Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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AIJAC supports the retention of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act in submission to Parliamentary Inquiry Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism    

PART IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act has worked effectively for over 20 years and there is no compelling reason for repeal or wholesale reform.

That is the view the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has argued in its submission to the Australian Federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia.

The imminent fall of Aleppo and the Trump Administration

The imminent fall of Aleppo and the Trump Administration Categories: Russia, Syria, Updates    

With the Assad regime, and its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies, making major in-roads into the rebel-head eastern district of Aleppo, it now looks like only a matter of time until the city falls to the regime. With US President-elect Trump having pledged to ignore the Syrian conflict and to seek a partnership with Russia, but also having pledged to fight back against the Iranian drive to dominate the region, and with the fall of Aleppo likely to provide a major boost to the Iranian axis - the events in Syria look likely to place the Trump Administration in a dilemma over Syria when they take over. This Update features analysis of that dilemma.

Media Microscope: Donald in Media-land Author: Allon Lee Categories: America, Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

ABC Jerusalem-based correspondent Sophie McNeill's online article (Nov. 14) focused on Israeli and Palestinian reaction to Trump's victory...

Amazingly, McNeill managed to only find Israelis welcoming Trump's win despite pre-election polling showing a majority of Israelis wanted Clinton to win - a point McNeill's report overlooked. An online ABC story during the campaign (Oct. 27) reporting on a pro-Trump rally in Jerusalem for dual American-Israeli citizens also ignored the majority pro-Clinton sentiment in Israel.

Print edition

Noted and Quoted - December 2016 Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

The Federal Court's dismissal of a racial vilification charge under Section 18C against three Queensland University of Technology students, and developments in the case against Australian cartoonist Bill Leak, reenergised the debate on the merits of the 20-year-old civil legislation - with PM Malcolm Turnbull announcing a parliamentary inquiry.

AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler argued in the Australian (Nov. 14) that the law's inclusion of the words "insult and offend" is not what is giving rise to controversial claims, as some keep claiming, but the behaviour of the Human Rights Commission headed up by Gillian Triggs.

Biblio File: The Puzzle of Antisemitism Author: Paul Monk Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism    

The root of much anti-Zionism is antisemitism, not the other way around, and this is especially the case within the Muslim world, where it goes back to Muhammad himself and the denunciations of the Jews as such in the Quran. Moreover, antisemitism in Europe and in North America has been on the rise in troubling ways and it demands explanation, because it is out of all proportion to any empirical evidence or rational justification - as has always been true with this especially long-lasting and pernicious version of racism.

Behind the News - December 2016
Imad al-Alami (left) embraced by his predecessor Ismail Haniyeh

Behind the News - December 2016 Categories: Gulf states, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Syria    

With Ismail Haniyeh set to replace Khaled Mashaal as head of Hamas' political bureau in Qatar, reclusive Hamas official Imad al-Alami has reportedly been temporarily appointed to take over from Haniyeh in leading the terror group in Gaza.

Born in Gaza, al-Alami lived for several years in Teheran and then Damascus before returning to Gaza after the start of the Syrian Civil War. 

Hamas' dire financial straits
World Vision Gaza head Mohammed el-Halabi: Accused of diverting funds to Hamas

Hamas' dire financial straits Author: Yaakov Lappin Categories: Palestinians    

Hamas in Gaza is facing an acute financial crisis as its overseas cash sources dry up. This is forcing the Islamist regime and its armed terrorist wing, the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, to resort to increasingly desperate measures, such as using international aid organisations to funnel cash away from Gazan civilians.

Europa Europa: A Troubling Truth
Baroness Jenny Tonge: Leading voice for the “Balfour Apology Campaign”

Europa Europa: A Troubling Truth Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Anti-Zionism, Europe, United Kingdom    

The Balfour Apology Campaign launched the first in a year-long series of global events at the House of Lords in London to decry the creation of Israel and to demand an "official apology from the British government for its past colonial crimes in Palestine." At the gathering, organised by the Palestine Return Centre and hosted by veteran Israel-hater Baroness Jenny Tonge, Israelis were compared to ISIS terrorists, Jews were blamed for the Holocaust, and Zionists were accused of not only inspiring the Holocaust but of holding the British parliament in its thrall.

Lebanon finally gets a new President

Lebanon finally gets a new President Author: David Schenker Categories: Lebanon    

Aoun has long been a controversial figure in Lebanon. Once the country's most anti-Syrian political figure, since 2005 he has been aligned with the Assad regime and its principal ally in Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia Hezbollah... While many welcome the potential end of political stagnation produced by the presidential vacuum, the key question is whether the agreement to elect Aoun also implies increased Iranian control.

A diplomatic opportunity? Author: Zalman Shoval Categories: America, Israel    

The results of these elections do not necessarily indicate a complete overhaul of basic American policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump will perhaps declare his recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel, something his predecessors should have done a long time ago.

