CMENAS Newsletter Issue 9
This is the first Centre for Middle East and North African Studies Newsletter since the passing of Dr Andrew Vincent earlier this year, on April 5 2008. The Centre for Middle East and North African Studies owes a significant debt to Dr Vincent's initiative and commitment to Middle East Studies. The Centre has already felt the distracting impact of the passing of its director and the loss of Dr Vincent's national and international reach. Nonetheless, the work of the Centre continues. This newsletter is just one small reminder that the Centre will continue to fulfil its obligation to progress scholarly research and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa , just as Dr Vincent would have wanted.
Another reminder of the active role that the centre plays to this project of furthering the promotion of unbiased understanding of the Middle East is our commitment to public engagement which includes the establishment of Khaldoun and the ongoing scheduling of public lectures at Macquarie University by visiting intellectuals, journalists, activists and politicians. During the first half of this year the Centre held two events that received significant public support with the visit of Lebanese Parliamentarian Abbas H. Hachem and American-based Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah. In addition, the Centre will hold two major events in the second half of the year, including a public lecture by Professor Michael Humphrey on 1 August and the visit in September of the highly acclaimed French-based Iranian sociologist Professor Khosrokhavar. More details on the Khosrokhavar lecture will be forthcoming.
In preparation for this newsletter I contemplated what might be the most appropriate way of presenting the Centre's commitment to continuity of the role it maintained in the past. Also, I wanted to demonstrate that the Centre preserves the legacy of Dr Vincent's contribution to Middle East Studies. The most effective way to do this, I felt, was to structure this newsletter around Dr Vincent's major legacy here at Macquarie University, which was the dramatic influence he had in teaching students to view the Middle East, Islam and the policies of the "West" towards the Middle East in a more critical manner.
Dr Vincent left his mark on hundreds, possibly thousands of students that he taught over the years. I learned, at least partially, of the extent of this impact last year as I prepared to teach courses previously convened by Dr Vincent. In an effort to locate some clues on how he had taught his courses in the past I searched the web for information and came across a student blog site. On this site I found a discussion by students of which teachers to stay clear of and those whose classes must not be missed. Student entry after student entry implored other students to enrol in Dr Vincent's courses. What this little anecdote highlights is that, on reflection, it was clear to me that the most appropriate way to structure this newsletter was to make student contributions form the major focus of the newsletter. I want to thank Maryam Khalid and William Madani, both former students of Dr Vincent, for presenting their work to the Centre for Middle East and North Africa Studies for publication in this newsletter.
Content of the newsletter
The first piece tackles the question of representations of Feminism in the Middle East . Maryam Khalid, a PhD student in Politics and International Relations, looks at the silencing of woman's voices in the Middle East, not by Middle Eastern religious, cultural or political practices, but by Western representations of Middle Eastern women. Khalid takes Western feminism to task for the inherent prejudices that Middle Eastern women and women's movements face from Western feminists. Khalid's article is an important reminder that women in the Middle East are active agents that can shape their own emancipation from patriarchy, and not just helpless victims awaiting Western liberation.
Maryam Khalid's piece is followed by two short book reviews. Book reviews will be an on-going component of the newsletter. The Centre receives review copies of books that can become the property of anyone willing to write a review of between 300 and 500 words. Anyone interested in contributing a book review for the newsletter should contact the Centre via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Just one apology. The newsletter was promised for May this year. The delay was the result of circumstances beyond the control of anyone associated with the Centre and I will endeavour to have the second edition for 2008 finalised by the end of November. In the meantime, keep posted on the Centre's activities at http://www.mq.edu.au/mec/
Andrew Vincent Memorial Lecture
The Andrew Vincent Memorial Lecture will be held at Macquarie University on 1 August at 7pm on campus at the Price Theatre Macquarie University , North Ryde . The lecture will be presented by Professor Michael Humphrey from the University of Sydney . Professor Humphrey's lecture is titled "30 years of Middle East Studies".
Some of Professor Humphrey's recent publications include The Politics of Atrocity & Reconciliation; From Terror to Trauma (2002), 'From Diaspora Islam to Globalised Islam: Changing Islamic religiosity and identity in the West' (2007), 'Lebanese Ethnicities in a Globalising World'(2005), and 'Australian Islam, the New Global Terrorism and the Limits of Citizenship' (2005).
