Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Ehud Yaari on Israel and ISIS Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Syria, Turkey    

Ehud Yaari is the veteran Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel Two television, an Israel-based Lafer international fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of eight books on the Arab-Israeli conflict. He recently visited Australia, where he spoke at a number of functions in Sydney and Melbourne, with some of his expert analysis featured in the last AIR edition.

Below is some more of his important insights, taken largely from his answers during Q&A after his lectures, into the ISIS problem and how it affects Israel.

AIR New Zealand: A Lack of Resolution?
NZ Foreign Minister Murray McCully

AIR New Zealand: A Lack of Resolution? Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Sometimes trying to be too many things to too many people in a difficult situation can end up offering nothing to anybody. Or, alternatively, counterproductively sowing confusion and discord. And such seems to be the case with New Zealand's draft Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Print edition
The Last Word: Standing Up to Terrorism

The Last Word: Standing Up to Terrorism Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

In mid-November 2005, Australians came together as never before. Women in hijabs hugging Jewish men in caps, Doc Martens-heeled youths locking arms with Indigenous elders - celebrating together as Australia defeated Uruguay at the Sydney Olympic Stadium to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

A decade later, in mid-November 2015, eighty delegates representing the peak national Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Bahai and Sikh communities gathered at NSW Parliament House, and began the day with reflection and silent prayer for those who had been murdered and maimed, terrorised and terrified, in the previous weeks and days.

Media Microscope: Paris and Jerusalem Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Media/ Academia    

The horrific terror attacks in Paris on Friday Nov. 13 inevitably saw media references made to Israel and Jews.

Bruce Hearn Mackinnon, a Deakin University lecturer in the department of management whose expertise is in industrial relations, partly blamed Muslim radicalisation on Western support for Israel‘s "occupation of Palestinian territory...humiliation of Palestinian people, [which] has been a festering sore, breeding resentment, frustration and anger from not only Palestinians, but the wider Muslim community... let's not forget that Israel secretly fund[ed] and encourage[d]...Hamas, in its early years, as a means of undermining the secular mainstream PLO."

The reality is that in the 1970s/80s, Israel allowed non-violent Islamic organisations in Gaza - some of which later evolved into Hamas - to build mosques and distribute aid. Furthermore, it is the Arab rejection of Israel that has prevented peace, not the reverse, Age (Nov. 16).

How ISIS can be Defeated Author: Matthew Levitt Categories: America, Europe, Middle East, Terrorism    

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, US President Barack Obama rejected calls to change his strategy to counter the Islamic State - specifically the idea of putting large numbers of US troops in the battlefield. "We have the right strategy and we're gonna see it through," Obama said at the G-20 Summit in Turkey on Nov. 16. But not everyone agrees. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" a few days later and concluded, "I think it's now crystal clear to us that our strategy, our policy vis-a-vis ISIL, is not working and it's time to look at something else."

Deconstruction Zone: Selective Condemnation

Deconstruction Zone: Selective Condemnation Author: Judith Bergman Categories: Europe, Israel, Terrorism    

As Israelis and human beings, we... show solidarity with the French. We only wish this solidarity was truly universal and not something reserved only for Western Europeans or Americans. The Facebook community does not add the colours of the Israeli flag to profile pictures when Israelis are murdered in terrorist attacks. No state leaders declare that it is a crime against humanity when Israeli parents are gunned down in cold blood in front of their children. Somehow, all this is irrelevant because of "occupation".

Essay: What do Palestinians want?

Essay: What do Palestinians want? Author: Daniel Polisar Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

The most recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks, now entering its second month, has been mainly the work of "lone wolf" operators running over Israeli civilians, soldiers, and policemen with cars or stabbing them with knives. The perpetrators, many in or just beyond their teenage years, are not, for the most part, activists in the leading militant organisations. They have been setting forth to find targets with the expectation, generally fulfilled, that after scoring a casualty or two they will be killed or badly wounded. What drives these young Palestinians, experts say, is a viral social-media campaign centred on claims that the Jews are endangering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and that Israel is executing Palestinian children.

Biblio File: Fine Wine from a Free Mind
Paul Monk

Biblio File: Fine Wine from a Free Mind Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

One of Australia's most versatile public intellectuals, Monk's unique background as literary critic, China expert, author, poet and founder of the Austhink consultancy, has fed an exceptionally erudite writer's journalistic crop while history journeyed from the Cold War's passage to the Islamist threat's ascendency.

Mounting Incitement and Denial

Mounting Incitement and Denial Author: Andrew Friedman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

There is a sense of trepidation walking into the guard station at the foot of the Mughrabi Bridge, the non-Muslim entrance to the Temple Mount. Having lived in and around Jerusalem for most of the past 20 years, there aren't many parts of the city I haven't seen. Personal interest, and my work as a journalist have taken me to nearly every site of religious, national or cultural interest in the city.

But going to the Temple Mount is different...

