Nick Cater and James Brown Address AIJAC Luncheon in Sydney

August 21, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Two of Australia’s most prominent public intellectuals, Nick Cater, Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre and James Brown, Research Director of the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre, addressed an AIJAC luncheon in Sydney having recently returned from an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) RAMBAM delegation to Israel.

“I’ve had a familiarity with the Middle East but never been to Israel,” said Brown, who served with the Australian army in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I was quite surprised to understand the extent of co-operation happening between Israel and Egypt for example, some very productive and fruitful co-operation that’s happened in recent times spurred by instability in the Sinai,” Brown elaborated.

An expert in US politics, Brown commented “People are reconciled to the reality that although both US Presidential candidates have a deep interest in Israel and the wider region neither is in a rush to invest significant resources while they’re facing a domestic population that wants more focus at home. I think there’s a realism in Israel that for the immediate future they’re essentially preparing for an US that is less engaged in solving the problems of the region and that’s leading to some of the pragmatic organizing happening with some unlikely partners.”

Citing the delegation’s interactions with the start-up community in Israel, Brown added “Getting a chance to spend some time with the start-ups, hearing from actual start-ups pitching toward us was fascinating.”

” I’ve come away with a lot more questions than I had when I began and am very keen to go back”, he concluded.

In his remarks on barriers to long-term peace in Israel, Cater said, “What I found very disheartening was the consequence of the growth of the anti-normalization movement… this is something that’s grown in strength, the idea that’s grown on the Palestinian side that any form of normalization as they call it or relations with Israel is a sell-out… it’s an absolutist position, it just has the most horrible consequence.”

Cater also noted that he found the innovation ecosystem within Israel “tremendously encouraging.”

“That’s another reason why Australians recognise what is happening in Israel and feel on the same wavelength. We’re both that kind of nation, we’re not nations that look back to the golden age we look forward to it”, he concluded

The delegation was accompanied by AIJAC’s Gareth Narunsky and included prominent journalists and writers Michael Gordon,Josh Gordon, Jennifer Oriel, Rita Panahi and Georgina Downer, who recently addressed an AIJAC luncheon in Melbourne.

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