Different Israeli views on the Tent Protest movement

August 10, 2011 | Or Avi Guy

The “tent protest” in Israel is well into its third week, and shows no signs of dying out. Last Saturday, more than 300,000 people, across the country – from Kiryat Shmona in the north to Eilat in the south, took to the streets, demanding “social justice”. This protest is seen by many in Israel as a positive and refreshing awakening of an otherwise dormant public- the middle class. While the Israeli democracy is accustomed to protests, these are usually sectorial and revolve around one specific and limited issue, and many are related to issues of peace and security. This current protest, however, is a different story altogether.

The Twilight Zone at the UN

The Twilight Zone at the UN

August 10, 2011 | Allon Lee

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man” may have kicked off each new episode of the Twilight Zone but it can equally be applied to the alternate reality that is the United Nations.

Bizarrely, this week, North Korea assumed the presidency of the UN’s Conference on Disarmament despite being under a sanctions regime for its nuclear weapons program.

 

Syrian situation continues to escalate

Syrian situation continues to escalate

August 10, 2011

The situation in Syria continues to worsen with violent government efforts to suppress protests continuing in Hama, Dor El-Zoir, and other towns and increasingly blunt denunciations of the Damascus regime coming from many quarters, including tough remarks from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, and Al-Azhar University, the most senior Sunni Muslim religious voice in the world, now speaking out.

The Perils of being a Palestinian Journalist

The Perils of being a Palestinian Journalist

August 9, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

There is a tendency in the West to treat Palestinian society as if it were a full-blown democracy – after all, they appear to have elections, and Prime Ministers and Presidents and parliament and all the trappings.(This is despite the fact that election scheduled for two years ago still have not occurred and it remains unclear if and when they ever will.)

It is therefore worth pointing out that in many respects, the civil and political liberties that are the hallmark of genuine democracy are at best contingent and partial in the Palestinian Authority (PA) – to say nothing about Hamas-controlled Gaza.

For instance, media freedom is pretty limited in the Palestinian Authority, as a recent case reveals. Noted Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh writes about the plight of award-winning Palestinian journalist Majdoleen Hassouneh, who is in hiding after apparently upsetting local authorities by her reporting about a sit-in strike.

 

Arab States Increase Pressure on Syria

Arab States Increase Pressure on Syria, Syria Blames American Conspiracy

August 9, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

As yesterday’s post noted, condemnation of Syria seems to have reached a tipping point – with more and more world leaders finally criticising the Assad regime, well into the fifth month of violence. Even “hacktivist” collective Anonymous have jumped on the bandwagon, hacking into the Syrian Ministry of Defence website and leaving photographs of mutilated protestors as long as a message of support in both English and Arabic…

[Post continues]

UN Resumes Aid to Somalia as Terrorists Vanish

UN Resumes Aid to Somalia as Terrorists Vanish

August 9, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

It is not often that “ignore the problem and hope it goes away” is a particularly effective strategy in international affairs. Amazingly, however, the international community seems to have successfully employed this tactic in Somalia to drive the terrorist group al-Shabab from the capital Moghadishu. Al-Shabab had held a large chunk of the city and had been fighting a small African Union force for control of the remainder; but after spending years in a bitter stalemate, they seem to have determined to just pack-up and leave. As reported by Reuters:

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Thousands of Somali refugees, fleeing famine and years of violence, streamed into Mogadishu on Monday searching for food after Islamist rebels withdrew from the capital…

Hot chocolate too tempting for anti-Israel activists?

Hot chocolate too tempting for anti-Israel activists?

August 9, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

In an interesting turn of events, four of the 19 people arrested for engaging in the violent protests against an Israeli-owned cafe in Melbourne have been arrested for breaching their bail condition of not going within 50m of the cafe. As reported by the ABC:

Last month, 19 activists were arrested outside a Max Brenner store after allegedly chaining themselves to furniture. The group was not to go within 50 metres of the company’s two two CBD stores. A spokeswoman for BDS says the four protesters were arrested early this morning…

[Post continues]

Syria Under Fire as Assad Slowly Loses Supporters

Syria Under Fire as Assad Slowly Loses Supporters

August 8, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Another stark reminder of the astounding brutality displayed by the Assad regime in Syria surfaced last week when the Guardian translated and published a harrowing account of Syrian woman Samar Yazbek’s shocking torture at the hands of Syrian authorities.

Two huge men entered the room. They stood in readiness, in plainclothes. One of them stood to the right and the other to the left. With a signal from his eyes, each seized me by the shoulders, though not roughly. They seized me as if I were some object, easy for them to move. I did not resist when they started to lift me out of my chair. I even stood up, surprised at what was happening…

[Post Continues]

Tent Protests and Economic Inequality in Israel

Tent Protests and Economic Inequality in Israel

August 5, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

As the tent protest movement continues to dominate headlines inside Israel, one of the facts often heard in explaining the background to its growth is that economic inequality inside Israel is very high…

Such claims are not necessarily wrong, but they do oversimplify a complex reality. Those widely cited OECD income inequality numbers reflect in part the diverse, multi-cultural nature of Israeli society…

Just What Exactly is Going On in Egypt?

Just What Exactly is Going On in Egypt?

August 5, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

While most eyes have been directed at the public spectacle of the trial of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, a less visible but far more important trial has been facing Egypt as a whole. As Sharyn outlined on Wednesday, the increasing show of strength by Islamist forces in Egypt has dramatically altered the fabric of Egypt’s revolution.

The watershed moment came last Friday, when Islamist groups flooded Tahrir square – which had been occupied for months by liberal activists attempting to pressure the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) – in order to reclaim the revolution from the “infidel liberals”. The square was promptly emptied by the armed forces, leaving the heart of Egypt’s revolution lying empty and posing numerous questions about the future.

The Brookings Institute’s Khaled Elgindy has written a detailed outline of the broad political landscape currently displayed in post-revolutionary Egypt…

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