Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

Media Week - Which lobby?, A wolf in wolf's clothing, Take a hike

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Which lobby?

In its first story since December 2011 looking at Iran's nuclear program, ABC TV "7.30" (21/3) reporter Michael Brissenden described the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as "the most powerful Jewish lobby group in the United States".  This may surprise the many non-Jews who attended AIPAC's recent annual conference, including pro-Israel Latinos, African-Americans and Christian delegates.

Brissenden portrayed AIPAC as a "hawkish pro-Israel group" and featured clips of Republican 2012 Presidential nominees speaking at the conference attacking President Obama's credentials on Iran.

Unfortunately, the fact that Obama addressed this conference was not included in the report. Brissenden also did not feel obliged to interview anyone from AIPAC on the organisation's structure, goals or views on Iran.

In contrast, Brissenden did interview the left leaning J Street director Dylan Williams, who, unsurprisingly, "said groups towards the right end of the Jewish American community...have overreached on this issue and seriously misjudged... the Jewish American community that they claim to represent". A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showed 56% of Americans support US military action against Iran if there were evidence of a nuclear weapons program, while a 2011 American Jewish Committee poll found 68% of American Jews supported military intervention "If diplomacy and sanctions fail".
 
A wolf in wolf's clothing

In the Canberra Times (24/3) Michael Bröning wrote that Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal's support for a unity deal with his Fatah rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was a signal that "Washington and European governments should engage with reformist groups from within Hamas". America's embrace of "moderate Islamists in Cairo and Tunis, and representatives of political Islam in the Palestinian territories should not be treated any differently", he suggested. The same peace loving Islamists in the Egyptian Parliament who passed a resolution on March 12 calling for the expulsion of Israel's ambassador, and vowing that "Egypt after the revolution will never be a friend of the Zionist entity, the first enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation"?  

Take a hike

Sydney Morning Herald/Age correspondent Ruth Pollard (24/3) interviewed a Dutch economist who penned a book about his love of walking through the West Bank countryside.

In the story, Pollard spoke to Jenin tour guide Mohammed Atari who "is old enough to remember life before the second intifada and the construction of Israel's separation barrier... ‘Before the wall we were all neighbours,' he says."

Of course, the security fence was built to stop Palestinian suicide bombers unleashing their wave of deadly terror during the second intifada. Indeed, prior to Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002, Atari's hometown of Jenin sourced more suicide bombers than any other Palestinian city.

Meanwhile, in a separate story on the same page Pollard reported that the United Nations Human Rights Council would investigate the impact of settlements on the human rights of Palestinians.  Pollard quoted Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu saying it "was a hypocritical council with an automatic majority against Israel", but not his other comment that "Until today, the council has made 91 decisions, 39 of which dealt with Israel, three with Syria and one with Iran."

- Allon Lee

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