Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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The Big Picture of the Mideast Conflict - and the Palestinian role in it

The Big Picture of the Mideast Conflict - and the Palestinian role in it Categories: Middle East, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update leads with a magisterial attempt to summarise the big picture of what is going in the Middle East from noted Israeli academic analyst Dr. Jonathan Spyer. Spyer describes the Middle East of recent years as undergoing "a political convulsion of historic proportions", with Iran and its allies poised to take advantage of the collapse of authority in states which seemed stable a mere few years ago, and a Saudi-led Sunni alliance now determinedly seeking to counter this.

Print edition
Yom Hashoah - and possibly the last Nazi war crimes trial

Yom Hashoah - and possibly the last Nazi war crimes trial Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Antisemitism, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Updates    

Today is "Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG'vurah", meaning "Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and Heroism", a national memorial day in Israel to remember the six million Jewish victims murdered in the Holocaust, as well as those who fought against the Nazis.

Australia has the highest percentage of Holocaust survivors in the world outside of Israel. Today many Australian Jews, will reflect upon the names and photographs of family members killed by the Nazis and their collaborators, as well as the unimaginable strength of the survivors, torn apart from their families, scarred by horrific memories, and often left to pick up the pieces and start again in a foreign land.

It's not too late for a safer nuclear deal with Iran

It's not too late for a safer nuclear deal with Iran Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Gulf states, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Op-eds, Updates    

If the recent Iranian nuclear framework deal progresses into an actual signed agreement, it would legitimise Iran as a nuclear weapons threshold state by allowing it to maintain a vast nuclear infrastructure.

This was not the kind of deal that US President Barack Obama said would be safe and acceptable in the past. Why is it somehow safe and acceptable now?

The Iranian Regime and the Nuclear "Framework" understanding Categories: International Security, Iran, Israel, Updates    

This Update offers more on the framework "understanding" reached between the P5+1 and Iran two weeks ago outlining the term of a future nuclear deal - especially in the wake of public denunciations of key elements of the claimed agreement by Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassam Rouhani. (Indeed, some analysts - including American columnist Jonah Goldberg and Israeli analyst Yigal Carmon -  are openly questioning whether there is anything that can properly be called an agreement in existence at all, given the differences being enunciated by those who supposedly agreed on the framework.)

Dangers in the Iran Nuclear Deal
Courier Mail 8 April 2015

Dangers in the Iran Nuclear Deal Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: International Security, Iran, Op-eds, Updates    

PRINCE Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief, warned last month a deal that allows Iran a pathway to create a nuclear bomb could ignite a new arms race in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and South Korea have already signed a memorandum of understanding on nuclear power. Nuclear weapons arrangements with Pakistan could be seriously examined by Saudi Arabia as a result of Friday's announcement of a framework deal with Iran by the US and other Western powers. To be finalised by June 30, the unsigned deal has raised alarm across the Middle East.

The Iranian nuclear framework deal

The Iranian nuclear framework deal Categories: International Security, Iran, Updates    

This Update takes an initial look at the controversial Iranian nuclear framework deal that was verbally agreed to by US and P5+1 and Iranian negotiators late last week in Lausanne, as well as a good overview of the ongoing degeneration of countries across the Middle East into fractured lands dominated by militias.

Iranian nuclear talks, Israel at the UN

Iranian nuclear talks, Israel at the UN Categories: International Security, Iran, Israel, United Nations, Updates    

This Update continues to follow the extended Iranian nuclear talks in Lausanne, as well as provide a timely overview of Israel’'s situation in the United Nations.

First up, Washington Institute’'s Mehdi Khalaji analyses the way the current nuclear talks have been reported within Iran, in Farsi. He says that the Iranian regime is raising expectations from Iranians for what they should expect from any acceptable deal, particularly concerning the removal of all sanctions -– including those not directly related to Iran’'s nuclear program.

Iran's lies disguise terror network

Iran's lies disguise terror network Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: International Security, Iran, Middle East, Op-eds    

IN view of the Obama administration's attempts to mend relations with Tehran, it's important to remember the truly revolutionary, ideological and repressive nature of the Iranian regime.

Far from becoming more moderate, Iran remains a leading human rights abuser, still committed to Ayatollah Khomeini's vision of exporting the revolution and, with it, Iran's intolerant, fundamentalist version of Shia Islam.

A Jerusalem-Beijing ‘Expressway'?

