Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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ABC downplays human rights angle in coverage of Iran deal negotiations

ABC downplays human rights angle in coverage of Iran deal negotiations Author: Allon Lee Categories: Iran, Media/ Academia, Updates    

One of the little reported upon aspects of the current nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran is the reality that the Obama Administration has delinked any nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic from any discussion of Iran's appalling human rights record. While US officials say they will continue pushing human rights efforts separately, there is little evidence that there is any pressure or urgency in this regard, given the focus on trying to preserve the momentum of the nuclear talks.

India abstains as UNHRC adopts anti-Israel resolution embracing biased Gaza report
Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Modi

India abstains as UNHRC adopts anti-Israel resolution embracing biased Gaza report Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: India, Israel, United Nations, Updates    

The UN Human Rights Council closed out its 29th session on July 3 by passing its 62nd resolution against Israel, more than it has passed for every other country combined. This resolution, in which the Council adopted its Commission of Inquiry's misleading Gaza report, saw ‘yes' votes from 41 of 47 Council members, including countries Israel has traditionally considered allies such as Germany and France (although there may have been tactical considerations behind the European vote.) The sole ‘no' vote came from the United States, and five countries abstained, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Macedonia, and Paraguay.

But Israel saw perhaps a surprising diplomatic victory in the fifth abstention: India.


One year on, is the international fight against ISIS working?
Mosque in Kuwait attacked by ISIS

One year on, is the international fight against ISIS working? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Middle East, Terrorism, Updates    

It has been over a year since Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an "Islamic State" caliphate on June 29. It was the declaration that finally grabbed the world's attention, and led to an international effort to fight ISIS. But one year on, the "Islamic State" continues to expand.

Print edition
Turkey's Islamists take a bath
Big gains: The pro-Kurdish HDP

Turkey's Islamists take a bath Author: Joseph Loconte Categories: Turkey    

Claiming victory for his Justice and Development party (AKP) in last week's historic national election, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was defiant. "This election has shown that the backbone of Turkey is the AKP," he told supporters at party headquarters in Ankara. "The AKP is the only party that is in all of the regions, all provinces, and embraces all of the citizens." An analyst with Al Jazeera television, a sometimes boosterish outlet for the AKP's Islamist agenda, offered a rougher assessment: "It was an image of confidence on a very bad night."



Asia Watch: Breaking Point Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia    

Since the 2013 election, UMNO and particularly Prime Minister Najib Razak has courted PAS by murmuring tacit acquiescence for its plans to institute hudud (Islamic law backed by harsh medieval punishments) in an effort to break up the opposition coalition. Now PAS appears set to align itself with UMNO in the belief that they can take enough of the 60.1% of ethnic Malay votes to continue to dominate politics against the Chinese, Indians and the mainly Christian tribes in Sabah and Sarawak.

However, PM Najib's tactical move may not save either him or his party's dominant position.

How to tell whether an Iran Deal is acceptable

How to tell whether an Iran Deal is acceptable Author: Michael Singh Categories: International Security, Iran    

If Iran and the P5+1 powers reach a nuclear accord this summer, members of Congress, presidential candidates and the public will need to assess whether the deal is acceptable... Perhaps more important, this evaluation will need to consider the big picture: What objectives do Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany) accomplish via the agreement?


Deconstruction Zone: Double standards, times NINE Author: David Harris Categories: Israel, United Nations    

It's appalling to see how Israel is treated by a totally different standard to other countries in the international system. Of course, Israel deserves scrutiny, as does every other nation. But it also merits equal treatment.
First, Israel is the only UN member state whose very right to exist is under constant challenge.

Notwithstanding the fact that Israel embodies an age-old connection with the Jewish people, that it was created based on the 1947 recommendation of the UN, and that it has been a member of the world body since 1949, there's a relentless chorus of nations, institutions and individuals denying Israel's very political legitimacy.

