Analysis: The UK is angry but not furious

By Tim Marshall, March 25, 2010

Timing is everything. So why now? The expulsion of the Mossad's London Head of Station coincided with two things. Both tell us the UK is genuinely angry.

The Foreign Office stressed that throwing the diplomat out was nothing to do with the Jerusalem/West Bank settlements row. However, it knows Israel is under the spotlight and that at the moment all related matters are highlighted.

So while it is true to argue that the two things are separate, it is impossible to see one without the other.


Israel must not show bravado or arrogance

By Uri Dromi, March 25, 2010

What did Jews used to do whenever big tsures (troubles) came their way? They told jokes.

So today I am reminded of the Mossad agent who was sent on a mission to London, where he was supposed to meet his local contact, a certain Cohen.

The codeword for identifying each other was "White Rose". However, upon reaching the address, the Mossadnik realized that there were six Cohens living in the building. He punched the intercom of the first one and said "White Rose".

"Oh, you're looking for Cohen the spy," came the reply. "He lives on the fourth floor."


Analysis: Gaza protesters might be 'angry' but they're still guilty

By David Aaronovitch, March 4, 2010

In January 2009 someone sent me a link to footage taken at one of the Gaza protests in London. Taken by a demonstrator, and 10 minutes long, it showed a thin cordon of policemen being, in effect, chased from the edge of Trafalgar Square to the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly.

For the entire distance, men with faces covered were throwing traffic cones, sticks and anything that came to hand at the retreating officers, while shouting "Run, you f**** cowards!" The only time this mantra changed was when the police, briefly, put up a fight, when the shout became "you racist bastards!"


Analysis: Why improving Israel's image is a tough job

February 25, 2010

Following Gorbachev's accession to power in 1985, I was able to visit Jewish refuseniks in Moscow, after many years of being refused a visa due to my work for Jews in the USSR.

I met many remarkable people on that visit, including Yuli Edelstein, shortly after his release from a strict regime labour camp.

His appeal to British Jews to produce a campaign against the delegitimisation of Israel, similar to the Soviet Jewry campaign, may appeal to the emotions, but the scenarios are profoundly different.


Analysis: Mossad's passport problem

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Hiding the identity of its operatives abroad is more problematic for Israeli intelligence organisations than for their Western counterparts. An MI6 agent carrying out a mission in Dubai, for example, can simply use a genuine British passport, issued by the Home Office in a different name, and masquerade as one more holidaymaker. A Mossad agent in Dubai cannot do the same thing with an Israeli passport.

The use of foreign passports by Israeli agents has caused the country diplomatic problems in the past, when Western governments have been embarrassed by the use of their travel documents.


How the spooks are adapting to the age of Twitter

By Shlomo Shpiro, February 18, 2010

Media frenzy over the killing of Hamas activist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai is reaching its peak. The story has all the right ingredients for a cloak-and-dagger classic: suave men with dark glasses slipping in and out of luxury hotels, an elusive redhead lingering in shadowy corridors, exotic robe-clad police officials proudly presenting the results of their investigations.


US gets its allies into line over Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

If the frequency of high-level talks between Israel and the US is anything to go by, we seem to be in for a very tense period in the region. This week it was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, in Israel for talks with the heads of the defence establishment. Next week it is going to be Vice President Joe Biden.


Rabbi Amar must confront Orthodox marriage registrars

By Seth Farber, February 4, 2010

Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s signature on a document limiting the power of rabbinical courts in Israel to annul conversions is a significant step in stemming the momentum of conversion annulments in Israel. But it fails to address the wider issues of non-recognition of conversions, particularly by Israeli marriage registrars — and, in that sense, falls short of expectations.


Barak is Israel’s de-facto foreign minister

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 21, 2010

No new strategic agreements or arms deals were signed during Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to Ankara on Sunday; he did not even get to meet the prime minister.

Still, the half-day trip was described as “very positive”. These days, any diplomatic contact between Israel and Turkey that does not end acrimoniously is seen as a definite success.


Analysis: Trouble and strife is back for Bibi

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 21, 2010

In the remaking of the Bibi brand, a decade-long project that preceded Binyamin Netanyahu’s return to power last year, the Sarah Problem was a major headache.

Long before Israeli voters booted him out of office in 1999, the first lady’s image as a highly-strung, grasping, freebie-loving harridan was well engraved on the national psyche. Newspapers regularly chronicled her tantrums and ego trips, supplemented by rumour and innuendo.