When you blog it’s always a good thing to check your referrals because you can learn a lot from them. You learn who’s naughty and nice to you online. And you learn about new online resources of which you’d never heard. So I discovered Mideast Brief (MEB), a site which features great media resources covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Actually, the site is divided up by country and covers Iran and Iraq as well. MEB features Tikun Olam in its blogroll and several folks visiting the site had come to my blog, which was how I discovered that it existed.
You don’t see such valuable resources that often online so I was curious who or what was sponsoring this venture. There was no About page, so I couldn’t determine anything from the website itself. I sent off an e mail and Dan Sisken replied. Dan is doing this project on his own time though he’s been affiliated with MERIP in the past as a webmaster and web designer. He has a PhD in political science concentrating on the Middle East.
Dan has an ambitious agenda for the site and I’m going to try to participate in it as much as I can. Israel Palestine Blogs, my peace blog aggregator has not been working properly for a long time. I believe the RSS update feature can’t handle the number of blogs I feature there and so the site hasn’t been updating new posts properly. Dan and I are going to try to create a blog section at MEB that will mirror the way he’s handling his news section.
I tried to do this at my third site, Israel Palestine Forum, where I created sections featuring blogs, essays and news articles and a discussion forum. But again I wasn’t happy with the site technically or graphically and stopped updating it with the exception of the discussion forum which IS still active.
Eventually, I’d like to transfer the concept of Israel Palestine Blogs over to MEB so a reader would have a one-stop resource for checking both news and blog coverage of the Israeli-Arab conflict. There would also be a subscription/e-mail notification feature allowing readers to receive daily emails of the site’s content.
Since I don’t read Arabic, nor am I specialist in Middle East affairs I’ve always found it difficult to keep abreast of news developments in Palestine and the other front-line states. MideastWire offers a good resource though it covers every Middle Eastern country and doesn’t always provide enough depth in the few specific countries I’m interested in.
That’s why I was delighted to discover the Institute for Middle East Understanding, which “offers journalists and editors quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources — both in the U.S. and in the Middle East…IMEU works with journalists to increase the public’s understanding about the socio-economic, political and cultural aspects of Palestine, Palestinians and Palestinian Americans.”
While every such site is going to have a point of view, the organizers of this one seem to have an independent perspective that is free of an overly partisan or ideological approach that you sometimes see in other similar sites (CAMERA, MEMRI, EI, Al Jazeera, etc.) on both sides of the conflict.