Analysis

The rabbis fear their followers

By Shmuel Rosner, June 11, 2009

Religious zealotry is not new to the strictly Orthodox, but the trick is always to know where to stop. Adding more rules, more boundaries, is easy. In days gone by, the great leaders of Orthodox Judaism were those able to ease restrictions, to limit new halachic stringencies — without losing their authority with the masses and with other rabbis.

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Shalit clearly not Bibi’s priority

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 11, 2009

Two months into the Netanyahu government’s term and almost three years to the day since Gilad Shalit was captured from his tank on the border of the Gaza Strip, Israel still has no clear policy on how to secure his freedom from Hamas.

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The old demons are back

By Denis MacShane, June 11, 2009

The European Parliament has never been friendly to Jewish causes and concerns. In its tolerance of Islamist extremist hate against Israel, the Strasbourg assembly has often been a “useful idiot” for Middle East politicians, who keep their antisemitism for consumption at home and use the language of resistance and liberation when meeting MEPs.

Now, however, the election of two British MEPs from the antisemitic BNP will help consolidate an antisemitic group in the European Parliament.

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Hizbollah poll defeat is cold comfort for Israel

By Miriam Shaviv, June 11, 2009

The victory of the pro-American “March 14” coalition in this week’s Lebanese elections has been greeted with relief across the world, but for Israel, is merely the lesser of two evils.

To be sure, a Hizbollah victory would have been disastrous, lending legitimacy to an organisation dedicated to Israel’s destruction, putting it in control of Lebanon’s army and other organs of state — and bringing Syrian and Iranian influence ever closer to Israel’s borders.

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This racist movement is not a joke

By Natasha Lehrer, June 4, 2009

Earlier in his career as a comedian, Dieudonné appeared in a double act with his childhood friend, the Jewish comedian Elie Semoun. Their act lampooned intolerance and bigotry of all kinds, and propelled them to fame. Their shows were sell-outs and Dieudonné made enough money to buy a theatre in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. No one was excluded from their remorseless satire — scientologists, intellectuals, journalists and neo-Nazis were all fodder for their irreverent and hugely popular shows.

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The victims get a chance of justice

By Shimon Samuels & Sergio Widder, June 4, 2009

The evidence has long implicated Iranian officials in the July 1994 bombing of the Amia Jewish Centre in Buenos Aires, which left 85 dead and hundreds wounded. In 2006, State Prosecutor Alberto Nisman indicted former Iranian President Rafsanjani, ex-Foreign Minister Velayati and seven other suspects.

The president of Argentina at the time, Nestor Kirchner, and his wife, current President Christina Kirchner, both denounced Iran for its role in the attack in separate addresses to the UN General Assembly, resisting pressure from Tehran’s Latin-American ally, Venezuela.

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Better the devil you know

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 4, 2009

Israeli intelligence analysts do not have a vote in the Lebanese elections on Sunday and in Iran on Friday but if they had, don’t bet on them voting against Hizbollah or even against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

If there is one thing that military planners hate most, it is instability. In the end, this is the reason that in 1982, when PLO chieftain Yasir Arafat was in the rifle-sights of IDF snipers in Beirut, they were given the order to hold their fire.

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In Iran, change may yet come

By Meir Javedanfar, June 4, 2009

Next Friday, Iranians will vote in their country’s 10th presidential elections.

Two issues will dominate. First and foremost the economy, followed closely by Iran’s relations with the outside world.

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In-depth: Why is Israeli-Arab Shoah denial rising?

By Nathan Jeffay, May 27, 2009

Two in five Arab citizens of Israel believe that the Holocaust did not take place, according to newly released research from the University of Haifa.

This represents a sharp rise in Holocaust denial among Israeli Arabs since the university conducted a similar poll two years ago. The figure then was 28 per cent. It is now 40.5 per cent.

Israel’s Holocaust organisations have reacted with concern. The finding is “alarming”, said Dan Michman, chief historian at Yad Vashem, which last year launched an Arabic website to counter denial in the Arab world.

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Analysis: This is the least Netanyahu can do to keep Obama happy

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 27, 2009

If this works, Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu will be competing to take the credit for coming up with the idea first. If it works.

While everyone was waiting for a major bust-up between the Israeli government and the White House over Mr Netanyahu’s reluctance to commit to a two-state solution, both leaders seemed to agree to lay their differences aside, for now, and to focus on a more immediate and much smaller objective: removing the settler outposts.

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