Anshel Pfeffer

Yemeni Jews: relocation offer

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 30, 2008

The Jewish community in Rayda have refused an offer by the Yemeni President to relocate to the capital, Sana’a. Three weeks ago, a Jewish teacher was killed there by a former air force officer demanding his conversion to Islam.

About 270 Jews live in the Rayda area and they have been living in fear since the murder of Moshe Yaish Nahari by former pilot Abdul Aziz Yahya Hamoud Al-Abdi, who has already confessed to the murder. In his defence he said that he had given Nahari a choice between converting to Islam, fleeing the country or death.

More..

Fury at ‘Don’t buy on West Bank’ advice

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2008

Israeli officials have said they are “deeply disappointed” at the British Government’s decision to publish an advice note warning Britons against buying property in settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights, describing the move as “politically motivated”.

More..

Israel prepares troops and PR offensive to counter Hamas

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 23, 2008

Israeli representatives around the world are preparing the groundwork for a PR and diplomatic campaign that will accompany an IDF ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

The final decision on whether to launch such an operation has not yet been taken, but the government is preparing itself for all eventualities, including an immediate escalation.

A barrage of Kassam rockets and three IDF retaliatory attacks at the weekend signalled the end of the six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

More..

Hate wave feared in recession-hit Ukraine

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

A major wave of antisemitism is feared in Russia and Ukraine in 2009 as their economies begin to bear the full brunt of the global financial crisis.

The warning comes from senior officials in local Jewish organisations and from the Israeli government.

One veteran emissary from a major Jewish body was especially worried.

More..

Brown criticises Israel’s Palestinian policy

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown criticised Israel’s policy on the territories at a London conference on investment in the Palestinian economy this week.

More..

Netherlands vows to boycott Durban II

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

The Netherlands is the latest country threatening to boycott the United Nations ‘Durban II’ conference against racism.

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said the conference was “a propaganda circus by countries attempting to carry out antisemitic agitation against Israel”.

He warned that his government would not participate if the resolution of the preparatory committee was not changed.

Netherlands is one of several EU members to voice concerns over the conference, due to take place in Geneva in April.

More..

Ukraine: why we should worry

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

There is a little grave in a vast cemetery on the outskirts of Kiev that stands out from its dilapidated and rundown surroundings. It is swept daily and fresh flowers are arranged in a vase. In March, hundreds of Ukrainian nationalists will make their annual pilgrimage there to commemorate the 98th anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky and the last major blood libel case in Europe — the Beilis Trial.

More..

Analysis: Olmert’s air miles have proved costly

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

Ehud Olmert’s wanderlust has been well documented by the Israeli media. In his second term as Jerusalem mayor, which lasted four and a half years, he clocked up no less than 294 days in 55 trips outside Israel. His destinations ranged from Japan to Brazil, but his favourite city was New York, where his good friend, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, awarded him the rare privilege of being allowed to park anywhere in the Big Apple.

More..

Row over ‘pointless’ Olmert UK visit

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s one-day visit to the UK next week has been dismissed by officials in his own government as “pointless” and an “embarrassing waste of national resources”.

Despite the Israeli PM being officially invited to London by Gordon Brown, Israeli officials have told the JC that Mr Olmert was “angling” for an invitation and that there was no urgent matter that warranted a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

More..

Israeli envoy in Guardian row

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

The Guardian has refused to publish a letter from the press counsellor of the Israeli Embassy complaining that the writer of a comment article had not been properly identified as Hamas’ de facto London representative. The newspaper called the Israeli diplomat’s description “highly defamatory”.

On November 21, the Guardian ran a comment piece entitled “End the Siege of Gaza” by the Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi, arguing that Israel, and not Hamas, was to blame for the recent escalation around the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian conditions within.

More..

UK firms plan to up West Bank imports

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

Representatives of British supermarkets and Palestinian export companies are to meet next week in London for talks aimed at enabling large quantities of produce from the West Bank to be sold on UK high streets.

