30 November 2015

Holocaust denier abuses High Court process

December 1, 2015 by J-Wire Staff:
A Supreme Court judge has concluded that Dr Fredrick Toben was using a defamation action in court to espouse his views questioning the Holocaust. His case against “The Australian” was dismissed and was described as an abuse of process.
Fredrick Toben, Holocaust denier
Fredrick Toben, who gained notoriety when his promotion of claims regarding Jews and the Nazi genocide were judged to be in breach of Australian law, and subsequently served jail time for contempt of court, has failed in yet another legal matter.
In this latest case, Toben, represented by Barrister Clive Evatt,  brought defamation proceedings against The Australian newspaper editor Clive Mathieson, Senior Reporter Christian Kerr and former Greens leader Christine Milne, after Milne’s description of Toben as a person who fabricated history and spread antisemitism was published by the paper.
Justice Lucy McCallum of the Supreme Court of NSW ruled that Toben had been  attempting to “manipulate the process of the Court to create a forum” in arguing the very propositions which he had claimed it was defamatory to accuse him of holding, those being Holocaust denial and broader antisemitic propositions.
In 2012, Toben failed in a similar case brought against Jeremy Jones AM, the Director of International and Community Affairs of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.
In a comprehensive judgment, Justice McCallum outlined the series of legal matters relating to the promotion of racial hatred involving Fredrick Toben, which had commenced when Jones, in his capacity as an elected officer of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, had lodged a complaint to the Human Rights Commission on 31 May 1996.
Decisions in the Human Rights Commission and the Federal Court, in a series of judgements between 2000 and 2009, consistently went against Toben and in favour of Jones, culminating in Toben suing Jones in 2012  for allegedly for implying that Toben was an antisemite, had falsely said the influence of the Talmud was pervasive and falsely claimed that received knowledge of the Shoah was “a mass fraud perpetrated on humanity”.
The judgment by Justice McCallum detailed the grounds on which allegations had been made against Toben, their validity and Toben’s behaviour in various court proceedings.
Justice McCallum was satisfied that Toben was cynically attempting to represent himself as a philosophical enquirer when he was a person with firm views, and that he did not have “the least interest in vindicating his reputation”, but, simply was seeking a platform to promote views which the Federal Court had already found to be in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act...

18 November 2015

New Australian partnerships for The Technion

From J-Wire News Service, November 19, 2015:

The Technion in Haifa has signed Memoranda of Understanding with Macquarie University in Sydney and the University of Western Australia ...

Professor Wayne Kaplan, Peter Hersh and Professor Robyn Owens at the UWA signing
Professor Wayne Kaplan, Peter Hersh and Professor Robyn Owens at the UWA signing

“The Technion, Israel’s foremost high-tech, scientific and engineering university, is continuing to build collaboration with other leading universities throughout the world,” said Technion Australia president Dr Ruth Ratner.

“With its track record in innovation and particularly through its alumni, entrepreneurship, the Technion is a hotly sought after partner by the world’s leading universities. It receives two requests each day and as a relatively small university (13,000 students and 600 faculty) it has had to become selective in choosing partners.”

“In this context, for the Technion to sign agreements with two Australian universities within 6 months is a testimonial to the quality of research at these universities and a reflection of the high esteem that each holds for the other,” she said.

Asso. Prof Judirh Dawes, Dr Ruth Ratner, Prof. Sakkie Pretorius and Ken Lander at the Macquarie sig
Asso. Prof Judirh Dawes, Dr Ruth Ratner, Prof. Sakkie Pretorius and Ken Lander at the Macquarie signing

Both agreements facilitate student exchange and academic exchange as well as research collaboration.

The UWA agreement was signed by UWA Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Robyn Owens, and Technion Executive Vice President Research, Professor Wayne Kaplan, during the annual Technion Board of Governors’ Meeting. Australian Technion Governor, Peter Hersh, hosted a UWA delegation at the Governors meeting.

