Analysis

Why Jewish refugees are a hot topic again

By Nathan Jeffay, December 22, 2010

Israel's Foreign Ministry has begun a push to force the other Middle East refugees onto the international agenda and factor them into peace talks.

The United Nations estimates that, upon the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, 726,000 Palestinians became refugees. Meanwhile, Arab states displaced a large number of Jews. The advocacy organisation Justice for Jews from Arab Countries estimates the number at 856,000.

Two thirds moved to Israel but, strangely, Israel has done little to demand that they are compensated. So why is the Foreign Ministry taking up the issue now?

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Dictators: how to prop up your regime

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, December 22, 2010

Last week, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, abruptly fired his foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki. Even by his low standards of etiquette, the event was unprecedented, leaving aghast even traditional supporters of the president.

Mottaki was visiting Senegal to mend relations in West Africa after Iranian weapons shipments had been seized in Gambia. The shipments were understood to have been the works of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

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Teflon Bibi turns crisis into uplift

By Nathan Jeffay, December 16, 2010

In the run up to last year's general election which made him prime minister, some pundits referred to Binyamin Netanyahu as "Teflon Netanyahu". That was to say, political and PR disasters did not seem to scathe him.

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The United Nations route to solving this impasse is fools' gold

By Robin Shepherd, December 16, 2010

It has been a mixed couple of weeks for the Palestinian Authority. With the breakdown of peace talks they have managed to land the blame where most of the world was only too ready to place it anyway: it's Israel's fault because of the settlements, and not theirs for their refusal to negotiate without pre-conditions.

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This could be the end of Netanyahu's coalition

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 16, 2010

The press was invited on Wednesday afternoon to cover a meeting between Binyamin Netanyahu and IDF soldiers undergoing a military conversion course. An hour before the reception, the Prime Minister's Office changed its mind: the event would be closed to the media.

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Griffin cast aside by the newly violent

By Nick Lowles, December 16, 2010

Last Saturday British National Party leader Nick Griffin addressed his party's annual conference in Leicester. He promised a renewed political energy and increased militancy against radical Islam.

Despite his fighting talk, his words fell on deaf ears. Whereas once Griffin's hardline speech would have caused ripples in some sections of the media, he was now largely ignored.

While it would be wrong to dismiss the threat from the BNP, as the austerity measures should play into their hands, it is, for now, a sideshow.

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Do we need another?

By Geoffrey Paul, December 16, 2010

Do we really need another Chief Rabbi?

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US resolution to aid Holocaust survivors won't help

By Paul Berger, December 9, 2010

Finding a consensus in Washington is nothing short of miraculousthese days.

So it was noteworthy that a resolution to support care programmes for Holocaust survivors was approved by a unanimous 407-0 vote in the House of Representatives last week.

The resolution, which comes at
a time when North American organisations warn they have insufficient funds to care for survivors, was
lauded by members of the US-Jewish community.

But the absence of a single dissenting vote in the House underlines what little effect, in real terms, the resolution may have.

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Peace talks are failing and it's Obama's fault

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 9, 2010

Two weeks ago we were prophesying that a deal on a second freeze of settlement building and a return to direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was a matter of days away. But on Tuesday, the White House unofficially admitted that there was no hope for a settlement moratorium and that it would return to pursuing peace through indirect talks between the sides.

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If God sent the fire, he owes us firemen

By Geoffrey Paul, December 9, 2010

Citing halachah in support of outrageous religious discourse has long been a speciality of the former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, 90-year-old Ovadia Yosef, spiritual mentor of Shas, the strictly-Orthodox political party with 11 members in the Knesset and a major role in Binyamin Netanyahu's government coalition.

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