Lifesaver and Model of Coexistence

Lifesaver and Model of Coexistence, yet still Condemned: The Israeli Health System

June 7, 2013 | Or Avi Guy

It would be fair to say that the Israeli health system has been a unique success story – a model of humanitarian considerations trumping politics, as well as providing benefits both to neighbours such as the Palestinians living under their own health systems and Syrians, and offering unique medical innovations whose benefits are felt worldwide. It’s just a pity that it is politics which largely prevents this success story being recognised – and where possible, emulated.

New Palestinian Authority PM Rami Hamdallah

New Palestinian Authority PM Rami Hamdallah

June 6, 2013

This Update deals with the announcement earlier this week by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas that the relatively unknown Rami Hamdallah, the President of al-Najah University, will be the new PA Prime Minister, succeeding internationally well-regarded economist Salam Fayyad. Fayyad resigned in April after several months of conflict with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Six Day War and the changing face of journalism: The view from Australia

The Six Day War and the changing face of journalism: The view from Australia

June 6, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

The recent passing of the Associated Press‘ acclaimed journalist Hal McClure at the age of 92 coincides closely with the event that brought him his greatest fame – his coverage of the 1967 Six Day War, which began 46 years ago yesterday.

His passing is yet another reminder of a bygone era when a journalist took pride in reporting the news, rather than acting as a partisan advocate for or against the newsmakers themselves.

Before refecting on that, however, the anniversary of the Six Day War offers us an opportunity to review some of the coverage of the war at the time in two of Australia’s leading newspapers – the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

Media Week - Birds of a feather; Trigger-happy headliners; Down the memory hole

Media Week – Birds of a feather; Trigger-happy headliners; Down the memory hole

June 5, 2013 | Allon Lee

SBS TV‘s “Dateline” program (May 21) travelled to Greece to look at the worrying rise in the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn movement which has used the economic crisis there to increase its Parliamentary representation through scapegoating Jews, foreigners, homosexuals and other rival political groupings.

Whilst it is clear that Golden Dawn mirrors its behaviour on the intimidatory tactics of fascism, Golden Dawn MP Ilias Panayotaros told Evan Williams that they take inspiration from Hezbollah, which has cannily attracted supporters over the years through the provision of social services.

As Panayotaros explained, “Golden Dawn wants to become and will become like the Hezbollah in Lebanon which in effect is a second government which helps even its poorest citizen and over time Golden Dawn will do more for our fellow citizens.”

But that, of course, doesn’t tell the full story. It’s a pity that Williams did not follow up on the Hezbollah angle, and point out how it is not only a proscribed terrorist organisation in many countries but actually controls the Lebanese government.

More on the Australian Greens and the London Declaration against Antisemitism

More on the Australian Greens and the London Declaration against Antisemitism

June 4, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Last week, this blog reported the refusal of NSW Greens MLCs David Shoebridge and John Kaye to sign the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism, as well as their self-serving and disingenuous justification for rejecting the document.

It would be remiss of us to leave the story there. … Especially encouraging was the decision by Jeremy Buckingham–a colleague of Shoebridge and Kaye in the NSW Upper House–to sign the Declaration, and thereby demonstrate that the NSW Greens party is not united against the principles in the Declaration.

Federal Greens Leader Christine Milne also issued a very welcome statement….

The increasing perils of peacekeeping for Australia and others

The increasing perils of peacekeeping for Australia and others

May 31, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

The unrest in the Arab world commonly mislabelled as the “Arab Spring” has put a strain on United Nations and other peacekeeping forces in the region.

Peacekeeping troops – in which Australia currently and historically has played a role – have limited options for defence available to them according to their mandate, are intended to observe, liaise and act as a buffer between armies.

However, regional non-state actors filling a vacuum created from the weakened national authority in countries affected by the unrest have been increasingly taking advantage of the limitations of the peacekeepers by opportunistically using them as soft targets, bargaining chips and even human shields.

Hezbollah and the Syrian Civil War

Hezbollah and the Syrian Civil War

May 31, 2013

This Update deals with the aftermath of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s very public announcement last week that Hezbollah was essentially completely dedicated to fighting “all out” on the side of the Assad regime in the Syrian civil war, following widespread reports that large numbers of Hezbollah fighters have been involved in the extended battle for the strategic Syrian town of Qusayr – plus what this means for Syria, Lebanon and the region.

Media Week - One sided conversation

Media Week – One sided conversation

May 30, 2013 | Allon Lee

The Conversation is a website funded by Australian universities and the Federal government for academics and post-grad students to share the fruits of their enquiring minds.

Unfortunately, where the topic of Israel is concerned the Conversation is fast devolving into an outlet for a great deal of slothful, partisan and just plain stupid analysis.

NSW Greens MPs oppose antisemites who don't mention Israel

NSW Greens MPs oppose antisemites who don’t mention Israel

May 29, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

In an extremely positive development in Australian politics, recent weeks have seen hundreds of Australian parliamentarians signing the London Declaration on Antisemitism…

Not all, however, support the Declaration. Two parliamentarians who have vocally opposed signing it are NSW Greens leader David Shoebridge, and his colleague in the NSW Legislative Council, John Kaye–who is Jewish by birth, if not by practice.

The two MLCs have written a post on New Matilda explaining their position. If that piece is a true reflection of their views on the subject, they seem to fundamentally misunderstand the substance of the Declaration.

Statement on BDS and publicly-funded bodies

May 27, 2013

An article in Saturday’s AustralianLibs to cut funding for anti-Israel activists” (May 25) – discussing recent debates about publicly-funded bodies engaging in Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel – briefly quoted from a longer statement from AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein on the subject. As the brief quote in that piece did not and could not fully represent AIJAC’s position, here is AIJAC’s statement on the subject in full…

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