The Macquarie University agreement was exchanged at a small ceremony in Sydney by Technion Australia president and Australian Technion Governor, Dr Ratner, and Macquarie Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, Professor Sakkie Pretorius.

Technion Australia is working with UWA and the Technion Automated Systems Program to develop a major research collaboration in the area of automated system for marine gas engineering. The project was selected after discussions with a number of potential partners, industry groups and the Western Australia Government.

“Our aim is to develop a project that will benefit both Australia and Israel. UWA has a world leading position in marine gas engineering and the Technion has a similar reputation in automated systems. The continuing challenges of gas fields in the North West Shelf off Western Australia and new discoveries of gas off the coast of Israel make this a national priority in both countries,” Dr Ratner said.

Macquarie University has leading researchers in fields as varied as biblical archaeology, quantum physics, environmental sciences and biomedical engineering. Similarly to the Technion it is breaking new ground in multi-disciplinary research.

“There are already a number of individual collaborations underway and there is much enthusiasm at Macquarie to partner with Technion researchers in a major project,” Dr Ratner added.

The Technion also has agreements with University of NSW, Sydney University, University of Technology Sydney, Newcastle University, Melbourne University, Monash University and Swinburne University.

12 November 2015

inaugural Beer Sheva Dialogue between Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

Senator Linda Reynolds 
Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (20:05): Last week, I had the great privilege of joining the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Tel Aviv as a participant in the inaugural Beer Sheva Dialogue between ASPI and the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. It was my first visit to the Middle East, and it was an extraordinary, eye-opening time to be there, during the current period of regional upheaval and transition. You can only learn so much from books and maps, as this visit absolutely demonstrated to me.
The Australian delegation included ASPI staff, ably led by Anthony Bergin; the Australian Ambassador, Dave Sharma; my parliamentary colleagues Gai Brodtmann, the member for Canberra, and the Hon. Mark Dreyfus MP, the shadow Attorney-General. The delegation also included Mr Allan Gyngell, Major General Gus McLachlan and Major General Jim Molan, retired. The Israeli delegation was led by Professor Efraim Inbar, the irrepressible director of the Begin-Sadat institute. It included esteemed academics such as Dr Max Singer, founder of the Hudson Institute, and a wide range of senior military and civilian representatives of the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces. Most fittingly, this dialogue was named in honour of the famous charge of the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade. The Australian embassy organised two wonderfully memorable commemoration ceremonies in Beersheba at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and at the Park of the Australian Soldier.
This most famous of battles is not widely known today amongst many Australians, but it was a decisive turning point in the First World War, so I would like to take a few moments to share the story with you. Ninety eight years ago, in October 1917, the outcome of the First World War was in no way preordained. At that time, the failure of the Dardanelles campaign, a military catastrophe in Mesopotamia and the setbacks on the Western Front had all combined to greatly damage the Allies' morale. The Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire and Germany were all holding fast. Two allied attempts to break the Turkish defensive line running from Gaza, on the coast, to Beersheba, 43 kilometres inland, had failed and the town of Beersheba itself remained in the hands of the Ottoman Empire. A last desperate push was required if Beersheba and its critically important seven wells were to be captured. It was essential to the success of the Commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, General Allenby's, campaign plan.
And so it was that, at 4.30 in the afternoon on 31 October, the 4th and 12th light-horse regiments of the 4th Brigade drew up behind a ridge some four miles south-east of Beersheba, and moved off. Following close behind were supporting forces from the 11th Light Horse Regiment and from the 5th and 7th mounted brigades. Facing sustained enemy fire but moving fast, the mounted infantry quickly fell upon enemy lines. They jumped the trenches, dismounted and then entered the trenches on foot, clearing them with both rifle and bayonet. Though outnumbered, the momentum and the sheer audacity of this surprise attack carried them through the Turkish defences. The light-horsemen took less than an hour to overrun these trenches and, finally, successfully enter Beersheba. The city was captured by nightfall and the Gaza-Beersheba defensive line was finally broken. It was the success and the desperation of the charge, late in the day and by mounted infantry, not mounted cavalry, that has earned it an enduring place in Australian history and also in the history of the First World War. Their success was due not only to their courage but also to their ability to take the initiative, take risks and be disruptive—characteristics that have continued to serve our nation well in successive generations of service men and women and are today seen in our innovators and our entrepreneurs.
