Analysis

Analysis: Kaminski's opinions should ring loud alarm bells

By Martin Bright, October 9, 2009

Michal Kaminski was extremely frank in his interview with the JC. Perhaps too frank. After talking to him I have no reason to believe he is an antisemite or to doubt his commitment to the state of Israel. But I also have a much clearer idea of precisely what he is: a socially conservative east-European Catholic nationalist with all the unfortunate baggage this entails.

There is nothing very appealing about a man who began his political life on the extreme right of Polish politics, went on to heap praise on General Pinochet and was, until recently, happy to casually insult homosexuals.

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Analysis: Kaminski is our friend - this is a smear campaign

By Stephen Pollard, October 9, 2009

The real story behind the accusations against Michal Kaminski has nothing to with antisemitism. It has nothing to do with his accusers’ oft-proclaimed concern to stamp out racism. It is, rather, a grubby story about the EU and base politics.

For nearly eight years before joining the JC, I worked in Brussels. It is not a place associated with friendliness towards Israel. Few MEPs accept Israel’s right to defend itself, let alone argue its case in public. One of that rare group is Michal Kaminski.

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Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal favoured by Israeli cabinet

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 8, 2009

There is a clear majority in the Israeli cabinet for approving a prisoner deal with Hamas, although there is opposition within the intelligence services.

The current deal being discussed between Israel and Hamas through Egyptian and German intermediaries is essentially similar to the one turned down by the Olmert government six months ago. Hamas has presented Israel with a list of 450 prisoners to be released in a direct exchange for Shalit. As a second stage, Israel will release hundreds more at an unspecified date.

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Analysis: Situation has explosive potential

By Shmuel Rosner, October 8, 2009

Winter in Jerusalem is not a good time for protest. The winds are too strong, the weather too cold, and days are much too short for people to gather after work for demonstrations. Summer is good, especially for the strictly-Orthodox, bored in the afternoons of a long Shabbat. And autumn is good for the Palestinians.

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Analysis: Hamas play for power

By David Hazony, October 8, 2009

This week was not the first time Arabs were called upon to “defend Al-Aqsa”. The sudden spreading of false rumours about Israeli attempts to Judaise Jerusalem, to destroy the Dome of the Rock, or to plant false antiquities showing an ancient Israelite provenance — without any obvious provocation from Israel — happens occasionally.

Of course, had Israel wanted to exert its sovereignty over Temple Mount, it has no need for such secretive steps. To begin with, it could have allowed Jews to pray there.

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Analysis: Not going to extremes with £60m

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

Chris Grayling’s interview puts significant blue water between the Conservatives and Labour on extremism and anti-terror policy. The Shadow Home Secretary could not be clearer in his rejection of multiculturalism and the policy of “engagement for the sake of engagement”.

Mr Grayling has taken some time to come to these conclusions — he was appointed in January — but at least he cannot be criticised for rushing to judgment.

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Is Iran hiding more nuclear facilities?

By Meir Javedanfar, October 1, 2009

The recent exposure of the secret uranium enrichment facility at Qom may have come as a shock to the populations of Western countries. However, it was not a surprise to Western intelligence agencies. For years, the CIA, MI6 and the French secret service, DGSE, were monitoring its construction and progress, until their governments finally decided to declare its existence last week.

So are there more secret locations? Although we cannot be sure, the consensus amongst analysts is that there are. This is based on a number of factors.

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Analysis: Australian TV gets more neutral

By Dan Goldberg, October 1, 2009

Its geographical distance from the Middle East has done nothing to prevent a row in Australia over the terminology used by a major broadcaster to describe the occupied territories. Staff at SBS, a taxpayer-funded broadcaster, have been ordered to avoid using the term “Palestinian land” when referring to the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Instead, SBS’s Ombudsman recommends referring to “Israeli settlements on the West Bank” or “Israeli settlements on the outskirts of Jerusalem” because SBS wants to ensure “the language used is neutral”.

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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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