World Vision involved in alleged terror links - again

World Vision involved in alleged terror links – again

February 28, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

As has been widely reported, there has been controversy over support by World Vision and AusAID for a Palestinian group with alleged links to a terrorist organisation. While the current complaint is now being investigated by World Vision, it is worth recalling that this is not the first time that World Vision has been accused of making a controversial funding decision in the Palestinian Authority areas.

In the latest complaint, the Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Centre) wrote letters to AusAID and World Vision requesting that they discontinue their support of the Palestinian aid organisation the Union of Agricultural Work Committee, which it alleges is a subsidiary of the terrorist organisation the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…

Iran claims victory over Israel in Academy Awards while continuing to repress film industry

Iran claims victory over Israel in Academy Awards while continuing to repress film industry

February 28, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

When accepting the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film last night, for his film Separation, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi took a veiled stab at the regime ruling Iran. Farhadi expressed how grateful he was that Iran was being recognised for its “glorious culture” and spoke of the Iranian people’s rejection of “hostility and resentment”.

At this time, many Iranians all over the world are watching us and I imagine them to be very happy. They are happy not just because of an important award or a film or filmmaker, but because at the time when talk of war, intimidation and aggression is exchanged between politicians, the name of their country Iran is spoken here through…

Investors find their fortunes in Israeli

Investors find their fortunes in Israeli, Palestinian stock markets

February 27, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

While peacemaking visionaries talk about a future Israeli-Palestinian peace dividend – the concept that peace between Israelis and Palestinians will usher in a new era of mutual prosperity – the two peoples aren’t waiting, as both Israeli and Palestinian stock markets continue to impress.

On February 20, the financial news organisation Bloomberg named Israel’s stock market number one in the world in its Riskless Return Ranking – a measure of the safest investments for investors over the past decade…

The other concern about Greece: Antisemitism

The other concern about Greece: Antisemitism

February 24, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Greece has been repeatedly in the headlines in recent months for one simple reason – because of that small country’s massive debt crisis and the huge implications it has for the wider European Union. But there’s another reason that the world should be paying attention to Greece.  In Greece, antisemitism seems increasingly to be entering into the mainstream. Some speculate that the recent resurgence is linked to the Greek debt crisis that began in 2009.

AIJAC has previously written a blog post on the far right LAOS political party, which has an antisemitic track record and last year secured ministerial positions in the unity coalition.  Now two senior members of LAOS, Makis Voridis and Adonis Georgiadis are joining Greece’s mainstream conservative party ‘New Democracy’, which is ahead in the polls in the lead up to parliamentary elections scheduled for April…

Feckless Palestinian leadership fuels unnecessary suffering in Gaza

Feckless Palestinian leadership fuels unnecessary suffering in Gaza

February 24, 2012 | Allon Lee

Did you hear the one about the shipments of fuel from Egypt to Gaza stopped by Hamas because they refused to let them pass through the Israeli crossing at Rafah?

No? Well, that’s because stories of Palestinian suffering caused by Hamas and Fatah rarely make the grade in most Australian and Western newsrooms. It’s a case of news editors saying: “No Israel angle? Then there’s nothing to see here folks”…

Egypt and the NGOs

Egypt and the NGOs

February 24, 2012

This Update features two pieces on the crisis between Egypt and the US sparked by the Egyptian government’s crackdown on pro-democracy NGOs in the country, and more importantly, what these events say about Egypt’s potential for progress toward genuine liberal democracy.

Stephen McInerney, director of the Project on Middle East Democracy, discusses the politics of the NGO case in some depth and makes a strong case that the future of Egyptian civil society may be at stake. He details the clear disingenuousness of the claims against the NGOs, and the way Fayza Abul Naga, minister of planning and international cooperation, is clearly using the case – along with a strategy of brinksmanship – to promote her agenda, with at least the acquiescence of the ruling military council, SCAF…

Iran's nuclear scientists are no civilians

Iran’s nuclear scientists are no civilians

February 23, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Following the recent deaths of Iranian nuclear scientists, a number of people seem to have not only attributed their killings to Israel, but also condemned them as the murder of “innocent civilians” or even “terrorism” (for an explanation of why the killings may not have been Israel, see Iran expert Emanuele Ottolenghi — soon to be visiting Australia — here). The characterisation of the scientists connected to Iran’s nuclear program as “civilians”, however, is false. The International Atomic Agency report on Iran’s nuclear program released late last year detailed extensively how the Iranian nuclear program falls under Iran’s military complex, summarised in the image below…

Cyprus and Israel: Perennial wallflowers share a dance

Cyprus and Israel: Perennial wallflowers share a dance

February 22, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

Binyamin Netanyahu’s meeting with Cypriot President Demetris Christofias in Nicosia on February 16 – the first for any Israeli Prime Minister – was not only historic, but likely strategically important for the futures of both Mediterranean countries, which are finding in recent years an increasing number of shared interests.

Once, such a visit would have been difficult to imagine. While Netanyahu said during his visit that warming ties between Israel and Cyprus was a reflection of the “natural relationship” between the two countries, Cyprus and Israel have never been as close as they are now…

The psychology of Iran's rulers and their nuclear plans

The psychology of Iran’s rulers and their nuclear plans

February 22, 2012

This Update includes two new pieces by experts attempting to explain how Teheran views the current nuclear standoff – a vital piece of the puzzle if policies are to be implemented to influence the behaviour of Iran’s leaders.

First up is Ray Takeyh of the US Council on Foreign Relations, who points out that the primary reason the leaders of the Iranian regime believe they need nuclear weapons is because, for historical reasons, they both see themselves as the “natural hegemons” of the region, and are a revolutionary regime, whose purpose is to export their revolution to other countries…

Fisking Four Corners: getting the facts straight on Syria

Fisking Four Corners: getting the facts straight on Syria, Israel and Iran

February 21, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Last night, ABC’s Four Corners program focussed on the uprising in Syria. The program mostly featured a British Channel Four documentary on the Assad regime’s systematic torture of Syrian opposition-members, including children, which gave a shocking insight into the events besetting Syrians opposed to their government’s policies. The program ended, however, with host Kerry O’Brien interviewing notorious Middle-East correspondent Robert Fisk for 15 minutes in which Fisk was essentially given a pedestal to promulgate his views unchallenged…

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