The Price Theatre has seating for 250 people. To gauge whether the Price Theatre will provide adequate seating I would appreciate RSVPs to email@example.com by 28 July.
Women's Rights in the Middle East: Feminism and the Struggle for Recognition
"They cannot represent themselves, they must be represented."
- Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte , 1852
Written in reference to the peasantry's lack of political awareness during the French Revolution, Marx's statement puts forwards the assertion that those who are deemed to be unaware of, or unable, to resist their oppression must be "represented" or defended by those who have the ability to do so. Marx's comment also served as the preface for Edward Said's Orientalism . Recognising that the powerful speak for others, Said put forward a critique of the power relations between knowledge and representation in the relationship between the West and the Arab and Muslim 'Orient'. For Said, this Orient is the 'invention' of the West, based on representations that utilise binary oppositions. The Islamic world in Orientalist discourse is irrational, backwards, exotic, despotic and lazy, while the West is civilised, rational, and moral. This discourse has over time become hegemonic - the Orientalised are denied the agency to represent themselves and Eurocentric perceptions of these peoples become avenues through which to dominate the region. This operation of power in relation to agency and representation has a particular relevance to Muslim and Middle Eastern women. Feminist scholars have continually demonstrated that women's voices in the histories of nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism have been silenced by the operation of patriarchy. Marx's quote is especially poignant in the current climate of terrorism and fear, as Arab and Muslim women's voices are obscured once again.
Liberating Muslim Women?
Mainstream perceptions of the Middle Eastern and Muslim woman centre on the image of an oppressed, veiled, victim of honour killings or genital mutilation. This one dimensional stereotype has led to the development of a discourse of 'women's liberation' that feeds into justifications of military interventions into Middle Eastern and Islamic states. For a large part of the build up to the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan , the rhetoric of liberation drew on the notion of women's rights. Soon after the war started, it was claimed that Afghan women had finally been liberated. In the mainstream media, the evidence of this appeared to be the image of a woman removing her veil with 'liberation' printed underneath. Almost seven years later, life for most Afghan women has changed very little (arguably, every day life has become worse). And now, we are also told that Iraqi women derive benefits from military intervention, with President George W. Bush referring to this new found 'freedom' in his statement on International Women's Day 2004. What he seemed to have overlooked is that Iraqi women have in fact lost many freedoms and rights they had held long before the 2003 war began. For example, female representation in governing bodies and institutions is greatly reduced, and the circumstances of occupation have forced large numbers of women to confine themselves to the home and avoid the workforce and educational facilities that they were once a large part of.
Yet the stereotypical image of the subjugated woman discovering freedom as a result of military intervention prevails. Based on the assumption that feminism is a Western ideology and has little to no history in the Middle East or Islam, Arab and Muslim women are seen as helplessly oppressed and in need of Western intervention to secure their liberation. Central to this logic is an Orientalist discourse that operates to shape these women as passive and overlooks the history of feminism in the region. Although Said's identification of a historical pattern of misrepresentation and demonization of the Middle East did not deal with gender in great detail, feminist scholars such as Meyda Yegenoglu have shown that Orientalist discourses shape representations of Middle Eastern women, as we in the West tend to continue to accept the image of the veiled, voiceless Arab or Muslim woman whose silence is imposed by the 'barbaric' males of the region. The stereotype as it persists today is quite consistent with the prevailing representations of Middle Eastern women from the late 18 th century to the early part of the twentieth century. The 'traditional' Middle Eastern woman is usually seen as poor, uneducated, bound by tradition, religious, domesticated, family oriented and victimized. In effect, all Arab and Muslim women are seen to constitute an essentially oppressed group. There is no discussion of the specific practices linked to class, ethnicity, or age, that affect women's status in this region. In this view, Arabs and Muslims don't seem to change at all unless they embrace 'Western values'. T hese exaggerated images have resulted in the creation of a stark contrast between modern Western women and modern Middle Eastern women.