Bushfires, arson, and Arab schadenfreude

Bushfires, arson, and Arab schadenfreude Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Israel is reeling this week from a growing number of bushfires or wildfires consuming thousands of acres of vegetation, burning houses and causing the evacuation of 75,000 residents of Haifa - Israel's third largest city. It is believed that the initial fires were accidentally set, but as the crisis unfolded, there was an outbreak of more fires - and estimates by Israeli officials say that at least half of the fires currently burning in Israel were deliberately set.


Deconstruction Zone: Pardon my imposition Author: Eran Lerman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

The notion that an externally imposed solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viable and ultimately in Israel's best interest is sheer folly. It proceeds from a set of wrong assumptions: that the failure to achieve a breakthrough is entirely Israel's fault ("the settlements," etc.); that a short sharp shock is all that would be needed to make Israel "come to its senses;" and that the only reason a solution has not yet been imposed is that Israel has been shielded from the consequences of its policies by powerful friends (mainly in the US).

The Last Word: Friendship in Java
A session at the 6th World Peace Forum in Jakarta

The Last Word: Friendship in Java Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Asia, Islamic Extremism    

In Indonesia recently, I had reason to reflect on bigotry, particularly as it relates to problems of terrorism, extremism and threats to civilised societies.

My first engagement was in Jakarta, at the 6th World Peace Forum (WPF) - hosted by the Indonesian Muslim organisation Muhammadiyah, the related Centre for Dialogue and Cooperation amongst Civilisations and a Malaysian NGO, the Cheng Ho Trust. This brought together politicians, religious leaders, scholars, activists and bureaucrats from more than forty countries, including the USA, Russia, Pakistan, Australia, India, Tunisia, Nigeria and Japan.

Fatah conference exposes crisis
Brooking no opposition: Abbas with key Fatah loyalists

Fatah conference exposes crisis Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Palestinians    

Palestinian political analysts predict that the Fatah conference will deepen divisions among the faction's rival camps, particularly in the wake of Abbas' continued efforts to eliminate his critics.

Abbas, they say, decided to convene the parley in a bid to tighten his grip on Fatah and block the emergence of new leaders.

Can the Iran deal's damage be fixed?

Can the Iran deal's damage be fixed? Author: Ephraim Asculai & Emily B. Landau Categories: International Security, Iran    

Since Implementation Day in January 2016, the IAEA reports have become very thin - almost devoid of technical details and key information on Iran's nuclear program. Full reports must be reinstated if the IAEA is to regain its reputation of openness, transparency and comprehensiveness.

Scribblings: Donald Trump and Jerusalem Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: America, Israel, Palestinians    

Donald Trump said some extreme and ridiculous things on the campaign trial on his way to winning the US Presidency - but some coverage is treating as extreme and ridiculous something he said which is not only sensible but completely mainstream. This is his promise to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Print edition
Be'er Sheva in Bondi
Be’er Sheva Dialogue participants in Sydney

Be'er Sheva in Bondi Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Australasia, Israel    

Defence cooperation between Australian and Israel has taken a major step forward with the release late last month of a joint report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the Israel-based Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA).

The report, "The Wattle and the Olive", was co-written by ASPI Senior Analyst Anthony Bergin and BESA's Director Efraim Inbar and released at the second annual Be'er Sheva Dialogue, held this year in Sydney on November 1.

As ISIS falters
Syrian Kurdish fighters: Just one of several warring forces in the region

As ISIS falters Author: Jonathan Spyer Categories: Iraq, Syria    

The Islamic State, whose main slogan in Arabic is Baqiya watatamadad (remaining and expanding), has in reality been contracting since the high point of its advance in the autumn of 2014. Its eventual demise, at least as a quasi-state entity, is assured.

But Syria is host not only to the war against ISIS, but to a series of other, interlocking conflicts.

From Obama to Trump
Trump and Netanyahu at their New York meeting in September

From Obama to Trump Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: America, Israel, Middle East    

Change sweeping across the Middle East has prompted several Sunni Arab states to engage more closely with Israel. Shared strategic threats - the grow Binyamin Netanyahu kept a straight face as news of Donald Trump's victory astonished the world.

Editorial: The Age of Trump Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: America, Middle East    

It is pleasing to note that President-elect Trump has noticeably adopted a more inclusive and conciliatory tone after what has been a very divisive election, which we hope will continue.

This is well, because the world urgently needs the US to remain a beacon of democracy over coming years and for the next US administration to swiftly develop and pursue a constructive and fully engaged foreign policy...

Video: Bangkok Track II conference – "Islamist Movements and Middle East Turmoil: Implications for Southeast Asia

Video: Bangkok Track II conference – "Islamist Movements and Middle East Turmoil: Implications for Southeast Asia Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Multimedia, Terrorism, Updates    

Veteran Israel commentator Ehud Yaari delivered a very perceptive overview of the Middle East at a public session hosted by the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS) in Bangkok: "Islamist Movements and Middle East Turmoil: Lessons from and Implications for Southeast Asia". It is highly recommended viewing.