Wednesdays 4pm; replay Fridays 1pm

For the news behind the news. For analysis and insight into important stories about Israel, tune in to The Israel Connexion, presented by David Schulberg every Wednesday afternoon from 4 to 5 pm at j-air.com.au on J-AIR radio.

In collaboration with experts from all walks of life, who specialise in various aspects of Israel’s political life, arts and culture you will hear in depth interviews delving into issues affecting Israel and on topics to do with Israelis and their involvements around the world. If you miss any of the programs on The Israel Connexion you can listen to all the podcasts of previous programs at Omny Studio.

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13 Jan 2022, 2pm

13 Jan 2022, 2pm The Israel Connexion Given how the Sydney Festival boycott has achieved such prominence for the BDS bullies I believe we need to get more active in denouncing their israelophobic bigotry. I recorded this segment to be included with this week’s replay of a highlight from my program in 2021.

22 Dec 2021, 8pm

22 Dec 2021, 8pm The Israel Connexion Ruth Eshel, former dancer/choreographer and critic at Haaretz for 27 years, unfolds a wealth of dance going back to before Israel was even a country. She has spent the last 20 years honing her book ‘Dance Spreads Its Wings’ and we speak about how dance has developed in Israel and about those who have contributed to its popularity. (0:37-33:19) Jamie Hyams, senior policy analyst at AIJAC, joins me to discuss an intriguing discovery that James Carleton speaks about in an episode ‘Disagreeing Well’ that appeared on the ABC’s God Forbid program. I am alluding to a unique interview that James’s father Richard Carleton did in 1970 with PFLP leader Ghassan Kanafani, who soon after was assassinated by the Mossad. (33:29-51:27)

15 Dec 2021, 7pm

15 Dec 2021, 7pm The Israel Connexion Simon Plosker is the Managing Editor for UN Watch, an organisation dedicated to holding the United Nations accountable to its founding principles. There have been 20 UNGA resolutions this year, 14, which is 70%, targeting Israel for admonition. Three resolutions have been passed recently. including one on Jerusalem, and another on the Golan Heights. Many of these are sponsored by Arab and Muslim states. Some are co-sponsored by the worst human rights abusers in the world, such as Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea. [This is the ‘full’ version of the interview with Simon Plosker.]

15 Dec 2021, 5pm

15 Dec 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion David Matas is legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, which is a major supporter of Israel. We examine the fallout from the Valentina Azarova affair, whereby the University of Toronto came under huge pressure to accept Azarova’s candidature for the position of director of the law school’s International Human Rights Program. David has written an article ‘Antisemitism at Canadian Universities’ in which he contends that there is a problem of antisemitism at Canadian universities. He says that one obvious indicator is that the number of Canadian universities, which have adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance endorsed working definition of antisemitism, is zero. (00:37-24:46) Simon Plosker is the Managing Editor for UN Watch, an organisation dedicated to holding the United Nations accountable to its founding principles. There have been 20 UNGA resolutions this year, 14, which is 70%, targeting Israel for admonition. Three resolutions have been passed recently. including one on Jerusalem, and another on the Golan Heights. Many of these are sponsored by Arab and Muslim states. Some are co-sponsored by the worst human rights abusers in the world, such as Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea. (24:56-51:48)

8 Dec 2021, 11pm

8 Dec 2021, 11pm The Israel Connexion The Leadership Dialogue Institute is a private diplomatic channel fostering closer cultural ties between Australia, the UK, and Israel. Musician, businessman and philanthropist Albert Dadon AM launched the Australia Israel Leadership Forum in 2009, quickly broadening its scope to include the U.K. The ‘Institute’ is a think tank comprising political, academic, and business leaders and personalities who are willing and eager to exchange on crucial, meaningful, delicate, and sometimes taboo topics. The annual Leadership Dialogue run by the ‘Institute’ will take place December 13-16 and Albert Dadon will tell us what is in store. (00:52-23:28) American political commentator and author Thomas L. Friedman just wrote an article for the NYT titled Trump’s Iran Policy Has Become a Disaster for the U.S. and Israel. I will speak with Barry Shaw, a spokesperson for the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, who will eviscerate Friedman’s claim that the decision to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, urged on by secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was one of the dumbest, most poorly thought out and counterproductive U.S. national security decisions of the post-Cold War era. (23:38-46:16)

