Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Cameron's watershed speech

Cameron's watershed speech Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Islamic Extremism, United Kingdom    

On July 20, UK Prime Minister David Cameron made a major policy speech on countering extremism, which is likely to have a "tremendous impact" and inspire other countries, according to Professor Alan Johnson, an expert in de-radicalisation who was recently in Australia as a guest of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. 

Print edition
Scribblings: CW Nightmare - leading to a nuclear one?

Scribblings: CW Nightmare - leading to a nuclear one? Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Iran, Syria    

A new potential nightmare has apparently just opened up for the world, and hardly anyone seems to have noticed. According to credible media reports, US intelligence believes ISIS, the world's most dangerous terror organisation, began using chemical weapons against opposing Kurdish forces in early August. US intelligence agencies also believe ISIS probably got the mustard gas it employed against Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq from Syria's stockpiles - stocks that are supposed to have been removed from the country and destroyed under a 2013 Russian-brokered deal. 

This should be big news.

The Last Word: The beginning of a new era?

The Last Word: The beginning of a new era? Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Asia, Australasia, Interfaith Dialogue    

There is a wonderful Indonesian celebration known as Hallal bi Hallal. Shortly after the end of Ramadan, Indonesian Muslims, and their guests, gather to strengthen interpersonal bonds and make peace with each other, just as during Ramadan they had been concentrating on their relationship to, and bonds with, G-d.

Israel and Egypt in the age of al-Sisi

Israel and Egypt in the age of al-Sisi Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Egypt, Israel    

Four years after pan-Arab upheaval shook its political foundations, Egypt is treading new economic, political, and diplomatic paths while increasingly harmonising with the Jewish state next door. The 2011 fall of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year autocracy was followed by three successors within less than three years, yet the regime that emerged from that mayhem is today entering its third year seemingly increasingly comfortable at the helm.  

Will Khamenei even approve the nuclear deal?

Will Khamenei even approve the nuclear deal? Author: Mehdi Khalaji Categories: Iran    

In a televised speech delivered August 17, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented on the P5+1 nuclear agreement in sceptical terms, noting that the decision about whether to approve the deal is still unclear in both Washington and Teheran. As he has done since July, the Supreme Leader also pointedly avoided approving the agreement, after a week of vigorous debate in Iran about his views on the document.

A Done Deal?

A Done Deal? Author: Robert Satloff Categories: America, Iran    

A resolution to disapprove the Iran agreement may have substantial political reverberations but limited practical impact. It would not override President Obama's authority to enter into the agreement. Nor would it restrict his authority to participate in most aspects of enforcing the agreement. Indeed, the sole practical implication would be to restrict his authority under law to waive nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.

Editorial: The Dilemma of Terrorism Within Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism    

Israelis and friends of Israel alike have, appropriately, come together in expressing profound shame and disgust over the firebombing of two Palestinian homes in the West Bank village of Duma late last month, which claimed the life of a toddler and his father. This came on top of a stabbing attack at Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade that left a teenage girl dead, and five others injured.

At times such as these, it is essential to resist the impulse to go on the defensive and try to deflect or downplay the significance of the incidents. 

Congressional Comment on Iran Deal/IAEA document shows Iran to inspect itself at Parchin Categories: America, International Security, Iran, Updates    

With US debate about last month's Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, continuing to foment in the lead up an expected Congressional vote in September, this Update two articles from Congressional leaders explaining their reasons for planning to oppose the deal. It also includes some new information, uncovered by the Associated Press, about an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) side-deal with Iran concerning the investigation of the Parchin site - long alleged to be a centre for Iran's nuclear weaponisation research - that is almost certain to excite even more Congressional opposition.

Arguments about the Iran Deal

Arguments about the Iran Deal Categories: International Security, Iran, Updates    

This Update features contributions to the intense debate still occurring about the G5+1 nuclear deal reached with Iran in mid-July - especially as the US Congress moves to vote on the agreement. In particular, it highlights some responses being offered to arguments for the deal being put forward by the US Administration and its allies.

Isi Leibler visits Australia
Isi Leibler (centre) with other former ECAJ heads

Isi Leibler visits Australia Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Updates    

"Israel today and the Jewish people are facing challenges - that's an understatement," Jerusalem-based columnist Isi Leibler told a Sydney meeting last week.

Jewish Terrorism in Israel

Jewish Terrorism in Israel Categories: Israel, Terrorism, Updates    

Israel has been discussing and struggling with two major issues this week - what appears to be a Jewish firebombing terror attack on homes in the West Bank Palestinian town of Duma,  which left Ali Saad Dawabsha, an 18-month-old child, dead, and members of his family fighting for their lives, plus a stabbing attack on Jerusalem's Gay Pride parade, which led to the death of a 16-year-old girl and injuries to five other people. Statements on the attacks from Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders are summarised here.

