Benjamin Netanyahu is returning as Israel’s prime minister at a time of worldwide geopolitical crisis. Prices are still rising. Currencies are depreciating. The permanent revolution of Iran’s Islamic Republic is facing the most serious threat to its existence since its foundation. Afghanistan is collapsing under the weight of Taliban cruelty and incompetence, amid a growing and savage Islamic State insurgency. Refugee crises mass at the borders of the world’s rich countries.Continue reading
It is an immense irony, as the great orientalist Bernard Lewis was fond of remarking, that Israel – the most vibrant and enthusiastic democracy in the Middle East – has to put up with the world’s worst electoral system. Its governments frequently collapse. Perhaps they do it philanthropically, to allow citizens once again the pleasure of going to the polls.
Israel’s longest serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is back. His return confirms once again an iron clad rule of Israeli politics: never write Bibi off. A few years ago, his opponents briefly thought they had vanquished him for good.Continue reading
On 13 June, before the new coalition government won a vote of confidence in Israel, the outgoing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made an incendiary speech in the Knesset.
‘Iran is celebrating’ the new coalition, he said. He claimed the government, led by religious-nationalist Naftali Bennett, would be dominated by the left-wing and therefore weak.Continue reading
For all the pro-forma talk of a two-state solution among diplomats and politicians across the world, it is commonly believed that the Palestinian national cause has lost its impetus. Palestine lies in two divergent parts, separately ruled by parties which hate each other. Because no Palestinian state worth the name could spring quickly into existence, the diplomats and politicians believe, they need give it no heed save the platitudes.Continue reading
The Kingdom of Jordan has had an uncharacteristically eventful weekend. It is a stable country by reputation: a reliable ally and friend. But for a few hours at least, it seemed as though King Abdullah II was about to be deposed. The state’s Jordan News Agency was at sixes and sevens, tweeting and then deleting a number of contrasting updates to the situation. As is often the case when something happens in a country few in the Anglosphere take little notice of, panic quickly reigned and then subsided just as quickly.Continue reading
A few people believe that they are able, by force of personality or cultivated skill, to dominate culture and politics in both Israel and America. They are, almost all of them, wrong.Continue reading
Donald Trump tweeted something strange last week. In itself, that’s nothing unusual. The President certainly has form when it comes to outlandish and whacky pronouncements.
But amid his calling the Mueller investigation ‘a rigged witch hunt’ and attacking his former lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump said something else. He revealed he had instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ‘to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers’. Continue reading
World leaders can claim to have been taken by surprise by the protests which have erupted in Iran over the past few days.
After all, many European politicians and American analysts confidently declared, as recently as October, that American sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its foreign operations apparatus had united the Iranian people behind the nation’s theocratic government and its security state. Continue reading