Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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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...

Print edition
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.

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.

Letter: Palestinian intransigence Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Your editorial "Eight-state solution floated" (25/3), noted the Palestinian Authority stated in 2008 it would not accept a mini-state of cantons. However, that comment misrepresented what was being discussed. That year, Israel offered the Palestinians a contiguous state equal in size to the land in the West Bank, with a capital in East Jerusalem and a land bridge to Gaza. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas simply walked away...

More Post-Election Analysis from Israel

More Post-Election Analysis from Israel Categories: Israel, Updates    

Here is some more good analysis of the Israeli election on Tuesday and the unexpectedly strong win by incumbent PM Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud party. A good discussion of the possible coalition configurations suggested by this outcome comes from Ben Sales of the JTA. This Update features further analysis of the various aspects of this result.

Statement: AIJAC mourns passing of Malcolm Fraser AC

Statement: AIJAC mourns passing of Malcolm Fraser AC Categories: Australasia, Media Releases    

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council mourns the passing of Malcolm Fraser, who gave many years of service to Australia, most notably as this country's twenty-second Prime Minister (1975-1983).

He was an often controversial, even divisive political figure, but will be warmly remembered by us for his pioneering commitment to Australian multiculturalism...

Letter: Israel Furphies Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Tony Walker ("Israel poll threatens Labor peace" 14-15 March) perpetuates a myth about the Israeli/Palestinian dispute - that the Netanyahu government is "committed to an expansion of Jewish settlements." In fact, settlements have not expanded beyond their geographic boundaries since 2004, and housing starts in settlements were 19% less in the five years of the Netanyahu government than in the five previous years...

More on the under-reported realities of Gaza's stalled reconstruction
Guardian 6 Mar 2015

More on the under-reported realities of Gaza's stalled reconstruction Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Israel, Updates    

European Union (EU) envoys met in early March with officials in both the Israeli foreign ministry and Palestinian Authority (PA) to advance Gaza reconstruction. The envoys reportedly indicated to the Israelis that positive moves had been made on their part to rebuild Gaza, and they also criticised the PA for its lack of progress and co-operation.

Israeli election results appear to be surprisingly strong win to Netanyahu's Likud

Israeli election results appear to be surprisingly strong win to Netanyahu's Likud Categories: Israel, Updates    

With more than 99% of the vote now counted, the Israeli election, which occurred yesterday Israel time (meaning overnight Australia time) has led to a resounding victory for incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Likud party. This is a surprise - contrasting not only with the polls of recent weeks, which suggested the opposition Zionist Camp party was somewhat ahead, but even the exit polls from yesterday, which showed the two largest parties virtually neck and neck.

Print edition
If anything, a weakening of the far-right in Israel

If anything, a weakening of the far-right in Israel Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Updates    

SBS called it a "shift to the hard right", but they're dead wrong.

With over 99 percent of the vote counted, it is apparent that the shift that actually occurred in yesterday's Israeli election was in the opposite direction - a move of many far-right voters towards the centre, along with an impressive climb in support for the now-united Arab parties and a decrease in support for the ultra-Orthodox parties as a result of the split in Shas. In fact, overall, the final tally bears a remarkable resemblance to the 2013 election, with the exception of these significant developments.

Miriam Margolyes and Antisemitism

Miriam Margolyes and Antisemitism Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Updates    

"It's becoming a growing concern: who would ride with us, the Australian Jews? The answers I received that night were vague and left me wanting more."

On Q&A on 2nd March, Journalism student Erin Gordon asked the panel "Who would ride with us, the Australian Jews," pointing to a rise in antisemitic attacks and questioning why there had not been wider support to combat such hatred.

What did Netanyahu really say about a Palestinian state?

What did Netanyahu really say about a Palestinian state? Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

It has been widely reported in Australia and elsewhere that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "ruled out" a Palestinian state in an interview with the Israeli website NRG on Monday. However, most reports have left out a crucial portion from the translation from the original Hebrew of Netanyahu's remarks which would better explain his true position.

US on a fool's errand over Iran nuclear deal

US on a fool's errand over Iran nuclear deal Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: International Security, Iran, Israel, Op-eds    

Now that the furore has subsided after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the United States Congress this month, the focus should be on the major issue. This is not the politics of the Israeli elections, or the state of US-Israel relations, or partisan splits in Washington, but the optimum strategy to prevent Iran, a terrorism-supporting rogue state, from acquiring nuclear weapons in defiance of international law. This is the question that will likely profoundly shape not only the increasingly volatile Middle East, but global politics, for decades to come.

Israel Election Update

Israel Election Update Categories: Israel, Updates    

Today's Update focuses on some new analysis of the state of the Israeli election campaign, now in its final week. The polls have been very varied (an excellent compilation of all significant election polls comes from "Jeremy's Knesset Insider" website) and show that the competition between the two main parties remains close - though it is worth noting that the larger balance of forces between the various parties in the centre right-religious and centre left-Arab blocs is at least as important as the specific votes for the main Likud and Zionist Camp parties.