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Bev Goldman

12 Top reads to kick off 2015





Week Ending 7 January 2015


1. The fundamental breach by the Palestinians of the Oslo Accords

Alan Baker, JCPA, 5 January 2015

The fundamental breach of the Oslo Accords by the Palestinians is indicative of their conscious decision to undermine them and prevent any possibility of their implementation. As such they have rendered the Accords void.

2. Stop giving Palestinians a pass

Dennis Ross, New York Times, 4 January 2015

Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate. Compromise is portrayed as betrayal, and negotiations — which are by definition about mutual concessions — will inevitably force any Palestinian leader to challenge his people by making a politically costly decision.  But going to the UN does no such thing. It puts pressure on Israel and requires nothing of the Palestinians. Resolutions are typically about what Israel must do and what Palestinians should get. If saying yes is costly and doing nothing isn’t, why should we expect the Palestinians to change course?

3. Will Israel alienate the diaspora with ‘Jewish State’ push?

Theodore Sasson, Jewish Daily Forward, 4 January 2015

The upcoming elections are now rapidly shaping up as a contest over Israel’s fundamental character. Will the next Knesset adopt legislation defining Israel as first-and-foremost the “nation state of the Jewish people,” with the implication of second-class citizenship for the Arab minority, as the prime minister wishes?  Or will it preserve the more ambiguous “Jewish and democratic” formulation of the existing Basic Laws, with an explicit guarantee of full equality for all citizens, as championed now by the centre-left ticket of Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni?

4. Could Obama swing the Israeli election?

Steven J Rosen, Middle East Forum, 3 January 2015

This new perception, that Netanyahu can be toppled, has emerged suddenly as the subject of audible whispers in Europe as well as Washington. Since the Knesset was dissolved on December 8, and especially since Labour leader Isaac Herzog merged his centre-left party with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua, the polls have shifted significantly. In thirteen of the nineteen Israeli polls taken since December 8, Herzog’s Labour surpasses Netanyahu’s Likud in projected Knesset seats, and in another four polls Labour and Likud are tied.

5. A time for traitors

Roger Cohen, New York Times, 2 January 2015

Amos Oz, the conscience of a certain liberal and secular Israel still committed to a two-state outcome, called Benjamin Netanyahu “a coward, a man who prefers inaction to action.”  “He has been in power for some nine years,” Oz said. “In those nine years he has not made one, even one, really controversial decision either way.”

6. Iran 2015: Strategic, geopolitical and economic priorities         

Majid Rafizadeh, Al Arabiya, 2 January 2015

2015 will bring about crucial and positive developments as well as challenges for the Iranian government. One of the tenets of the Iranian political system is unpredictability, nevertheless, projections can still be made.  Iran’s economy will likely deteriorate and face an austere budget in 2015 in comparison to 2104, when Rowhani’s administration managed to move Tehran out of a recession. According to the IMF, Tehran will need oil prices to be near $131 a barrel to cover its spending. Yet, Iran is will likely manage this economic challenge by applying some strategies such as cutting subsidies, increasing taxes and depreciating the foreign exchange rate.

7. The age of Bibi

David Brooks, New York Times, 1 January 2015

I asked a couple of smart Israelis what their coming elections are about. They said that the elections are about one thing: What do you think of Netanyahu? Such is the outsized role he plays in the consciousness of this nation.  No one has a simple view of him. To some, he is a monster who has expanded the settlements on the West Bank, which are a moral stain and do calamitous damage to Israel’s efforts to win support around the world. To some, he is the necessary man in hard times, the vigilant guardian as the rest of the Middle East goes berserk.

8. The International Criminal Court: what you need to know

Shreeya Sinha, New York Times, 1 January 2015

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an institution formally established in 2002 to prosecute suspected perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes including aggression. Countries around the world — 122 at last count – have acceded to its charter, the Rome Statute, and accepted its jurisdiction.

9. Joining the International Criminal Court wouldn’t guarantee the Palestinians a war crimes case

Jodi Rudoren, New York Times, 1 January 2015

The cases Palestinians plan to bring against Israel, and potential counterclaims against Palestinian officials, are unlike any the International Criminal Court has tackled in its dozen-year history. The Hague court, facing new scrutiny after the collapse last month of its case against the president of Kenya, may be wary of wading into the fraught politics of the Middle East, though doing so could help it rebuff longstanding criticism of its emphasis on pursuing African despots.

10. Israel protects followers of the cross while neighbouring nations eradicate them

Alberto Gonzales, Washington Times, 1 January 2015

Israel provides Christians with security, freedom of worship, excellent education, employment, health care and other rights and opportunities beyond what is available in many parts of the Muslim world. Father Naddaf and other Christian priests of various denominations, both within and beyond Israel and the Middle East, are clear: One of the safest places for Christians in the Middle East today is Israel.

11. Anti-Semitism 2015: A Global Challenge

Catherine Chatterley, Huffington Post, 31 December 2014

Anti-Semitism presents a serious challenge for the global community today. The last decade has seen a shocking growth in anti-Semitic rhetoric and agitation, and routine acts of violence against Jews have returned to European cities 70 years after the Holocaust.  Today there is an enormous amount of explicit anti-Semitic material that is, quite frankly, poisoning the relationship between humanity and the Jewish people, making an intractable conflict even more difficult to resolve. This new reality is enormously threatening to a tiny people whose parents and grandparents survived being slated for extermination in Europe 70 years ago.

12. Fall semester ends with big BDS push

Alex Joffe, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, 29 December 2014

The end of the fall semester saw continued BDS successes in academic organizations but failures in other areas. In political terms, recognition of Palestine continued among European countries. Coupled with American comments about possible sanctions over Israeli construction activities, the symbolic European recognition votes implies sanctions should a negotiated settlement not be reached.


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