Analysis

US gets its allies into line over Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

If the frequency of high-level talks between Israel and the US is anything to go by, we seem to be in for a very tense period in the region. This week it was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, in Israel for talks with the heads of the defence establishment. Next week it is going to be Vice President Joe Biden.

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Rabbi Amar must confront Orthodox marriage registrars

By Seth Farber, February 4, 2010

Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s signature on a document limiting the power of rabbinical courts in Israel to annul conversions is a significant step in stemming the momentum of conversion annulments in Israel. But it fails to address the wider issues of non-recognition of conversions, particularly by Israeli marriage registrars — and, in that sense, falls short of expectations.

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Barak is Israel’s de-facto foreign minister

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 21, 2010

No new strategic agreements or arms deals were signed during Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to Ankara on Sunday; he did not even get to meet the prime minister.

Still, the half-day trip was described as “very positive”. These days, any diplomatic contact between Israel and Turkey that does not end acrimoniously is seen as a definite success.

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Analysis: Trouble and strife is back for Bibi

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 21, 2010

In the remaking of the Bibi brand, a decade-long project that preceded Binyamin Netanyahu’s return to power last year, the Sarah Problem was a major headache.

Long before Israeli voters booted him out of office in 1999, the first lady’s image as a highly-strung, grasping, freebie-loving harridan was well engraved on the national psyche. Newspapers regularly chronicled her tantrums and ego trips, supplemented by rumour and innuendo.

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Analysis: A matter of context

By Rod Liddle, January 21, 2010

Context is everything. I’m a Millwall supporter and I do not know of a single fellow fan who could remotely be described as antisemitic. But looking at the stuff a few bloggers have pulled from one the club’s fan-sites, where I sometimes post, you would probably beg to differ. But then if you looked at the stuff on any football website — and especially those of the London premier league rivals, Spurs — you will find the same, and worse besides.

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Analysis: Say two cheers for the Pontiff

By Mark Solomon, January 21, 2010

The papacy of Benedict XVI has not been short on controversy, so whenever Joseph Ratzinger opens his mouth there is no lack of people ready to jump down his throat.

It is almost disappointing, then, when the Pope says just the right thing, as he did in his speech last Sunday. His well-crafted speech ticked all the important boxes, and even though the papacy is a political office where every utterance is spun with care, his address had the ring of sincerity and spiritual depth.

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Finally, good press for Israelis

By Tom Gross, January 21, 2010

Over the past week, Israel has been receiving its most positive TV coverage since the advent of cable news over two decades ago.

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A sinister scheme to devalue the Shoah is gathering steam

By Efraim Zuroff, January 7, 2010

The question of how Lithuania deals with its Holocaust past has simmered for 18 years, ever since it gained independence. But in the past few weeks it has become crucial, due to Lithuania’s campaign to obtain recognition that Communism is the equivalent of Nazism.

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Analysis: Will Straw toe line?

By Martin Bright, January 7, 2010

As the government swirls in a blizzard of plot and counterplot, most commentators agree that two key members of the Cabinet have risen above the fray — Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

There is, therefore, no excuse for them not to get down to business over the issue of who it is within this country’s judicial system who can issue arrest warrants for visiting foreign politicians accused of war crimes: local magistrates or the Attorney General. But can Mr Straw be persuaded to overcome his resistance to new legislation?

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Analysis: A revolution in Iran? Don’t get too excited

By Miriam Shaviv, December 30, 2009

For many Western pundits, the demonstrations against the Iranian regime on Sunday signalled the beginning of another revolution. This was Iran’s “Berlin Wall moment”, The Times enthused; the start of a “bloody endgame”.

Long-time observers noted that it took more than a year to unseat the Shah after demonstrations began in January 1978, and that the current regime seems determined to retain its grip on power through extreme violence, mass arrests and even rape. While the regime is clearly in deep domestic trouble, it could take months and even years to resolve.

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