a different side of Israel

Tag: UK

Iranian Protesters Break into UK Embassy In Tehran

The ransacked offices of the UK embassy in Tehran are said to be the work of militant students in the area. The embassy’s smashed windows and a burning British flag have become the picture of today’s newspapers. This move has come directly after the UK has vowed to endorse further sanctions to Iran.

In a press release, the UK’s Foreign Offices have said to be “outraged” by the backlash. Iranian offices have also released a statement of regret. The UK Foreign office has also advised all Britons in Iran to stay indoors and to keep a very low profile while in the country.

Onlookers have said that they heard “death To England” being chanted as the students rioted against police. One protester has been reported as waving a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II while turning over desktops and rummaging through the files of the embassy.

Pictures of the event showed embassy paperwork set aflame while a car inside the compound was also on fire. Embassy staff is said to have escaped through the backdoor of the facility. Tear gas was fired as the security forces tried to get a handle on the situation.

The US has condemned the attack and support the UK as it tries to pick up the pieces of their embassy. France and Russia have also expressed their concern and stand by the UK.

This has all been sparked by the theory of Iran’s nuclear development program as the UK has imposed monetary sanctions on the banks of Iran. They have accused the banks of funding the nuclear program. Iran has denied these claims and insists that their nuclear program is solely for energy purposes for their people.

On Sunday, the Iranian parliament voted by a vast majority to reduce their relations with the UK.

Gordon Brown Apologizes

Apparently things aren’t as bad as we thought they were when I posted a couple of days ago about English lawyers issuing arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials.

ivni brownIsrael’s President Shimon Peres said that the warrant was “one of Britain’s biggest political mistakes in recent years.” Before heading to Copenhagen for the climate conference, Peres said that London “had pledged to remedy this situation, and that it was high time it did.”

The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the leader of the Kadima party on Wednesday to assure her that she is welcome in England anytime.

On Tuesday, Israel confirmed that Livni canceled her planned trips to London this month after she received word of a secretly issued arrest warrant, awaiting her British arrival.

Brown insists that he will take action to change the legal parameters that gave way to the situation, in the first place. Britain pledges to reform the strange legal auspices, which lets judges order the arrest of visiting politicians and generals. One day, under the current legal stance, arrest warrants could feasibly become issued against Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin, let alone Israelis.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband issued this statement:

“Israel is a strategic partner and a close friend of the United Kingdom. We are determined to protect and develop these ties….Israeli leaders – like leaders from other countries – must be able to visit and have a proper dialogue with the British government.”

War Crimes Lawsuit Filed Against Barak

Ehud BarakIt seems our Defense Minister may find himself in a bit of a legal pickle for his alleged “war crimes” committed in Gaza in December/January when he decided enough was enough and Hamas should stop firing rockets at Israel already. A lawyer representing Palestinian families apparently asked a London court to order the arrest of Ehud Barak on suspicion of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. Barak was urged by government officials in Israel to leave Britain immediately. But like a man, he stayed, instead of running away at the threats. As I type this, he is still there, and we don’t know exactly what will happen.

When I heard this, my mind moved right to Ahmadenijad and Gaddafi as they twaddled around New York, the latter actually looking for a place to pitch his tent. Nobody would let him, thank God, and he had to spend the night in the Lybian embassy without a tent, poor soul. Why doesn’t anybody arrest THESE people on suspicion of war crimes? I’d say bombing a plane full of civilians counts, or seeking nuclear weapons maybe? How about just being a dictator? Why doesn’t that count for anything anymore?

The argument Israel is planning to make is that Barak, as an official in the Israel government, has diplomatic immunity, which means even if he WERE a war criminal, they can’t really touch him. But the secret is this. This doesn’t really have to do with legal issues, whether he has immunity or not, or whether he is actually a war criminal. It has to do with, yes, Anti Semitism. If they really want to prosecute Barak, believe me, they’ll find a way to do it.

In my opinion, Israel shouldn’t make any legal arguments to anyone besides the following one: “Be quiet and leave me alone.”

And who wants to even think about what will happen to the dying Labor party if Barak is detained in England for war crimes? What happens to Netanyahu’s coalition then?

