Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Developments in Israeli missile defence/ Syria after the latest sarin attack Categories: Israel, Syria, Updates    

This Update features material about recent developments in Israel's anti-missile defences - including both the implementation of "David's Sling", the third and final layer to Israel's missile defence system, and the first operational use of the Arrow long-range defence system a couple of weeks ago. It also includes some material on the strategic implications of the deadly chemical weapons attacks in Syria's Idlib province earlier this week.

Biblio File: The Roots of the ISIS Caliphate
ISIS founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

Biblio File: The Roots of the ISIS Caliphate Author: Kyle Orton Categories: Iraq, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

Brian Fishman's The Master Plan provides a comprehensive history of the Islamic State's (ISIS) strategic evolution, covering the personalities and events that shaped one of the most feared terrorist-insurgent groups that has ever existed. Eminently readable, in places even amusing - no small feat in a book about ISIS - Fishman flips with ease between the overview and the granular to demonstrate his points...

Noted and Quoted - April 2017 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

Fairfax chief correspondent Paul McGeough used Israeli PM Binyamin's Netanyahu's visit to Australia to attempt to put Israel in the same class as North Korea - claiming parallels between the failed 1997 poisoning assassination attempt on Hamas chief Khaled Meshal in neighbouring Jordan and the fatal poisoning last month in Malaysia of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un...

Print edition
Behind the News - April 2017
The Islamic Movement of Nigeria: Backed by Iran

Behind the News - April 2017 Categories: Africa, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinians, Syria, Terrorism    

The Nigerian Government this month declared the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) a security threat. The Nigerian network is similar to other welfare systems established by Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups. It boasts more than 300 schools, Islamic centres, a newspaper, guards and a "martyrs' foundation", and is said to be encouraging significant numbers of Nigerians to convert to Shi'ism.

In the World Vision Gaza case, words matter

In the World Vision Gaza case, words matter Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Hamas, Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

A statement and subsequent clarification by DFAT officials have been the basis for news reports that cast aspersions on Israel's allegations that a top World Vision employee in Gaza, Mohammad El-Halabi, had diverted aid money to Hamas. Yet a close reading of the statements together suggests the substance of DFAT's statements don't justify the headlines.

Asia Watch: Strings Attached
King Salman and PM Najib: Friends in need

Asia Watch: Strings Attached Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Saudi Arabia    

The arrival in Kuala Lumpur of Saudi King Salman and his delegation - an entourage of some 1,500 princes, ministers, officials, businessmen and security personnel, plus hundreds of tonnes of cargo to support a caravan of six jumbo jets - rendered such a spectacle that little room was left to ponder its significance.

Iran's Korean Nuclear Backdoor
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani (right) shakes hands with Kim Yong Nam, a top North Korean leader, meeting in Teheran in 2013

Iran's Korean Nuclear Backdoor Author: Refael Ofek & Dany Shoham Categories: Asia, International Security, Iran    

While the Vienna Nuclear Deal (VND) reached in 2015 is focused on preventing (or at least postponing) the development of nuclear weapons in Iran, its restrictions are looser with regard to related delivery systems (particularly nuclear-capable ballistic missiles) and to the transfer of nuclear technology by Iran to other countries. Moreover, almost no limits have been placed on the enhancement of Teheran's military nuclear program outside Iran. North Korea arguably constitutes the ideal such location for Iran.

What Trump can do about Syria

What Trump can do about Syria Author: Dennis Ross Categories: Syria, United States    

Forging a coherent policy on Syria would tax any administration. One critical priority is defeating ISIS in a way that neither leaves a vacuum nor fosters deeper sectarian differences after liberating Raqqa.

Some lessons from the Westminister terror attack

Some lessons from the Westminister terror attack Categories: Islamic Extremism, Terrorism, United Kingdom, Updates    

As readers are doubtless aware, last week saw yet another apparently ISIS-inspired "lone wolf" attack in London, which killed four people and left more 50 injured, when 52-year-old Briton Khalid Masood first drove into a crowd on Westminister bridge and then attacked police with a knife before being shot dead. This Update features some of the best commentary on what the attack tells us about the current terrorist threat and how to counter it.