The plan, which is being supported by the Portland Trust, one of the main bodies promoting PA private sector development, and other British Jewish businessmen, aims to create a “food hub” to improve shipping and distribution and help smooth over security problems that disrupt Palestinian exports.

More..

Rwandan orphans get a little piece of Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

A group of orphans from the 1994 Rwandan genocide are to begin new lives at a special youth village run by Israeli-trained staff and financed by Jewish-American donations through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

The Agahozo (“dry their tears”) Shalom village will not open officially until next June, but the first group of 125 children are to move in next week.

More..

Inside the house of horror

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 4, 2008

Not one wall in Nariman House had been left unscathed by the heavy firing. Shell-holes pockmarked every surface.

The top two floors of the Chabad House had been almost demolished by the explosive charges that the Indian commandos set off in the final assault that killed the two terrorists. They had held out for nearly 48 hours.

More..

As dawn breaks, normality returns

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 1, 2008

The streets of the commercial areas in South Mumbai were, on Friday and Saturday, relatively free of traffic as drivers avoided the area around the Taj Mahal Hotel, as the fighting continued.

By Sunday morning, things were back to something close to normal: every empty parking area was occupied by young men playing street cricket.
On Monday, the frenetic Mumbai working week resumed; the traffic is now as intractable as ever.

More..

Analysis: Why talking to the Vatican paid off

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 27, 2008

The last two years have not been good for the traditionally testy relationship between the Vatican and the Jewish people.

The historical dispute over the conduct of the Holy See during the Holocaust flared up last year when the Papal Nuncio to Jerusalem threatened to boycott Yad Vashem over its portrayal of wartime Pope Pius XII. Tensions rose again last month over reports that Pope Benedict XVI was about to beatify his controversial predecessor.

More..

Obama and Israel to boycott ‘Durban II’

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 27, 2008

Advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have assured Jewish leaders that the United States will not take part in the so-called Durban II conference, the JC has learned.

The now-notorious 2001 Durban Conference became a forum for extreme anti-Israel sentiment and antisemitism.

More..

Pope to visit Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 27, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Israel next year at the invitation of President Shimon Peres, in an attempt to end the recent period of tension over the beatification of former Pope Pius XII.

The visit, which is yet to be formally announced, is set to take place in early May 2009.

President Peres officially invited the Pope a few weeks ago, following a meeting with Archbishop Antonio Franco, the papal nuncio in Jerusalem, who indicated that such an invitation would be positively received.

More..



The Dirt to Come in Israel’s Elections

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 26, 2008

Sometimes you can just sense that a political campaign is on a losing streak. I got that feeling on Monday, driving in to Tel-Aviv and seeing the new giant Kadima election posters on the Kibbutz Galuyot Road. There's something about Tzipi Livni's glum and unphotogenic face - and the inarticulate slogan: "What is Good for the Country". It sounds just as bad in Hebrew.

More..

‘Generals row’ hits Peres visit

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 20, 2008

A diplomatic row is simmering behind this week's historic visit of President Shimon Peres.

Mr Peres, who flies back today after four days in Britain, met The Queen, the Prime Minister and made an emotional address to Parliament.

He also faced protests during an address to Oxford students and made an emotional address to MPs.
But his aides accused the British government of failing to deliver on promises to change the law that allows individuals to bring legal actions against IDF officers.

More..

Peres receives honorary knighthood from the Queen

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 20, 2008

Queen Elizabeth awarded an honorary knighthood this morning to President of Israel Shimon Peres. Mr Peres was knighted with the Grand Cross of the order of St Michael and St George.

The Queen and Mr Peres met for about 30 minutes during which Mr Peres spoke to the Queen about Israel's history and current situation. Mr Peres gave the Queen two gifts: a letter written by her father, George VI, upon the official recognition by Britain of the state of Israel, and two silver candlesticks in the shape of pomegranates.

More..