Discussing Islamism and anti-LGBT bigotry in the wake of Orlando

Discussing Islamism and anti-LGBT bigotry in the wake of Orlando

June 16, 2016

In the wake of the murderous attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which took place on Sunday, and was claimed by ISIS (details on the ISIS claim are dissected here) this Update explores some of the debates that have broken out since: on the link to ISIS and Islamist ideology more generally in the attack and how it should be talked about, and on the connection between Islamism and anti-LGBT bigotry.

Media Week - Lessons to be learned; Samah lingers on

Media Week – Lessons to be learned; Samah lingers on

June 10, 2016 | Allon Lee

Israeli author and former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman told ABC Radio National “Late Night Live” host Phillip Adams (June 2) that he wrote his new book, “Pumpkin flowers” because “understanding in the West of the complexities of Israel’s situation lags behind the realities of the region.”

The Paris Conference/ Hamas' Mentality

The Paris Conference/ Hamas’ Mentality

June 10, 2016

This Update deals with analysis of the French-organised international conference on promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace that took place, without either Israeli or Palestinian participation, last weekend. In the end, the conference issued a fairly unremarkable communique re-asserting the importance of advancing a two-state peace – you can read it here. As Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post reports, the fairly uncontroversial outcome was the result of intense Israeli and US diplomatic efforts to get France to water down language that Israel would have found much more unpalatable. 

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati – the real face of the Iranian post-election regime

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati – the real face of the Iranian post-election regime

June 8, 2016 | Ari Wenig

The results of the parliamentary election in Iran at the end of February have often been represented as a victory for the moderates, reformists, and other supporters of 2013-elected President Hassan Rouhani. And it is true that, according to unofficial election results, Rouhani’s allies look to have gained a plurality in the 290-seat parliament, holding the most sway since 2004 and therefore, in theory, apparently carrying the potential to challenge the influence of the hard-line conservatives, who suffered humiliating losses in the elections. (Never mind that many of the candidates now considered part of the reformist bloc were previously identified as hardliners and only were named as affiliated with the reformist bloc just before the election after most genuine reformists were prevented from running.)

Why plans to “moderate” the Iranian regime are failing

June 3, 2016

It is now widely being acknowledged that there is little sign that the Iranian regime is moderating its internal or external policies in the wake of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), signed last year and supposedly implemented in January. This Update features three pieces which each suggest some explanations of why moderating the Iranian regime is likely much more difficult than policymakers in Washington and elsewhere realised.

Media Week - All Shook up; Telling Tales

Media Week – All Shook up; Telling Tales

June 2, 2016 | Allon Lee

Anyone might have thought that Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman had just become Australia’s new defence minister such were the ripples in our media.

An opportunity for peace – if the Lieberman hype can be ignored

An opportunity for peace – if the Lieberman hype can be ignored

June 2, 2016 | Ahron Shapiro

To believe the hyped-up accounts of some media reports, the addition of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu coalition has made the current government the “most right-wing ever” in Israel. But do the facts support this, especially after Tuesday’s historic news that Netanyahu is prepared to enter negotiations based upon the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative?

Future of Sinai’s MFO in Question

Future of Sinai’s MFO in Question

June 1, 2016

The future of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) is being called into question amidst further deterioration of the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula…

This is a concerning development for Israeli-Egyptian bilateral relations and Middle Eastern peace more broadly.

The French Peace Initiative

The French Peace Initiative

May 27, 2016

Next week, the French government plans to convene a meeting of international foreign ministers  – not including Israeli and Palestinian representatives –  to discuss ideas for advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace. They hope to follow this up with an international conference later in the year that would include Israelis and Palestinians. 

Despite visits to Israel by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Prime Minister Manuel Valls over recent weeks, Israel has made it clear it is not happy with this initiative, viewing it as providing “a new escape route for [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas to avoid direct talks with Israel” in the words of Israeli PM Netanyahu. Netanyahu proposed to Valls that France instead host a direct meeting of the Israeli PM with his Palestinian counterpart.

Lieberman to be Defence Minister in Israeli coalition shake-up

Lieberman to be Defence Minister in Israeli coalition shake-up

May 20, 2016

Yesterday saw a major political development in Israeli politics, with PM Netanyahu apparently reaching agreement with former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for the latter’s Israel Beitenu party to enter the government, and for Lieberman to become Defence Minister, replacing current Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon. The move was a surprise following previous reports that Netanyahu had been about to reach an agreement with Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog for his Zionist Camp party to enter the coalition – a deal which now seems to be off the table. This Update looks at what happened and what it means.

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