Is It Right To Speak Of A ‘Jewish Lobby’?

What motivates the fierce attacks by some Australian Jews against others? Larry Stillman looks at why some people want to shut down debate on Israel so badly. Many observers of the ongoing debate over Israel and its place in Middle Eastern issues have wondered at the ferocity and influence of those voices promoting what is often called a "pro-Israel" position. Published in New Matilda, 4 Aug 2009: http://tinyurl.com/o886rq (Note that some of the comments are patently offensive, erroneous and come from various racists and conspiracy theorists.)

Posing questions for the AFL and narratives of suffering

I'd thought that the Australian Football League's attempts to bring together Israeli and Palestinian young people was a good thing, though, I like many others had been puzzled by the lukewarm response from local Palestinians. As far as I know, the mainstream press has offered no opportunity to give them space for their reluctance to get involved.

Painting Obama as an enemy will hurt Israel badly

Middle East News Service Comments: The best indication I have seen so far that the US is slowly beginning to be perceived as the enemy in Israel has been in the writing of Australian Expatriate Isi Leibler who expounded on The case against Obama [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443820172&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull]. Leibler is hard-liner but he cannot but he is not in the same league as Obama other critics like Anne Bayefsky. The Obama White House is certainly scaring the Israeli right. Dan Fleshler highlighted a good reason when he wrote:

Denial – an imaginative story

Denial an imaginative story The chairman of the Public Speakers’ Union rose to his feet and addressed the meeting: “Ladies and Gentlemen. Our next speaker really needs no introduction but I will attempt one anyway…..” The audience grew restive, with booing and catcalls erupting from several sections of the packed hall. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” remonstrated the startled chairman, “Professor David Irwin is an invited speaker and he deserves a polite hearing. Those who wish to take issue with his views may do so after his speech, at question time.”

Reversal of Fortune

Sol Salby blogs the following-- In the United States we have had a situation over a long time that opinion polls and elections results reflected a very liberal Jewish opinion while community leadership was dominated by the conservatives especially on Israel/Palestine. The emergence of J-Street and the change of personnel in the White House is changing that situation slowly and as editor of the Forward conclude: “As to the new seating arrangements, our best advice is to get used to it.”

Can Hamas be part of the political process?

Bitter Lemons http://www.bitterlemons.org/ is an example of a website that can offer reasoned debate over controversial issues. Given the controversy over Hamas (a terrorist organisation or a legitimate political force?), the opinions expressed in a recent issue (July 6, 2009 Edition 26) are well worth considering. Follow the link above, and think! * The stick-and-stick approach has failed by Ghassan Khatib No political process can be successful without Hamas * Test Hamas intentions separately by Yossi Alpher

A nuclear-weapon-free Middle East?

How many Australian Jews would support a nuclear-free Middle East? Meaning what? Well, perhaps this, for starters. A regional agreement to be open to frequent and regular inspection, monitoring and public disclosure of research and development, investments, organizational capacity-building, importation and trade, planning and implementation of nuclear explosive/contamination weaponry ( including depleted uranium) by a peak international organization such as the IAEA (international atomic energy agency).

Roadmap to peace needs new milestones

Uniquely, as far we we know, this opinion piece by two people well known in the Jewish and Arabic speaking communities in Australia has now been published on the same day(July 2, 2009), by newspapers which serve each community, the Australian Jewish News, and An-nahar. We hope that this article reflects a new era of dialogue and realism not just in Australia, that also has some influence in the Middle East.

Bubkas from Bibi

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech throws a couple of specks of kosher synthetic food freshener on what was always going to be a stale, dry, cold and limp dish he was serving up to his unexpected visitor, Barack Obama. No Palestinians were at the table although they were being offered some drudge-work in the kitchen once they’d passed the indefinite probationary labour test for the pre-breakfast 3AM shift. This was dressed up as economic reconciliation.