1 Dec 2021, 5pm

1 Dec 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion Malaysia was refusing to grant visas for Israeli players to participate in the squash world championship in early December – the tournament has now been cancelled. This has been the latest instance of the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, attempting to bar Israeli athletes from the country. I spoke with chairman of the Israel Squash Assocation, Aviv Bushinsky about this episode. (00:59-43:18) Following my program last week about the BDS protest that took place at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, an article appeared in the Fairfax-Nine media reinforcing a view that the Israeli Film Fund requires grantees to sign a loyalty pledge to receive funding. (43:28-51:25)

24 Nov 2021, 5pm

24 Nov 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion At the Jam Factory screening of the Israeli film ‘The Swimmer’ at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) there was a protest of about 50 people appearing under the banner of the anti-Zionist group the Tzedek Collective. There had been pressure put on to the MQFF committee to have the film removed from the program, because the protesters oppose what they call Israeli apartheid and pinkwashing of alleged oppression of Palestinians. (0:37-27:23) I got two reactions to this opportunistic BDS initiative: spokesperson for Aleph Melbourne Michael Barnett (1:04-7:55) Jerusalem Post film critic Hannah Brown (7:55-26:10) Daniel Seaman, seasoned media observer, has served the Israeli Government in various roles over the past 30 years, including Director of the Government Press Office and most recently as the Deputy Director General for Information at the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. He has served as an adviser and spokesperson to the governments of six Prime Ministers. These days he serves periodically as a political analyst and commentator on Israel channel 20. (27:23-51:01)

17 Nov 2021, 9pm

17 Nov 2021, 9pm The Israel Connexion Gideon Behar is the Ambassador at Special Envoy for Climate Change and Sustainability at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel. Previously he occupied the post of Head of Bureau for Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the post of Special Envoy for African Affairs. Between 2011-2016 he was Director of the Department for Combating Antisemitism and Holocaust Remembrance. He served as Israel’s Ambassador to Senegal 2006-2011. He currently teaches a course on “The impacts of Climate Change on International Relations” at Hebrew University. (00:48-32:10) Hear part 2 of an extensive interview with Ofer Cassif MK who belongs to the Hadash party and is the sole Jewish member of the Joint List. (32:25-51:19)

10 Nov 2021, 6pm

10 Nov 2021, 6pm The Israel Connexion During the first intifada Ofer Cassif MK was the first person to refuse to serve in Judea and Samaria, for which he was imprisoned four times. At the same time, he joined the Communist Party and the Hadash movement, in which he held—and still holds—leadership positions. He was elected to the Knesset in September 2019, 2020 and 2021 as part of the Joint List. (0:32-29:50) Jerusalem Post diplomatic correspondent Lahav Harkov has just returned from her trip to Glasgow, where she took part in the international COP26 climate conference, alongside Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. She will tell us a little about what Israel is doing to deal with climate change.(29:51-49:12)

3 Nov 2021, 6pm

3 Nov 2021, 6pm The Israel Connexion AIJAC research associate Dr Ran Porat explains that there is ample evidence to substantiate that the 6 Palestinian NGOs banned by Israel are PFLP-affiliated. He suggests why donor nations and Palestinian civil society is so outraged at Gantz’s order declaring these NGOS in the West Bank as terrorist organizations. (0:42-25:04) Sefi Shalam works as the Shaliach (Israel Emissary) to the Australian Progressive Community on behalf of the Jewish Agency. Motty Goodman is his counterpart working with Bnei Akiva. Coming from opposing backgrounds in Israel, Sefi a left-wing secular-Reform city-boy and Motty a Modern-Orthodox settler they often don’t agree. They re-visiting key events in Israeli modern history – 2005 disengagement from Gaza  and the 1994 peace prize given to Arafat, Rabin and Peres.

31 Oct 2021, 5pm

31 Oct 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion Dr Dana Barnett has written an article for the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies with the controversial title ‘The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism Is Itself Antisemitic’. The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA) was created to replace the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which so far has been adopted by some 36 countries including Australia a week ago.  Dana explains why writers of the Jerusalem Declaration want to steer away from the adoption of IHRA.

27 Oct 2021, 11am

27 Oct 2021, 11am The Israel Connexion Dr. Alon Ben-Meir and Major General (Res) Gershon Hacohen continue their debate in part 2 on Alon’s proposition ‘The Occupation Severely Endangers, Not Enhances, Israel’s National Security’ Dr Dana Barnett specializes in the nexus between post-Zionism and the Israeli academy. Following the announcement by PM Scott Morrison to adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism there has been a hue and cry from so-called progressive elements in the community to drop IHRA in favour of the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, which Dr Barnett contends is in itself antisemitic. 

