IAEA: Iran "continuing" work on a bomb

IAEA: Iran “continuing” work on a bomb

November 10, 2011

As readers may be aware, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday released a report into Iran’s nuclear program which is being described by diplomats as “the most damning report ever published by the IAEA.” The report itself is available in full here – the key extracts are collected here and here.

We lead with a summary of the report’s key findings from Washington Institute for Near East Policy expert Simon Henderson. He pays particular attention to the report’s revelations concerning where Iran obtained its nuclear technology – from Pakistan mainly, but also  possibly from Russia.

Is Bibi getting a bad rap?

Is Bibi getting a bad rap?

November 10, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

As readers may have seen reported, a private conversation between US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Cannes last week was accidentally overhead by reporters. In it, the two were talking rather unflatteringly about Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu. According to the reports, Sarkozy said of Netanyahu “I can’t stand him anymore, he’s a liar” while Obama responded, “You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day.”

This story has sparked a fair amount of comment from various quarters concerning what it says about the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu (which all informed observers already knew was hardly notable for its warmth), and the wider US-Israel relationship.

Palestinians admit that they do not have statehood support

Palestinians admit that they do not have statehood support

November 9, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

A breaking report from the AP reveals that the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Malki, has admitted that they have failed to muster the nine votes needed in the UN Security Council in order to approve their statehood bid.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki told The Associated Press Tuesday, “It is clear now, with the U.S. counter effort and intervention, that we are not going to have these nine votes.” They can still apply to the General Assembly.

That the US has been campaigning strongly against the bid is unsurprising given the difficult situation that the PA has been placing the Obama administration in through its recent UN antics…

Has Iran run down the nuclear clock?

Has Iran run down the nuclear clock?

November 8, 2011 | Allon Lee

A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report due to be released tomorrow is believed to contain compelling evidence that Iran is now at the end stage of its nuclear research program and is actively working on weaponisation technologies.

Ahead of the report’s scheduled release we present a range of reading that predicts what the report will likely detail, where the effort to contain Iran’s nuclear weapons program is at and whether the time has come to move from economic sanctions to military options.

When academic anti-Zionism shades into endorsing antisemitism

When academic anti-Zionism shades into endorsing antisemitism

November 8, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

Critical discussion of Israel may be one thing, but increasingly ‘academic’ discussion of Israel can cross a red line into blatant antisemitism.

Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born Jazz musician living in Britain who has declared himself a “proud self hating Jew.” He is known not merely for being critical of Israel but for his antisemitic writings in which he encourages belief in a global Jewish conspiracy of world domination, casts doubt on the Holocaust and blames Jewish persecution – including by the Nazis – on Jews themselves.

Therefore, it is alarming that Atzmon’s latest book The Wandering Who?, which reprises many of Atzmon’s antisemitic themes has been endorsed by ‘respected’ academics including John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Richard Falk of Princeton.

UNESCO vote on Palestine triggers UN backlash

UNESCO vote on Palestine triggers UN backlash

November 7, 2011 | Or Avi Guy

The acceptance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was criticised within the UN by none other than the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

In an interview during the G20 summit in Cannes, France, he warned against further attempts by the Palestinians to join other UN bodies and agencies and stated that such efforts are “not beneficial for Palestine and not beneficial for anybody.” He warned that “millions and millions” of people could be affected if UN agencies suffer budget cuts as a result of the Palestinian bids: “This will have implications for all the agencies of the United Nations. When an organisation is not properly functioning because of a lack of resources, you have to think about the millions and millions of people who are being impacted and affected,” he said.

Ban’s concerns are based on actions by the United States and Canada, which contributed 25% of UNESCO’s funding, and have cut off their funding following the PA vote.

Tutu spars with Goldstone over kangaroo court

Tutu spars with Goldstone over kangaroo court

November 4, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in the New York Times earlier this week explaining why the claim that Israel is an “apartheid state” is baseless was primarily targeted against the so-called “Russell Tribunal on Palestine”, due to take place this weekend in Cape Town, which will allegedly “examine whether Israel’s practices against the Palestinians is in breach of the prohibition on apartheid under International Law.”

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.

Goldstone seems to have struck a chord with some of the Tribunal’s organisers – Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Michael Mansfield have responded to Goldstone in the pages of the Guardian, defending the decision that the Tribunal has yet to officially consider…

The Palestinians and UNESCO/ An Attack on Iran?

November 4, 2011

This Update features two comments on the vote by the UN Educational, Social and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) to admit “Palestine” as a full member on Monday, a measure opposed by the Australia (see AIJAC’s media release on the Australian vote here).  It also contains some comments on reports originating in the Israeli press alleging that the Israeli Government is stepping up preparations for a possible military strike on Iran’s nuclear program.

Media Week – Centre for Conflict; Panning partisan posturing; ‘Imbalanced’ article

November 4, 2011 | Jamie Hyams

Jake Lynch, Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, criticised his university for holding a research forum between Israelis and Australians. He told Imre Salusinszky, “The university risks sustaining reputational damage if the forum goes ahead. It risks being seen as condoning the complicity by Israeli universities in Israel’s breaches of international law and indirectly raises problems with the university’s social inclusion policy” (Australian, 25/10). Salusinszky reported that, in a letter to the university’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Lynch “says the forum is contrary to the university’s social inclusion policy, which requires it to reach out to students in western Sydney. He says most Muslim students live in the west and feel ‘a sense of resentment and alienation resulting from the predominance of pro-Israeli voices in Australia’s political and media discourses’.” Lynch, who is also an executive member of the Sydney Peace Foundation, which awards the Sydney Peace Prize, seems to have a very skewed notion of what peace actually entails.

Sudden jump in odds on Iran attack

Sudden jump in odds on Iran attack

November 3, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

A whole series of events last night made an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities suddenly seem far closer than had previously been the case. After a week of speculation in the Israeli press, Haaretz reported yesterday that the Prime Minister and Defence Minister are trying to gain cabinet support for a strike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a “small advantage” in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack.

Netanyahu and Barak recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.

This report coincided with the test-firing of a new long-range Israeli missile, which could be capable of reaching targets in Iran…

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