Monday, March 04, 2013

  • Monday, March 04, 2013
From Ian:

Ashton's £240m EU ministry is attacked as wasteful and clueless in damning report
-European External Action Service is accused of squandering money
-Conclusions are a humiliation for Baroness Ashton, appointed in 2009
The report, drafted by a group of experts after five months' research, warns that morale in the service is falling because of lack of trust, internal quarrels, clashes with other European institutions and an opaque chain of command.
The conclusions are a humiliation for Baroness Ashton, who was appointed to head up the new service in 2009.
The Labour peer is regarded as a political lightweight by opponents in Brussels and has been pilloried for her inability to speak a foreign language.
One of the report's authors, Geert De Maere, a Belgian law professor, said: 'We specifically decided not to say too many things about Baroness Ashton so as not to allow the report to be interpreted as a character assassination, which is why we focused on her office instead.'

Missing Peace: Relationship between EU and Israel increasingly complicated
Relations between Israel and the European Union hit a new low last week when the EU funded NGO Breaking the Silence leaked an internal EU report which blasted Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
Another official said the report, and other annual reports put out by the EU heads of missions in east Jerusalem and Ramallah, is a result of their living in an “echo chamber.”
He said the EU representatives there are forbidden to be in contact with Israeli government officials, and are only exposed to the Palestinians and the NGO community – organizations such as Breaking the Silence.
“As a result, it is not a surprise they come out with one-sided partisan reports,” he said. “This is a structural problem. One part of the EU’s foreign policy bureaucracy is institutionally anti-Israel, where their whole milieu is Palestinian activists on the West Bank and NGOs that share their same agenda.”

Oren: We Want Peace, Now
Ambassador sounds pacific note at AIPAC conference, ahead of Obama visit.
"We do not want a peace process," Israel's U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren said at Sunday's AIPAC Conference. "We want peace."
"We do not want to start negotiations tomorrow; we want to start them today, now – in Jerusalem, in Ramallah and here in Washington," Oren said.

Oren to Abbas: Unity with Hamas sets back peace
Israel’s top envoy in America warned Fatah leaders on Sunday against entering a national unity deal with Hamas, arguing that it would set back prospects for peace.
“We hope that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas will not follow through on reconciliation with Hamas,” said Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the US, during the opening plenary of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in the US capital. “We see that very much as a game-blocker.”

Argentina’s About-Face on Terror By Fabián Bosoer and Federico Finchelstein
Mrs. Kirchner’s decision to abandon Argentina’s longstanding grievances against Iran is particularly galling because it comes just weeks after Bulgaria, another country victimized by Iranian-sponsored terrorism, accused Hezbollah of staging a suicide attack on Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian town of Burgas last year. That attack, like the 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires, was part of a shadow war against Jewish civilians across the world. Bulgaria’s government, unlike Argentina’s current administration, decided to stand up to Hezbollah and forthrightly accuse it of the crime.
Argentina’s president is undermining her own country’s prosecutors, who have for several years tried to pursue the suspected perpetrators. Many observers have denounced Mrs. Kirchner for giving Iran a free pass. As Laura Ginsberg, whose husband was killed in the 1994 attack, has put it, the Argentine government has terminated the possibility of justice.

British MEP Relents, Removes Derogatory 'Jew' Remarks
British MEP David Ward removes derogatory "Jews” statement from his website following further calls for disciplinary action.
British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) David Ward has finally removed a derogatory statement about “the Jews” from his website following further calls for disciplinary action, The Jewish Chronicle (JC) reported.

New DC institute aims to put Israel in the Ivory Tower
Non-partisan organization hopes to boost study of Jewish state via new programs, financial resources and academic partnerships
In the crowded alphabet soup of Washington, DC, Jewish think tanks, advocacy groups and associations (AIPAC, WINEP, APN, JCPA, JINSA…), a new institute opened its doors last week with a novel mission: to advance the scholarly study of modern Israel in the United States and around the world.
The Israel Institute, established by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, aims to be something of an academic clearinghouse for scholars pursuing Israel-related research and schools looking to expand their offerings of Israel studies courses and programs.

Trains, bikes and shoppers: The quiet unification of Jerusalem
Jerusalem’s physical division once seemed imminent. Today, urban planning is subtly bringing the capital’s disparate parts closer to each other than ever before
The idea of an “east” and “west” Jerusalem has always been more a theoretical shorthand than a workable description of reality. There are Jewish neighborhoods to the east of the Arab ones of “east” Jerusalem, and Arab neighborhoods to the west of Jewish ones in the “west.” But the recent developments are additional proof — at least for some of those concerned about the city as a place where people live rather than as a chip on the poker table of the peace process — that Jerusalem’s urban health lies in the integration of its parts, and that any solution will have to involve sharing the city, not splitting it.

The Nine Lives of ‘Hava Nagila’
A new documentary looks at the many iterations of the popular tune, from Hasidic niggun to American kitsch
On today’s podcast, guest host Rebecca Soffer, a New York-based producer and writer, talks to Grossman about how this project came to be, the song’s status among American Jews today, and Bob Dylan’s “talking blues” interpretation which is, depending on your perspective, a mangling or a brilliant articulation of Jewish ambivalence. [Running time: 19:50.]

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