Analysis

Analysis: Gaza protesters might be 'angry' but they're still guilty

By David Aaronovitch, March 4, 2010

In January 2009 someone sent me a link to footage taken at one of the Gaza protests in London. Taken by a demonstrator, and 10 minutes long, it showed a thin cordon of policemen being, in effect, chased from the edge of Trafalgar Square to the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly.

For the entire distance, men with faces covered were throwing traffic cones, sticks and anything that came to hand at the retreating officers, while shouting "Run, you f**** cowards!" The only time this mantra changed was when the police, briefly, put up a fight, when the shout became "you racist bastards!"

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Analysis: Why improving Israel's image is a tough job

February 25, 2010

Following Gorbachev's accession to power in 1985, I was able to visit Jewish refuseniks in Moscow, after many years of being refused a visa due to my work for Jews in the USSR.

I met many remarkable people on that visit, including Yuli Edelstein, shortly after his release from a strict regime labour camp.

His appeal to British Jews to produce a campaign against the delegitimisation of Israel, similar to the Soviet Jewry campaign, may appeal to the emotions, but the scenarios are profoundly different.

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Analysis: Mossad's passport problem

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Hiding the identity of its operatives abroad is more problematic for Israeli intelligence organisations than for their Western counterparts. An MI6 agent carrying out a mission in Dubai, for example, can simply use a genuine British passport, issued by the Home Office in a different name, and masquerade as one more holidaymaker. A Mossad agent in Dubai cannot do the same thing with an Israeli passport.

The use of foreign passports by Israeli agents has caused the country diplomatic problems in the past, when Western governments have been embarrassed by the use of their travel documents.

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How the spooks are adapting to the age of Twitter

By Shlomo Shpiro, February 18, 2010

Media frenzy over the killing of Hamas activist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai is reaching its peak. The story has all the right ingredients for a cloak-and-dagger classic: suave men with dark glasses slipping in and out of luxury hotels, an elusive redhead lingering in shadowy corridors, exotic robe-clad police officials proudly presenting the results of their investigations.

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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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