Geoffrey Paul

Crise de conscience

By Geoffrey Paul, February 24, 2009

Like me, you are probably finding it hard to make the cash go around nowadays. It's not just that the essentials of living - like food and transport and household utilities - cost ever more. It's also the fact that, if you have any savings, they seem to speedily be heading for that never-never land which the economists drably identify as negative equity.


So, now what in Gaza?

By Geoffrey Paul, February 20, 2009

I wondered how long it would take for the un-sayable to be said but now it has been set out in black and white and by no less an Israeli insider than a reserve major-general and former head of the Israeli National Security Council. The Council is the central body responsible for co-ordination, integration, analysis and monitoring in the field of national security. It reports directly to the Prime Minister. You cannot be more inside than General Eiland. In a paper for the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Affairs he writes:


Just when you thought it was safe

By Geoffrey Paul, February 12, 2009

Not the best of times in interfaith relations. Muslims in Britain, I am told by one of them, are filled with anger over what transpired in Gaza and, he predicted, pictures from that conflict will be used by extremists to recruit amongst Muslim youth in Britain. Then there was the Pope, compounding a couple of misplaced steps in interfaith relations, by opening the way back into the Church for a rebel bishop who doesn't believe the Holocaust really happened.


Praying for Bibi

By Geoffrey Paul, February 11, 2009

There is someone who must be praying – literally – for Bibi Netanyahu to become Prime Minister of Israel. A theme of Netanyahu's election campaign was that “We have demonstrated in the past, and will continue to demonstrate, our commitment to a complete, undivided Jerusalem.” Which is just what veteran Christian evangelist Pat Robertson wanted to hear.


Obama's Israel peace plan?

By Geoffrey Paul, February 9, 2009

Do we now have the detailed outline of President Obama's plan for an Israel-Arab peace?


Maybe I missed it

By Geoffrey Paul, February 6, 2009

Proud front page claim of the New York Times since 1897 is that it gives its readers “All the News That's Fit to Print.” In recent years, its critics have amended that to proclaim “All the News that Fits We Print.” Many British media outlets might be said to have further adapted this slogan to boast: “All the News that Fits Our Opinions We Print.” You'll remember that UNRWA school in Gaza the Israelis were said to have deliberately shelled causing upwards of 40 deaths? The one that Al Jazeera and its copycat newspapers suggested should be the subject of a war crimes inquiry?


Schnip and schnor

By Geoffrey Paul, February 5, 2009



Full Marx

By Geoffrey Paul, February 1, 2009

You have to hand it to the hard Left for recognising global problems when they see them. Over the next month or so, the Socialist Party of Great Britain is offering a lecture series which will deal with “Capitalism USA,” “From Capitalism to Socialism” and “Global Capitalism.” But the first in the series deals of course with that most challenging of them all, “Israeli Capitalism.” Obsessives will be glad to know that admission is free and that the Guardian-and-sandals brigade is still on the ball.


Obama's shrewd move

By Geoffrey Paul, January 27, 2009

It was a shrewd move on the part of President Obama to give his first TV interview to Dubai's AlArabiya station which claims an audience of 23 million in the Gulf States. It demonstrated his concern to turn a new leaf in America's relations with the Arab world. I hope the viewers were impressed with his mention of his own Muslim family connections and his frequent statement of the fact that the US seeks a relationship with the Arab world based on “mutual respect and mutual interest.” I hope they also heard what he said about Israel: “Israel is a strong ally of the United States.


Nice one George

By Geoffrey Paul, January 25, 2009

George Mitchell, the latest peacemaker appointed by the US to work on an Israel-Arab settlement, will need the sense of humour he displayed when he was introduced last week by Secretary of State Clinton. Just recently, he said, he spoke in Jerusalem about his peace-keeping mission in Northern Ireland and mentioned the 800 years of bitterness and hatred which separated the communities there. "Afterward, an elderly gentleman came up to me and he said, 'Did you say 800 years?' And I said, 'Yes, 800.' He repeated the number again – I repeated it again. He said, 'Uh, such a recent argument.


