Iraq

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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Ex- ambassador criticises Jews on Iraq inquiry

By Jessica Elgot, November 23, 2009

The former British ambassador to Libya, Sir Oliver Miles, has 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 will be made privy counsellors in order to sit on the inquiry committee.

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Sir Martin Gilbert on Iraq panel

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Two of British Jewry’s most eminent academics, Sir Martin Gilbert and Sir Lawrence Freedman, have been appointed to the government’s committee of inquiry into the Iraq War.

Sir Lawrence, vice-principal and professor of war studies at King’s College, London, and Sir Martin, whose books include histories of the world wars, are being made privy counsellors.

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The man unlocking the real Abu Ghraib story

By Stephen Applebaum, July 18, 2008

Oscar-winning film director Errol Morris explains why he is trying to uncover the real perpetrators of one of the most shameful episodes of the Iraqi war.

Some time ago, the Oscar-winning documentary-maker Errol Morris came across a series of photographs taken by the SS of the selections of Hungarian Jews for the gas chambers at Birkenau in 1944. “They are among some of the most extraordinary pictures in the history of photography, and they deeply fascinate me,” Morris says.

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