Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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AIJAC's submission to the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Speech and article 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act Categories: Australasia, Monographs/ Submissions    

AIJAC's submission to the Australian Federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia - including into the operation of Part IIA of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (RDA) (including ss. 18C and 18D) and the complaints-handling procedures of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) - has now been published by the Parliamentary Committee

The Paris peace conference

The Paris peace conference Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update looks at the outcome of the French-organised conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace that took placed in Paris on Sunday. The dozens of states participating in the conference issued a declaration urging the parties resume negotiations, but making a number of other points, which you can read here. The Israeli government, which had been opposed to the conference (see Israeli PM Netanyahu's statement about it here), appears to be relieved that the outcome was relatively innocuous compared to the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2334, while both Britain and Australia distanced themselves from the final declaration. Below is some analysis of the conference and its significance.

Print edition
Essay: The KGB and the PLO
Return to Moscow: While studying there in 1979, Mahmoud Abbas was allegedly recruited by the KGB

Essay: The KGB and the PLO Author: Ronen Bergman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Russia, Terrorism    

The genesis of the KGB's developing ties with Palestinian terror organisations can be traced back to the end of the 1960s. The Soviet spy agency had code names for the different factions making up the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO): Fatah, the main movement led by Yasser Arafat, was dubbed "Kabinet" (cabinet); the PFLP received the name "Khutor" (which means a small village or a farm in Russian); the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) was named "Shkola" (a school in Russian).

Behind the News - January 2017
People flee as fire rages in Haifa

Behind the News - January 2017 Categories: Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Palestinians, Syria, Terrorism    

Terrorism took a new twist in Israel last month with a number of the many bushfires that devastated areas of the country, including Haifa, allegedly having been started deliberately as terrorist acts - while Hamas and other Palestinian and Arab groups and individuals celebrated the effects online. At least 12 people were arrested by Israeli police on charges of starting fires during the emergency.

"Adir" in the Sky
Israeli PM Netanyahu with one of Israel’s newly delivered F-35s

"Adir" in the Sky Author: Yiftah Shapir Categories: Israel    

On December 12, 2016, the first two F-35A jet fighters (dubbed "Adir," a word meaning "mighty" or "awesome" in Hebrew) landed in Israel. This is a major milestone in the long process of accepting the aircraft into Israel Air Force service, a process that began in 2008, when Israel first applied for the planes.

Asia Watch: Mixed signals on new jihadist offshoot
Omar and Abdullah Maute

Asia Watch: Mixed signals on new jihadist offshoot Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

Duterte has expressed sympathy with the historic grievances of minority Muslims in Mindanao and would prefer talks to war with armed Islamist groups. But groups that have aligned with international Islamist franchises, whether al-Qaeda or Islamic State, can expect less sympathy.

The Aftermath of UNSC Resolution 2334

The Aftermath of UNSC Resolution 2334 Categories: Israel, United Nations, Updates    

This Update deals with the implications and aftermath of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 2334 (the text of the resolution is here) , which passed 14-0 with the US abstaining, on Dec. 23. The controversial resolution condemns Israel over settlements, and has a number of other provisions likely to affect Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking in the future, as discussed below.

Deconstruction Zone: Demographic Doomsday for Israel?

Deconstruction Zone: Demographic Doomsday for Israel? Author: Gregg Roman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Critics of Israel love to exploit Jewish fears and anxieties. The most extreme resort to Holocaust inversion, boycotts, blacklists, and other singling-out methods reminiscent of Europe's antisemitic past. US Secretary of State John Kerry likes to wave around the threat of Israel's demographic extinction.

Media Microscope: The ABCs of 18C Author: Allon Lee Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

During November and December, members of the Australian Jewish community engaged in robust debate in the mainstream media over the pros and cons of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

In the Spectator Australia (Nov. 12) Australian Jewish News publisher Robert Magid argued that "for anti-Semitism and section 18C, it is an impotent tool." ...

In fact, 18C has been successfully used in a number of cases to stop the systematic distribution of antisemitic literature that denigrated all Jews as a corrupting influence in Australia.

Fatah fails to give itself a boost
Fatah leader and PA President Abbas: The conference served his interests, but was it good for Fatah?

Fatah fails to give itself a boost Author: Ben Lynfield Categories: Palestinians    

Fatah, challenged by Hamas on the one hand and Israeli settlement expansion on the other, was badly in need of a boost as it headed into its seventh congress, which ran from November 29 through December 4 in Ramallah.

But with the close of the conference and the announcement of the names of those elected to the Fatah Central Committee, it became crystal clear that the movement is stagnating rather than reviving itself.

A Refugee Problem with a Message
The circumstances of the Palestinian exodus in 1948 have little to do with why the problem persists today

A Refugee Problem with a Message Author: Einat Wilf & Adi Schwartz Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

Anyone who wants to understand why the conflict between the Zionist movement and the Palestinian Arabs has been going on for over 100 years won't find the answer in learned discussions of the question as to whether a quarter, a third or half of the Arabs were expelled during the 1948 War of Independence.