20 Oct 2021, 8pm

20 Oct 2021, 8pm The Israel Connexion Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute. Ben-Meir is an expert on Middle East and West Balkan affairs, international negotiations, and conflict resolution.  Major General (Res) Gershon Hacohen, a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, was responsible for the Israeli pullout from Gaza, which he believes was a grave mistake. He has written a comprehensive report ‘The West Bank’s Area C: Israel’s Eastern Line of Defense’, highlighting the need for Israel to maintain its national security. This week Alon and Gershon locked horns in the first part of an extensive debate/discussion on the premise ‘The Occupation Severely Endangers, Not Enhances, Israel’s National Security’

18 Oct 2021, 10am

18 Oct 2021, 10am The Israel Connexion Hadar Sela works for CAMERA-UK (formerly UK Media Watch and BBC Watch), dedicated to promoting fair, accurate and balanced coverage of Israel in the British media – challenging inaccurate, skewed and often inflammatory characterisations of Israel that mislead news consumers and policy makers – and often fuels anti-Jewish racism. This is the full interview.

13 Oct 2021, 9pm

13 Oct 2021, 9pm The Israel Connexion Yona Schiffmiller, Director of Research at NGO Monitor, explaining the case of Mohammed El-Halabi, the manager of operations in Gaza of the international humanitarian NGO World Vision, accused of funnelling 60% of World Vision’s Gaza budget to the terrorist group Hamas. (0:41-27:02) Hadar Sela works for CAMERA-UK (formerly UK Media Watch and BBC Watch), an organisation dedicated to promoting fair, accurate and balanced coverage of Israel in the British media – challenging inaccurate, skewed and often inflammatory characterisations of Israel that mislead news consumers and policy makers – and often fuels anti-Jewish racism

6 Oct 2021, 9pm

6 Oct 2021, 9pm The Israel Connexion Major General (Res) Gershon Hacohen, a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, was responsible for the Israeli pullout from Gaza, which he believes was a grave mistake. We discuss his article Israeli Arabs’ Violent Lawlessness: An Existential Threat. (0:53-34:55) Tsadok Yecheskeli is team Israel Start-Up Nation media director, who spoke about the achievements of this cycling initiative with its multi-pronged vision. Watch the video documentary Racing for Change to be really inspired. (36:05-59:15)

1 Oct 2021, 9pm

1 Oct 2021, 9pm The Israel Connexion Professor Eytan Blumenthal is the Director of the Department of Ophthalmology at Rambam Health Care Campus Professor Blumenthal graduated (with honors) from the Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem. After completing an Ophthalmology residency at the Hadassah University Hospital, Professor Blumenthal continued to specialize in glaucoma at the Shiley Eye Institute at UCSD, one of the top glaucoma centers worldwide. Professor Blumenthal specializes in the treatment and surgery of difficult glaucoma and cataract cases. Such patients are referred from all over the country and abroad. His major research interests include glaucoma, diagnostic technology in glaucoma, and developing diagnostic and surgical devices. Amongst his research achievements, are a lens used for laser treatment after glaucoma surgery, and a device used during filtration surgery. His research focuses on improving surgical techniques in complex cases. As the Director of the Ophthalmology Department at the Rambam Health Care Center, Professor Blumenthal leads a team of experts in all fields of Ophthalmology. Patients choosing Rambam’s Ophthalmology Department will find a professional, skilled and compassionate staff, utilizing cutting-edge technology.

29 Sep 2021, 7pm

29 Sep 2021, 7pm The Israel Connexion Major General (Reserves) Gershon Hacohen, who served in the IDF for 42 years, commanding troops in battle on the Egyptian, Lebanese and Syrian fronts. He was a Corps commander, and commander of the IDF. Today Gershon is a senior research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.  David Collier is an investigative journalist, fighting antisemitism and the delegitimisation of Israel. He attended the 2021 conference of the British Labour Party where a resolution was passed condemning Israel for allegedly perpetrating an “ongoing Nakba in Palestine.”