As contemporary images increasingly portray Islam as the enemy of Western democracy and human rights, Middle Eastern and Muslim women have become more visible as symbols of the backwardness of Islamic or Arab cultures. The perception that women are turned into mute shadows by their religion or by Arab men is portrayed in direct contrast to the gender equality that Western feminism claims as its foundation. This perception of the Middle East , its women and consequently the Western 'self', relies on the assumption that Middle Eastern and Islamic women have no feminist 'history', that they are not engaged in feminist struggles of their own. Whilst Western women are, to a great extent, viewed in popular culture and academia as having attainted the goals of feminism, their Middle Eastern sisters are seen as being in need of 'saving' from their wholly oppressive situation by the enlightened and progressive West. There is no denying that there is gender inequality in the Middle East and in many Islamic states - the concern is that the patronising manner in which the Middle Eastern woman's situation is constructed often excludes these women from discussions concerning their own lives. Moreover, the perception of women as in need of 'saving' seems to be based on the erroneous assumption that patriarchy no longer oppresses in the West, and moreover, upon a misconception that feminism has played no significant role in Islam or the Middle East.
History of Feminism in the Arab and Muslim World
However, Arab and Muslim women are more than oppressed, voiceless victims - they have long been aware of gender inequality and engaged in feminist struggles, although these may not be easily discernable at first, especially if Western feminism is taken as the only point of reference. There is in fact a long history of feminism in the Middle East , which can be traced back to the late 19th century, when men and women mainly from the upper classes began to write about the status of women in their societies, acknowledging the disadvantages women faced compared to men. The authors of these books and pamphlets called for improvement in women's lives in terms of greater access to educational and work opportunities, and considered these and other freedoms to be guaranteed by Islam. These men and women did not label their work feminist as such, but it should not be assumed from this that feminism did not exist in the Middle East during this period.
The substance of these writings show that Arab women and men were in fact producing a discourse that we today would identify as feminist, even though there was no explicit term for feminism in the Middle East at this time . Examining their own lives, these women argued, for example, that Islam guaranteed women rights of which they had been deprived because of certain customs and traditions imposed in the name of religion. These writings did not necessarily identify the need to restructure the patriarchal social and economic system in which unequal gender relations were reproduced, and were certainly not part of an organized social movement. Neither was the push for women's right characterized by the public activities we typically associate with feminist activity today. Yet the fact that these women were arguing against male domination and unfair treatment of women highlights that the thus the concern for women's rights at this time was feminist in essence.
The increased awareness of gender inequality among the middle and upper classes during this period was largely confined to observations in books which were distributed among women privately or published in both men's and women's journals. Although this early experience of feminism in the Middle East might not at first glance correlate with popular understandings of feminist activity, it provides ample evidence of the falsity of the assumption that feminism has no history in this region. As Margot Badran's work on this period shows, feminism does not have to be an exclusively public and explicit phenomenon. Identifying the debates that took place in the private sphere and acknowledging non-traditional expressions of feminist thought is vital. Adhering to an unnecessarily narrow reading of what constitutes 'legitimate' feminist activity makes it all too easy to ignore the history of Middle Eastern feminism. Adopting a more nuanced approach requires us to acknowledge that feminist expressions in the West and the Arab and Muslim world are the result of differing histories and social circumstances.
This difference also shaped the feminist activities of the early to mid twentieth century. At this point, feminism in the Middle East became intertwined with nationalist and anti-colonial movements. The impact of colonialism, modernism, nationalism and socialism allowed many women to move into the public sphere and thus facilitated the development of organised feminism, but it also shaped the direction feminism took. As organised women's movements emerged alongside the nationalist forces that led the postwar independence struggles, issues of gender equality became closely intertwined with the broader history of Arab nationalism. Often, the condition of women was, by various groups with varied interests, held up as emblematic of rights and wrongs within the relationship between indigenous populations and colonial powers for example. Moreover, for many women who participated in national liberation struggles, the recognition of the need for women's liberation was not the only concern. For these women, the allegiance to nationalist ideals was based on a cause common to men and women, that independence from imperial powers was the ultimate goal, resulting in liberation for everyone. Thus the emergence of women's public organised movements, more readily indefinable to us as typically feminist movements, was often characterised by a reluctance to identify with the 'global' feminist movement dominated by Western women. Indeed, there were women in the Middle East who did not call themselves feminists precisely because of associations with the West and imperialism. In this sense, it is quite apparent that Western feminism does not share the same experiences as Middle Eastern feminism - that is, the common rallying point against imperial domination does not shape Western feminist concerns and activities in the way it did (and arguably still does) for many non-Western women. The discord between Western and Middle Eastern feminism is however too often dismissed in a way that privileges the Western experience and reduces Middle Eastern women's activities to something less than 'authentic' feminism.