Scribblings: Paris and Palestinian polls
This cartoon appeared in Fatah's Facebook page

Scribblings: Paris and Palestinian polls Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians    

This edition contains an important new article by Daniel Polisar, which is a pretty comprehensive look at reputable polling of Palestinians over many years. It's not a pretty picture in terms of what Palestinians believe about Jews and Israel or support for terrorism - and goes a long way toward explaining why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains insoluble, despite years of international mediation efforts and several reasonable two-state peace offers from Israel.

The New Normal?

The New Normal? Author: Walter Russell Mead Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

Regardless of what kind of response the West ultimately launches, military efforts in the wake of Paris will not spell an end to terrorism. There is no chance for a cure for the causes of terrorism anytime soon, no matter how much Paris may have stiffened Europe's resolve. Across the Middle East, democracy isn't taking hold, economic development is further away than ever, and bad governance is still endemic...

ISIS’s Terror Strategy

ISIS’s Terror Strategy Author: Oded Eran & Adam Hoffman Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

The Islamic State cited two justifications for the attacks. The first was ideological. Paris was described by the jihadist organisation as "the capital of prostitution and vice, the lead carrier of the cross in Europe." It appears that France's liberal values - including strong secularism, democracy, and freedom of expression - aroused and aggravated the anger of the Islamic State. But in addition to this general ideological justification, which marks France as the "enemy of Islam" due to its liberal values, lay a strategic consideration. France was targeted because of its military involvement in the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State strongholds in Syria. 

Editorial: “Containing” ISIS Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

The barbaric, coordinated attacks in Paris by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists on November 13, which claimed the lives of over 130 people, may well be more than just the latest barbaric atrocity carried out in the name of extremist Islamism. It may signal that ISIS has decided on a shift in tactics to a new emphasis on terrorism against the home front of its perceived enemies.

Abbas admits he rejected "out of hand" Olmert’s offer for a Palestinian State

Abbas admits he rejected "out of hand" Olmert’s offer for a Palestinian State Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has finally admitted what has long been known, that in 2008 he rejected an offer from Israel's then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to create a Palestinian State that would have fulfilled all reasonable expectations from the international community for a two-state peace.

The admission came during interviews with Abbas and Olmert regarding the 2008 peace negotiations, which aired on Israel's Channel 10 TV.

Statement on Paris terror attacks

Statement on Paris terror attacks Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Media Releases, Terrorism    

We are appalled by the barbaric atrocities perpetrated in Paris on Friday night. Our sympathies and prayers are with the families and friends of those so brutally murdered, and we wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.

It is important that the terrorist attacks are recognised for what they are - further manifestations of a fundamentalist Islamist ideology that victimizes Muslim and non-Muslim alike...

Israel and Palestine: Too many barriers still prevent a two-state solution

Israel and Palestine: Too many barriers still prevent a two-state solution Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with United States President Barack Obama on November 9 following a year of tension between the two leaders. Differences over Iran were largely put aside as the meeting focused on Israel's security needs and how it will stabilise relations with the Palestinians...

The Obama administration has had to recognise that trying to prevent a slide into intensified Israeli-Palestinian violence appears to be more important at the minute than to pursue an unlikely peace breakthrough.

Print edition
Iran's Anti-American Backlash/ Syria Diplomacy

Iran's Anti-American Backlash/ Syria Diplomacy Categories: America, Iran, Syria, Updates    

This Update leads with the reality that, contrary to likely expectations of the US Administration, the Iran nuclear deal appears not only troubled in terms of Iran trying to re-write its terms prior to implementation, but appears also to be doing the opposite of creating a rapprochement between Teheran and the US. It also features some intelligent comment on recent efforts to seek a diplomatic resolution on Syria, including inviting Russia and Iran to join the talks in Vienna a couple of weeks ago.  

The Upcoming Obama-Netanyahu meeting/ Misremembering Rabin's Legacy Categories: America, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update features two previews of the upcoming Netanyahu-Obama meeting on Sunday - the first between the two leaders in more than a year marked by often bitter disagreement about the nuclear deal with Iran. It also features a piece correcting some myths which have appeared in some of the numerous comments about the legacy of murdered Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin written to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

Israeli innovation inspiring Australians
Wyatt Roy with Israel's Chief Scientist Avi Hasson

Israeli innovation inspiring Australians Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Israel, Updates    

"Innovation" is a centrepiece of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's agenda for Australia - and the government is looking to Israel for inspiration.

At the forefront of planning this agenda is Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, who together with Robogals founder and 2012 Young Australia of the Year Marita Cheng, led an Australian delegation of 44 entrepreneurs, industry representatives and government envoys on a week-long expedition to Israel (Oct. 29 to Nov. 5), to inspire Australia's innovation agenda.

Will the deal to preserve the Temple Mount "status quo" hold?

Will the deal to preserve the Temple Mount "status quo" hold? Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Last weekend, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders and came up with an understanding to preserve the religious status quo on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, as well as a Jordanian proposal, accepted by Israel, to place 24-hour surveillance cameras there to clarify any controversies about what has been occurring. The Israeli government for its part affirmed in a televised statement that it will "continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount." The Palestinians, however, have rejected the idea of security cameras, calling them a "trap", reportedly angering the Jordanians.