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Europa Europa: Pop-up Politics Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Israel, United Kingdom    

Europeans go to the polls in May to elect 751 members of the European Parliament for the next five years. Expect surprises. Not that the European Parliament carries much clout; clout is reserved for the army of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels and the sprinkling of political appointees.

The surprises will come from the pop-up political parties which are, first and foremost, opposed to the stifling embrace of the EU and which long for a return to the days when the European Project aimed to be simply a tariff-free trading bloc, without the accretions of monetary and political union, along with the slew of regulations and directives that now flow from Brussels.

An antisemitic answer to the question: How long is a piece of string?

An antisemitic answer to the question: How long is a piece of string? Author: Allon Lee Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, United Kingdom, Updates    

A report last week by Barak Ben-Shem in the Times of Israel analysed an outbreak of antisemitic comments that followed an application by Jews to the local council in the small English town of Bushey, seeking permission to establish an "eruv". It recalled a similar occurrence in the Sydney suburb of St. Ives in 2010.

Margaret and Edith and Immanuel

Margaret and Edith and Immanuel Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Israel, United Kingdom    

Transcending sentiment and pragmatic impulses was Thatcher's hard-nosed perception that the qualities of the Jewish community coincided precisely with her own aspirational vision for Britain: self-help and hard work, ambition and endeavour, enterprise, personal responsibility and social justice.

AIR

Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Israel and the Jewish people


Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Israel and the Jewish people Author: Talia Katz Categories: International Jewry, Israel, United Kingdom, Updates    

Thatcher's reputation as the "Iron Lady" reflected her self-proclaimed status as a conviction politician, and this is echoed in the eulogies delivered following her death. Though her legacy has divided opinion, when it came to Israel and the Jewish people, she is remembered for her strong, supportive and effective foreign policy credentials, and her dedication to fighting antisemitism in all its guises.

As a member of Parliament, representing a large Jewish constituency, and as Britain's longest serving PM in over a hundred years, Thatcher was widely recognised as both a true friend and strong ally to the Jewish people and to the State of Israel.

The Truth about Iraq WMD "Lies"

The Truth about Iraq WMD "Lies" Author: Talia Katz Categories: America, Iraq, Media/ Academia, Middle East, United Kingdom, Updates    

The release of The Art of Betrayal, by Gordon Corera, the highly-regarded veteran BBC journalist, should, if our media indeed has the commitment to truth which it constantly proclaims, rightfully see the last decade of often conspiratorial rhetoric about the 2003 war in Iraq fade to reveal a different and more complex and nuanced reality.

AIJAC comments on Carr/Hague AUKMIN 2013 Communique

AIJAC comments on Carr/Hague AUKMIN 2013 Communique Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media Releases, Middle East, Palestinians, United Kingdom, Updates    

On Friday January 18 at the close of the Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations (AUKMIN) conference in Perth, Foreign Minister the Hon Senator Bob Carr and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague released a joint statement on the Middle East peace process, condemning Israel's settlements as "illegal under international law".

AIJAC released the following media statement to the press in response on Friday 18 January.

Bi-partisan support in Australia for Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket attacks

Bi-partisan support in Australia for Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket attacks Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: America, Australasia, Israel, United Kingdom, Updates    

As ‘Operation Pillar of Defence' enters its third day, rockets have gone from shelling southern Israel to threatening Tel Aviv - placing millions of Israelis in range of rocket attack. To date the Iron Dome missile defence system has intercepted 130 rockets, but some 300 rockets and mortars have landed in Israeli territory and three Israelis have been killed - Itzik Amsalem, Aharon Smadja and Mira Scharf who was pregnant.

In Australia, the Government and Coalition have expressed bi-partisan support for Israel's right to defend itself from rocket attacks fired from the Gaza Strip.

The US, Canada and UK have also expressed their support for Israel and condemned Hamas for the latest escalation.

App
For UK journalists, a kinder, gentler Gaza

For UK journalists, a kinder, gentler Gaza Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Palestinians, United Kingdom, Updates    

Five years ago this month, Hamas militants turned their guns on Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) forces in the Gaza Strip. Following eight days of fighting, during which time over 160 people were killed, Hamas completed its purge of the PA from the Gaza Strip. In response, PA President Mahmoud Abbas dissolved a Fatah-Hamas unity government, replaced Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh with technocrat Salam Fayaad, and consolidated his control of the West Bank. Israel and Egypt instituted a blockade of Gaza, while the US and EU lifted diplomatic sanctions on the PA while at the same time imposing harsher ones on Hamas in Gaza.

With help from Iran, Hamas built a stockpile of smuggled imported arms - including longer-range rockets - and increased its rocket production as well as the number of attacks it launched against Israel. This eventually lead to Israel's strong military response in the form of Operation Cast Lead, launched in the final days of 2008.

None of this context, however, has found its way into recent coverage of the anniversary of the Hamas takeover in two UK newspapers, the Guardian and the Independent.

Understanding the attack on the British Embassy in Teheran

Understanding the attack on the British Embassy in Teheran Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Europe, Iran, Lebanon, United Kingdom, Updates    

Following increasing threats of sanctions over the Iranian nuclear program, as was being progressively reported in the Guardian's liveblog, the UK embassy in Iran was stormed last night (Australia time) by a group of supposed "students". The British government has unequivocally held the Iranian regime responsible.

