"The potential for Australia to learn from Israel's 'can-do culture' was not lost on Nick Cater and James Brown, who attended a Rambam intensive study tour to Israel in July for Australian journalists and academics. At a debriefing luncheon in Sydney last week hosted by Rambam organisers, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), both described touring Tel Aviv's high-tech scene and having Israeli start-ups pitch directly to them, as eye-opening experiences... eight journalists and academics went on the trip." (Aussies share insights of Israel, The Australian Jewish News, 29/8/16)
So who were the other 6, and why didn't they attend the AIJAC debriefing? C'mon guyz-n-galz, out yourselves!
Now for those 'insights'.
Gem from Brown, research director, US Studies Centre, University of Sydney:
"The thing that really stood out for me is the Israeli culture of argument."
I know just what you mean, James: up is down, left is right, black is white etc, etc, etc.
Gems from Cater, executive director, Menzies Research Centre, Australian columnist:
"Israel seemed to me to be even more stable and remarkable a country because of what was happening around it. It's not accidental - it's because of the values, principles and institutions put in place by its founders."
What was happening around Israel? You mean, Israel's an innocent bystander in a tough neighbourhood, right, Nick?
Israeli values, principles & institutions? You mean, Nick, like Jewish supremacism, ethnocracy, apartheid & occupation?
"After speaking with Israelis and Palestinians, Cater and Brown were not confident about prospects for peace on the horizon. 'One thing I found very disheartening was the consequence of the growth of the idea... on the Palestinian side, that any form of normalisation, as they call it, in relation to Israel is a sell-out,' Cater said."
Cater, it seems, would have felt so much better if only he'd spoken to Palestinians who'd embraced Israeli repression, occupation and colonisation. Presumably, nothing whatever about the Israelis, their repression, their occupation or their colonisation, disheartened him in the least.
Speaking for myself, I have to say that I, for one, am very heartened that AIJAC couldn't find any Palestinian who embraced normalisation with Israel for Nick and his fellow rambamees to talk to.
[With apologies to The Bangles.]