Journalists Report Back from Rambam Delegation

August 8, 2016 by J-Wire
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Prominent Australian journalists and opinion-leaders Rita Panahi, Jennifer Oriel, Josh Gordon and Georgina Downer, recently having returned from an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam delegation to Israel, addressed an AIJAC luncheon in Melbourne.

“It was a really tremendous program it was incredibly jam-packed” said Age columnist Josh Gordon.

Josh Gordon, Rita Panahi, Mark Leibler, Jennifer Oriel, Georgina Downer, Colin Rubenstein

Josh Gordon, Rita Panahi, Mark Leibler, Jennifer Oriel, Georgina Downer, Colin Rubenstein

“One of the most amazing experiences for me was touching the wall of the city, feeling the lived experience of the city, it’s hard not to be affected by that,” said Gordon.

“You go into Israel and everything’s so small… there’s so much religious and historic significance to these places everywhere you look… I could immerse myself in it for days.”

Herald Sun author Rita Panahi addressed what was termed the “victim-villain narrative” surrounding discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“There’s a story with a villain and a victim,” said Panahi. “It’s a wholly unprincipled position which overlooks human rights abuses by the Palestinians which if committed by Israel would be front page news, there’s a huge double standard.”

“There is such a toxic embracing of victimhood among the Palestinian leadership that really stops them lifting the living standards of Palestinian people…with the amount of funds given to them why aren’t living standards improving?”

Addressing the same issue, Australian columnist Jennifer Oriel commented, “The Palestinian Authority benefits financially and politically from maintaining the impression it is the underdog in the region that gets thwarted at every turn. There are strategic advantages in maintaining that position.”

Georgina Downer of the Institute of Public Affairs commented on the need to directly address Islamist extremism, stating, “If we can’t have the conversation freely and frankly we won’t be able to understand the issues facing us… it was outstanding to meet so many analysts focused on this.”

The delegation was accompanied by AIJAC liaison Gareth Narunsky.

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