An Unsettling Bill
Settlers and police clashed at Amona in 2006, when the Israeli Government tried to dismantle the outpost

An Unsettling Bill Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

A cluster of houses on a hilltop 70 metres under this peak has become a civic battlefield involving, besides the 40 families it houses, politicians, judges, activists and diplomats who sprawl from Jerusalem and Ramallah to Brussels and New York.

Named Amona, the community's distinction is not in its location - it is but one of more than 200 settlements where more than 350,000 Israelis live beyond Israel's former boundary with Jordan - not including Jerusalem, where an additional 200,000 live beyond the pre-1967 armistice lines.

The Last Word: Worlds Collide
Antisemitic incidents in Australia: Down overall in 2016

The Last Word: Worlds Collide Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia    

Despite some sensationalist headlines, there is no data to support the claim that antisemitism in Australia is "sharply increasing" or even "on the rise".

But, while Australia is a tolerant, multicultural society, it is folly to ignore the reality that there are numerous antisemitic groups and individuals working vigorously to harm what they perceive to be Jewish interests.

AIR New Zealand: Changing of the Guard

AIR New Zealand: Changing of the Guard Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel    

It's rare for a sitting prime minister to resign in New Zealand. It is unheard of for a sitting prime minister who is at the top of his game and riding high in the leader polls to do so. But, one fine day in November, that is just what New Zealand's now former Prime Minister John Key did...

The former Prime Minister's surprise resignation is particularly worthy of comment in this column because of his Jewish background.

After Aleppo - Five Predictions

After Aleppo - Five Predictions Author: Tom Rogan Categories: Russia, Syria    

Putin will use Aleppo's capture to damage US foreign policy. His intentions are already clear. After all, in English-news propaganda outlets such as RT, the Russians are proudly rejecting American demands that Sunni rebels be given safe passage out of Aleppo. It's Obama vs. Putin 101. Unwilling to pressure Russia, Obama is simply ignored by Putin. Through this public display of American impotence, Putin asserts his grand strategy in the Middle East. 

Letter from a Forgotten Jew

Letter from a Forgotten Jew Author: David Harris Categories: International Jewry, Middle East    

I am a forgotten Jew. My roots are nearly 2,600 years old, my ancestors made landmark contributions to world civilisation, and my presence was felt from North Africa to the Fertile Crescent - but I barely exist today. You see, I am a Jew from the Arab world.

Scribblings: From the KGB to Antisemitic anti-Zionism
Former KGB head Yuri Andropov: Dirty tricks and terror sponsorship against Israeli and Zionist targets

Scribblings: From the KGB to Antisemitic anti-Zionism Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Russia    

The KGB and politburo heads saw the Zionist and Jewish movements as a clear, immediate and real danger to world peace and to the integrity of the Soviet empire - "a danger which is only second to the main enemy, the United States." And as farfetched as this may sound, they really believed in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and were certain that the Jews were capable of anything.

Print edition
Trump's controversial ambassadorial pick

Trump's controversial ambassadorial pick Categories: America, Israel, Updates    

Today’s Update looks at US President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that David Friedman is his pick for the next US Ambassador to Israel. Friedman has worked for Trump as a legal adviser for many years and holds a range of positions on Israel that are markedly different to the outgoing Obama Administration, including questioning the merits of the two-state formula for peace. A good profile of Friedman from the New York Times’ Isabel Kershner and Sheryl Gay Stolberg can be found here.

Trump's big decision on Iran

Trump's big decision on Iran Author: Yossi Kuperwasser Categories: America, International Security, Iran, Middle East    

During the US presidential election campaign, US President-elect Donald Trump affirmed that immediately upon entering the White House he would "renegotiate" the "disastrous" and "horrible" nuclear agreement with Iran. (Vice President-elect Mike Pence called for "ripping up the Iran deal" during the election campaign.) Since the elections Mr. Trump has not addressed the issue, and many believe he may change his stance - to paraphrase some Israeli leaders, "What you see in power is different from what you see in campaigns."

Forty years of UN perpetuated Palestinian suffering
In 1976, the UN insisted Israel return Palestinian refugees to their camps like this one

Forty years of UN perpetuated Palestinian suffering Author: Aron White Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations    

With all other refugees in the world, because the focus is humanitarian and social, the aim of the UNHCR is to reduce the number of the world's refugees each year. With the Palestinians, because their refugee status has become politicised, it is actually the UN body's goal for there to be more refugees each year. Today, there are 10 times as many Palestinian refugees as there were in 1948.

Editorial: Destructive Traditions Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, does involvement of the United Nations help or hinder peacemaking?

It's a question policymakers who sincerely want a genuine two-state resolution should be asking, as the Palestinian leadership pushes for a UN Security Council resolution to advance its interests during the final days of the Obama Administration.

Australia and historical revisionism at Turtle Bay
Jerusalem - a city of many faiths and civilisations

Australia and historical revisionism at Turtle Bay Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations    

Over many decades, Australian governments, of both political persuasions have shown great leadership in looking at the merits of United Nations General Assembly resolutions, opposing or abstaining on the most pernicious and one-sided anti-Israel ones, rather than falling into line with the majority.

So it is disappointing that one resolution called "Jerusalem" (A/RES/71/25), which cries out for Australia to vote "no", has seen us choosing to abstain.