Your blogs

  • Not the White House lawn again!

    Geoffrey Paul
    Aug 24, 2010

    I am not happy to be resuming blogging in a pessimistic mood (after time off with a broken arm). But I just cannot work up any enthusiasm for the pending direct talks about Israel-Arab peace which the US is promoting. Whether you read the stars or the tea leaves, none of the signs are in the right place. Unless the apathy which has seized most of Israel also extends to the settlers. Mr Netanyahu’s room for manoeuvre is small indeed. And unless Hamas is about to abandon every essential of its policy on Israel, Mr Abbas will be at the talks not as President of Palestine but as President of the West Bank. Rabin and Arafat could meet with some hope as both had the semblance of being strong men in charge of their forces. That hope faded because- under test - Arafat turned out to be a weakling. Netanyahu and Abbas are not even pretend strong men. With each going into the talks with one hand tied behind his back, about the best that can be expected is that they will be able to shake hands with the other one.

  • Let the 9/11 mosque 'breathe free'

    Jennifer Lipman
    Aug 23, 2010

    Daisy Khan, the wife of the imam behind the "9/11 Mosque", has compared the opposition to the plan to antisemitism. She’s absolutely right.

    When I visited Washington last year, what struck me was America’s passionate belief in the constitutionally-affirmed right to freedom of speech.

    Americans everywhere talk proudly of an ideology of tolerance, or refer to President Franklin Roosevelt’s "Four Freedoms" speech in which freedom of religion was proposed as a fundamental right. Where is that freedom now?

  • Facebook soldier: pictures don't tell the whole story

    Jennifer Lipman
    Aug 17, 2010

    The uproar over the former Israeli soldier who uploaded an album from her army service is, in my view, entirely justified. But it’s important to think of this as an isolated incident.

    Let’s be honest. This is not a case of somebody being tagged in an unfortunate or incriminating photo, a joke gone bad nor of privacy being unjustifiably invaded. Eden Abergil wilfully uploaded an album making light of a detainee’s plight and then to add insult to injury, joked about it afterwards.

    I wonder if he is on Facebook too,” she sniggered below one particularly vile shot. “I'll have to tag him in the photo."

  • A tale of two tragedies

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jul 27, 2010

    A small story comes out of Israel and reinforces just how difficult achieving peace with Hamas really is.

    On June 14, an Israeli policeman was killed near Hebron.

    Command Sergeant Major Yehoshua (Shuki) Sofer, 39 and due to be married three months later, died after militants opened fire on him and two others.

  • Why the song and dance about an Israel gig?

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jul 21, 2010

    When you start a new book do you choose it based on the author’s political opinions?

    Or when you watch a film are you particularly comforted by knowing the director voted the same way as you at the last election?

    What about when you listen to a CD? Is your enjoyment enhanced by the knowledge the artist shares your views on spending cuts?

  • Bibi's guns go missing

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jul 7, 2010

    Proof that you should never, ever pack anything remotely valuable in a suitcase.

    He might have been off to meet the most powerful man in the world, but while Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at the White House to see Barack Obama with no problems, his luggage didn’t.

    Four pistols belonging to one of Bibi’s bodyguards went missing somewhere between New York’s JFK airport and Washington.

  • Reuters PhotoShock

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jul 6, 2010

    The Economist magazine has been left red faced after it emerged they edited a photograph of Barack Obama pondering the oil spill in Louisiana.

    On their June 19 cover the president was pictured staring out at the sea alone – but it turns out the two people who he was standing with were simply photoshopped out.

    Reuters, who took the original photo, weren’t too happy. They issued a statement huffing that they have “a strict policy against modifying, removing, adding to or altering any of its photographs”.

  • Parting shots

    Geoffrey Paul
    Apr 11, 2010

    It was impossible, of course, for the Mother of Parliaments to go into pre-election recess without finding the opportunity for some parting salvoes fired in the direction of Israel. The Noble Lords set aside time for what they desctibe as "a short debate" sparked by a question from Lord Dykes of Harrow Weald (once Hugh Dykes MP who flip-flopped from the Tories to the Lib Dems and whose expenses claims - according to the SundayTimes - are based on the fact that his main home is in, wait for it, Normandy). His Lordship's question: "To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel regarding their duties under internatiomal law and the road map for peace?"

    This presented the opportunity for some of those who never are averse to putting in the boot to have their knee-jerk reaction to the very appearance on the Order Paper of the name of Israel. There were one or two who tried to maintain a balanced view, no more. What was plain was the paucity of Jewish peers (it being the last day of Pesach) who could attend at the House to speak in Israel's favour. Lord Haskell was one. Lady Deech (Ruth Deech as was) was another and she was impressively to the point, not least in querying why Lord Dykes had raised the issue of Israel yet again. This is the Hansard record of her opening remarks:

    "My Lords, it is customary to congratulate a noble Lord on securing a debate on an important and topical subject.Unusually, on this occasion I am not certain that there is anything singular about the debate. We have had 143 Questions in this House about Israel in the past 12 months. On my rough count, the noble Lord, Lord Dykes, has put down more than 40 since the start of 2009. Indeed, he has asked 193 Questions on this subject, and initiated three debates, since he entered the House. One may well wonder what effect these have had and why his party’s Weltanschauung is so narrow. I imagine that the suffering people of Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea, the Western Sahara and Tibet would welcome similar attention to the minutiae of their oppression. Before anyone says that Israel should be held to a higher standard, let me say that the rule of law applies to all equally. It is not right to apply a higher standard to some and let off others who abuse human rights with a lower standard."