Barak is scheduled to meet today with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Foreign Minister David Miliband about the Iranian issue, and was warned about a possible move such as this, which was finally made by attorney Michel Massiah.
The British court is expected to decide Tuesday whether to discuss the claim, which was filed on behalf of Palestinian families hurt during the Gaza war.

The Defense Minister’s office refused to comment on the lawsuit filed against him.

Depeche Mode Rock Group Wows Israeli Fans

Depeche Mode Israel 2009British rock group Depeche Mode, composed of lead vocalist Dave Gahan, guitarist, and song writer Martin Gore, plus keyboard genius Andrew Fletcher finally played their gig in Ramat Gan International Stadium Sunday night before more than 50,000 adoring fans. The rock group, which has racked up more than 50 hit singles and have had NO. 1 selling albums in the UK, USA, and many other countries, arrived for a concert that should have come off more than two years earlier, but was cancelled at the last minute due to political fall out in the aftermath of the 2006 Lebanese War.

The Gahan, Gore and Fletcher are the three surviving members of the original group that formed in the early 1980’s and were one of the hottest music groups of their time.

Israeli fans had already arrived at the stadium hours before the gig came off to “stake out” a place close to the stage where the trio and a number of accompanying musicians would be playing. Although the majority of the fans were young, a number of older ones from the group’s prime performing years were there too, evidently wanting to recapture a number of years that had sort of “slipped away” from them.

After some preliminary events, the real show kicked off at 9 p.m. when the Depeche Mode show actually began. The group didn’t disappoint their fans as they immediately began to pound out some of their most well known hits such as In Chains, Wrong, and Walking in my Shoes. Other well known Depeche Mode songs included Peace (in which they invited their audience to sing along) Lie to Me, Personal Jesus (perhaps in honor of the Pope’s visit to Israel) and finally their classic: Waiting for the Night.

The audience really got emotionally into the number, Peace, especially the last chorus:

Peace will come to me
Just wait and see
Peace will come to me
It’s meant to be
Peace will come to me
Just wait and see
Peace will come to me
It’s inevitability!

Some young women got so worked up during the performance that they tried to imitate the “dress code” of the group, even by taking off their tops and being bare breasted.

Those who made it over to the Galina Restaurant and Bar at the Tel Aviv Port afterwards (for a Depeche Mode after-party) got a special treat when the trio showed up to participate in the festivities and to celebrate Dave Gahan’s 47th birthday – those lucky to be near enough to interact with them that is.

It’s hard to say who were impressed the most during the evening: the Depeche Mode band or the fans. But it’s certain that Dave and the gang will be back again before long: and for sure, their adoring fans will be waiting to rock the night away with them.

Avraham Who?

Avraham GrantThe British football tabloids and other news media sources are having a field day regarding the pending appointment of former Israeli National Team coach Avraham Grant to coach the Premier League team, other known as “The Blues”. Grant replaces Jose Mourinho who suddenly quit the Chelsea team on Wednesday following adverse publicity concerning the teams’ recent performance including a lackluster 1-1 Champions League match draw against the much inferior German Rosenborg team.

Grant, age 51, was born in the Israeli City of Petach Tikvah in 1956. His football career includes being head coach of the Israeli Premier League football clubs Macabbee Haifa, and Macabbee Tel Aviv, as well as being coach of the Israeli national team which almost made it into the World Cup team line up in 2006. He was hired last July by Chelsea Club owner Roman Abramovich to assist the now departing Mourinho. Grant, though virtually unknown in the U.K., is known in Israel a tough, experienced coach whose game strategies have resulted in scores of victories. When interviewed on the street in the team’s home “territory” in S.W. London, most Chelsea fans said “Avraham Who?” in regards to their knowledge of this man from a very controversial country, as far as most Brits are concerned.

Mourinho formerly coached the successful Portugese team FC Porto before being hired to coach the Blues in 2003. He has often called himself “The Special One” in regards to his talent and skills.

Chelsea’s fortunes have been dampened in recent years, with a number of disappointing losses and ties which have reduced the Blue’s former luster. These disappointments are said to be part of the reason for Jose Mourinho’s sudden departure from his position as head coach. Grant will be assisted by Bill Clark, a former Chelsea player and experienced game strategist.

