Responses to gay Israel slur

Responses to gay Israel slur

December 1, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Following on from this post concerning an accusation of Israel supposedly “pinkwashing” its public image by spruiking its record on gay rights to hide alleged injustices, a number of gay writers have penned scathing responses in the Jewish and international media.

Writing in the Forward, Jay Michaelson gives a critique of the piece by Sarah Schulman in the New York Times that began the whole kerfuffle…

Ilan Grapel tells his story

Ilan Grapel tells his story

December 1, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

Ilan Grapel, a twenty seven year old American-Israeli was finally released on October 27 in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners in Israel, after having spent four months in an Egyptian jail due to false allegations of espionage. In 2009, he was a Goldmann Fellow at AIJAC’s Melbourne office.

A month after his release, Grapel has told his story in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth. Grapel describes how he spent 150 days in a four-by-four metre room, two weeks of which he spent in complete confinement that made him “nearly lose his mind”.

Understanding the attack on the British Embassy in Teheran

Understanding the attack on the British Embassy in Teheran

November 30, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Following increasing threats of sanctions over the Iranian nuclear program, as was being progressively reported in the Guardian‘s liveblog, the UK embassy in Iran was stormed last night (Australia time) by a group of supposed “students”. The British government has unequivocally held the Iranian regime responsible.

Even though France has been the strongest European champion of the new round of sanctions, as British journalist Christopher de Bellaigue noted in a 2008 article, the British hold a special place in Iranian paranoia

The 1947 UN Partition Plan mis-remembered by the UN

The 1947 UN Partition Plan mis-remembered by the UN

November 30, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

On 29 November 64 years ago, the UN General Assembly voted on the partition plan, and the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 was adopted by a vote of 33 to 13, recommending the establishment of two states – Arab and Jewish. The Jews accepted the partition plan, the Arabs did not and five Arab states went to war with Israel.

However, November 29, is not called ‘Israel day’ but rather the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’. Marking this day at the UN was a General Assembly resolution on the “Question of Palestine” which condemned Israel, pre-empted the results of final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and failed to acknowledge Israel’s legitimate security rights, amongst other concerning features of the resolution.

In response to the UN resolution, Ron Prosor, UN Representative to Israel delivered a stirring speech that condemned the UN’s consistent attack on Israel and outlined the real reasons that have so far prevented peace…

Egypt's chaos

Egypt’s chaos

November 29, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

In the lead up to Egypt’s first ‘free and fair’ election, the streets of Cairo have become increasingly chaotic.

On November 25, tens of thousands of people protested in Tahrir Square demanding an end to the military rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has ruled Egypt since former president Hosni Mubarak lost power in February. More than a week of civil unrest and government crackdowns left 42 people dead and 3000 injured.

There are not only tensions between political parties in Egypt but also a resentment of ‘foreigners’ – seen in conspiracy theories of ‘foreign meddling’ in Egyptian politics, and also in recent attacks on foreign journalists including sexual assaults.

“The Promise”

“The Promise”

November 29, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

On Sunday night, SBS-TV screened the first of four episodes of a controversial British historical drama set in pre-state and contemporary Israel, entitled “The Promise”. When it was screened in Britain by Channel 4 in February, it led to an official letter of complaint by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as well as strong critiques from Booker prize winning novelist Howard Jacobson, noted British academic expert on the Holocaust David Cesarani, and others….

I include below some of the critiques of “The Promise” from Britain for the benefit of Australian audiences.

Embracing Brotherhood welcomes not democracy but war

Embracing Brotherhood welcomes not democracy but war

November 29, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

As the AP reported on Sunday, the final results of the recent Moroccan elections confirm a victory, if not a majority, for Morocco’s Islamist party. These elections form a part of the series of reforms implemented by the Moroccan King in order to quell the country’s brief spell of Arab Spring-style protests.

Announcing final results Sunday, the ministry said the Justice and Development Party has taken 107 seats in the 395-seat legislature following the nationwide vote two days earlier.

The PJD – known by its French initials – is the latest Islamist party to win an election brought about by the Arab Spring. The right-of-center Istiqlal, a potential ally for the PJD, placed second with 60 seats.

Morocco may be the most recent country to have ostensibly voted an Islamist party into power, but it will not be the last…

An Exodus from Sinai

An Exodus from Sinai

November 28, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

The Sinai is not only a haven for terrorists, but it also a centre of people and organ smuggling.

The depth of the lawlessness was recently captured in CNN documentary “Death in the Desert”, which reported on unimaginable violence experienced by Africans who cross the Sinai in the desperate attempt to make it to Israel.

Africans particularly from Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea fleeing their local hardships pay Bedouin tribes in the border area between Sudan and Egypt around $2,000 to be smuggled into Israel. But these smugglers often imprison and blackmail the helpless refugees or sell them to other Sinai Bedouin, who do the same, rather than fulfilling the deal.  If the Africans cannot pay the ransom, and sometimes even if they do pay, they are enslaved, raped, tortured and killed.

Dershowitz: UN an important reason why there is no peace

Dershowitz: UN an important reason why there is no peace

November 28, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

World-renowned Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz gave an important speech at “The Perils of Global Intolerance: the United Nations and Durban III” conference that took place on 22 September 2011 – designed to coincide with and counter the UN Durban III conference which promoted an anti-Zionist agenda and focussed on Israel as the world’s sole nation mentioned as a source of “racism.” It has just been made publicly available.

In his speech Dershowitz condemned the UN for failing to live up to its own Charter, and began his speech with this statement:

“One important reason why there is no peace in the Middle East an be summarised in tragically in two letters – U.N. That building dedicated in theory to peace has facilitated terrorism, stood idly by genocide, given a platform to Holocaust deniers, and disincentivised the Palestinians from negotiating a reasonable two state solution.”

Gaddafi - the "Jewish" tyrant

Gaddafi – the “Jewish” tyrant

November 25, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

In Libya people have long speculated about Gaddafi’s ancestry. While Gaddafi claimed to have been born in a tent in Sirte to the son of a poor Bedouin sheepherder and his wife, this story has been in doubt.

Now that Gaddafi has fallen, many feel that they are finally able to talk freely about Gaddafi. And what many of them are now saying is that he was a Jew.

In March, NBC‘s Richard Engel reported from Libya that one in five rebels was fighting Gaddafi because of the belief the Libyan dictator was Jewish.

More recently, Middle East analyst Andrew Engel reported from Libya in the New York Forward that throughout Libya he saw Graffiti depicting Gadaffi as a Jew and that many people he met were eager to tell him that Gaddafi was Jewish.

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