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas signed 20 different international conventions, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The name of the statute refers to the 1998 conference that established the treaty-based court, which began operations in 2002.

In principle, the PA's move enables the ICC to assert jurisdiction over future developments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and empowers any signatory to the Rome Statute - currently including 160 countries - to claim that Israel should be brought to the court on charges of war crimes. Palestinian officials have said that they want the ICC to investigate Israel's settlement policies.

France's Moment of Truth
Slain Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier

France's Moment of Truth Author: Michel Gurfinkiel Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Terrorism    

The jihadist killing spree in Paris in early January has been described as "France's 9/11" by Le Monde, the French liberal daily newspaper. Indeed, just like the American 9/11 fourteen years ago, it was a moment of truth: for France as a nation, for the French political class and - last, but certainly not least - for French Jews. The question, however, is not so much whether one sees the truth or not, but rather what one is supposed to do once truth has been seen.

Of Cartoons and Conspiracy Theories

Of Cartoons and Conspiracy Theories Author: Paul Berman Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

So there is a new issue of Charlie Hebdo, and the cover cartoon, by Luz, is a masterpiece. On a field of green, a white-turbaned and robed Prophet Muhammad, bug-eyed with horror, a giant tear falling on his cheek, holds a placard saying, "Je suis Charlie," which is the same slogan that dominated the largest mass protest in the history of the nation that invented the phenomenon of mass protests. And above the cartoon Muhammad's head are the words, "Tout est pardonné," or, "All is forgiven."

Scribblings: New evidence on Arafat and Hamas - but it won't help

Scribblings: New evidence on Arafat and Hamas - but it won't help Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

I have written here before about the overwhelming evidence - from Palestinian sources - that the very violent second intifada launched in September 2000 was not a spontaneous reaction to Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount... It is very clear that then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had begun planning a major outbreak of violence long before then - according to testimony from Palestinian ministers, and from his former aides, and to documents captured by Israel in Arafat's compound, and even according to his widow, Suha Arafat, who recently said Arafat warned her he was going to launch violence some weeks before it actually broke out.

Editorial: Normalising the Unacceptable Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

The terror attack by Islamist extremists on the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, that killed 12 editors, cartoonists, staffers and police was an atrocity and an outrage.

So was the attack two days later on the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in the city that claimed the lives of four Jewish shoppers.

The editors and cartoonists were singled out and killed for something they did - exercising their right to free expression - a right Islamist extremists reject. But the Hyper Cacher shoppers were killed simply for being Jews.

The Death of AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman/ An Arab view on Islamism

The Death of AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman/ An Arab view on Islamism Categories: America, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Updates    

This Update leads with the strange and suspicious death over the weekend of Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who has been investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people, and has lately made dramatic allegations that the current Argentinean government is conspiring to prevent the Iranian culprits from being brought to justice. (These allegations appear to be supported by phone transcripts released by an Argentinean judge following Nisman's death and summarised in the New York Times here.)

Paris no excuse for revisiting 18C

Paris no excuse for revisiting 18C Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Europe, Op-eds    

ON January 7 there was an attack on free speech in Paris by murderous terrorists inspired by a jihadist ideology, not French laws on hate speech.

Despite this truth, the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the horrific murders of 17 people have led some commentators in Australia to rehash the debate on section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, claiming we cannot say "Je suis Charlie" and support hate speech laws. But we can and we should.

Palestinian soccer team receives free kicks in the Australian media

Palestinian soccer team receives free kicks in the Australian media Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

It is said that sport can bring people together - but that's not how the Palestinians leadership sees it.

For them it appears to be another avenue to disseminate propaganda against Israel in an attempt to further their campaign of international delegitimisation.

Yet, judging by the quality of the many news reports of the Palestinian national football team's visit here to play in the 2015 Asian Cup, it seems highly doubtful that most of the media understands this, obligingly relaying the impression of the players as underdogs pitted against cruel Israeli attempts to hamper their development and prospects.

Charlie Hebdo, French laws against hate speech, and 18C

Charlie Hebdo, French laws against hate speech, and 18C Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Europe, Updates    

The Paris shootings saw millions march in the streets defending freedom including freedom of speech. However, in Australia the debate appears to have been hijacked by some who argue that in Australia, one cannot say "Je suis Charlie" in defence of freedom of speech while supporting section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.  However, before such proponents claim that 18C means that Australia does not have free speech, perhaps they should have a closer look at the legal situation in France, which has considerably tougher laws against hate speech than Australia - yet Charlie Hebdo was able to operate just fine in that legal environment.

Is Hamas searching for a new home after Qatar reportedly asked it to leave?
Ahmet Davutoğlu greets Khaled Meshaal

Is Hamas searching for a new home after Qatar reportedly asked it to leave? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Middle East, Turkey, Updates    

Qatar had been shunned by Egypt and the Gulf States for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates declared a terrorist organisation. However, last month Qatar decided to mend its relationship with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and is now expected to decrease its public support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, including in Al Jazeera coverage.

The Charlie Hebdo Massacre and France's Islamism problem

The Charlie Hebdo Massacre and France's Islamism problem Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, Updates    

This Update is devoted to just a few of the most interesting of the many comments being made around the world in the wake of the horrifying massacre of 12 people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, with victims including not only the editor, but several well-known French cartoonists and other journalists. (An eyewitness account from journalist Claire Berlinski, who happened by chance to arrive on the scene in the immediate aftermath, is here.)

Print edition
Statement on Jordanian-sponsored UN Security Council vote to set a deadline for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines

Statement on Jordanian-sponsored UN Security Council vote to set a deadline for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Jordan, Media Releases, Palestinians, United Nations    

AIJAC very much welcomes Australia's vote against the proposed Jordanian-sponsored UN Security Council resolution last week because that proposal was a clear step backward for the the long-standing bipartisan Australian policy goal of a negotiated two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace...

Settlement spin: A tale of two stories

Settlement spin: A tale of two stories Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

When it comes to stories in the international media reporting data about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the subcontracting by reporters of their research to the left-wing NGO and anti-settlement lobby group Peace Now has been routine. But can Peace Now be trusted to provide reporters with a fair and impartial reading of the actual settlement data?

A comparison of two recent news items may provide the answer.

Hamas removed from EU list of terror groups, temporarily?

Hamas removed from EU list of terror groups, temporarily? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

On Wednesday, the General Court of the European Union (EU) in Luxembourg accepted a petition by Hamas to remove the group from the EU's list of terrorist organisations.  The Court emphasised that its judgment was based on legal technical and procedural reasons, arguing the reasons given for Hamas' designation were based on media and internet reports and not considered analysis by "competent authorities".

Overseas comment on Martin Place and lone wolf terror/ UNSC ructions

Overseas comment on Martin Place and lone wolf terror/ UNSC ructions Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

With the extensive focus in Australia on the Martin Place attack on a Lindt coffee shop in Sydney by disgruntled Iranian immigrant and self-styled Sheik Man Haron Monis, this Update features some overseas comment on the incident - as well as what it says about the growing problem of "lone wolf" violence inspired by calls for individual attacks from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It also includes some analysis of the intense diplomacy this week over a Palestinian plan to put forward a UN Security Council Resolution demanding Israel unilaterally withdraw to the pre-1967 armistice lines within two years.