Analysis: Stay calm, and argue

By Uri Dromi, October 22, 2009

Now that the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva has endorsed the Goldstone Report by a 25-6 majority, with five countries opposing and 11 abstaining (the UK, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote), the question is what we do next.


Analysis: This is a lethal blow to Human Rights Watch

By Martin Bright, October 22, 2009

The intervention from Robert L Bernstein in the debate over the credibility of Human Rights Watch is beyond devastating.

Mr Bernstein founded the organisation and was its chair in the two decades from 1978 to 1998, during which time HRW built itself into one of the most respected monitors of state abuse in the world. His op-ed piece in the New York Times accuses the present leadership of losing its way over the issue of Israel.

But far more seriously, it accuses his successors of betraying the founding principles on which Mr Bernstein and others built the organisation.


Analysis: Iran deal is victory for Obama...for now

By Meir Javedanfar, October 21, 2009

After three days of intensive negotiations with the US, France and Russia, Iran has agreed to a draft deal on the status of its nuclear programme. Although the exact details of the deal are not yet clear, it appears that Iran is to export most of its Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) to Russia.

This deal is a victory for Barack Obama, as he has managed to convince Iran to give up what many believe is somewhere between 75 – 80 per cent of its LEU. That means for now, it will be impossible for Iran to make a nuclear bomb, as the LEU it needs will no longer be in the country.


How the Palestinians stoked, then stopped, a new intifada

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 15, 2009

Everything seemed to be in place for a third intifada. A bogged-down peace process, extreme politicians eagerly egging on their cohorts, rumours of Zionist plots to destroy the Temple Mount mosques, huge piles of rocks aimed at the heads of Jews at the Western Wall and all the religious fervour of Ramadan and the High Holy Days.

But in the end, the Jerusalem riots of the past couple of weeks petered out. Despite dire warnings from some former police officers and defence experts, a third uprising against Israel failed to ignite.


How $500 million was lost down Gaza's tunnel network

By Mordechai Kedar, October 15, 2009

Much has been published in Israel and around the world on the motorway of underground tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt. Our natural inclination is to think that the tunnels are run by a few poor, hungry people bringing a little food into Gaza, and a few poor families making a living by smuggling weapons, food and goods into the besieged Strip. This image has helped bring many international donations to Gaza, from governments, organisations and individuals.


Analysis: Israel's main Muslim ally is switching sides

By Sami Kohen, October 15, 2009

Turkey’s decision to bar Israel from a joint air force drill is part of the Turkish government’s new anti-Israel policy.

Turkey, which was the first Muslim country to recognise Israel as a state, has for many years been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. The countries do more than $3 billion in trade a year, co-operate on defence issues, and Turkey is a favoured destination for Israeli tourists.

However, the government has essentially launched an anti-Israel campaign since the Gaza offensive in January.


Analysis: UK sanctions on Iran are welcome

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, October 15, 2009

The new sanctions that Britain slapped on Iran this week are a welcome first step for renewed pressure on the Islamic republic.

The government did not wait for the UN to arouse from its slumber or its EU colleagues to find a suitable time — in between the Lisbon Treaty distraction and the apres-Solana lottery — to agree on which sanctions they would apply if Barack Obama fails to engage Iran (don’t hold your breath!).


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.


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.


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.