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Update – 7 August 2007

Dear Advocates,

Today’s Age has an article by Ed O’Loughlin entitled ‘Israel “broke laws of war” in Lebanon’ where he reports on the latest Human Rights Watch report on Israel’s conduct during the Second Lebanon War. The article is very short and simply outlines the report (for a brief outline, click here), which was released yesterday. However, what bothers me is that O’Loughlin did not deem it newsworthy to file a story last week when Human Rights Watch released its report entitled ‘Civilians under Assault: Hezbollah’s Rocket Attacks on Israel in the 2006 War’ (for a brief outline, click here). The fact that he did not even make mention of this in today’s story makes me wonder how a leading newspaper, whose responsibility is to deliver the news from all corners of the globe, can have a correspondent in an already volatile region who is so selective in the stories he chooses to file.

This continues along the same lines as an issue I discussed in my advocacy alert a few weeks ago regarding O’Loughlin’s coverage of the Darfurian asylum seekers issue. Not surprisingly, when Israeli media and other media from around the world reported a few days ago that Israel’s Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit declared Israel intends to grant citizenship to several hundred Darfurian asylum seekers who are already in the country, The Age and O’Loughlin remained silent.

Last Sunday Israeli children from all over the country began a new school year, but the year got off to a shocking start in Sderot, when once again it came under attack by a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza. In one attack, a high school was narrowly missed, in another a rocket exploded in the courtyard of a day-care centre. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility, saying they were “a gift for the opening of the school year.” To read more about these attacks, click here. With this sort of sick mentality and disregard for lives, particularly the lives of children, it is not surprising to read that Al-Aqsa TV featured a child whose special field was jihad. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center reports that this program on 3 September was ‘a special for the beginning of the school year. To see the report, click here. How can we hope for full peace, when this mentality of hatred and war is perpetuated from generation to generation?

I received a fantastic resource regarding the charge of apartheid against Israel. It is an interview with Gideon Shimoni, which appeared on the website for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, entitled Deconstructing Apartheid Accusations Against Israel. It raises many interesting points that can be used as a powerful response to any parallels people try to draw between apartheid-era South Africa and Israel.

On another note, Dr. Danny Lamm, President of the State Zionist Council of Victoria, will be taking part in a debate on the topic: The Israel-Palestine Conflict: Causes and Consequences. The debate is being hosted by The Citizenship and Globalisation Research Priority Area at Deakin University on Thursday 20 September at 5:00pm. Danny will be debating against Michael Shaik, Public Advocate for Australians for Palestine (he most recently had an Opinion Piece in The Age a few weeks ago). For more information, click here to view the flyer. We are inviting advocates to attend the debate, to support the debate and to pose thoughtful and provocative questions. Please contact me if you wish to attend for more information.

On Tuesday 18 September 2007, the Melbourne Jewish Community will be hosting Shlomo Goldwasser, the father of one of Israel’s abducted soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser, at Caulfield Synagogue at 7:30pm. Click here for the flyer, or contact the Zionist Federation of Australia on 9272 5644 for further information.

Best Wishes,

Emily Chrapot
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507