A British Message to Israel – NYTimes.com

This is an important editorial from the NYT. It’s a recommended read. Check it out!

via A British Message to Israel – NYTimes.com.

Here is the NYT’s conclusion:

Negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are the only way to form a durable agreement and settle the complicated issues — including defining borders, ensuring Israel’s security and the future of Jerusalem — that stand between them. It takes two to make peace. Monday’s vote suggests that Israel is increasingly seen as needing to do more to end the stalemate.

Whilst, the words of the NYT conclusion make sense at a simple level of aspiration, they fail to address the political, social and increasingly economic realities.

Personally, I believe that Jewish people around the World will be deeply worried by Monday’s vote in the House of Commons. In their eyes, this will be seen as further World bias towards Israel. Whilst, this was a free vote and will not officially change UK government policy, a lot of damage has been done.

Whilst I concede that the continued Israeli development on contested land is inflammatory, I believe that the World’s reaction is out of proportion to the size of the problem. It is important to remember that Israel is a democracy, with lots of minority political groups; it is these minorities that are pushing for increased development of occupied land.

I am no expert on the subject but look at the chronology of history.

Since Israel’s independence in 1948, she has continued to be attacked by hostile countries and increasingly by terrorist groups, as a proxy for the likes of Iran.

Many times, Israel has made concessions and agreed to proposals for peace and towards the two state solution. Each time Israel makes concessions, her enemies regard it as weakness and a new downward spiral starts. Remember that Arabs in Israel have the same freedoms as Jews and Christians – this is not the case anywhere else in the Middle East. Indeed Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East.

Each time Israel concedes,  her enemies start rebuilding military capability and eventually attacking Israel and her citizens again. Israel defends herself, and neutralizes her enemies – this is her right. Her enemies deliberately sacrifice women and children to gain propaganda advantage in the biased World press. A new peace is eventually brokered and billions of Dollars are poured into Palestine from the Gulf, the EU and the US. The billions of donor Dollars are quickly diverted with corruption and rearming against Israel. And so the cycle continues. Surely, the donor countries realize that their billions in Gaza are going to Hamas, a terrorist organization?

But the context for both Israel and Jewish people around the World is changing. There is increasing anti-Semitism, promoted by  both the hard-left and right-right of the political spectrum, plus the rise of political Islam. Perhaps, the largest change has been that President Obama has questioned the US’s support for Israel and tried to appease political Islam. President Obama’s appeasement towards Iran, for example, has won few gains for the US. Meanwhile, Iran is trying to secure relief of sanctions. But Iran will not stop her development of weapons of mass destruction. Similarly, Iran will not stop funding and training terrorists to attack Israel. Personally, I fear that increased pressure on Israel will increase the risk of Israel taking unilateral action against Iran’s nuclear arsenal.

Has President Obama and the rest of the World forgotten the September 11 attacks?


World university rankings show ‘power shift’ from US and UK towards Far East – Telegraph

English: Harvard Yard winter 2009.

English: Harvard Yard winter 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article from the Telegraph picks up an important trend. It’s worth a read. Check it out!

via World university rankings show ‘power shift’ from US and UK towards Far East – Telegraph.

As I reflected on this article, I think that the article perhaps misses a much wider point.

This article dwells on the World’s top 200 universities but much more important are the trends for second, third and fourth tier universities.

Unless a student is particularly gifted, the World’s top two hundred universities tend to be for the children of the rich and privileged. I accept that there are scholarships but competition is intense.

For most young people, there is a wider concern in the erosion of value in education. Too many young people are struggling with massive educational debts, yet meaningful careers are hard to find. Part of the challenge is that education is not well matched to the demand for skills.