Understanding Islamic Feminism
In particular, the resurgence of Islamic feminism has been regarded by some as an example of the need to 'educate' women in the region about what feminism 'really' is or ought to be. The rise of right-wing Islamic movements in response to the failures of secular nationalism since 1967 had a significant influence on the direction of women's activism. The failure of secular nationalist governments to significantly improve economic and political conditions, accompanied by growing hostility to the West, led to the rejection of purely Western ideologies that were seen as imperialist. In this context, Islamic feminism emerged as an alternative to what some viewed as the illegitimacy of 'Western' secular feminism.
Whilst on the one hand there have been severe restrictions on women's public participation under some of the more conservative and patriarchal Islamist movements, Islamic revivalism has also made possible the emergence of a 'new' feminism which purports that Islam itself provides the means to secure women's equality. Some Islamic feminists argue for relatively modest changes within the existing framework, whilst others, such as Fatema Mernissi, assert the need for radical change that almost completely redefines the role of men and women within Islam. Mernissi, along with Asma Barlas and Leila Ahmed have attempted to disentangle patriarchal culture from the texts of Islam. Stressing that culture shapes the way religious texts are read, these women argue that an egalitarian reading of Islam is just as possible as a patriarchal interpretation.
Where Islamist women differentiate themselves from Western feminists is that they at times locate oppression in ways that do not always correlate with Western feminist readings of patriarchy in the region, and propose different solutions. Some Islamic feminists argue that Western feminism is excessively individualistic and anti-family, whereas Islamic activists are concerned with the entire community, which they want to be just and egalitarian within an Islamic framework, recognizing not only the intrinsic equality between men and women but also the different roles they play. Moreover, many Middle Eastern and Muslim women are suspicious of Western-style feminisms that insist on the adoption of what are seen to be Western cultural values. For example, the insistence by many in the West of the removal of veils to ensure liberation is regarded by many Muslim women as offensive and as it disregards the possibility that the veil can be something other than a symbol of oppression. Liberation for these women does not encompass destroying their identity, religion or culture, and many of them may want to retain the option of veiling.
That these cultural and religious values are not rejected has at times led some to dismiss Islamic feminists as unable to identify or change the root causes of women's oppression. Considered to be unable to see their own oppression, Muslim women are deemed to be in need of guidance, and liberated only through outside intervention. The Western location is therefore often privileged in terms of being able to identify patriarchy in the Middle East (ignoring that patriarchal structures still exist in the West). As feminist activities and attempts by Middle Eastern women to redefine the female role have been almost entirely written out of popular perceptions of the Middle East , the opportunity for intervention presents itself. The work of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), for example, has rarely been mentioned in mainstream media coverage of Afghan women. RAWA and other local organisations have been pursuing a feminist agenda and have a long history of resistance to patriarchal abuses before, during and after the rise and fall of the Taliban and the 2001 US-led military intervention. The reluctance to publicise this may have something to do with the fact that those, who organisations like RAWA have opposed, have been supported by Western powers. The US for example, has not only supported the radical Islamists in the 1980s (who we now know to be gross violators of human rights), it has also backed members of the Northern Alliance who are known to have engaged in sexual violence and other abuses against women. Whatever the reason for ignoring the feminist struggles of these women, the result has been that Western media and many governments have constructed these women as unable to 'help themselves'. Visual representations of Afghan women removing their veils to symbolise their 'liberation' as part of the war on terror only serve to cement the notion that freedom for these women can only be achieved through Western intervention and the casting off of 'backward' cultural practices such as veiling.
The appropriation of women's suffering to justify intervention is nothing new. Western depictions of the East as the 'other' have been used to justify conquest and colonialism for over two centuries. These constructs have been both racialised and gendered and continue to function with remarkable consistency in contemporary times - the dynamics of Orientalist power still operate as a discourse by which the West constructs the East. It is within this system that dominant depictions serve to infantilise the Middle Eastern woman and allows the West to speak on her behalf. By overlooking the long and complex history of feminism in the Middle East it is becomes all too easy to accept the neatly packaged images of oppressed, veiled women that serve as partial justification of broader military interventions.
