Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Carr's offensive ANU speech

Carr's offensive ANU speech Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Updates    

Former foreign minister Bob Carr gave a speech at Australian National University (ANU) on July 14, co-hosted by the Centre for Arabic and Islamic Studies and two Palestinian advocacy groups, Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine (AJPP) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). In it, he made crude and untrue comments about the "Israel lobby", suggesting sinister undue influence by the Australian Jewish community. For example, Carr spoke in his speech of "the Israel lobby and its quite objectionable control over Australian policy."

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Is there "no alternative" - other than war - to the recently announced Iran deal?

Is there "no alternative" - other than war - to the recently announced Iran deal? Categories: International Security, Iran, Updates    

US President Barack Obama gave a long media conference on Wednesday (Washington time) on the Iran nuclear deal announced Tuesday, in which he defended the deal, while admitting it had some shortcomings and would have some negative consequences, such as boosting Iranian support for Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria. His key point was this, "“There really are only two alternatives here. Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war" while insisting that no better deal than the one reached was achievable. This Update is devoted to some replies to that claim (which is also the key claim generally made by most advocates of the agreement.)

The Iran Nuclear Deal: The day after

The Iran Nuclear Deal: The day after Categories: International Security, Iran, Updates    

As readers are no doubt aware, after years of negotiations a final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers (US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany) was announced yesterday.  A White House summary of the key provisions of the deal is here, while the full 160-page agreement can be read here. This Update offers some analysis of the deal's provisions and its implications, as well as a piece on the Israeli perspective of the deal.

One year after Operation Protective Edge, Hamas is to blame for Gaza's delayed reconstruction
Hamas member carries a model rocket, December 2014

One year after Operation Protective Edge, Hamas is to blame for Gaza's delayed reconstruction Author: Miriam Smallman Categories: Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

The one-year anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, Israel's war to stop Hamas' rockets, saw the Australian media run stories that paint a bleak picture of the current state of the Gaza Strip. The stories tend to disproportionately focus on Israel's blockade as the key reason for Gaza's plight, ignoring Palestinian divisions that have undermined the transfer of aid.

...However, this past March, officials from the EU's five largest countries - Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Spain - criticised the Palestinian Authority for not doing more to expedite Gaza's reconstruction. "There is positive movement on the Israeli side in everything regarding Gaza," one EU diplomat said.

Only Iran benefits from this appalling gamble
Iranians celebrate the nuclear deal

Only Iran benefits from this appalling gamble Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: America, Australasia, International Security, Iran, Middle East, Op-eds    

The PM's caution and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop's warning that Iran needs to fulfil its commitments are fully justified. The test must be whether the agreement, with the US, UK, China, France, Russia and Germany, will, in fact, stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons - not just slow this down - and it appears to fail that test.

AIJAC deeply concerned about Iran nuclear deal

AIJAC deeply concerned about Iran nuclear deal Categories: International Security, Iran, Media Releases    

AIJAC is deeply concerned that the deal announced between Iran and the P5+1 will further destabilise the Middle East. It seems likely that it will only delay but not prevent Iran's ability to obtain nuclear weapons, while also providing Teheran with a large amount of new resources to continue its efforts at destabilising regional neighbours and in supporting terrorism...

Another deadline passes in Iran nuclear negotiations

Another deadline passes in Iran nuclear negotiations Categories: International Security, Iran, Updates    

The extended deadline for finalising a nuclear deal in the P5+1 talks with Iran, scheduled to end yesterday after being extended from June 30 (and having previously been extended twice), has been extended again. While some reports say it is only for 72 hours, the White House is also apparently preparing public opinion for a third option: ongoing indefinite talks while keeping in place the November 2013 interim agreement.

Iran's most recent new demand is reportedly that all arms embargoes on Iran must be ended as part of the deal.

This Update analyses this reality as well as some of the concessions that the US-led P5+1 has offered Iran to get to this point.

Hillary Clinton, BDS and the Anti-Normalization Campaign Against Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation

Hillary Clinton, BDS and the Anti-Normalization Campaign Against Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Updates    

"Breaking down barriers of anger and prejudice, facilitating friendships, and inspiring action to promote peace."

Sound promising, doesn't it? The leaders of Creativity for Peace, an NGO with the stated goal of "preparing young Israeli and Palestinian women to pave the way for peace in their communities and across borders with compassion, courage and an understanding of the story of the other" tried to follow through on their mission statement last month with a conference in East Jerusalem.

Noted and Quoted - July 2015 Categories: Media/ Academia    

Murdoch University lecturer Ameer Ali called on the West to engage Iran "as an equal partner in the fight against IS... or allow IS to become a reality with all unwelcome consequences." Ali essentially absolved Iran of any responsibility in the rise of IS, blaming Saudi Arabia for promoting "religious radicalism" through "Wahabi sharia" and Israel's "prolonged recalcitrance towards a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue" as key reasons "for the emergence of IS," West Australian (June 16).

Behind the News - July 2015
Restrictions eased: Ramadan in Jerusalem

Behind the News - July 2015 Categories: Egypt, Gulf states, International Security, Iran, Israel, Palestinians    

Israel eased restrictions on Palestinians for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to enable easier access to holy sites. West Bank male worshippers over the age of 40 were allowed to enter the Temple Mount area without a permit, as were women of all ages. Palestinians travelling to Israel for family visits were also permitted entry without formal permits.

Media Microscope: War Stories Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, United Nations    

The overwhelming majority of the media coverage on June 23 of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) report into last year's Gaza war failed to observe that Israel was forced to fight an enemy deliberately operating inside civilian residential areas.

Europa Europa: Tribal Troubles
Nicola Sturgeon: Forced to reassure Scottish Jews

Europa Europa: Tribal Troubles Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Antisemitism, Europe    

The pipes are skirling and the saltires are snapping smartly in the summer breeze, but there is an undercurrent of concern. Ignoring pleas from the Scottish Jewish community, the local councils of Edinburgh, Glasgow and many smaller Scottish towns flew the Palestinian flag above their offices in solidarity with Gaza after last year's conflict.

The predictable effect was to send the rate of antisemitic incidents through the roof. Scottish Jews experienced almost as many antisemitic incidents in one month as in the entire previous year.

ABC seems to downplay human rights angle in coverage of Iran deal negotiations

ABC seems to downplay 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 (see US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014). 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.

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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.