Analysis

Shift in mood

By Martin Bright, January 20, 2011

Alistair Burt's strong criticisms of Israel this week mark an interesting shift in the mood music on the Middle East. Mr Burt is a trusted supporter of Israel, and his criticism of settlement building did not stray from established UK policy.

But it is no accident that the Foreign Office chose to publicise his comments. Still more significant is his decision to back the Arab community's concerns about the Knesset's commission of inquiry into the activities of human rights organisations.

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MidEast's true causes are bread and liberty

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, January 20, 2011

Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution is being monitored with just as much apprehension across the Arab world as it is in Jerusalem. For Arab regimes, it is a question of their own survival - and whether what has happened in Tunisia could be replicated at presidential and royal palaces across the region. Israel shares the same concern - though, obviously, for different reasons.

If the Tunisian uprising were replicated in Cairo, Rabat, Amman and Ryadh, Jerusalem too would confront a vastly more complicated scenario.

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JLC trip: hackles rose

By Simon Rocker, January 20, 2011

Ironically, the Board of Deputies leaders had never intended its position on Israel to become a matter of controversy. They had agreed Sunday's debate largely in response to deputies champing at the bit to express their opinion of the outspoken criticisms of Israeli policy made by UJIA chairman, and JLC executive committee chairman, Mick Davis two months ago.

Mr Davis's intervention served only to increase suspicions among some deputies that the JLC was pursuing an independent foreign policy which undercut the role of the Board.

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Deputies hardly covered in glory

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

Two months after Mick Davis's comments rocked the community, the Board of Deputies finally found time to discuss the fallout and landed itself in a pickle entirely of its own making.

With ill-feeling about the role of the JLC and general unease over Vivian Wineman's stewardship, there was always the potential for Sunday's Israel debate to spill over into wider squabbling.

Many deputies are erudite political and business leaders, but too many are out of touch with the modern world and vastly overestimate the Board's influence at home and abroad.

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So, who does deserve a platform?

By Stephen Pollard, January 13, 2011

The JC has been proud of its long association with JBW. But one now has to wonder what it is becoming.

Last year a key session was handed over to two fanatical Israel-bashers, Tariq Ali and Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor of the London Review of Books. This year, Gideon Levy is to be joined by the Independent's Johann Hari, whose visceral hatred of Israel makes his colleague Robert Fisk seem like a Zionist in comparison.

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Mossad playing a new Iran game

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, January 13, 2011

Deterrence sometimes demands taking credit for your victories - but in its covert war against Iran, Israel has rarely done so, despite its likely role in many successful sabotages of Iran's nuclear programme.

Outgoing chief of Mossad, Meir Dagan's moment of openness to journalists when, last week, he let it slip that he believed Iran would not be able to build a nuclear bomb until 2015, seemed to reverse that, with Dagan revealing little but hinting Israel may be responsible for the delay.

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Why Netanyahu met Mossad Shark-slur man

By Nathan Jeffay, January 13, 2011

A few weeks ago, South Sinai governor Mohamed Shousha claimed that Mossad was behind a series of shark attacks in the Red Sea. Last Thursday, he sat down to lunch with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials.

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The US and its Jews now need answers

By David Harris, January 13, 2011

In the wake of the latest paroxysm of violence in America, this time in Tucson, Arizona, endless questions are being asked and rumors are circulating like wildfire, but only fragmentary data is surfacing. In such an environment, it becomes hard, if not impossible, to sort information from misinformation and disinformation.

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Israel, a unique nation in the MidEast

By Vernon Bogdanor, January 6, 2011

Moshe Katzav was Israel's eighth president. Elected in 2000, he was forced to resign before the end of his term to meet accusations of rape and sexual harassment.

Last month he was found guilty of rape. He now proposes to appeal to Israel's Supreme Court. But, if his appeal fails, he faces a long prison sentence.

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Obama's quiet war machines

By Tim Marshall, January 6, 2011

An American President authorises the bombing of a country with which it is not at war. The operation is undertaken not by the military but the CIA, and is concealed from Congress and the parliament of the country being bombed.

Pilotless drone air strikes are conducted on average once every three days, overseen from a base in California 8,000 miles from the target. Hundreds of innocent men women and children are killed in the assault.

The President is Barack Obama, the country is Pakistan, and the media scrutiny is almost invisible.

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