Analysis

Analysis: Their hatred is protected by law

By Paul Berger, October 1, 2009

The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) protest was met with the most efficient weapon against hatred — humour.

Brooklynites parodied the church’s trademark “God Hates Fags” placards with their own, such as “Jesus Had Two Dads” and a pet sporting a “Dog Loves Fags” sign.

Rabbi Bachman urged the crowd to thumb their noses at the protesters. People danced the Horah. There was a carnival atmosphere.

If only Westboro Baptist Church could be laughed off so easily.

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As his trial opens, Olmert still hopes to return to public life

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 1, 2009

Last Friday, Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert set off on a road that could take him to prison, or back to national leadership.

“I have come here as an innocent man,” he told the assembled media on the first day of his trial in Jerusalem, “and I believe that I will leave without any charge.”

Although Mr Olmert — the first former Israeli PM to stand trial — would not signal his plans for after the trial, his close friends have no doubt.

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Analysis: Denham reveals how government's Islamist stance unresolved

By Martin Bright, September 24, 2009

Our interview with Communities Secretary John Denham illustrates that the British government’s stance on engagement with home-grown Islamism remains unresolved.

Mr Denham has made it clear that the Muslim Council of Britain will remain out in the cold while its deputy secretary general remains a signatory to the Istanbul declaration calling for attacks on Israel and the Royal Navy.

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Analysis: The president blames everyone but himself

By Shmuel Rosner, September 24, 2009

So now we know that both the Israelis and Palestinians are to blame.

“It’s time to show the flexibility, common sense and compromise which is necessary to achieve our goals,” President Obama preached to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas this week.

His great achievement of the evening: the handshake. More than a decade-and-a-half after Yitzhak Rabin, reluctantly, shook the hands of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the White House, Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas were also shaking hands for the first time.

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Analysis: Obama could not make peace alone

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu has accomplished a remarkable feat. He travelled to the US, met the president at a highly publicised summit, upset the leader of the free world, returned home empty-handed — and is still not facing a public outcry.

A similar dispute with the Americans ultimately brought down the Shamir government in 1992. Later premiers never dared openly confront the US.

Barack Obama’s displeasure was barely disguised and no amount of spin can gloss over the failure of the three-way summit. But Mr Netanyahu, at least for now, is getting away with it.

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Analysis: Come to think of it, the new system might benefit Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2009

Barack Obama’s decision to scrap the plan to position a missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic could ultimately prove a boost to Israel’s defences.

The change in American plans was motivated by President Obama’s desire to placate the Russian leadership but there also remains a need to mount a defence against nuclear missiles that may be launched in future from Iran and other rogue nations in the east.

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Analysis: Obama snubs allies over missile shield

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, September 24, 2009

President Obama’s decision to scrap plans to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, as part of a long range ballistic missile defence network, may come down to budget cuts alone — the Administration does not have the funds to support a costly military programme at this difficult economic juncture.

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Analysis: Judge Goldstone's other religion

By Gerald Steinberg, September 24, 2009

Richard Goldstone does not fit the model of alienated anti-Zionist Jews who promote boycotts and have no other involvement with Israel or the Jewish community. Quite the opposite. He is an active member of the community, is involved in Zionist groups, and has a daughter who lived in Israel.

So other explanations are needed for the harshness of his report on Gaza. From his activities, speeches and writings, some themes emerge.

Judge Goldstone’s life is intensely focused on the “laws of war”, in which he strongly believes, rejecting all debate or criticism.

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Analyis: Deceptive quiet on Gaza border

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 18, 2009

My visit last week to the headquarters of one of the battalions stationed around the Gaza border was deceptively tranquil. The road leading to the base may still be full of craters created by Hamas mortar shells, fired in the years of bombardment leading up to Operation Cast Lead last January. But in the neighbouring kibbutz, work is going on peacefully in the fields, right next to the border fence.

For the first time in a decade, children in the nearby town of Sderot started the school year two weeks ago without having to first practise running to the bomb shelters.

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Analysis: Settlement deal is a hard sell

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 18, 2009

One of the less known items on Binyamin Netanyahu’s CV is his stint as the sales manager of an Israeli furniture manufacturer, before he joined the diplomatic service. The PM will need all his sales acumen now to market two totally different products to the American administration and the Israeli right wing in the run-up to the highly anticipated “peace summit” at the UN next week.

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