At the Beer Sheva Dialogue, Major General Molan reflected on a question he and many of us in this place are often asked: why does Australia get itself involved so often in other people's wars? The simple fact is that we get involved as it is in our national interest to do so. Our national interests extend well beyond our sea borders. Australian military involvement in the Middle East continues today and it is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Today, 1,700 ADF personnel are deployed in the Middle East on seven separate operations.
On my visit to Beersheba, I met Defence personnel at the Beersheba ceremonies serving in two longstanding regional operations. Firstly, I met personnel from Operation Paladin, which supports the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, UNTSO, which itself was established in 1948 to supervise the truce agreed at the conclusion of the first Arab-Israeli war. Since 1956, members of the Australian contingent have supported UNTSO, with 25 personnel currently on deployment in Operation Paladin. Secondly, I met personnel from Operation Mazurka, which supports the Multinational Force and Observers, a non-UN organisation established in 1981 to oversee longstanding regional peace agreements. We currently have 12 military personnel deployed in the Sinai, an increasingly unstable region with the rise of the ISIS affiliated Al Wilayat Sinai, now speculated to be responsible for the downing of the Russian MetroJet flight.
The Beer Sheva Dialogue was highly successful and both delegations discovered there is much to learn from one another. Discussions ranged across counterinsurgency, urban intelligence gathering, coalition war fighting, countering improvised explosive devices, the use of reservists, military procurement processes, and military and civilian resilience. Also in Israel at the commemorative ceremony, somewhat fittingly, was Minister Roy leading an innovation delegation. For me, one of the most significant insights from the trip was Israel's success in high-tech innovations, patents and start-ups. Today, Israel generates more start-ups and venture capital investment than Japan, China, the US, Canada or the UK. It was very clear to me that key to this success was the symbiotic link between Israel as a start-up nation and the Israeli Defence Forces ecosystem. As a result of this visit, I am delighted to advise that the Chief Scientist of Israel, Avi Hasson, a world expert on fostering an innovation ecosystem, has accepted an invitation to address the parliamentary friendship groups that I co-chair with Gai Brodtmann and Senator Dio Wang, the defence and innovation parliamentary friendship groups, later this month.
I would like to conclude by thanking both ASPI and the Begin-Sadat institute on the resounding success of this inaugural dialogue. But, as we all know in this place, successful events such as these never just happen. They are a result of extensive hard work by many people. So I give my particular thanks to ASPI. Peter Jennings, your team did an outstanding job. I give particular thanks to Mr Anthony Bergen, your deputy, and also to Mr David Lang, who successfully herded cats all around Israel and contributed to it being such a success. I also give my particular thanks to AIJAC—Mr Colin Rubenstein and Mr Ahron Shapiro worked very hard to make it the success that it was. I give a special acknowledgement and thankyou to Mr Zeke Solomon for your companionship and your support.
A very special thank you and acknowledgement go to our ambassador, Mr Dave Sharma, and to his team in Tel Aviv. They all provided very dedicated and very professional support, which, again, greatly contributed to the success of this visit.
Lastly, my particular thanks go to the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and in particular to Professor Inbar, the director of the institute, and to his large team. We hope that you realised as much benefit from this as the Australian delegation did, and we certainly look forward to future delegations and dialogues.

Finally, and, I think, most wonderfully, as a result of this delegation, on this eve of Remembrance Day, it was very clear that the legacy and spirit of our light-horsemen, who so distinguished themselves at Beersheba, live on. Lest we forget.

02 November 2015

Remarks by Senator Joe Bullock at a Peace Rally for Israel

1 November 2015

Thankyou very much.

