EU Funding of Israeli NGOs: More than for all the rest of the Middle East

EU Funding of Israeli NGOs: More than for all the rest of the Middle East

November 17, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

Following up on the post Tuesday concerning controversial Israeli proposals to limit or tax foreign government funding to “political’ Non-Governmental Organisations in Israel, a Jerusalem Post editorial on the subject has an interesting fact that may help explain why some Israelis are so concerned about the issue:

…European governments spend more on left-wing NGOs operating in Israel – between $75 million and $100m. a year – than their total contributions to nonprofit human rights groups in other Middle East countries, according to NGO Monitor.

Assad loses the Arab League/ Iran's Nukes again

Assad loses the Arab League/ Iran’s Nukes again

November 17, 2011

Today’s Update features two pieces on the worsening international position of Syria’s Assad regime, in the wake of Syria’s suspension by the Arab League, a call by Jordan’s King Abdullah for Assad to step down, and new European sanctions. All this occurred as the killing went on in defiance of an Arab League peace plan (at least 40 people were reportedly killing on Monday, some disturbing video is here) and following attacks in Syria and Lebanon by pro-regime mobs on the Embassies of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan.

An antisemitic Trojan horse in Greece?

An antisemitic Trojan horse in Greece?

November 16, 2011 | Allon Lee

The old saying to “never waste a good crisis” takes on a worrying meaning in Greece as the LàOS party with an antisemitic track record wins a major breakthrough for the far right by securing ministerial positions in the new unity coalition.

And with everyone focussing on the potential implications of the Greek debt crisis for Europe and the world economy, no one seems to have noticed.

Is limiting foreign government funding of Israeli NGOs "undemocratic"?

Is limiting foreign government funding of Israeli NGOs “undemocratic”?

November 15, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

There has been some controversy in Israel over a proposal coming out of Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation which would limit or tax the ability of foreign governments or international bodies like the UN to fund Israeli NGOs…

American law professor David Bernstein has an excellent post challenging the idea that such a law (and it is by no means clear that such a law can get through the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, or what its provisions would be if it did) would be undemocratic…

UNESCO: Palestine -  in

UNESCO: Palestine – in, Freedom of Speech – out

November 15, 2011 | Or Avi Guy

Eric Falt, assistant director general for external relations and public information at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has issued an official letter of protest from UNESCO’s director general, Irina Bokova regarding a cartoon which UNESCO claimed constituted incitement.

This could have been an encouraging sign that UNESCO is finally acting against incitement, racism and specifically antisemitism prevalent in Arab and Muslim media, especially in the state-sponsored press. However, the cartoon that so inflamed UNESCO officials was published in Haaretz, an Israeli independent newspaper, which is protected under Israel’s laws regarding freedom of the press. Moreover, the only incitement that seemed to concern UNESCO is incitement against UNESCO.

Fairfax’s Chomsky and Holocaust Denial whitewash

Fairfax’s Chomsky and Holocaust Denial whitewash

November 14, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

On October 22, the Age and Sydney Morning Herald “Good Weekend” magazine ran a profile written by Jane Wheatley of prominent American linguistics expert, radical author and political activist Noam Chomsky. It is not available online, but was almost wholly complimentary to its subject – so much so that it completely re-wrote the history of one of the most controversial aspects of Chomsky’s long career in public controversy, his 1979 defence of French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson…

I penned a letter to “Good Weekend” setting this matter straight.

Iran responds to IAEA by threatening to destroy Israel... again + Australia feels the fallout

Iran responds to IAEA by threatening to destroy Israel… again + Australia feels the fallout

November 11, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

As outlined in yesterday’s update, the UN’s atomic energy watchdog has just released a report that just falls short of definitively stating that Iran has a nuclear weapons program – seemingly the closest that the UN ever comes to an unequivocal condemnation of a country that is not Israel. The report has emerged amid rumours that Israel is gearing-up for an attack on Iran and is busy soliciting support from allies in the UK and the US.

Predictably, Iran did not respond with steps to assure the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful, but instead blamed an American conspiracy and then threatened to destroy Israel.

Iran denies the allegations and says the evidence used by the U.N. nuclear watchdog was fabricated by the United States and its allies. It has insisted that its nuclear program is aimed only at generating electricity and ensuring an independent fuel supply for its nuclear power plants.

… “If smoke columns rise from our nuclear facilities, then this scenario could happen in other areas,” said Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces. “The Dimona station in Israel is the easiest…

Islamism and the Arab Spring

Islamism and the Arab Spring

November 11, 2011

This Updates features three informative pieces on the seemingly increasingly Islamist tint colouring the Arab Spring movements, from Tunisia, to Libya, to Egypt, and beyond.

First up is one of Israel’s most respected and sober Middle East experts, Dr. Asher Susser from Tel Aviv University. He takes issue with the way the media and commentators have focussed too heavily on the “computer-savvy younger generation, skilled in the social networking tools of Facebook and Twitter and the modern media” which were allowed to overshadow the vast strength of the forces of tradition in Arab society. He argues that it is actually secularism that is in crisis across the Arab world, and the Arab Spring has “in many ways become a launching pad for Islamist political ascendance” with unclear effects on democracy hopes.

Media Week - Culture Wars; A Grandstanding Seat; Rice Revelations

Media Week – Culture Wars; A Grandstanding Seat; Rice Revelations

November 11, 2011 | Jamie Hyams

Writing in the Australian (4/11) in support of the decision by UNESCO to grant membership to the Palestinians, Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, claimed, “Israeli occupation has not seen the protection and preservation of these riches. Israeli occupation has seen deliberate neglect, damage and the ongoing seizure of Palestine’s cultural heritage and territory as its own, violently and with impunity, excluding the interests and rights of all others. Yet Australia voted no to Palestinian membership of UNESCO, preferring, it would seem, the theft and destruction of Palestine’s and the world’s heritage and saying no to peace.” By contrast, he claimed, “Palestine is committed to the protection and preservation of these treasures.” The track record shows the opposite to be the case.

Leaked UN report reveals cognitive dissonance on Palestinian statehood

Leaked UN report reveals cognitive dissonance on Palestinian statehood

November 10, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Just after the Palestinian Authority admitted that they are not going to win the votes needed to secure UN Security Council recognition as a state, a report prepared for the Security Council on the subject has been leaked to the media. The report, written by the UN’s Committee For the Admission of New Members, has has been leaked to American Arabic news network Al Hurra and published by Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch. The general impression from the report is that the Committee was unable to determine whether or not Palestine can qualify for statehood, but there were a few points that were a little curious.

For starters, see if you can pick what stands out from the following paragraph…

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