Media Microscope: All at Sea over 18C Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

At the start of March, the report of the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Speech - recommending changes to the process for handling 18C cases but offering no consensus on the changing the wording of 18C and 18D - seemed to mark the end of the campaign to gut Australia's race hatred laws in the name of free speech.

A Very Big Deal
A landmark deal: (L-R) Amnon Shashua, Eli Cohen, Binyamin Netanyahu, Brian Krzanich and Ziv Aviram

A Very Big Deal Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

The Israeli economy may have seen one bigger deal in its 69-year history, but Intel Corporation's takeover last month of Jerusalem-based Mobileye will go down as a landmark whose technological, economic and international significance transcends its financial size.

Europa Europa: Pathologies of Hatred

Europa Europa: Pathologies of Hatred Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, United Kingdom    

Sir Gerald Kaufman was more than just another veteran Labour politician. Having entered the House of Commons in 1970, he was the longest-serving parliamentarian of any political hue... And, as an Orthodox Jew, he should have been revered by the Jewish community. Instead, when he died last month aged 86, not a tear of sadness touched the cheek of British Jewry.

Trump's envoy found an anxious Ramallah
Unrest in the streets of Ramallah

Trump's envoy found an anxious Ramallah Author: Pinhas Inbari Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United States    

US President Donald Trump's Special Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, arrived in Israel on March 13, 2017, to meet Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and to sound them out on restarting peace negotiations.

His visit to Abbas' presidential office, the Muqata'a, came amidst growing tension in Ramallah and even uncertainty about the very future of the Palestinian Authority.

The Last Word: Nothing new under the Sun

The Last Word: Nothing new under the Sun Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Media/ Academia, United Nations    

Although we were not told that this was the purpose of the assignment, I had little choice but to ridicule a book, by a widely published author, which was almost laughable in its argumentation and ridiculous in its conclusion.

The author was Richard Falk, a man who, from all reports, has actually been on a downhill trajectory from that low intellectual point.

Print edition
Ahok, Islamism and Indonesian Democracy

Ahok, Islamism and Indonesian Democracy Author: Giora Eliraz Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

The results of Jakarta's first round of gubernatorial elections might be confusing to many casual observers of Indonesian politics - the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor, Bauska Tjahaja Purnama, known as Ahok, came first. This happened even though Ahok has been, during recent months, in the eye of a storm that saw him facing a high-profile criminal trial - accused of breaking blasphemy laws by insulting the Quran, in a country dominated by a Muslim majority.

After ISIS falls, who will benefit?

After ISIS falls, who will benefit? Author: Jonathan Spyer Categories: Iran, Iraq, Russia, Syria    

On the surface, the wars in Syria and Iraq are continuing at full intensity. The fight between Iraqi government forces and Islamic State in western Mosul is proving a slow, hard slog...

But while the tactical contests are continuing, the general direction of events in both the war against Islamic State and the fight between Assad and the rebels is now clear.

The assassination of a terrorist

The assassination of a terrorist Author: Shmuel Levin Categories: Palestinians, Updates    

Last Friday night, four assassins lay in wait for Hamas military leader Mazen Faqha outside his beach-side home in Tel el-Hawa, a neighborhood in south-western Gaza City. The assassins had broken in to Faqha's garage a few hours earlier, after Faqha had left his house with his wife and daughter. Now, they waited quietly for his return.

Six years of hell

Six years of hell Author: Matthew Brodsky Categories: Russia, Syria, United States    

Having reached the six-year anniversary, the death toll is now counted by the hundreds of thousands with a refugee crisis tallied in the millions. The catastrophe in Syria remains a dark stain on the soul of humanity that challenges previously held norms and assumptions.