22 Sep 2021, 9am

22 Sep 2021, 9am The Israel Connexion Josh Feldman caught my eye when he wrote a piece titled ‘We Need to Start Teaching Jewish Youth About the Nakba’ that appeared in the Australian Jewish News at the end of August. (0:40-28:40) Ron Finkel has been at the helm of Hadassah Australia for many years doing what he calls Impact Philanthropy in Israel and Australia, playing an ongoing, constructive role in building Israeli civil society. (29:05-48:52)

15 Sep 2021, 4pm

15 Sep 2021, 4pm The Israel Connexion Comments about an AFOPA online event ‘Medical Apartheid. Unequal impact of COVID 19 on Israel & Palestine’, a segment from the 3CR radio program ‘Palestine Remembered’ and the EcoPeace online event ‘A Climate Ripe for Change: Can the Middle East Survive the Climate Crisis Without an Overhaul of the Geopolitical Climate?’

31 Aug 2021, 1pm

31 Aug 2021, 1pm The Israel Connexion Sharren Haskel is a member of the Knesset for the New Hope party. She formerly served as a member of the Knesset for Likud. She was the youngest member of Likud and the second youngest member of the 20th Knesset. Joining the interview was Alex Goodman, Friends of Likud Australia president. The conversation covered a range of topics: the Sheikh Jarrah evictions case (0:51) the message of ‘New Hope’ – the party Sharren Haskel represents in the Knesset (6:45) the stability of the Israeli government coalition (13:25) bill to decriminalise marijhuana use put by Sharren to the Knesset (27:04) Sharren’s involvement with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (30:05) prospects for the meeting between Israeli PM Naftali Bennett and US President Joe Biden (38:07) the Mohammed el-Halabi fraud trial (46:47) Sharren’s Knesset aspirations (53:07)

27 Jun 2021, 5pm

27 Jun 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion Before the Acting Israeli Ambassador to Australia Jonathan Peled returns to Israel to see what the Israeli Foreign Ministry under the guidance of Israel’s new government will decide what to do vis-a-vis the position of Israeli Ambassador to Australia I caught up with Jonathan to consider a few curly questions and to reflect on the short time he has spent in Australia working on the Israel-Australia relationship.

4 Jun 2021, 5pm

4 Jun 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion Ran is Deputy Director of the Kohelet Policy Forum, a very influential organisation in Israel that strives to secure Israel’s future as the nation-state of the Jewish people, to strengthen representative democracy, and to broaden individual liberty and free-market principles in Israel. Ran’s fields of interest include constitutional law, international law, and public diplomacy. Ran is a former Mixed Martial Arts national champion of Israel, a prodigious author, and an international public speaker who has reached an audience of 100,000+.

24 Apr 2021, 4pm

24 Apr 2021, 4pm The Israel Connexion In part 3 of my interview with Raphael Cohen-Almagor we talk about his monthly newsletter about Israel, that focuses particularly on democracy, human rights, politics and society. We hear Raphael’s analysis of the outcome of Israel’s latest elections and then Raphael tells us about how he has been involved in instigating motions and campaigns on a multitude of issues throughout his academic career, the latest being his fight against Holocaust denial. I also allude to the news that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel announced that the UK opposes the International Criminal Court  investigation into war crimes by Israel.

24 Apr 2021, 4pm

24 Apr 2021, 4pm The Israel Connexion In part 2 of my interview with Raphael Cohen-Almagor we talk about the difficulties he has encountered at the University of Hull establishing a forum at the university, where issues concerning Israel and its role in the Middle East can be discussed. Raphael via the Middle East Study Group at Hull University provides a platform for a range of speakers and subject-matter experts, the last in the series being Noam Chomsky on the topic ‘A Moment of Peril and Challenge’.

21 Apr 2021, 7pm

21 Apr 2021, 7pm The Israel Connexion In part 1 of my interview (in 3 parts) with Raphael Cohen-Almagor we discuss his being at the University of Hull in the UK, remember an Oxford union debate in which Raphael spoke against the motion: ‘This House Believes a Two-State Solution in the Middle East is Unattainable’ and then hear about a book he is working on, aiming to provide a detailed analysis of three decades of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), from the start of the Oslo process in 1993until now. His book will analyse the reasons for the failed peace process, the role of third-party mediation and facilitation, and the keys for successful negotiations. Raphael’s aim ostensibly is not to provide a comprehensive historical account of the peace forces from 1993 until present time. Rather he strives to understand why despite the abundant efforts of so many people, including very powerful people such as president of the United States, still the people of Israel and Palestine are so far from peace. (Music: Ishay Ribo – Lashuv Habaita)