Even though France has been the strongest European champion of the new round of sanctions, as British journalist Christopher de Bellaigue noted in a 2008 article, the British hold a special place in Iranian paranoia...

Sudden jump in odds on Iran attack

Sudden jump in odds on Iran attack Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Kingdom, Updates    

A whole series of events last night made an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities suddenly seem far closer than had previously been the case. After a week of speculation in the Israeli press, Haaretz reported yesterday that the Prime Minister and Defence Minister are trying to gain cabinet support for a strike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a "small advantage" in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack.

Netanyahu and Barak recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.

This report coincided with the test-firing of a new long-range Israeli missile, which could be capable of reaching targets in Iran...

The Biblio File: The Right's Wrongs

The Biblio File: The Right's Wrongs Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Far Right, United Kingdom    

Reading Matthew Collins' Hate: My Life in the British Far Right, I am glad that I live in Australia and didn't have dealings with the UK far right...

Through this autobiographical work, a reader is given an intensive view of the violent personalities who inhabit the British far right, with as much detail and astute observation as could be packed into its 335 pages.

 

Durban III - UK to withdraw Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, United Kingdom, United Nations, Updates    

The Jewish Chronicle reported on September 14, that the UK will not participate in upcoming UN sponsored Durban III anti-racism conference to be held on September 22 because it did not want to engage in an event with antisemitic association. The Durban conferences are known to have been hijacked by antisemitism and anti-zionism. British Prime Minister David Cameron stated that the Durban conferences saw "open displays" of "deplorable anti- Semitism," and said it would be "wrong" to engage in such events.

The UK is now the tenth UN member state to have pulled out of Duban III, and it joins the company of Israel, Germany, the US, Canada, Italy, Austria, Australia, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands who have already withdrawn from the Durban conference.

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Libya joins in "tit-for-tat" on UK riots as Israel offers advice

Libya joins in "tit-for-tat" on UK riots as Israel offers advice Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Israel, Libya, United Kingdom, Updates    

Perhaps taking their cue from Iran yesterday, the Libyan Government has released the following statement regarding the London riots (via Reuters):

"Cameron has lost his legitimacy and must go... after the massive popular protests that reject him and his government, especially after the violent police repression unleashed by his government against peaceful protesters... to force the British people to accept a government it rejects... The international community (should) not stand with arms folded in the face of this gross aggression against the rights of the British people, who are demanding their right to rule their country."

If this statement sounds a little familiar, that may be because...

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London Riots: Iran champions Human Rights while British Antisemitism Rears Ugly Head

London Riots: Iran champions Human Rights while British Antisemitism Rears Ugly Head Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Europe, Iran, United Kingdom    

As violent riots spread throughout Britain, with hordes of young men robbing and looting everything in sight, an unexpected champion has emerged for Britain's aggrieved underclass. A call for Britain to restrain violence against their own people has come from none other than the Iranian Foreign Ministry. As reported by Iran's state-controlled Press TV:

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast urged the British government to order the police to stop their violent confrontation with the people, IRNA reported in the early hours of Tuesday...

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Europa Europa: Friends and Neighbours

Europa Europa: Friends and Neighbours Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, United Kingdom    

When Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited London last month, Cameron recited the familiar mantra of Britain's "unshakeable commitment" to Israel's security. But he went on to seamlessly warn that unless Israel sits down with the Palestinians to negotiate a peace deal, Britain will recognise Palestinian statehood if the UN General Assembly votes on the issue in September.

In Cameron's bizarre view, the "Arab Spring", the killing of bin Laden and the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement had opened up opportunities not only to defeat terrorism but also to expand democracy, spread liberty, and, not least, to make progress at the Israeli-Palestinian negotiating table.

If only. If Cameron's assessment were true, Israelis of all political hues would already be initialling treaties and rolling out red carpets for dignitaries who would be preparing to descend on Jerusalem for a full-blown peace ceremony.

"The Other Miliband" Author: Douglas Davis Categories: United Kingdom    

Britain's Labour Party has suffered two cruel blows over the past six months. First, it lost power after 13 years in office. And then, following a protracted campaign to replace the defeated Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it found itself with Ed Miliband as its leader.

Europa Europa: The Which Blair Project? Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians, United Kingdom    

Tony Blair is a rare exception to the European rule. He has genuine boots-on-the-ground knowledge of Israel and the Palestinian areas - the West Bank in particular - and he has the political courage to reach beyond the clapped-out political cliches. He has sympathy for both sides, but his concern for the Palestinians is not uncritical. Rather, it is realistic and practical.

AIR

Changing Mood Music in Britain Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Israel, United Kingdom    

With the Conservatives dominant in the new ruling configuration, there are signs that the relations with Israel might be rebalanced. For although there are no evident differences in policy between the major parties, there are certainly differences in atmospherics. That is what Israeli diplomats are detecting and that is what they are fervently hoping for.

Europa Europa: London Calling Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Islamic Extremism, United Kingdom    

The gaggle of assembled hacks chortled at what they took to be yet another gaffe by Boris Johnson. The joke was on them. When the two million-plus votes were counted in last month's mayoral election, Boris had delivered a knock-out blow to two-term incumbent, Ken Livingstone.