Media Week - Mind your language; Long bow

Media Week – Mind your language; Long bow, low blow; Security Council sense

February 9, 2015 | Allon Lee

On Jan. 15, ABC Radio “PM’s” Michael Edwards reported on the “different jihadi groups… now staking their claims for responsibility for the Paris attacks”, including “Amedy Coulibaly, who held up the Jewish deli, claimed to be acting on behalf of Islamic State.”

This sloppy language minimised the crime.

Sinai's Jihadists/ The rise of antisemitism

Sinai’s Jihadists/ The rise of antisemitism

February 6, 2015

This Update contains two knowledgeable analysis pieces on the situation in Sinai, where the Egyptian security forces are battling an ISIS-linked group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which carried out a particularly spectacular series of coordinated mortar and truck bomb attacks last Thursday, leaving 33 people dead. It goes on to include another good piece on the rise of European antisemitism, especially in the wake of recent reports suggesting antisemitic attacks in Britain are at the highest ever level.

B’Tselem's report on “Operation Protective Edge” criticised for omissions and contradictions

B’Tselem’s report on “Operation Protective Edge” criticised for omissions and contradictions

February 5, 2015 | Sharyn Mittelman

Last week Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem released a report, “Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014”, that claimed that in some cases Israel violated international humanitarian law during “Operation Protective Edge”. The report’s findings were widely circulated including in Australia, with Ruth Pollard reporting on it in Fairfax newspapers.  However, B’Tselem’s report has been criticised for omissions and contradictions by Israeli watchdog NGO Monitor and others.

A Sydney Jew and an Indonesian Muslim walk into an Israeli synagogue...

A Sydney Jew and an Indonesian Muslim walk into an Israeli synagogue…

February 5, 2015

AIJAC’s Jeremy Jones was interviewed on ABC Radio National’s “Religion and Ethics” program about leading a landmark AIJAC-sponsored delegation of Indonesian Muslim leaders to Israel, where they enjoyed an intensive week-long tour of the region…

Developments in Palestinian politics and society

Developments in Palestinian politics and society

February 5, 2015

This Update features three pieces discussing recent developments in Palestinian politics and society.

First up is the always insightful Palestinian affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh discussing the increasing power struggle going on between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammed Dahlan, the former head of Abbas’ Fatah party in Gaza.

Washington's Iran Policy under the Microscope

Washington’s Iran Policy under the Microscope

January 29, 2015

In the wake of US President Obama’s State of the Union speech last week, in which Iran was mentioned primarily in terms of the Administration’s strong opposition to new sanctions being proposed by Congress, US policy policy on Iran and its nuclear program has been engendering much critical commentary. Moreover, much of it is coming from writers and analysts not known for their generally critical approach to the Obama Presidency. This Update includes some key commentators discussing why they believe the Administration is getting this key element of US foreign policy wrong.

The Death of AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman/ An Arab view on Islamism

The Death of AMIA Prosecutor Alberto Nisman/ An Arab view on Islamism

January 23, 2015

This Update leads with the strange and suspicious death over the weekend of Argentinean prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who has been investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people, and has lately made dramatic allegations that the current Argentinean government is conspiring to prevent the Iranian culprits from being brought to justice. (These allegations appear to be supported by phone transcripts released by an Argentinean judge following Nisman’s death and summarised in the New York Times here.)

Palestinian soccer team receives free kicks in the Australian media

Palestinian soccer team receives free kicks in the Australian media

January 20, 2015 | Allon Lee

It is said that sport can bring people together – but that’s not how the Palestinians leadership sees it.

For them it appears to be another avenue to disseminate propaganda against Israel in an attempt to further their campaign of international delegitimisation.

Yet, judging by the quality of the many news reports of the Palestinian national football team’s visit here to play in the 2015 Asian Cup, it seems highly doubtful that most of the media understands this, obligingly relaying the impression of the players as underdogs pitted against cruel Israeli attempts to hamper their development and prospects.

The State of the War against ISIS/ Israel's primaries

The State of the War against ISIS/ Israel’s primaries

January 16, 2015

This Update begins with two good analyses of the state of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It also features a look at the latest developments in the Israeli election campaign – with primaries having taken place in the three major parties, setting up the March 17 contest.

Arabs speaks out on the Arab World's problem with Antisemitism

Charlie Hebdo, French laws against hate speech, and 18C

January 15, 2015 | Sharyn Mittelman

The Paris shootings saw millions march in the streets defending freedom including freedom of speech. However, in Australia the debate appears to have been hijacked by some who argue that in Australia, one cannot say “Je suis Charlie” in defence of freedom of speech while supporting section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.  However, before such proponents claim that 18C means that Australia does not have free speech, perhaps they should have a closer look at the legal situation in France, which has considerably tougher laws against hate speech than Australia – yet Charlie Hebdo was able to operate just fine in that legal environment.

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