17 Mar 2021, 9am

17 Mar 2021, 9am The Israel Connexion Labor MP Josh Burns speaks about the recent moves by the ALP to give prominence to its support for the formation of a Palestinian state. He explains where he stands on the subject of Israel-Palestine and how he demonstrates his support for Israel. (0:45-24:38) Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He will discuss the forthcoming Israeli elections and what might be the outcome. (27:49-50:43)  

10 Mar 2021, 11am

10 Mar 2021, 11am The Israel Connexion Times of Israel senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur will discuss the outfall from the recent ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice on non-Orthodox conversions. (0:29-18:43) David Collier is a pro-Israel activist, who has infiltrated the British Labour Party and pro-Palestinian groups to expose the virulent anti-semitism existing there. (18:43-50:14)

10 Mar 2021, 11am

10 Mar 2021, 11am The Israel Connexion David Collier is a British pro-Israel activist, who has infiltrated the British Labour Party and pro-Palestinian groups to expose the virulent anti-semitism existing there.

3 Mar 2021, 6pm

3 Mar 2021, 6pm The Israel Connexion (Full interview) In Ami Ayalon’s memoir ‘Friendly Fire’ he delivers his basic message that according to him one of the main reasons Israel has failed to make peace with the Palestinians is that Israelis don’t acknowledge the essential humanity of the Palestinians and are too driven by fear.

2 Mar 2021, 4pm

2 Mar 2021, 4pm The Israel Connexion In Ami Ayalon’s memoir ‘Friendly Fire’ he delivers his basic message that according to him one of the main reasons Israel has failed to make peace with the Palestinians is that Israelis don’t acknowledge the essential humanity of the Palestinians and are too driven by fear.

23 Feb 2021, 5pm

23 Feb 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion In the global superpower competition between the United States and China, Israel is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, Beijing is interested in increasing its cooperation with Israel, especially in the infrastructure and technology sectors; on the other, Israel is under increasing pressure from Washington to limit its engagement with China.  I speak with Howard Shatz and Shira Efron who have been involved in the creation of two significant reports about the growing Israel-China relationship – The Evolving Israel-China Relationship and Chinese Investment in Israeli Technology and Infrastructure. 

23 Feb 2021, 5pm

23 Feb 2021, 5pm The Israel Connexion In the global superpower competition between the United States and China, Israel is stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, Beijing is interested in increasing its cooperation with Israel, especially in the infrastructure and technology sectors; on the other, Israel is under increasing pressure from Washington to limit its engagement with China.  I spoke with Howard Shatz and Shira Efron who have been involved in the creation of two significant reports about the growing Israel-China relationship – The Evolving Israel-China Relationship and Chinese Investment in Israeli Technology and Infrastructure.  (Full interview)

16 Feb 2021, 7pm

16 Feb 2021, 7pm The Israel Connexion I spoke to Dror Moreh who achieved some recognition following the creation of his controversial film ‘The Gatekeepers’ back in 2012. This time he has directed ‘The Human Factor’ and Dror Moreh provides some fascinating insights in this behind-the-scenes story of how the United States came within reach of pulling off the impossible – securing peace between Israel and its neighbours. (1:31-26:31) The film ‘Til Kingdom Come’ examines how millions of American Evangelicals have established a connection with the State of Israel.  The film exposes a stunning backstory of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations, where financial, political and messianic motivations intersect with the apocalyptic worldview that has been influencing American foreign policy toward Israel and the Middle-East. I spoke with the film’s director Maya Zinshtein and producer Abie Troen in what turned out to be a very illuminating discussion. (26:48-49:38)

10 Feb 2021, 7pm

10 Feb 2021, 7pm The Israel Connexion The front page of the Australian Jewish News (22/1/20) exposed a new chapter concerning the United Nations Relief Works Agency for (alleged) Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). UNRWA now produces its own educational materials for the Palestinians which is rife with problematic content that contradicts supposed UN values. I spoke with Marcus Sheff, the CEO of Impact-SE, which last month published a review of UNRWA-Produced Study Materials in the Palestinian Territories.

3 Feb 2021, 9pm

3 Feb 2021, 9pm The Israel Connexion On my first new program in 2021 I spoke with ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim about the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and some other issues.  Peter wrote an article titled Why there is no credible alternative to IHRA definition of antisemitism and anti-Israel activist Peter Slezak responded How should antisemitism be defined? A reply to Peter Wertheim