Friday, 19 February 2010

Tennis in Dubai

Israeli female Tennis number 1, Shahar Peer was barred from playing in the Dubai Open a year ago - I blogged about it here.

Following the justified fuss about the matter, the Dubai authorities had no option but to issue her a visa and allow her into the country to take part this year.

Now, if you've been paying attention to the news over the last few days, you might be aware of the fuss that (allegedly) Israeli Mossad operatives have caused in Dubai, with the assassination of a top Hamas-nik.

Irrespective of all the speculation, Israel's official position - such as it is - can be summed up by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's statement of "official ambiguity" in relation to the Mossad's involvement - or not - in the matter.

Fair enough - but this position seems to be wilfully undermined somewhat by a tweet on Twitter by the Israeli Embassy in the United Kingdom: "You heard it here first: Israeli tennis player carries out hit on Dubai target".

According to the Guardian story, the tweet apparently refers to Ms Peer beating the No. 1 seed in this year's Dubai Open and proceeding to the quarter finals of the tournament, as the attached link reports.

Apparently. And they wonder why Hasbara doesn't work.

Side issue: I'm I the only person to notice the startling physical resemblance between Meir Dagan, head of Israel's Mossad, and George Costanza, the hapless fictional star of American TV programme Seinfeld? Readers, we deserve to be told the truth...

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

One State, One People...

Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) made a name for herself on Saturday evening political programme "The Council of Wisemen" - Moetzet HaHakhamim - before becoming the youngest member of the current Knesset. The program - as do most political programmes in Israel - involves a lot of shouting, which no doubt prepared her well for her present position, as the youngest member of the current Parliament - she's just 31.

But I digress.

Speaking at the Jerusalem Conference on Tuesday, she came up with a - for a right-leaning MK - startling suggestion regarding the issue of Israel's inchoate borders:

"We should consider giving them (the Arab citizens of the West Bank) citizenship..."

Actually, I've changed my mind: It isn't a startling opinion for a right leaning MK, it is a startling opinion for any MK, except perhaps the members of Hadash. But before one gets too excited, she tempers her comments somewhat.

"...on condition that we legislate a Basic law that Israel remains a Jewish State. They will then at best have a 30% minority. We must then embark on a national mission to bring another million Jews to Israel from the West."

The full article is in the Jpost, here.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Maybe I'll loiter about for a bit after all...

...but less of my whiny parsing and editorialising. Israel is far too an interesting a place not to write and blog about, after all. That said, I am acutely aware of my lack of knowledge and awareness about all sorts of things in this odd little corner of the world: Far better that I watch and learn, rather than bury myself in the cesspit of "opinion".

(And thank for the kind comments after the last post.)

So, I think that for the present, I'll use the blog as a receptacle for the interesting, the absurd and the out and out ridiculous stuff that I come across on the web and elsewhere. But I'll let you, dear reader, decide which is which.

I'll start off with a piece by Times feature writer Hugo Rifkind (son of MP and Tory grandee Sir Malcolm, not that this should matter very much) about his first visit to Ramallah, courtesy of Israeli advocacy group BICOM.

"I gather that Ramallah isn't exactly typical of the West Bank, but even so it's a total voyeuristic disappointment. I don't know if I have the heart to tell him (a Jewish relative who lives down the road in Jerusalem)."

The full piece is here.

Have a good weekend.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Hello, goodbye

It's stopped being fun, and started to feel quite narcissistic. Writing a blog is an excellent way of keeping track of my thoughts: The problem is that it doesn't actually do very much by way of figuring out what other people are thinking, or whether my tuppence worth has any chance whatsoever of influencing the wider discourse.

Actually, I'm jaded with so called "social media" in general: there is a lot of excellent potential waiting to be tapped, but generally - and there are a number of notable exceptions, I must say - it's all about "Me, Me, Me..."

I'll keep the page open for a while. I may find a couple of amusing things to post. Or I may even change my mind, who knows?

But thanks for reading. It was fun writing this blog, and it is always a privilege to be told that occasionally I do make sense.

Take care.