Israel is Poised to Repeat Last Year’s Gaza Disaster

Here’s how the latest round of terror attacks against Israelis will end: Israel stages military operations and arrests while simultaneously offering concessions – perhaps on recognizing a PLO state, perhaps on limiting Jewish access to the Temple Mount, perhaps by offering money – and Abbas & Co. decide that they’ve had enough punishment and agree… Continue reading here

350 Years of Catalan history Have Led to Today’s Vote

Catalan nationalists have been seeking independence from Spain for 350 years.  They took up arms in 1640 and 1705.  In the nineteenth century they revived the Catalan language, which was previously used only in rural areas.  In 1913 they won a slight measure of home rule, but ten years later Madrid repealed it.  Then, in 1931, the Catalan nationalists won a sweeping victory in the municipal elections and declared independence two days later.  Thereafter a compromise was worked out with Madrid, and the statute of autonomy for Catalonia was passed in 1932.  A few years later Franco won the Spanish civil war and deprived Catalonia of its autonomy and suppressed its culture and language.   Autonomy was restored only after the ratification of the Spanish constitution in 1978; and, following pressure from nationalists, the region won greater autonomy in 2006. Continue reading

The Rise and Fall of Tsipras

Just eight months ago the radical Syriza party won the elections in Greece. Alexis Tsipras, the party’s young and charismatic leader, promised to scrap the government’s policy of austerity and to soften the harsh bailout conditions imposed on his country by the “Troika”. Negotiations with that body over a new bailout only led to a proposal that involved the continuation of the austerity policy. Tsipras called a referendum on the proposed terms and campaigned for a “No” vote. In a rousing speech that he delivered on the eve of the vote, he called on people to vote “No” as a means of restoring their dignity. He succeeded overwhelmingly, winning 60% of the vote. As the results were announced, thousands of people gathered in Syntagma square to celebrate. With the banks shut down indefinitely and a massive unemployment rate, Greece certainly wasn’t faced with a bright future; yet the masses celebrated, since they felt that whatever the future might hold, they were their own masters once again. They had won their dignity back. Continue reading

Corbyn’s victory gives the Liberal Democrats a chance to recover

The last UK general election saw the Liberal Democrats’ most disastrous performance ever. That was the result of a variety of reasons. During Labour’s years in office the Liberal Democrat party was the party of the leftist opposition and of protest voters, a position it lost once Labour lost power and the Lib Dems joined a Conservative-led government. Nick Clegg, who was the party leader at the time, did not help by constantly attacking the policies of the government of which he was a member, thereby admitting, in effect, that his achievements in shaping government policy were rather limited. Thus, since he was attacking his own government, the greatest achievement that he could boast of was the stability that was the result of his joining the government, an act that he tried to portray as an extremely responsible sacrifice for the good of his country! Continue reading