In December last year, in Sydney, a man called Man Haron Monis walked into the Lindt café in Sydney armed with a shotgun and took 18 people hostage. The ensuing siege saw two innocent people die, including café manager Tori Johnson who was shot and killed by the gunman.

The hostage-taking terrorist was killed by police as they stormed the café. Does anyone think they were wrong to do so?

Last month, Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar, a radicalised 15-year-old jihadist, shot and killed Curtis Cheng, an unarmed police civilian finance worker, outside the New South Wales Police Force headquarters in Parramatta.

In the ensuing exchange of gunfire, the terrorist was subsequently shot and killed by special constables who were protecting the police station. Does anyone think they were wrong to do so?

His two confederates, who armed and trained him, were also arrested. Does anyone think it wrong of the police to do so?

Just one week ago, in La Trobe St in Melbourne, a man armed with a meat cleaver and calling himself a “messiah of Islam” held up a café for 2 hours before he was arrested and charged.

Does anyone think it was wrong of the police to do so?

These questions answer themselves. Every Australian would support our police forces, our emergency responders, in their goal of protecting the public from violent criminals out to do us harm.

And yet, on the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, a coordinated campaign of violence against Israelis – a campaign of stabbing innocent people as they wait for a bus or go to school – is met with the suggestion that Israel is to blame. That the victims of murder and attempted murder, targeted for no reason other than they are Jewish, are at fault for the crimes committed against them!

This has been described as Israel “continuing to wage a daily war against the Palestinians”. It has been called a war crime. Israel has been criticised for “disproportionate casualty numbers” and had it said that this ‘reflects the power imbalance between the parties”. In short, Israel has been blamed for violence against its own citizens and condemned for protecting them from terrorism.

This is wrong.

And we are here today say it is wrong.

We are here today to say that people deserve the right to live in peace. But we are also here to reject the double standards and the false morality that says while we would not accept violence on our streets here in Australia, somehow the Jews must accept it in Israel.

Because they are Jews.

My friends, this is not merely wrong, but dangerously close to anti-Semitism.

It springs from a worldview that says Israel is to blame for the latest violence – when it is the Palestinian leadership calling for its young men and women to go into the streets and stab innocent civilians.

It is of a piece with those, like the UN Secretary general, who call on Israel to show “maximum restraint” – while the Palestinian leadership calls “holy’ every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem.

It shares the same false premise as those who say that Israel is the roadblock on the path to peace – when the truth is that every time the Israeli people have offered a settlement to the Palestinians they have been told, “no”.

My friend and colleague Michael Danby said a week ago that, "It's very wrong to compare people with knives in their hands to people with knives in their chests". He has never been more right.

We will have none of these false comparisons. We will have none of these excuses.

We stand with Israel not because we want to simply pick a side, pick a team, and barrack uncritically.
We stand with Israel because incitement to violence and the pursuit of genocide can never be justified. We stand with Israel because we stand against terrorism. We stand with Israel because we stand for the truth of history, for the principles of justice and peace and for the right of Israelis – Jewish, Arab, Druze or Christian – to live in peace and safety.

Friends, you know better than I that the tide of anti-Semitism is rising, even here in our multicultural and tolerant Australia. That the tide of anti-Israel sentiment, fed by lies, distortion and ignorance, rises as well.

Well, I want to say today that whether in the Parliament, in the Labor Party or in the community you have a friend in me.

There are many good men and women in the Parliament willing to stand up and speak for Israel – Senator Smith here today is one, as is my Labor colleague Senator Glenn Sterle. There are many good men and women in all parties fighting for the truth about Israel and standing up for the Jewish community.

We will continue to oppose terrorism - at home or abroad, in Australia or in Israel. We will continue to speak out against the cranks and fanatics who would blame the ills of the whole world on Israel. We will continue to do everything we can to combat anti-Semitism.

I call on the Palestinian leadership to renounce violence, to condemn terror attacks, to accept the right of Israel to exist as the national home of the Jewish people and to show a genuine commitment to peace.