A Jerusalem-Beijing ‘Expressway'? Author: Yehonathan Tommer Categories: China, Israel    

Since Washington blocked some controversial Israeli arms sales to China in the late 1990s, Jerusalem and Beijing have progressively developed and deepened their economic, commercial and cultural ties. Israeli priorities are primarily bilateral, while China's eager demand for Israeli technology and know-how is a part of Beijing's global, multi-layered strategy for dealing with dependence on Middle East oil and energy supplies.

The Last Word: March Madness

The Last Word: March Madness Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia    

Julius Caesar, in Shakespeare's script, was warned he should "Beware the Ides of March". People living in Sydney, in 2015, had reason to beware the Ideas of March.

Miriam Margolyes kicked off events on the ABC television programme "Q & A". She began by asserting, "People don't like Jews", and then claimed this dislike was due to the identification of Jews with a series of alleged misdemeanours of the State of Israel...

Media Microscope: Bringing up Bibi Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia    

Overwhelmingly, media coverage of Binyamin Netanyahu's re-election framed the comments he made in the lead up to election day as a convenient hook to explain why a two-state resolution is in limbo.

This was largely achieved by misreporting or excluding critical sections of Netanyahu's actual remarks, namely that "anyone who goes to create today a Palestinian turning over land that will be used...for attacks by Islamist extremists against...Israel. [emphasis added].

Essay: Paradigm Shift
Rabin: By today's standards, a 'hardliner'

Essay: Paradigm Shift Author: Evelyn Gordon Categories: Israel    

Nowadays, it's become virtually accepted wisdom that Israel is becoming increasingly right-wing, and that this shift constitutes a major obstacle to peace... A popular corollary of this thesis is that Israel, as it moves rightward, is becoming less democratic, less respectful of civil rights, and less tolerant of minorities. Both halves of this thesis are wrong...

Iran and the North Korea Precedent

Iran and the North Korea Precedent Author: Dan Blumenthal and Edward Linczer Categories: Asia, International Security, Iran    

In his March 3 address to the US Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rightly compared the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran to Washington's past experience with North Korea. But the Obama Administration appears to be willfully ignoring the record with North Korea. It also seems unfocused on the dire implications for Asia of a bad Iran deal.

Print edition
Obama and Bibi need to sort out their differences

Obama and Bibi need to sort out their differences Author: Robert Satloff Categories: America, Israel    

It's time for an intervention. Friends of the US-Israel relationship shouldn't let their leaders drive drunk on confidence. If they do, they may inadvertently steer a precious alliance right off the cliff. Yet right now, US President Barack Obama and Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu are each empowered by a different kind of confidence...

Bibi Comes Back

Bibi Comes Back Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

In an electoral upset on par with Attlee's defeat of Churchill in 1945 and Truman's of Dewey in 1948, Binyamin Netanyahu emerged from Israel's twentieth general election with a decisive victory that has left pundits, pollsters and rivals dumbfounded.

Deconstruction Zone: Delegitimisation/Settlement Blues Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel    

Israel faces a "war of words, images and ideas", posing a significant strategic threat to its existence, according to Dr. Einat Wilf, a former member of the Knesset and an Adjunct Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. On Feb. 8, Dr. Wilf told an audience in Melbourne that she uses the word "war" intentionally, explaining: "We're seeing a non-violent battle, a war that is being waged by non violent means but ultimately for a very sinister and violent end."

Scribblings: An Experiment in European Hate
Columnist Gwynne Dyer

Scribblings: An Experiment in European Hate Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia, Europe    

A number of writers have been publicly downplaying the rise of antisemitism in Europe - for instance internationally syndicated British-Canadian columnist Gwynne Dyer and vehemently anti-Zionist Jewish-born American academic Norman Finkelstein.

Dyer asserted in a column, republished both in the Melbourne Age (Feb. 20) and in some New Zealand newspapers, that the Jews of Europe really only face a "very small threat" and therefore any calls for these communities to consider moving to Israel was simply "crude electioneering" by Israeli PM Netanyahu...


Editorial: Changing the Circumstances Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel    

On March 17, Israel returned to the polls for the second time in two years and re-elected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a late surge that defied all expectations.

Netanyahu's victory was not without controversy. In particular, Netanyahu drew justified criticism for his insensitive choice of words on election day while rallying his base to vote, warning them that "Arabs" were flocking to the polls in "droves".

It appears Netanyahu's unacceptably worded exhortation was an ill-judged reaction to what he construed as a calculated strategy by foreign-funded NGOs to sway the election by increasing voter turnout in segments of the Israeli electorate most hostile to him.