It is imperative, therefore, that the history of feminism and women's movements in the region are recognised and understood in order to overturn assumptions long held by the West that women in the Middle East are disengaged from and feminist activity. Interestingly, and contrary to Western assumptions, there has also been a fairly consistent male voice in both secular and Islamic feminisms outlined above - for example, Ali Shariati and Qasim Amin have made significant contributions to debates on gender roles and the status of women. Uncovering the history of Islamic and Middle Eastern feminisms is thus also necessary to challenge the image of the barbaric Arab or Muslim male that allows the Middle Eastern woman to be presented as wholly oppressed. The very fact that feminism is in many ways indigenous to the Middle East and grew out of local conditions rather than simply being 'imported' from the West demonstrates the inaccuracy of Eurocentric assumptions in which Arab and Muslim women are simply passive victims. The disparity between the reality of Middle Eastern women's lives and the ways these women are represented by Western media, entertainment industries, and some scholarly texts must continue to be highlighted to challenge the myth that freedom for these women can only be attained through Western intervention.
T. G. Fraser, The Arab-Israeli Conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) x + 240pp.
T G Fraser's book, the Arab-Israeli conflict , is framed to provide the reader with a concise chronological history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Fraser provides a comprehensive chronology which traces the origins of the conflict as well as detailing most of the significant events that have occurred during the conflict. At times Fraser mixes commentary and analysis and often details the perspective of the United States and that of various American Presidents.
The problem in this books lies with its narrative. Often Fraser seems to be writing a book that is written to be a short history of Israel as most of the content discussed is from an Israeli perspective. This is most stark when discussing the internal conflicts of Israeli politics and the extremely detailed account of fatalities on the Israeli side. Fatalities on the Palestinian side are raised by Fraser usually when there has been a great deal of external attention, such as the massacre in Jenin in 2002 or the death of a son in his father's arm at the beginning of the Al Aqsa Intifada.
The United States Government escapes any significant criticism and is largely portrayed in a positive light as an independent negotiator that struggles to deal with events that unfold on the ground. Presidents of the United States are represented as 'frustrated' indicating that they are forced to deal with the problems of other parties making rather being contributors to the problems the region faces. For example, the failure of Clinton to achieve a peace settlement at Camp David , is almost exclusively blamed on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. It is at critical points such as the Camp David Summit that Fraser's analysis lacks detail and favours one version of history over another.
A book on this conflict will inevitably have elements of bias, the problem lies when the book portrays itself as providing a fair and balanced account when in fact it favours one narrative over another. Whilst the Palestinian leadership is subject to a great deal of criticism, the Israelis receive much milder criticism. In addition, Fraser is clearly very sympathetic to the United States . The lack of insight from the Palestinian perspective indicates either a lack of research, or perhaps it is the manifestation of Fraser being embedded within a broader Western perspective of the conflict based on the ease in which the "West" relates itself to Israel which inevitably is to the detriment of an impartial evaluation of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
L.L. Wynn, Pyramids and Nightclubs: A travel ethnography of Arab and Western imagination of Egypt, from King Tut and a Colony of Atlantis to rumors of sex orgies, urban legends about a marauding prince and blonde belly dancers, (University of Texas Press, 2007), 296 pp., 49
As the title of this anthropology of contemporary Egyptian culture suggests there are many dimensions to Egypt . Egypt is a major tourist destination for Gulf Arabs and non-Arabs alike. Arabs travel to Egypt because it is the cultural hub of the Middle East with a burgeoning entertainment industry, numerous seaside resorts and personal freedoms that Gulf youth are usually unable to experience at home. Egypt today can be said to be somewhere between the Bollywood and the French Riviera of the Middle East . The beauty and diversity of Egyptian culture, and of the Egyptians, permeates Lisa Wynn's study as she tells her story intermingled with the anthropology of Egyptian tourism.
The primary assertion of this colourful and very engaging study of Egyptian tourism is that the engagement between Egyptians and Gulf Arabs revolves around misperceptions and ignorance of the "other". This alone is extremely enlightening as it undermines the notion of a homogenous Arab identity. Egyptians and Saudi's are clearly shown to be different and to have little understanding of the motivations and morals of their Arab "kin". The divergence between Egyptian Arabs and Saudi Arabs reminds me of the tirades by my father against those other "Arabs", usually Gulf Arabs, even though he recognised himself as an Arab himself. Ibn Khaldoun in the fifteenth century also distinguishes between different types of Arabs, regularly using "Arab" to describe the Bedouins as distinct from urbanized Arabs.
