Mosque attackers want a new intifada

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 17, 2009

There was something almost too neat about the arson attempt at the mosque in Yasuf on Friday morning. The nearby settlement of Kfar Tapuach, the graffiti in Hebrew, the choice of target. The Palestinians certainly had no trouble pointing out who they thought were the culprits. It was their neighbours, they said, who have been harassing them, they claim, for years.

But a week has gone by and the police and Shin Bet security service have yet to arrest any suspects.


The Board grows fangs at long last

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

Scrolling through the archive of press releases from the Board would leave you with the impression that its main activity in recent years has been paying courtesy calls on embassies around London.

But something appears to have changed in the past few weeks.

A series of statements on assorted issues suggests that British Jewry’s main representative body wants to be seen as more assertive and vocal. An organisation for which “concern” appeared to be the strongest word in its vocabulary, has now turned into “Angry, of Bloomsbury Square”.


Analysis: Grant is already in last-chance saloon

By Simon Griver, December 3, 2009

Most Israelis were convinced that the furor following Avram Grant’s appointment as Chelsea manager in 2007 was down to antisemitism and dislike of Israel. Grant himself insisted that objections were for purely professional reasons, and the generally positive reactions to his appointment as manager of Portsmouth last week bear this out.


Analysis: A pointless resolution

By Yitzchak Schochet, December 3, 2009

The RCA demands that members must affirm that “there is not and never has been a place in Judaism for the belief that Mashiach ben David will begin his Messianic mission only to experience death, burial and resurrection before completing it”.

The joke is on them, for even the group of Chabad messianics can sign on to this in good conscience.

There are a number of Chabad Chasidism who have an unfounded and non-verifiable belief that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is undoubtedly the long-awaited Messiah who will eventually redeem the people of Israel.


Analysis: Some still believe he is a victim

By Efraim Zuroff, December 3, 2009

If anyone hoped that the horrific crimes committed at the Sobibor death camp would occupy centre stage at the opening of the Demjanjuk trial, they were in for a rude awakening in Munich.

The mass-murder of 250,000 Jews in one of the lesser-known death camps in Poland was not yet the subject of the deliberations and unfortunately did not come up in the courtroom.


Analysis: As Iran pulls a fast one, the world bickers

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, December 3, 2009

The two-month diplomatic dance between Iran and the international community over the proposed deal to transfer Iran’s uranium abroad for further enrichment seemingly ended last week in Vienna. Diplomacy, said the outgoing director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei, had reached “a dead end”.

Iran was offered a very advantageous deal — one that, substantially, recognised its right to enrich uranium and only delayed the moment when it will have nuclear bombs ready to use by several months.


Are these changes of heart or tactics?

By Evelyn Gordon, December 3, 2009

By freezing settlement construction and offering to trade hundreds of terrorists for Gilad Shalit, PM Netanyahu seems to be abandoning everything he previously believed in. But he may simply be applying a lesson learned from his first term as premier: to confront difficult challenges, you must keep the Israeli centre solidly behind you.

Mr Netanyahu faces two crucial challenges. First, the lack of effective international pressure on Iran’s nuclear programme may force him to take military action.


Analysis: Netanyahu will concede even more

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 3, 2009

No Israeli prime minister has ever announced an entire freeze of house building in the West Bank. Binyamin Netanyahu did it last Wednesday and despite the right-wing makeup of the Knesset and his own cabinet, he seems to have managed to get away with it. For now.


Analysis: The outpost men are desperate

By Shmuel Rosner, November 26, 2009

“Disobedience”, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned earlier this week, “could lead to the state’s collapse”.

And of course, he’s right. But not the disobedience of a small cadre of kooky soldiers.

At the core of this debate the question is supposedly simple: who makes the rules? For most Israelis, the answer is clear — it is the government. But for some confused soldiers (and civilians) it is not that clear — they think that their rabbis make the rules, and that their ideals and beliefs cannot be curbed by the state.


Analysis: So, violence works

By Daoud Kuttab, November 26, 2009

If you ever want a single case that can illustrate all the sources of disagreement in the Middle East, all you need to do is look at the emerging Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

Legally Israel refuses to recognise as prisoners of war over 10,000 prisoners it is holding, because that assumes that there is a war in the region.

Nor does it accept that they are protected individuals to whom the Geneva Convention applies. The Convention regulates how an occupying power is supposed to deal with civilians under its occupation.