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Media Microscope: A Farewell to Sanctions Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Iran, Media/ Academia    

The significance of lifting economic sanctions on Iran under the P5+1 nuclear deal was given appropriate media coverage in mid-January.

On ABC Radio National "Breakfast" (Jan. 18), Teheran University's Professor Mohammad Marandi told Fran Kelly Iran has "done everything they were supposed to do and probably a bit more. But unfortunately as soon as the announcement was made... the United States... expanded the sanctions regime."

Religious Zionism and "price tag" terrorism
Murder charges: Amiram Ben-Uliel

Religious Zionism and "price tag" terrorism Author: Andrew Friedman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

In addition to ongoing Palestinian terror attacks, Israel has been rocked over the past year by a series of attacks against Palestinian individuals and property, presumably committed by members of the religious Zionist community. The attacks, known as "price tag" attacks, led to the administrative detention of a group of young religious nationalists from the small ultra-nationalist/religious movement known colloquially as the "hilltop youth", following an arson attack last July on a home in the Palestinian village of Duma.

Judicial jujitsu awaits Israel's new A-G
New Israeli A-G Avichai Mandelblit

Judicial jujitsu awaits Israel's new A-G Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

Politics and the law, wrote Israeli jurist Haim Cohen, must be separated because the one thrives on partiality and the other on impartiality.

At the same time, the legislative and executive branches must also interface routinely and intensely, a dynamic that in most democracies happens, one way or another, through the office of the Attorney-General (A-G).

However, whereas most countries, including Australia, assign this office to a politician, Israel's 13 Attorneys-General have all been unelected career jurists, seven of whom, including Cohen, proceeded from that position to the Supreme Court.

Print edition
NZ Icon takes on Antisemitism
Sir James McNeish

NZ Icon takes on Antisemitism Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Australasia    

Back in 2014, at the height of the Israel-Gaza conflict, I wrote about the extreme nature of anti-Israel protests and public pronouncements. I pondered whether there might perhaps be a stream of antisemitism, disguised as anti-Israel sentiment, growing in New Zealand.

These concerns are shared by other New Zealanders, non-Jewish as well as Jewish.

One prominent example is Sir James McNeish, a critically acclaimed novelist, playwright and biographer. 

ISIL's bid to unite Southeast Asian jihadists

ISIL's bid to unite Southeast Asian jihadists Author: Zachary Abuza Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

The pathways to recruitment to ISIL are slightly different than in the past. In Indonesia, ISIL has been able to graft onto much of JI's social network, owing in large part to people such as Abu Bakar Ba'asyir and Abdurrahman Aman's early pledges of allegiance to ISIL. In addition to JI's mosques, madrassas and kinship networks, ISIL members have effectively used the prisons as epicentres of recruitment and radicalisation.

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China's Quest for Jewish "Secrets"

China's Quest for Jewish "Secrets" Author: James Ross Categories: China, International Jewry    

During my first trip to China in the summer of 1985, I visited English Corner in People's Park in Shanghai one Sunday afternoon. It's one of the places where young Chinese people used to practise their English with visiting foreigners. Officials from the university where I was teaching in Shanghai escorted me there, and a big crowd quickly gathered to talk with me - a tall, curly-haired foreigner - and pushed closer to shower me with questions.

Scribblings: Two Quotes

Scribblings: Two Quotes Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iraq, Israel, Palestinians    

What Netanyahu was actually saying - a two-state resolution is not possible "today" - is actually the view almost across the spectrum in Israel. Opposition leader Herzog - a smart and sincere man - thinks the same thing.

Essay: The Birth of the Terror Selfie

Essay: The Birth of the Terror Selfie Author: Matti Friedman Categories: Israel, Lebanon    

This fall and winter have seen many of us here in Israel consuming a miserable kind of reality TV: blurry clips of young Palestinian Muslims with knives seeking release in murder and martyrdom, lunging, stabbing, falling stricken to the ground, the action captured by cellphones or security cameras; an imam in Gaza waving a knife and calling on the faithful to render us into "body parts"; a fighter from the Islamic State, our new neighbour, warning us of the violence he and his comrades will inflict when they arrive.

Deterring Iran

Deterring Iran Author: Michael Herzog Categories: International Security, Iran    

As the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 goes into effect with the announcement of Implementation Day and the lifting of major international sanctions on Jan. 16, the huge challenge of making it work still lies ahead for the international community. While the deal's prospects will primarily be determined by Western deterrence against Iran, recent events preceding this new strategic era have eroded Western deterrence rather than strengthening it.

China goes to the Middle East

China goes to the Middle East Author: Michael Singh Categories: China, Iran, Middle East, Saudi Arabia    

Even as the Iran nuclear deal and the potential for rapprochement between Teheran and the West have inspired countless op-eds, China's budding relationship with Iran has gone relatively unremarked upon. But on Jan. 23, Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to visit Iran after the deal. Xi stated that he sought to open a "new chapter" in China's relations with Iran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, "The Islamic Republic will never forget China's cooperation during [the] sanctions era."