Pyramids and Nightclubs delves into the "culture" of both Saudi tourism to Egypt and the intensity of the western fascination with Ancient Egypt. The study covers a wide range of issues and situates the relationships formed by Gulf tourism towards Egypt within the wider political economy of oil wealth and the contestation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia for leadership of the Sunni Muslim Middle East. Underlying all the work done in this study is Wynn's efforts to articulate that unequal power relationships exist in the exchanges between tourists and Egyptians and that tourism is not a benign encounter. Despite the seemingly trivial title and the humour that runs through the book, at the very core of this work is the issue of constructed "otherness" and the potential for discord that results from the uneven relationships that exist between tourist and host. Pyramids and Nightclubs is a powerful reminder that the construction of others is a constant process that eventuates in situations that seem distant from politics such as in the nightclubs and hotel lobbies of Egypt 's tourist area.
I recommend Pyramids and Nightclubs principally for the way it locates the people of the Middle East within the highly complex relationships and exchanges that are so often written out of the one-dimensional reporting of the region. In addition, anyone interested in the nuances of tourism and the tourism industry will find this book enlightening and highly engaging.
New Members of the Centre
The Centre of Middle East and North African Studies is pleased to announce two new Macquarie University staff members whose work, as explained below, focuses on the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa.
Dr L.L. Wynn, Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University
Dr Lisa Wynn received her PhD from Princeton University 's Department of Anthropology in 2003. She went on to do two postdocs at Princeton, first in the Office of Population Research, and then in Princeton 's Center for Health and Wellbeing. Her dissertation research focused on transnational encounters in Egypt including tourism, Egyptology, and belly dance. Her postdoctoral research turned to reproductive health and applied medical anthropology with a particular focus on emergency contraception and medication abortion in the U.S.
Lisa joined Macquarie 's Anthropology Department in August 2007, where she teaches Food Across Cultures, a postgraduate methodology unit, and is Honours Convenor in 2008. Since coming to Macquarie she has started a new major research project that examines new reproductive health technologies in Egypt through 3 prisms: medical education, religious jurisprudence, and popular culture. In coming years she hopes to expand this to a broader ethnographic exploration of the social, cultural, and religious interpretation and adoption of reproductive health technologies in Egypt .
Dr. Gennaro Gervasio, Department of Politics and International Relations
I have taken up a lectureship in Middle-East Politics at Macquarie University in April 2008, with much enthusiasm after a long waiting for a visa. I was born in the very Mediterranean city of Naples (Southern Italy), where I have pursued most of my studies, finishing with my Ph D in Middle East and North Africa Studies, awarded by the University of Naples "L'Orientale" in 2005.
I have spent several years in the Middle East (mainly Cairo ), doing research and learning Arabic.
My teaching and research area includes the role of the Arab (mainly but not only secular) intellectuals, the politics of Arab media, the processes of democratization and de-liberalization in the Arab World, the trajectories of radicalization, and the formation of new Islamic identities in the Muslim diasporas across the world.
Before joining the Dept of Politics & International at Macquarie University, I have worked at the Universities of Mansoura (Egypt), Bristol (UK), Milan, Salerno and Naples "L'Orientale" (Italy).
An edited version of my doctoral dissertation, dealing with the history and politics of the Marxist movement in Egypt (1967-1981), has just been published in Italian ( Rome : Jouvence 2007) and is forthcoming in Arabic ( Cairo : The Higher Council of Culture, inshallah ).
Middle East glossary
The Centre's website has a handy glossary of Middle East terms. Students, in particular, will find it handy for quickly looking up terms relating to the Middle East.
Middle East news sites
The Internet has quickly become the major source of fast, searchable access to news about the Middle East. It can provide up-to-the-minute email alerts, in-depth backgrounding and endless sources of further study. Board member Antony Loewenstein provides a useful list of Internet news sites with a wide variety of perspectives:
The Qatar-based news service that has revolutionised the world.
Weekly newsletter discussing the major issues related to Israel/Palestine.
Progressive US Jewish group.
Liberal Israeli daily.
Conservative Israeli daily.
Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.
Pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement.
Dissenting US historian on the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Unofficial site of the UK Independent's Middle East correspondent.
Leading Israeli peace group.
Sydney-based Jews against the occupation.
Hanan Ashrawi founded Palestinian human rights group.
Leading Israeli human rights group.