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Europe

  • The world is letting Israel get away with it again

    The assault on Gaza has hurt this country’s image, and it doesn’t care. There’s no doubt that this past month of heavily televised overkill in Gaza – well, heavily televised everywhere but here – has hurt Israel’s standing in the world. The IDF has killed too many civilians, wiped out too many families, bombed too many UN shelters. Even Washington has used words like “indefensible” and “disgraceful” to describe some of Israel’s acts. And while the world’s powers-that-be don’t like Hamas, they do like the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and they know very well that the Netanyahu government…

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  • Israel overstates Gaza exports to Europe, won't budge on West Bank ban

    The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which regulates the movement of goods into and out of the Gaza Strip, flaunts having allowed limited export of goods from Gaza to Europe. While there is certainly value in the move, Gaza's economy would be far better served were the ban on similar exports to the West Bank lifted.  By Gisha So what exactly are “dolavim?” A type of crate. (In its translation from Hebrew to English, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, inexplicably referred to the containers or crates as “plane trees.” Huh?) Has Gaza started exporting crates?…

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  • Izzie in HolyLand - Part 23: Europe can go shtup themselves

    Izzie in HolyLand is back after the Europeans decide to go all the way with their response to building in E1 and... reprimand! Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Izzie: Yes Ruthie? Ruthie: Ms. Holyland, Prime Minister David Cameron for you on line 1. Izzie: OK. Cameron: Ms. Holyland? Izzie: Yes, David, how are you? Cameron: I’m good, I’m good. Thank you. Izzie: Mazel Tov on the baby. Cameron: Excuse me? Izzie: The baby, the baby! You know, Katie and Will’s? Cameron: Ah, of course. Yes, yes. Thank you so much Ms. Holyland. If I may, I’m calling you on another topic. Izzie: Sure, go…

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  • European fickleness ahead of UN vote as immature as Israeli response

    As I was witnessing how Israel lost European support last week ahead of the Palestinian statehood bid at the UNGA, I felt like it reminded me of something. But I couldn’t remember what. The day after the vote, it dawned on me. As I was watching my daughter play with her kindergarten friends during a Hanukkah party, I saw exactly what the Europeans looked like. I witnessed my kid and her friends quickly decide on something, and then change their mind instantly to something opposite - you know, the usual kindergarten peer pressure. It reminded me exactly the European show…

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  • WATCH: World boxing champion makes bid for Ukrainian parliament

    World Boxing Champion Vitali Klitshchko is running for parliament in Ukraine's elections on Sunday.     KYIV, UKRAINE - A popular personality in a country where sports figures do quite well, Klitshchko is promising to rock the political status quo. Some have said the boxer is being used by political elites to further their own causes, but his first coach said politics was a natural transition for the man. At a rally on Thursday night, one day before the last day of official campaigning, Klitshchko promised closer cooperation with Europe.  Ukraine has been badly hit by the economic woes of the…

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  • Heads of Europe's biggest economies meet in Rome

    Rome, Italy -- Leaders from Germany, France, Spain and Italy meet in rare 4-way meeting to try to reach consensus on Euro crisis plan ahead of critical summit in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, easily the biggest fan of the Euro currency among those who attended the so-called “Mini-EU Summit” alongside her on Friday - the heads of government from France, Spain and Italy – arrived at Rome’s Villa Madama Palace a little more reassured than she could have expected just one week ago. In recent days, voters in economically-troubled Greece chose a centrist, pro-bailout government just one month after…

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  • Time to re-boot the peace industry - here's how

    By Arik Segal What is known in Israel as the Israeli "Peace Industry" – a broad reference to civil society organizations and individuals working to advance peace – is facing some tough challenges in 2012 and 2013. The possibility of a preemptive Israeli attack on Iran, political and economic developments in Europe that will make it less supportive of peace-building initiatives, and the next general elections in Israel which seem likely to affirm Likud's leadership, will make peace seem so remote that the work of peace organizations could lose relevance. Despite working on the level of civil society, peace-promoting NGOs…

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  • Learning lessons from Portugal's elections

    What do politics in Lisbon teach us about fixing the problems in the Middle East? The Middle East has always fascinated me. And like many others, it has always frustrated me. My first university degree was in political science, of which the foundation is the belief that there is a science – yes, science – to politics. In theory, formulas can be applied to similar situations. Yes often, those involved in the “world’s longest conflict” think it is beyond parallels. So where they exist, I try to find them. And I landed in Lisbon, which reminds me nothing of Tel…

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  • Where LGBT rights and nationalism meet

    "I was struck by the similarity between the role gay rights play in Israeli national politics and the role it plays in some European countries, specifically Netherlands, where the conference was held. In both contexts the self-perception of the state as being committed to sexual equality is used to justify exclusionary politics that are especially targeted at Arabs and Muslims." Notes following the Amsterdam Sexual Nationalism conference By Aeyal Gross When I saw the call for papers for the Amsterdam Sexual Nationalism conference, which suggested a focus on Europe, I decided to try my luck and send in a paper proposal. I…

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  • Notes of a BDS sceptic

    BDS is a legitimate and peaceful course of action, and it certainly does not harm efforts to end the occupation. But does it help? If there is any consensus regarding the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign to end the occupation of Palestine, it is that BDS is important. It is not surprising to hear this from supporters of the campaign, but if anything, its opponents are even more fervent in this belief. In order to stop BDS, they are willing to further erode the limited protections for freedom of speech, and contribute to the very isolation of Israel they…

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  • Are Israelis Middle Eastern?

    How foreign to the Martian soil is the NASA vessel that just landed there? About as foreign as Israel considers itself to be from the Middle East at large. At least this is the sense one gets recently from observing our inner discourse over the events in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere. Most of the talk in Israel today is fearful talk. We discuss how the lion in whose den we're trapped is bound to turn on us as soon as it completes its conversion to fundamentalist Islam. Seldom do we take the advice of the Talmudic sages and evaluate where…

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