Iran's Supreme Leader allegedly sets out in detail his program to destroy and ethnically cleanse Israel

Iran's Supreme Leader allegedly sets out in detail his program to destroy and ethnically cleanse Israel Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Iran, Israel, Updates    

In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic in May, President Obama suggested that the Iranian regime's racist and antisemitic worldviews don't "preclude [them] from being rational," or from "being interested in survival." Obama acknowledged the regime's explicit antisemitism, yet then proceeded to negotiate a nuclear deal that would ultimately bolster and empower this dangerous regime with virtually no practical check on its incitement (see here for AIJAC's deconstruction of the deal's flaws and implications.)

Talking Turkey: Was Turkey’s assault on ISIS a pretext to attack the Kurds?

Talking Turkey: Was Turkey’s assault on ISIS a pretext to attack the Kurds? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Turkey, Updates    

Turkey has finally joined the fight against ISIS. On July 24 Turkey sent fighter jets into Syria to attack ISIS targets, and it also agreed to allow the US and other allies to use Incirlik in southern Turkey as a base to carry out operations against ISIS. It should have been a welcome development but on the same day Turkey also attacked the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Since then, Turkey has reportedly carried out hundreds of attacks on PKK targets and has killed around 260 Kurdish fighters. Many are now asking, was Turkey's agreement to fight ISIS merely a pretext for attacking the Kurds?

AIJAC statement on racism directed at Adam Goodes

AIJAC statement on racism directed at Adam Goodes Categories: Australasia, Media Releases, Updates    

AIJAC is proud to have signed a joint statement last week that condemned racism directed at Adam Goodes and called for renewed efforts to stamp out racism in sport and everyday life. The joint statement was signed by 150 organisations and was organised by ANTaR.  AIJAC's Executive Director Colin Rubenstein said:

"The booing of Adam Goodes which appears in part to be racially motivated, is entirely unacceptable. Adam Goodes is not only a great footballer but an outstanding Australian who proudly advocates for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people..."

Print edition

Noted and Quoted - August 2015 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

Columnist Rowan Dean blasted the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel as "anti-Semitic" and a "grotesque fraud", pointing out its hypocrisies.

Hypocrisies include boycotting "Jewish businesses... and even a Jewish theatre" in this country "on the pretence of supporting the Palestinian ‘struggle'."

He lambasted famous BDS supporters like musician Roger Waters who "rails against the ‘conspiracy' of Jews in Hollywood [and] claims his concern for the ‘Palestinian children'" but is silent "about...Palestinian (and other Arab) children being massacred by the truckload all around the Middle East and Africa by Islamists."

Moreover, he noted, in "deliberately boycotting Israeli businesses in the West Bank, supporters of BDS are destroying the lives of the Palestinians they pretend to care for," Courier Mail (July 6). 

Yes, there is an alternative

Yes, there is an alternative Author: David Horovitz Categories: America, International Security, Iran    

Three months ago, defending what he called the "historic" framework understandings reached with Iran in Lausanne over its rogue nuclear program, US President Barack Obama planted a false and highly unpleasant insinuation. "It's no secret," the President declared in an April 2 address, "that the Israeli Prime Minister and I don't agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue." The nasty implication? That while America favours diplomacy to thwart Iran's march to the bomb, Binyamin Netanyahu wants war.

AIR New Zealand: Turtle Bay Dreams

AIR New Zealand: Turtle Bay Dreams Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Middle East, United Nations    

In theory, the United Nations is the epitome of effective diplomatic activity and relations. Yet, in practice, it is, all too frequently, an epicentre of vitriolic rhetoric, wilful misinformation, and unfortunate end results.

There is prestige and status attached to seats on the various UN councils and committees, though. And, at least partly for this reason, New Zealand fought long and hard to gain its current seat on the UN Security Council.

Behind the News - August 2015

Behind the News - August 2015 Categories: Egypt, Holocaust/ War Crimes, India, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Speaking on July 18, four days after the deal on Iran's nuclear program was signed, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed that the deal would not change Iran's policy against the "arrogant American government", which he castigated for its support of the "child-killing Zionist regime." In the lead up to the agreement, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps issued a statement on July 8 that called Israel the common enemy of the Islamic nations and said that destroying it is Muslims' first priority.

AIJAC statement on Jerusalem Gay Pride Attack
Shira Banki

AIJAC statement on Jerusalem Gay Pride Attack Categories: Israel, Media Releases    

AIJAC condemns the horrific stabbing of six people at the Jerusalem Pride Parade on July 30. With deep sadness AIJAC sends its condolences to the family of 16 year-old Shira Banki who has died three days after being critically wounded in the attack, and we pray for the speedy recovery of the five injured victims.