New Zealand takes its turn at the UN Security Council Presidency - with a Middle East-oriented agenda
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully

New Zealand takes its turn at the UN Security Council Presidency - with a Middle East-oriented agenda Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: Australasia, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

July 1 marked the start of a one-month presidency for New Zealand at the UN Security Council, an opportunity the country has no intentions of squandering. The small Asia-Pacific island nation has announced an ambitious agenda, one that includes tackling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and convincing the five permanent members of the Council to discuss surrendering their veto privilege.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has said that his country's goal is simply to get the Israelis and Palestinians around the negotiating table again, not to impose a time limit on those negotiations. France is currently attempting to bring forth a UN resolution to not only restart talks but to reach an agreement within 18 months; that resolution would dictate many of the key outcomes of the talks, something Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu have argued would harm Israel's security.

Two Complementary Palestinian Strategies
Saeb Erekat: "Diplomatic war" on Israel

Two Complementary Palestinian Strategies Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

All signs indicate that the Palestinians are planning to step up their efforts to force Israel to comply with their demands. But as the Palestinians are not united, they are working on two fronts to achieve their goal.

One party, headed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), believes that, with the help of the international community, Israel will be forced to fully withdraw to the pre-1967 lines... The second party, represented by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several other terror groups, continues to reject any form of compromise...

Shameful report invites future bloodshed

Shameful report invites future bloodshed Author: David Horovitz Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

It’s not often I find myself agreeing with Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the populist leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party who wants to annex most of the West Bank. But when Bennett greeted the publication Monday of the UN Human Rights Council’s report on last summer’s Israel-Hamas war by succinctly telling its compilers, “Shame on you,” he had it exactly right.

Attorneys at War

Attorneys at War Author: Willy Stern Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

For three straight days starting on July 15, 2014, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) made thousands of phone calls to the residents of Shejaiya in northern Gaza. The locals were encouraged to evacuate their homes before IDF tanks rolled across the border. Tens of thousands of leaflets were dropped into the village. These leaflets suggested both a safe evacuation route and safe destinations to head for within Gaza City. The IDF sent similar messages daily via local television and radio. But that's not all.

The Last Word: Shoe Business
Asghar Bukhari: Missing shoe blamed on Mossad

The Last Word: Shoe Business Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism    

When a high profile London-based conspiracy theorist publicly claimed that Mossad had snuck into his home, in a sophisticated mission to steal a simple shoe from his otherwise secure footwear collection, he inspired laughter, a flurry of jokes on social media, and encouragement from his comrades to, well, put a sock in it.

While many commentators were confident putting the boot into the self-outed obsessive, very few observed the context of his seemingly insane paranoia.


Druze Dilemmas

Druze Dilemmas Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel, Syria    

Had it not been too busy fighting itself, Syria would this month have been celebrating the 15th anniversary of Bashar Assad's rule.

Tragically, Assad and his citizenry have no cause to celebrate, as the country haemorrhages and its president's future looks increasingly grim. As diplomats seek clarity through war's fog, the dilemmas with which the Syrian crisis challenge Israel are becoming ever more complex - with the current focus on Syria's embattled Druze minority.

The Biblio File: Tales from Washington

The Biblio File: Tales from Washington Author: Shmuel Rosner Categories: America, Israel    

My conversation on June 17 with Knesset Member and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren lasted for about an hour and a half. We were interrupted by the bell - calling Oren to cast a vote - but that was somewhat useful. The conversation dealt mainly with the US-Israel relationship and what Oren says in his new book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide (Random House, 2015) about US President Obama.

Essay: The Middle East Studies Mess
Edward Said: A key influence

Essay: The Middle East Studies Mess Author: Michael Rubin Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

Pundits and politicians whose introduction to the Middle East comes from Middle Eastern studies programs in Australian or United States universities might be surprised by the current shape of the region. After all, after preaching for decades that Israel and perhaps the United States were at the root of regional problems, it now is evident that Israel is the only truly stable oasis in the greater Middle East and North Africa.

Voices of Dialogue and Hope
Maajid Nawaz: Voice against Islamist extremism

Voices of Dialogue and Hope Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Antisemitism, Interfaith Dialogue, International Jewry    

This June the American Jewish Committee (AJC) hosted its annual Global Forum conference in Washington DC, bringing together leaders and commentators to grapple with the defining challenges of our time in Jewish and Israel affairs - including rising antisemitism, the anti-Israel boycott, prospects for a two-state resolution and Iran's nuclear threat. I had the pleasure of not only attending the conference but of liaising with AJC's Communications team in the month leading up to the Global Forum - a product of AIJAC's long-standing relationship with AJC, a leading organisation in international Jewish advocacy.