Chelsea is currently ranked at No. 5 in Premier League standings. They face another high ranking team, Manchester United, in a very crucial game on Sunday. Many people are wondering if Grant, being Jewish, will be present during Chelsea practices on Friday and Saturday, which is also the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur.

That speculation is anybody’s guess, and it might bode well for Avraham Grant to take time off to pray in a London synagogue since Yom Kippur is Judaism’s holiest day and is one in which God seals a person’s fate for the coming year. That might be an important ‘strategy’ for both Mr. Grant, as well as his new position.

Rantings from a broad

By Debbie Gold Hadar

Yes. Rantings. I rant – or write – to you from a small and sheltered corner of London, where the temperature outside is languishing somewhere between 1-6 degrees, and inside it feels like Ibiza because I can’t turn down the central heating. So it’s a question of skipping around the room, scantily clad until it’s time to go outside, whereupon I must don my industrial strength steel wool cami-knickers and girdle set; and, to my clothing ensemble on top of this add hats, coats and various scarves and brave the English winter.

Seriously, shame on me. I lived here for 25 years. You’d think I might have some sort of recognition factor, that my body – if not quite embracing the cold as a long lost friend, might have at least shown an inkling of comprehension. Apparently not. God it’s freezing here.

(Not as I type, of course, which I’m doing semi-nude in order to avoid melting into a puddle.)

On the plane on the way over here, I was fortunate enough to catch the latest chick flick. My colleague – a lovely man who resembles the Little Shop of Horror’s Seymour Krelbourne in attitude if not in looks (seriously, I was looking out of the taxi window exclaiming at how central London has changed for the better, he was squinting at the pavements for signs of perennial flora) and I very much enjoyed “Prime”, starring the magnificent Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman – two of the better actors of the female persuasion. Ever. In my not-so-humble, although much considered personal opinion.

Maybe you’ve heard of this movie? Thurman plays Raffi (I know. I know!) – a newly-divorced 37 year old woman with a healthy attachment to her Jewish, successful therapist (Streep). On the path to post-marital enlightenment and happiness she falls for David, a Jewish 23-year-old wannabe artist (who was total eye candy and made the movie even more compulsive viewing than it already was).

David, of course, being Streep’s son. A Jewish boy and the ultimate shiksa. Every Jewish boy’s wet dream; every Jewish mother’s nightmare:

“No, don’t worry about me, I like it here with my head in the oven, this way the light doesn’t hurt my eyes, and I’ll die quicker than waiting for the heart attack that I’ll get when you walk down the aisle in the Church. Or maybe you should just smack me over the head with your baseball bat, dollink. And do something with your hair.

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Not Jewish?! What are you doing here?

Jill Cartwright is a 31 year-old non-Jewish woman from England who lives in Tel Aviv, where she works as a sub-editor at Haaretz newspaper and lives with her boyfriend, the Israeli singer/songwriter Saar Badishi. The following is the first part of a mini-memoir that recounts how and why she moved to Israel in the winter of 2001, at the height of the second intifada, and what it’s like to be a non-Jew in Israel.
Send email to Jill:

One day after purchasing my open-return ticket to Tel Aviv, in the winter of 2001, I was sitting in the spacious living room of my parent’s North Yorkshire home watching the news. Images of panicked Israelis queuing up for gas masks filled the screen. A few days previously, a Palestinian bus driver had driven into a line of people waiting at a bus stop, killing eight, and just a couple of months before that, Ariel Sharon had made his infamous visit to the Temple Mount and kicked off the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

My Dad slowly turned his gaze towards me, lifted his eyebrows and gave me a “What the hell are you doing?” look. It was the first such look – but definitely not the last. From then on it was normally directed at me by one of those guys who stroll Tel Aviv beaches looking for unsuspecting single girls reading a book in a foreign language. They know foreign girls will be more polite to them than any self-respecting Israeli girl who would tell them exactly where to go (but more of that later):

Guy: “Where are you from?”
Me: “England.”
Guy: “What is your name?”
Me: “Jill”
Guy: “Are you Jewish?”
Me: “No.”

Then the eyes squint into an involuntary spasm of perplexity, the forehead wrinkles, the jaw drops loose, the shoulders shrug and the palms turn out, the head starts to shake from side to side and they just can’t help themselves: “Then what the hell are you doing here?”
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