New US-Iran nuclear talks at the UN

New US-Iran nuclear talks at the UN

September 25, 2013

Reports say that US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet his Iranian counter-part at the UN this week to discuss a nuclear weapons deal. The Iranians reportedly vetoed a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Obama following their respective speeches to the UN General Assembly (the full text of President Obama’s speech is here.) This Update looks at the background to both these talks and the recent Iranian charm offensive under new President Rouhani, what to be wary of in any such talks, and what end result the US should seek to achieve in any nuclear deal.

Tax dollars bring 9/11 "truther" and other extremists to ANU anti-Israel fest

Tax dollars bring 9/11 “truther” and other extremists to ANU anti-Israel fest

September 18, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The Australian National University has come under fire for hosting a conference purporting to focus on “Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. … Academics are, no doubt, free to invite whomever they choose to present on any issue and to air any views they see fit. Just because someone is free to take a course of action, however, does not mean that doing so is necessarily the right idea. … political activism is not an appropriate use of government money…

Three Anniversaries – Oslo, the Yom Kippur War and 9/11

September 18, 2013

This Update highlights the fact that we have just passed three important anniversaries in Middle Eastern and world history – the 20th anniversary of the original Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians (signed on Sept. 13, 1993), the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1973 Middle East war, which began on Yom Kippur, 1973, and of course, the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Centre and Pentagon attacks in the US. We feature pieces discussing each of these anniversaries.

A chemical weapons "deal" on Syria?

A chemical weapons “deal” on Syria?

September 12, 2013

This Update deals with the latest surprise development in the Syria debate – with US President Obama delaying the Congressional vote to authorise the use of force against Syria as a punishment for chemical weapons use in the wake of a Russian proposal – based on a seemingly off-hand remark from US Secretary of State John Kerry – for a deal to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control. (The text of Obama’s speech on Tuesday, both making a strong case for action against Syria and asking for a delay in voting to pursue the Russian proposal is here.)

New revelations about Israel's help for victims of Syrian civil war

New revelations about Israel’s help for victims of Syrian civil war

September 11, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

As the US Congress debates authorising military strikes against Syria’s Assad regime for allegedly using chemical weapons against its own people, a growing amount of media attention is now being paid to one of the encouraging stories coming out of the Syrian civil war – that is Israel’s public and private contribution to relieving the humanitarian crisis.

This contribution has come in the form of aid shipments for refugees, as well as the treatment of Syrian war wounded in Israeli hospitals, including a field hospital on the Golan Heights that has been expressly built for the purpose.

Duplicate stories

Duplicate stories, multiple personalities

September 9, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

It is common for two different newspapers in the same country to present a wire story on Israel in two different ways. In such a case, one version can be interpreted as being subtly more pro-Palestinian or more pro-Israel than the other.

It is rare, however, for such a discrepancy to surface on the same wire story that appeared twice in the same paper on the same day. Such a bizarre occurrence, however, happened last week in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the paper The Press.

Syria: Israeli Views and Analysis

Syria: Israeli Views and Analysis

September 4, 2013

With intense debate still raging about Syria – especially in the wake of the decision by US President Obama to seek congressional approval on Sept. 9 before moving ahead with the possibility of US-led military strikes in response to the large-scale chemical weapons attack there – this Update brings together some Israeli expert perspectives on the situation.

A noted Arab journalist reveals the biases of al-Jazeera English

A noted Arab journalist reveals the biases of al-Jazeera English

September 3, 2013 | Or Avi Guy

Claims that al-Jazeera, the Qatari-based media outlet, is biased would hardly be considered news to those who follow Middle East media coverage. Al-Jazeera in Arabic has been preaching anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and anti-Western “analysis” masked as journalism for a while now, and is facing criticism around the world, often from its own former employees. Al Jazeera in English has attempted to be more subtle in the way it slants its reporting and thus distance itself from the obvious advocacy of its Arabic counterpart.

New evidence of Iranian terror in Southeast Asia

New evidence of Iranian terror in Southeast Asia

August 30, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman

The recent convictions of two Iranians – Saeid Moradi and Mohammad Kharzei – in a Bangkok court for a botched bomb attack last year, highlights the ongoing terrorist threats posed by Iran around the world, especially in our own region.

Israel prepares for possible attack by Syria

Israel prepares for possible attack by Syria

August 30, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman

Israel has largely avoided public comment on what to do about the Syrian situation, but the possibility of US military strikes nonetheless singificantly impacts Israelis, because the Assad regime has threatened that if attacked, it will target Israel.

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