I know you join me in this, and I know you will continue to support our efforts to see truth prevail.

I stand with you.

Senator Joe Bullock
Senator Joe Bullock was elected to the Senate in 2014, after nearly forty years representing shop assistants as an official of the retail employees association, the SDA. He has served on the ALP’s National Executive, as well as spending 19 years on WA Labor’s Administrative Committee and as the State Vice-President of Labor here in WA.

Since taking his seat Senator Bullock has been a strong and vocal supporter of Israel and of the Jewish community. In the wake of the Har Nof terror attacks in Jerusalem last year, his speech to the Senate standing in solidarity with the victims went viral around the world - particularly in Israel. He is known in the Labor Party and beyond for his principled approach to politics and his willingness to stand up for what is right, even if it might sometimes be unpopular or “politically incorrect”. As a committed Christian, he believes passionately in freedom of religion and the rights of all people to practise their faith free from fear or persecution. He’s back from Canberra this weekend and we value his support, not just today but over many years – Senator Joe Bullock.

Remarks by Senator Dean Smith at a Peace Rally for Israel

1 November 2015

Thank you for the chance to be here today at this important gathering, to show our support for Israel and say it is not good enough for the world to ignore what has been a despicable campaign of incitement, of violence and of murder against the citizens of that democratic state.
Australia is a stanch supporter of the state of Israel. We have been a strong supporter of Israel since its creation, and that support has flowed from governments of both political hues.

This is not a partisan issue, and I’m very pleased to have been joined here today by my WA Labor Senate colleague, Senator Joe Bullock.
Because however Australians choose to vote come election time, there are certain values that unite us.

And chief among those is our enduring belief that the citizens of a democratic nation have the right to live peacefully and be secure within their own borders.
What has been occurring recently, with the campaign of incitement to violence and the murder of Israeli citizens at the hands of terrorists offends every value that decent Australians hold dear.

No Australian of conscience could possibly hold sympathy with or defend the outrageous behaviour of some Palestinian clerics, who actively encourage their followers to murder Jews at random on the streets of Afula, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

No Australian of conscience could possibly support the words of Palestinian President Abbas – a self-proclaimed ‘moderate’ – who has told his people that “every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure”, and said that murderers will be “rewarded by God”.
No Australian of conscience should be happy with a situation where new generations of Palestinians are having their minds poisoned through vile, anti-Semitic propaganda campaigns that only serve to make the already difficult goal of peace even more unlikely.

And to those Australians who think that what is happening in Israel is a long way away and doesn’t affect them, I simply point out that the values for which Israel stands – personal freedom and democracy above all else – are also the values for which Australia stands, and which Australians have fought and died to protect for generations.
I am proud to be here today with all of you, to stand with Israel and to say we reject the campaigns of hatred and of violence against Israeli citizens by the enemies of freedom and democracy.

Senator Dean Smith
Since becoming a Senator for Western Australia in May 2012, Dean Smith has been a strong voice for WA, and an active champion of WA regional interests, especially in the areas of telecommunications, road infrastructure and aged care.

He also took the initiative of reaching out to the WA Jewish Community, meeting our leaders and expressing his admiration and support for the community and for Israel.

In October 2015, he was elected to the position of Government Deputy Whip in the Senate.

He is very active in Parliamentary Committees on Public Works, Human Rights, Finance and Public Administration, the National Broadband Network, Northern Australia, and Public Accounts and Audit.

Senator Smith is a fervent believer in limited government, promoting personal responsibility and liberty, and strengthening Australian Federalism. Beginning in January 2015, he has been a regular columnist in Australia’s leading business and financial newspaper, The Australian Financial Review.

Prior to entering the Senate he had almost 25 years’ experience working across both State and Federal Governments. He worked as Principal Policy Adviser to former WA Premier Richard Court, an Adviser to former Prime Minister John Howard and various Federal Government Ministers.

Senator Smith also has 10 years commercial experience as a senior executive with Insurance Australia Group (IAG), and SingTel Optus.