Editorial: The Opposite of Moderation Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: International Security, Iran    

Those who were hoping last year's nuclear deal would lead to positive change in Iranian politics and foreign policy can be assured that change does indeed appear to be occurring. Unfortunately for the world, however, virtually all change so far appears to be for the worse.

Israeli government launches major program to boost investment in Israeli Arab sectors

Israeli government launches major program to boost investment in Israeli Arab sectors Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Israel's cabinet has approved a five-year plan worth around $15 billion shekels (US$3.85 billion) for social and employment development for Israel's Arab community. The plan seeks to improve education, public transportation, highway infrastructure, employment, public security, law enforcement, sports ands community services, as well as facilitate the future construction of tens of thousands of housing units in minority communities.

Palestinian Authority incitement continues to fuel murder - and even children are a target: not newsworthy?
Nashat Melhem – terrorist, not a 'martyr'

Palestinian Authority incitement continues to fuel murder - and even children are a target: not newsworthy? Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

The wave of attacks on Israeli civilians is sadly still ongoing. On Sunday Dafna Meir, a nurse and mum of six, was brutally stabbed to death outside her home in Otniel. On Monday, Michal Fruman was attacked and moderately wounded by a teen terrorist.

Neither of these attacks made the major papers in Australia. They have also largely failed to report the significant role that incitementis still playing in motivating these terrorist acts. The most recent terrorist to be elevated to ‘martyr' status as part of this ongoing incitement is Nashat Melhem, who killed three people in Tel-Aviv.

AIJAC seeking a Media/Public Affairs Officer Categories: Media Releases    

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), the Australian Jewish community's premier independent public affairs organisation, is seeking a self-motivated individual with an interest in politics and journalism to work in our Sydney office.

Iran nuclear deal comes into effect - amid troubling Iranian behaviour Categories: International Security, Iran, Updates    

This Update deals with the aftermath of the announcement on the weekend by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had met its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal reached last July, and therefore the agreement was coming into force, including the lifting of most sanctions on Iran. (A good summary of what this means in practical terms is discussed in this short video, or in this article.) This Update especially focuses on the controversies over aspects of Iranian behaviour which have surrounded the implementation of the deal.

What 1961 can teach us about 2016

What 1961 can teach us about 2016 Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Speeches, United Nations, Updates    

It's particularly worthwhile from time to time, in an effort to better understand the core issues in the conflict, to revisit key source materials and policy statements during the period after the 1948 War of Independence and before the Six Day War of 1967 - before the IDF controlled even a centimetre of land in the "occupied territories".

Of these, then-Foreign Minister Golda Meir's address to the Special Political Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on December 15, 1961 is surely a standout. Coming just 13 years after the creation of the state, Meir's address serves as a crucial policy statement during this period in Israel's early history.

Print edition
Sanctions lifted despite Iran’s provocations

Sanctions lifted despite Iran’s provocations Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: America, Europe, Iran, Updates    

On Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared that Iran had complied with the July nuclear agrement.  The removal of sanctions came despite a number of criticisms of the IAEA's December report on Iran's progress in complying with the deal, as well as recent provocations by Iran. Such provocations include the test-firiing of ballistic missile in violation of a UN Security Council resolution; the Iranian navy rocket fired near a US warship in the Strait of Hormuz, and, last week, Iran's humiliation of the US by broadcasting on Iranian television around two dozen photos and five videos of ten detained US sailors and their two boats after they allegedly crossed into Iranian waters apparently due to a navigational error.

Escalating Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions

Escalating Iran-Saudi Arabia tensions Categories: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

This Update features material on the sharp escalation in what was already a sort of Cold War between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Saudi execution of Saudi Shiite religious leader Shaykh Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2. It follows up with some analysis of a related development overnight - the Iranian arrest, and then release, of 10 US Navy personnel after Teheran alleged that their two boats entered Iranian territorial waters.

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Pot to Kettle: Iran’s hysterical and hypocritical condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s executions
Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr

Pot to Kettle: Iran’s hysterical and hypocritical condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s executions Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

On January 2, Saudi Arabia executed Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent critic of the Saudi authorities who called for political reforms.

While executions are not a new policy or practice in Saudi Arabia, al-Nimr's execution caused a regional and international backlash - and seems to be triggering a new escalation in the ongoing Cold War between the region's Sunni states, led by Saudi Arabia, and Shi'ite Iran and its allies.

The Iranian link in the North Korean nuclear test

The Iranian link in the North Korean nuclear test Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Asia, International Security, Iran, Updates    

Escalating tensions in East Asia, North Korea claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb on January 6, its fourth nuclear test. 

Despite scepticism as to whether the nuclear test was actually a hydrogen bomb, the test reveals that North Korea has been advancing its nuclear weapons program quietly, while the world's attention has been fixed on the nuclear program of another country - Iran. However, some analysts believe that Iran may also be benefitting from North Korea's nuclear program given that the two countries have long had extensive cooperation on both nuclear development and missile research.