How about an award for hypocrisy?

How about an award for hypocrisy?

April 11, 2012 | Or Avi Guy

Hypocrisy frequently rears its ugly head in the Middle East, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) has just succeeded in producing something close to a new examplar on the issue of media freedom. As a Jerusalem Post editorial (“Palestinian responsibility”, 2/4/2012) has documented, the Palestinian Authority is intensifying an ongoing crackdown on journalists operating in the West Bank, while at the same time it’s introducing a new award honouring press freedom.

Easter in Jerusalem

Easter in Jerusalem

April 11, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Each year thousands of Christians make their way to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter. Israel’s Tourism Ministry expects 125,000 visitors during Holy Week and 300,000 throughout April.

Over the weekend as Catholics and Anglicans celebrated Easter, there were media reports that claimed many Palestinian Christians were being denied entry into Jerusalem for their pilgrimage, claims which Israel strongly denies.

What about Syria's WMD?

What about Syria’s WMD?

April 11, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

In my review of Israeli policy in regard to Syrian unrest which was published on Tuesday on ABC‘s The Drum.

I noted that “the one issue which might prompt Israel to come off the sidelines” in Syria’s Civil War is the possibility that Syria’s massive “arsenal of of some of the world’s most deadly chemical weapons” might “find their way into the hands of terrorist groups.” I also noted that this was not simply a problem for Israel, but a danger to the whole free world.

For those interested in more on this significant danger, I call your attention to a survey of Syria’s WMD threat, by James P. Farwell published late last week in The National Interest.

Muslim Brotherhood Play for Power in Egypt?

April 5, 2012

This Update features two pieces looking at the increasing signs that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is abandoning past promises of modesty and moderation and attempting to impose near-complete domination over Egyptian politics in the near future.

First up is Eric Trager, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s expert on Egyptian politics. He notes the Brotherhood’s decision to break previous promises and field a presidential candidate, its efforts to dominate both most Parliamentary Committees and the Constituent Committee writing the new constitution, and  scrapping of previous efforts to maintain a detente with the ruling military government constitute overwhelming evidence that the Brotherhood has abandoned any pretence of not seeking a monopoly on political power…

Hamas rant sheds light on Gaza fuel crisis

Hamas rant sheds light on Gaza fuel crisis

April 5, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

A deal signed Tuesday between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas may or may not herald the end to the Gazan fuel shortage as discussed in my previous blog post on the subject, but a recent television interview with Hamas’ Minister of the Interior and of National Security Fathi Hammad offers a glimpse into the strain the situation was causing within Hamas…

Media Week - Which lobby?

Media Week – Which lobby?, A wolf in wolf’s clothing, Take a hike

April 4, 2012 | Allon Lee

In its first story since December 2011 looking at Iran’s nuclear program, ABC TV “7.30” (21/3) reporter Michael Brissenden described the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) as “the most powerful Jewish lobby group in the United States”. This may surprise the many non-Jews who attended AIPAC’s recent annual conference, including pro-Israel Latinos, African-Americans and Christian delegates.

Incitement Watch: Blood Libel and the "true nature" of the Israeli-Arab conflict

Incitement Watch: Blood Libel and the “true nature” of the Israeli-Arab conflict

April 4, 2012 | Or Avi Guy

Welcome to Incitement Watch, a new feature on “FreshAIR” which collects and highlights the worst examples of antisemitism and incitement to violence from the Middle Eastern media.

Israel's new Opposition leader

Israel’s new Opposition leader

April 2, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

The triumph of Shaul Mofaz, a former Israel Defence Forces Chief of Staff and Defence Minister (for a bio of Mofaz see here) over former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in the Kadima party primaries this week has sparked a flurry of commentary and reactions inside Israel.

Widely noted by pundits was Mofaz’s poor name recognition abroad. That, together with Kadima’s weakened stature in the face of centrist challenges by the revamped Labour party and Yair Lapid’s newly-launched party, has put a damper on analysis over Mofaz’s win outside the region.

Strange Australian commentary on the UN's controversial "peace plan" for Syria

Strange Australian commentary on the UN’s controversial “peace plan” for Syria

April 2, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The Syrian Government’s decision to accept UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan has been met with a lot of scepticism to say the least. A number of experts have been predicting that the initiative would only paper-over the Assad regime’s continued violence and that there would be negative consequences felt in Syria as a result.

Another by-product of the issue has been some rather strange commentary emerging from Australia. Anthony Billingsley, a lecturer at the University of New South Wales, has written his thoughts about the Annan plan on Australian academic blog site The Conversation. His reasoning is a little difficult to follow – in more than one instance, his assessment of the geopolitics seems either misinformed or contradictory, particularly in regards to the American and Israeli role in the Syrian uprisings (emphasis added)…

Iran and the Huawei controversy

Iran and the Huawei controversy

April 2, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Recently the Australian media has been focused on news that the Australian government blocked the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from participating in the national broadband network (NBN).

While most commentators are discussing the cyber security concerns, few are raising Huawei’s questionable activities in Iran – with reports that Huawei empowered the Iranian regime to track dissidents during the 2009 demonstrations.

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