December 10, 2014

Who is talking with Hamas?

Israel and Hamas each say they do not speak directly to the other; but according to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, direct talks do occur.

November 30, 2014

Tel Aviv ... or Montréal?

High unemployment and fears of anti-Semitism are motivating French Jews to emigrate. Some move to Israel, and some to Québec.

November 21, 2014

One Canadian-Iranian blogger pardoned in Tehran; another remains in captivity

Hossein Derakhshan, the Iranian-Canadian who pioneered blogging in Iran, and who was sentenced to death for his activities (commuted to 19.5 years and later reduced to 17 years) has been pardoned by Iran's Supreme Leader. Hossein spent six years in Iranian prison.

No pardon has been granted to Saeed Malekpour, software engineer, blogger and a Canadian permanent resident, serving a life sentence for the alleged crime of "desecrating Islam".

September 15, 2014

Debate in the diaspora ... and an Israeli response

In this much-debated opinion piece in the New York Times, Anthony Lerman argues that because embracing the Israel of today as a Jewish state implies policies of exclusion and discrimination, it has become impossible for diaspora Jews to be both liberal and Zionist.

Not so, responds Rabbi Josh Weinberg, a declared liberal Zionist."I am not at a crossroads ... I take pride in the notion that we do not turn our back on Israel, even though we may be at times critical." Adam Shedletzky likewise, in this Globe and Mail article, sees no conflict, and calls on diaspora Jews "to respectfully and strategically speak out."

Daniel Gordis, responding from Israel, finds the debate ill-timed and irrelevant.
"When the IDF killed Hamas men who had come through the tunnels and found them equipped with weapons, handcuffs and injectable sedatives, it was clear that the movement’s intent was to kill as many Israelis as they could, then kidnap others and take them to Gaza. That, more than anything, struck horror so deep into the hearts of Israelis that, for the most part, internal politics have disappeared. ..."
"Let there be no mistake – this is a battle for Israel’s survival. Some people get that, many do not."

September 9, 2014

Two nightmares about a Palestinian state

... that there won't be one and that there will be one. Yossi Klein Halevi summarizes the Israeli-Palestinian dilemna.

How to restart the peace process?

During the Gaza conflict, and before the ceasefire, novelist David Grossman spoke at a peace rally at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. His speech, and a reply by Rabbi Yuval Sherlow are here. "Both," says translator-columnist J.J. Goldberg "well worth reading for their insight into the current mood in Israel."

August 26, 2014

Cease-fire in Gaza

Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to an indefinite cease-fire proposed by Egypt.  Read more.

Update: More here.

August 22, 2014

Egypt - Gaza smuggling continues

On the main street of Al-Sarsouriya, a Bedouin town in Egypt, a third of the houses look derelict, but inside tunnel smugglers still pursue a flourishing trade. Reuters reports.

August 21, 2014

Qatar makes demands

Qatar has sought to block efforts by Egypt to mediate between Israel and Hamas. Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal resides in Qatar. Arabic daily Al-Hayat reports that Qatar is demanding a seat at the negotiating table in Cairo, and threatened to expel Mashaal if Hamas agreed to ceasefire terms put forth by Egypt.

August 20, 2014

Media manipulation in Gaza

The Foreign Press Association has protested against the blatant, incessant and forceful  intimidation of journalists in Gaza.  Hamas uses threats, expulsions and a “vetting” procedure to influence press coverage, and deliberately misrepresents militants as civilians when reporting casualties.

August 18, 2014

Kibbutz attack awakens a new generation

Terrorists attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz in 1956.  They attacked again this July, reviving Israeli memories.

New York and New Zealand

U.S. politicians visit Jerusalem ... and a Maori woman summarizes the case for Israel (video).

Technological advantage

Israel is developing a system to stop tunnels, reports al-Arabia.

In favour of elections

It's fashionable to say that democracy won't work for the Palestinians. Reuel Marc Gerecht disagrees -- let the Palestinian people choose

Still fighting the 1948 war

The most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas is just one more round in the unresolved Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49 -- so writes New York Times columnist Steven Erlanger.