Scribblings: Incitement Watch
Sheikh Khaled Al-Mughrabi

Scribblings: Incitement Watch Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Antisemitism, Iran, Israel, Palestinians    

It seems worthwhile to again revisit the issue of incitement in the Palestinian media because some people seem to doubt that this is really a serious problem. Anyone who cares about peace should care about the blatantly antisemitic, pro-terrorist or insanely conspiratorial things ordinary Palestinians are being told by their official media. 

Editorial: Three Reports On Gaza

Editorial: Three Reports On Gaza Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Last year's fifty-day Gaza War, known in Israel as "Operation Protective Edge", has returned to the fore recently as the subject of several internal and external inquiries.

The media has focused on the very questionable United Nations Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) commission's report released on June 22 - the mandate for which was a UNHRC resolution that openly declared Israel, and Israel alone, guilty of war crimes before any investigation had taken place. Yet two other recent reports (both of which can be found through links on AIJAC's website) are actually much more valuable to anyone truly interested in learning the reliable facts about this conflict.

Statement: AIJAC condemns antisemitic tweets Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Media Releases    

There is no place for racism in Australian society, and AIJAC commends Libertas Financial Planning for terminating financial adviser James Howarth's authorised representative status following Howarth's vile antisemitic tweets attacking Assistant Treasurer The Hon. Josh Frybenberg MP.

We are also pleased that the Financial Services Institute of Australia has launched an investigation...

Print edition
Multiple expert reports contradict UN’s findings in Gaza conflict

Multiple expert reports contradict UN’s findings in Gaza conflict Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has released the results of its official inquiry into the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. The Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Mary McGowan Davis and Doudou Diène, appears to have come to a superficially balanced conclusion: that both Israel and ‘Palestinian armed groups' may have committed war crimes.

A full list of documents published by the UN can be found here, and includes the full 183-page detailed report, a briefer 34-page summary, and a question-and-answer document concerning the Commission's conclusions.

There are several resources that readers can turn to for a more comprehensive assessment of the conflict, and that fill in several important gaps that the UN report appears to skim over.

UNHCR report on Gaza/ Bipartisan group expresses concern on Iran deal Categories: Iran, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

This Update brings readers two of the many critical responses to the report of the independent commission created by the UN Human Rights Council to examine last year's Gaza conflict. It also calls attention to a bipartisan statement by 18 senior Washington policymakers and experts implicitly critical of where the US Administration is currently heading in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Fairfax takes its readers on a propaganda tour

Fairfax takes its readers on a propaganda tour Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Anti-Zionism, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Fairfax's arts supplements don't set aside space for letters to the editor, so there's little recourse for the public to respond to an article with a blatantly political slant, or factual problems.

Such was the case on Sunday - in the arts supplements for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Canberra Times, which featured a fawning interview of Irish "travel writer" Dervla Murphy in its "Books" section.

ABC and SBS: Latest lawsuit against Al Jazeera shows once again that it is no normal news network

ABC and SBS: Latest lawsuit against Al Jazeera shows once again that it is no normal news network Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: America, Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Updates    

AIJAC has previously written about and continues to highlight the anti-Israel biases of Qatari-owned news outlet al-Jazeera, which become particularly problematic as the taxpayer-funded ABC and SBS continue to use stories from the network as part of their own radio and TV news programming.

Now, new evidence has surfaced from al-Jazeera America that further undermines the legitimacy and reliability of al-Jazeera, and arguably raises doubts as to whether ABC and SBS should treat al-Jazeera as a news source as credible as the BBC, for example, or Deutsche Welle.

Gaza casualties:  Israeli report refutes widely cited UN figures
Israeli analysis questions Palestinian casualties

Gaza casualties: Israeli report refutes widely cited UN figures Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

A mainstay of many news stories mentioning last year's war between Israel and Hamas is the claim that the United Nations has found that 69 per cent of the 2,100 plus Palestinian fatalities were civilian.

Now, a new report by the Israeli Government into last year's war, ably puts forward figures which appear to not only comprehensively refute that universally cited 69 per cent statistic but also to demonstrate why it is so far off reality...