Home Ed: 33: May/2008

Ed: 33: May/2008

Media Microscope: Motion Commotion

Last month's column noted that Alan Ramsey could not let the impending bipartisan parliamentary motion congratulating Israel on its 60th anniversary pass without lashings of vitriol. Naturally the advent of the motion saw many more join the debate.

From Tokyo to Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's four-day visit to Japan in late February re-emphasised the increasingly warm and intimate ties developing between Israel and Japan in recent years. The growing warmth reflects interlocking economic synergies reinforced by more than a decade of practical Japanese support for the US-led Middle East peacemaking process.

Editorial: An Amazing 60 Years

Israel's story over the last 60 years has been an amazing and inspiring one. In the welter of debate over terrorism and violence, peace plans and peace processes, accusation and counter-accusation, it is easy to lose sight of what can only be regarded as a remarkable record.

Assessing the Iraq War – Again

The testimony delivered in the US Congress on April 8 by US Commander in Iraq General David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker provides an opportunity to assess progress in Iraq since last September (the last time the two men were in Washington, DC). Last fall's testimonies noted the initial improvements that resulted from the US troop "surge"...

Scribblings: Polling the Surge

Has the surge in Iraq worked to improve the lives of Iraqis, giving them security and the chance of better lives? You hear a lot of different views on the subject, but if you look at the views of Iraqis themselves, the answer is very clear.

Asia Watch: “Out, Damned Spot!”

It's a sad commentary on much of the Islamic world that anyone seen to have a connection, however tenuous, with Israel or Jews is tainted and obliged to furiously deny any such link. So it was when Anwar Ibrahim, de facto leader of Malaysia's People's Justice Party (PKR), felt compelled to refute a statement by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad that only Israelis would vote for him if he were to compete for the prime minister's post.

Only in their Dreams

In a 60-year retrospective Israel's domestic challenges seem to have been even more daunting than its neighbours' hostility, and the way they were met even more impressive than Israel's military victories. In fact, Israel's domestic record makes it the post-colonial era's most - some say only - successful exercise in political construction, social architecture and economic engineering.

Essay: A Distant Affinity

Geopolitically, there is little reason to expect Australia and Israel to have any closer relationship than any other two states of a comparable size and similar distance from one another... But in reality, over the past 60 years the relationship has been at an entirely different level from any similar such dyads - much more intense, emotional and politically important.

The Last Word: Debating the Future

Within six days in April, I was fortunate to be at three events in Sydney which promoted dialogue and the exchange of ideas, providing reasons for pride and confidence in the intellectual and social maturity of contemporary Australia.