Iraq

Jewish Iraq casualty remembered with Kombatika kippah

By Jennifer Lipman, November 12, 2010

The sister of a Jewish soldier from Florida killed in action three years ago has launched a project to provide special kippot to all Jewish American servicemen.

Danny Agami, who was nicknamed “GI Jew”, died after being struck by a roadside bomb during a tour of duty in Iraq in 2007.

The 25-year-old, from Florida, had named his US-Army issued yarmulke the “Kombatika”.

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Why Republicans are at the top of Kushner's hit list

By John Nathan, September 7, 2010

To get an instant impression of the subject of this article you could do worse than tap the words "Tony" and "Kushner" into YouTube. There is an eight minute, 57-second video which shows the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright saying thank you for his latest honorary degree.

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Comment: Peace talks? Don't get your hopes up

By Gerald M Steinberg, August 26, 2010

Six decades of failed peace efforts have left most Israelis (and Palestinians) deeply skeptical about the prospects for success.

The pattern is familiar - a new American president, faced with major difficulties at home and abroad, hopes that a Middle East peace breakthrough will help solve many of these problems. He squeezes the leaders of both sides, and as neither wants the label of "spoiler", they go along with the charade.

But the efforts fail, as core differences over history, religion (particularly in Jerusalem), borders and sovereignty remain insurmountable.

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Peer bids to block Israelis from EU

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

Crossbench peer Lord Hylton has called on the European Union to bar Israelis from entering Europe without a visa.

He tabled a motion asking for a House of Lords debate shortly before the summer recess, advocating a ban on Israeli goods being sold duty-free.

The motion calls for the Lords "to resolve that the EU should use its powers to prevent access to the EU without a visa by Israeli citizens and to remove duty-free access for Israeli goods if Israeli breaches of international law continue".

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Iraq urges return of Jewish documents

By Jessica Elgot, April 30, 2010

Iraq has demanded the return of thousands of Jewish documents, sifrei Torah and Haggadot belonging to the Jewish community in Iraq, which were “rescued” to be restored in the US during the invasion in May 2003.

An Iraqi delegation, led by the country’s deputy minister for culture has now met senior State Department officials in the US to arrange for the documents’ return to Iraq.

But there is also a feeling that the materials should actually be returned to their Jewish owners, most of whom now live in Israel.

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Iraq cleric slams plan to turn Jewish tomb into mosque

By Jessica Elgot, April 12, 2010

One of Iraq’s leading clerics, Ayatollah Shaykh Ayad al-Rikabi, has denounced the proposed conversion of the ancient tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel into an Islamic site.

Iraq’s Department of Antiquities and the Iraqi Shi’i “waqf”, which controls religious heritage sites in the country, has stated that the historic tomb does not belong to Iraq’s dwindling Jewish community.

It asserted that since Ezekiel is described in the Koran as a Muslim, the tomb should be declared an Islamic site. Plans are now under way to turn the site into a mosque.

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Israeli's chance for Iraq election vote scuppered

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

An Iraqi-born Jewish pensioner was left disappointed after he was unable to vote as an expatriate in the country's general election last weekend.

David Sasson wanted to cast his vote in Wembley, north west London, but his hopes were dashed despite twice queuing for more than five hours.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi expats took part in the election, voting over three days at polling stations in 60 cities worldwide.

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The chill in the Chilcot inquiry

By Melanie Phillips, February 4, 2010

In all the stürm und drang over the Chilcot inquiry into the war in Iraq, one feature has so far escaped attention. That is the emphasis placed on Israel’s role in the crisis, not least by the inquiry panel member Sir Roderic Lyne.

To those of us of a nervous disposition, the way Lyne, formerly Our Man in Moscow, has been dragging Israel into the story of what happened in 2003 is more than a little grating.

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Tony Blair: Middle East was my priority

By Jessica Elgot, January 29, 2010

Tony Blair has told the Iraq war inquiry that the Middle East process had been his priority for dealing with Islamic extremism, and that he was “frustrated” that the US had not done more.

Mr Blair said he kept pushing the Israel-Palestine issue: “You could describe me as a broken record through this period.”

But he stressed that he did not trade peace in the Middle East for the war in Iraq. He said: “It would not have been right to make [the Middle East] a pre-condition.

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Ex-envoy was 'antisemitic' on Iraq

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2009

Comments made by the former British ambassador to Libya, Sir Oliver Miles, have been called “unacceptable” and “antisemitic” after he criticised the appointment of two leading Jews to the Iraq inquiry.

Sir Oliver drew attention to the appointment of Holocaust historian and Winston Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, and the war historian and “Blair doctrine” architect Sir Lawrence Freedman, who advocated humanitarian intervention in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

The two men have been made privy counsellors in order to sit on the inquiry committee, which opened this week.

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