Israel-Gaza Rant Circa – August 2014 – Here we are again, again!

In Gaza, Israel, Middle East on August 21, 2014 at 9:47 PM

Dark days.


I haven’t really said much about the latest round of Gaza-Israel hostilities but after a number of questions (and arguments!) about the conflict over the last few weeks, I feel a need to state my piece (peace!). My viewpoints have been established after spending about seven out of the last eighteen years living in Israel, some of which as a journalist, and most of my life obsessed with the region. To be clear, I identify as a left-wing Australian Israeli. Meaning that on the political spectrum I am most closely aligned with the Greens in Australia and the social democratic Meretz in Israel (check out their stated principles for where I stand (more or less) on Israel here). I am also a pragmatist.

In reality this means that I am a firm believer that the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through a negotiated settlement. No matter the amount of rockets raining down on Israel, and let face it, there have been thousands, nor the horrific amount of civilian deaths in Gaza caused by IDF air strikes, yes horrific. There is no other way to end this conflict other than to talk about a solution. However before a solution can be discussed, there are some facts on the ground issues that have to be brought to light or at the very least not swept under the carpet.


Unholy Alliance – The Left & Fundamentalist Islam

In Middle East, Religion on August 25, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Pro-Palestinian protestors stage die-in in London. No such protest against ISIS.

A strange thing has happened in Left protest circles since the first Iraq war. An unholy alliance has formed between Leftist activists protesting Western wars in the Middle East, including Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, and far-right Islamists. Somehow groups such as Australia’s Socialist Alternative and others see the threat of radical Islam as less harmful than that of Western imperialism, colonialism, Zionism and other ism’s of the 20th Century.

I consider myself a progressive. A leftist. A peacenik. And a pragmatist. But for the life of me, I cannot understand why the (radical?) Left is holding onto outdated philosophies and definitions of conflict that are no longer relevant. Though I do recognise the historic impact of Western influence on the region, make no mistake the biggest threat to the Middle East today is radical Islam. It threatens all progress that marked the Arab Spring, and is now plunging the region again into a deep darkness.

From Libya to Gaza, Syria to Iraq, radical Islam threatens all those that do not ascribe to its values. The ISIS threat of creating a fundamentalist Islamic state across most of the Middle East and a large swathe of Europe is very real. This isn’t the fundamentalism of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, themselves abhorrent on their record against human rights, progress and peace. No, this is a whole new level of horror and hate.

The Blog is Back – Thoughts from the Square

In Israel on November 15, 2011 at 8:59 AM

View from the Square

16-years since the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the public square next to where he was killed is filled with only ten-thousand. 15-years ago I stood in the same spot with more than one-hundred thousand mourners.

I was 18-years-old, 3-months in Israel and living on Kibbutz Maagan Michael. I did not understand most of what was being said, my Hebrew was not yet very good. But with the songs whose music I did not yet know, and the speeches whose words I could not yet decifer, I made a fateful decision that would change my life forever.

As the national anthem was sung and the lump in my throat gave way to tears, I decided that I would become a citizen of this country. I wanted to be part of it all. I felt that through tragedy there could be hope. I was idealistic, and admitedly so, incredibly naive.