Analysis: Obama is in trouble

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, August 6, 2009

President Obama’s Middle East policy looks to be in trouble.

His engagement offer to Iran has fallen flat. His lofty speeches to Muslim audiences have failed to sway public opinion towards America. His demands to Israel that it halt any settlement activity have led to an unprecedented row with its government.

Worse, the perceived US pressure on Israel has left Arab leaders with the false impression that they have nothing to deliver. Since the US started its new bid on settlements, no Arab leader has agreed to any concession to Israel, symbolic or otherwise.


Analysis: We ignored gay-bashing to our cost

By Yoav Sivan, August 6, 2009

What does last week’s shooting of young lesbians and gays in Tel Aviv tell us about Israeli society?

It is not an easy question. As a pluralistic, democratic nation, there are many sides to Israel. How the nation views the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT ) community is every bit as varied.


We’re sorry Roseanne, this really is half-baked humour

By Rob Eshman, August 6, 2009

Jews love to outrage, and we love to be outraged. I don’t know why. It’s how we’re wired. We have a rigid sense of what is appropriate and what is not, of what is kosher and what is not, and then we gleefully smear the boundaries. And, with just as much relish, we shake our fingers at the boundary-smearers. We Jews love a good shanda.

This month’s shanda is on the cover of Heeb magazine: a photo of the comedienne Roseanne Barr dressed as Adolf Hitler, pulling cookies shaped like people out of the oven.


Analysis: Forget ‘rich Jew’ media stereotyping, it's time for some introspection

By Anthony Silow-Carroll, July 30, 2009

For a certain kind of US Jew who regards the media as an irritant and the European media as a scourge, the headline at the BBC website confirmed all their worst suspicions. “US rabbis arrested in crime probe,” it read, ignoring the mayors and other public officials caught up in a federal sting aimed at rooting out corruption.


Analysis: The community’s insularity makes these stories more likely

By Anthony Weiss, July 30, 2009

Only two weeks before law enforcement agents arrested Rabbi Saul Kassin, chief rabbi of the American Syrian community, as part of a massive corruption sweep, another US chief rabbi pleaded guilty to exactly the same charge.

Naftali Tzvi Weisz, Rebbe of the Spinka Chasidic sect, admitted to laundering money by accepting tax-deductible charitable donations and then returning the money to the donors, minus a fee.


Analysis: An agreement on a settlement freeze is imminent

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Visits by four high-ranking American officials to Israel this week seem to have pushed Binyamin Netanyahu’s government to the brink of an agreement on freezing settlement building.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Adviser Jim Jones, special envoy George Mitchell and Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross all repeated the requisite statements on America’s commitment to Israel’s security and tried hard to infuse a friendly atmosphere into the talks. They even began to sound tough about imposing time limits on talks with Iran.


Analysis: Jeremy Newmark

By Jeremy Newmark, July 30, 2009

The revelation that Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP) is reviewing its policy on boycotts of Israel is no surprise. Until now, JFJFP has flaunted its non-policy on boycotts; it supported occasional campaigns against Israeli-linked companies, while indulgently appearing on the “anti” side of public debates on an academic boycott. As with almost every issue of substance, such as a commitment to a two-state solution, JFJFP preferred to fudge on a boycott.


Analysis: Rebuffing this man has become ‘brave’, but it’s an obvious stand

By Gary Sinyor, July 23, 2009

Richard Moore, who runs the Melbourne Film Festival, is my new hero.When faced with blackmail by Ken Loach, who threatened to pull Looking For Eric from Melbourne if Richard didn’t boycott Israel, Richard point-blank refused.

We may have won the test at Lords, but when it comes to balls, the Australians have led the way where Britain, embarrassingly, failed.

Mr Loach’s tactics worked only too well at the recent Edinburgh Film Festival, though he refused to go on the Today programme to discuss his position face-to-face.


Bibi’s trap for Kadima

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 23, 2009

The next week could be a pivotal one in Israeli politics. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is determined to pass a new law in the Knesset, before the parliamentary summer recess begins, that will make it easier for parties to split and regroup.

The main target is Kadima.

Mr Netanyahu has never kept secret his ambition to bring about a dissolution of the party, which broke away from the Likud in 2005. He sees Kadima as illegitimate, a coincidental gathering of opportunists and, worst of all, a political threat.


Analysis: Ics the real culprit Netanyahu?

By Shmuel Rosner, July 23, 2009

Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu has learned that he does not have the support of US Jews, the pro-Israel lobby, or Congress. Not when it comes to settlements.

So Mr Netanyahu looked for an opportunity to change the subject. During an insignificant meeting between his new US ambassador and an American official usually not involved with Israel issues, the Americans raised the subject of Jewish building in East Jerusalem.