A little something for Shabbat

By Geoffrey Paul, January 21, 2009

A plant, a bouquet, a bottle of wine or, maybe, for a change a basket of nuts and preserved fruits – what are you going to take this time to your friends/neighbours/family when you go for kiddush/lunch/dinner on Shabbat? How about taking them nothing at all, except yourselves, and this time donating the cost of the gift to one of those charities (which means all of them) now suffering badly from the recession in which we are immersed?


Pointless in Gaza

By Geoffrey Paul, January 20, 2009

George Friedman is a political scientist, prolific author and head of a private US intelligence agency named Stratfor. He is usually worth reading, even when events do not bear out his predictions. This is an extract from his review of the problems immediately facing President Obama:


Brace yourself

By Geoffrey Paul, January 18, 2009

The barriers are about to come down allowing Western journalists the unfettered access they have been demanding to the Gaza Strip. All the pent-up frustration of reporters and photographers who had to watch the conflict from the Israeli side of the border is about to be given free rein - the consequence is likely to be a two or three-day orgy of horror stories beyond anything you have read until now. It will be just as well to prepare yourself for it.


Is this it?

By Geoffrey Paul, January 17, 2009

I am really getting long in every tooth. I feel I have been here so often before - for more than 60 years I have been charting Israel's search for a settlement with her neighbours, sometimes with a glimpse of possibility, most times with a sense of whistling in the dark (a dark so often illuminated with flares and shells and bombs), Tonight, moetze shabbat January 17, is this it? Will Israel's unilateral declaration of a ceasefire in Gaza open the way to the kind of Middle East peace settlement which most of the civilised world is looking for?


Heed the Bicom warning

By Geoffrey Paul, January 15, 2009

It is scarcely believable that Bicom, one of the community's premier agencies in making the case for Israel, was subjected to ten minutes of mayhem by a gang of pro-Palestinian supporters. who virtually wrecked its office. Doesn't Bicom have any kind of security which would enable them to isolate someone claiming to have a parcel for delivery?


Obama's top IT man

By Geoffrey Paul, January 13, 2009

One of the most powerful positions in US governance is the head of the Federal Communications Commission which, in brief, is in overall control of how America communicates to itself, by radio, TV and broadband internet, as well as its outreach to the world by those means and, of course, satellite. The FCC is necessarily a major component in the planning of Homeland Security and, essentially, can say “yea” or “nay” to any plans within the area of communications. So who heads it, matters.


Obama's choice

By Geoffrey Paul, January 13, 2009

The top USA Jewish leadership is keeping well out of the almost subterranean controversy over President-elect Obama's choice of the Rev Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration on January 20. You knew it, of course, that the invocation is a prayer essentially calling down God's blessing on the incoming President, a major part of the inaugural ceremony and something I have always found curious in a nation which separates between Church and State. The Rev Rick is an amazing man. The US media identify him as head of an “evangelistic megachurch” in California.


What Obama actually said

By Geoffrey Paul, January 11, 2009

Over the next few days, we are going to read many interpretations of what President-elect Obama said on Sunday, January 11, about the Middle East. For those who would like to read his own words for themselves, this is what he said in his ABC television interview with George Stephanopulous:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me move on to national security and foreign policy. We're now in the second week of the conflict in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinians. I know you've been reluctant to speak out too much on this. Let me show everyone what you said when you were in Israel last July.


A rocket recalled

By Geoffrey Paul, January 10, 2009

My blog recalling the German rocket attacks on London toward the end of the Second World War reminded one correspondent that the very last V2 rocket on London struck Hughes Mansions in Bethnal Green on March 27, 1945, killing 134 people, 120 of them Jewish. Fifty years later, when Jews gathered to recall that dreadful episode, they were assaulted with whatever weapons were to hand by what the media described as “Asian youths.” It is interesting now to read what Jonathan Freedland , one of the best journalists of which our community can boast, had to say in The Guardian at that time.


Tunnel taxes

By Geoffrey Paul, January 8, 2009

A lot of people are going to lose out financially if the Gaza tunnel business is closed down. Unlike the BBC, I have a friend on the other side of the Israel/Gaza border and he tells me that the whole economy of the region will suffer if Hamas can no longer collect $2,500 for building a tunnel, plus the “tax” extracted for the goods which pass through those tunnels on the way from Egypt to Gaza.