Gavin Mortimer

What France gets right about assimilation

Among the crimes of Suella Braverman, the now former Home Secretary, was a speech she gave in Washington at the end of September. Multiculturalism had failed, she told her audience, ‘We are living with the consequence of that failure today’. ‘Uncontrolled immigration, inadequate integration, and a misguided dogma of multiculturalism have proven a toxic combination for Europe over the last few decades… if people are not able to settle in our countries, and start to think of themselves as British, American, French, or German, then something is going badly wrong.’    Her speech was predictably panned by the left – Amnesty International accused her of ‘cynicism and xenophobia’ – but also

Jake Wallis Simons

A potential hostage deal shows the weakness of Hamas

Details are sketchy and the deal is far from done, but all the signs are pointing towards a hostage agreement in which up to 50 Israelis are released by Hamas in return for a ceasefire of several days. Make no mistake: this indicates that both tactically and strategically, the war is moving decisively in Israel’s favour. This much seems obvious when the prospective, Qatar-brokered deal is held against the hostage playbook that has been followed by both sides over the years. By that old equation, one Israeli captive was worth up to a thousand Palestinians. That was seen most vividly during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011, when 1,027

The new chainsaw wielding leader of Argentina

The location was the same – the circumstances starkly different. Almost 12 months ago, hundreds of thousands of people gathered on Buenos Aires’ immense central avenue to celebrate their team’s win in the World Cup. A year on, and hundreds – honking car horns and waving the blue-and-white Argentine flag – were there to celebrate the electoral victory of Javier Milei. The far-right libertarian, who describes himself as an anarcho-capitalist, began the race as a rank outsider, having only entered politics in 2020 and making his name as a bombastic television economist.  The far-right libertarian, who describes himself as an anarcho-capitalist, began the race as a rank outsider In his

Can Israel go on like this?

All generals plan military operations based on the ten principles of war – rules if you like, which, if adhered to, will provide the best chance of success. The most important of these principles is the selection and maintenance of an aim. Even if every Hamas terrorist in Gaza is killed or captured, it is questionable whether that would mean that the group has been truly destroyed The aim should always be a single, unambiguous and easily understood objective – such as destroying the enemy located on Hill X. It then follows that everyone, from the most senior officer to the lowest ranked soldier, knows what needs to be done and can

The strange tale of Count Kalergi and the Pan-European Union

If the European Union created its own version of Mount Rushmore, who would it place in its pantheon? Horst Köhler, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterrand – the architects of the Maastricht Treaty – perhaps? Or maybe Alcide De Gasperi, Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, and Konrad Adenauer, who set in motion the long and winding process of European integration in the 1950s?  Almost certain to be overlooked is the man who founded the modern movement for European unity in the first place. That is, the eccentric, cosmopolitan Austro-Hungarian aristocrat Richard Nikolaus Eijiro, Count of Coundehove-Kalergi.   Kalergi had an unusual background. He was born in Tokyo in 1894 to an Austrian

What it’s like living next door to Hezbollah

At 6.30 am on October 7, I began receiving hundreds of messages as Hamas began its invasion of Israel. We knew immediately that where we lived, nine kilometres from the Lebanese border, could soon be unsafe if Hezbollah joined in on the attack.  I immediately jumped out of bed and told my husband, ‘There’s a war, I’m going to prepare the shelter.’ I went to the kitchen and started tidying up the leftovers from yesterday’s holiday meal. My husband joined me and we filled bottles of water. I made sure the phone in the shelter worked, that there was a computer, charger, torches and that the iron shelter door could close. We

Nick Cohen

Vivian Silver and the collapse of the Israeli left

The well-lived life and foul murder of Vivian Silver encapsulate the hopelessness of Israel-Hamas war and the bad faith that drives the world’s reactions to it. You could see the bad faith on display in the hours after her death. It inspired a gruesome social media pile-on. Maybe it was just a mistake by an underpaid intern. Maybe, as conservatives were to claim, the liberal media was revealing its deep biases. But, intentionally or not, a tweet on X from the Canadian broadcaster CTV News appeared to be yet another example of the wilful refusal by progressives to condemn or even acknowledge the existence of theocratic terror. If something better

The sinister push to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland

There have been diplomatic tensions between Ireland and Israel almost since the latter was founded. Ireland only established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1975, and it took until for 1996 for it to open an embassy in Tel Aviv. In recent years, the frosty relations between the two countries had been improving, largely thanks to mutual investment and cooperation between their tech industries. That uneasy truce was shattered by the Hamas pogrom on October 7 – and the subsequent Israeli invasion of Gaza in an attempt to eradicate Hamas once and for all.  Things escalated in Ireland this week, when there were several fractious debates in the Dail on the subject of

How will Israel deal with the threat of Hezbollah?

From the very beginning, the war between Israel and Hamas has not been confined to just one front. The Iran-backed, Lebanon-based Islamist militant organisation Hezbollah started attacking Israel on 8 October – one day after Hamas’s deadly assault. In the weeks since, Iranian militias in Syria and Houthi rebels in Yemen have attacked Israel with missiles and drones, while Iranian-backed forces in Iraq have targeted American troops. For now, Gaza is at the heart of the war – but this may soon change. Israel has been fighting Hezbollah since the First Lebanon war ended in 1985. During the 15 years the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) controlled the ‘security zone’, extending

Victory over Hamas will be hard to achieve

‘If you want peace, destroy Hamas. If you want security, destroy Hamas. If you want a future for Israel, the Palestinians, the Middle East, destroy Hamas,’ Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week. Given its formidable military capabilities and the considerable international support it receives, Israel holds the upper hand in the ongoing war. But if the Middle East has taught us anything, it is that the notion of ‘victory’ is an elusive endeavour.   The total defeat of Hamas will be a difficult, if not impossible, task for Israel. Following the devastating terror attack on 7 October, Israel has found itself ensnared in a brutal war. But as the

Pedro Sanchez’s grubby deal to stay in power

In 2017 the Catalan premier, Carles Puigdemont, having first organised an illegal referendum and then declared unilateral independence from Spain, escaped arrest by hiding in the boot of a car. While other Catalan leaders went to prison for sedition, Puigdemont fled to Belgium where he’s spent most of the last six years living comfortably in self-imposed exile. Now he’s preparing to make a triumphant return to Spain as a free man. The socialist prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, who has just been officially re-elected, has granted an amnesty to Puigdemont and hundreds of others facing fines and imprisonment for their part in that push for independence. Sánchez had previously promised the

Gavin Mortimer

Macron has lost all credibility on Israel-Palestine

It has been a bruising few days for Emmanuel Macron. It began last Friday when he gave an interview to the BBC at the Élysée palace at the conclusion of a peace forum in Paris. In unusually forthright rhetoric, the president said there was ‘no justification’ for Israel’s bombing of Gaza, which was killing ‘these babies, these ladies, these old people’. He added: ‘There is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop.’ He also reiterated a call for a ceasefire in Gaza.   Macron’s words drew a swift and sharp response from Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the president’s focus should be on

Nick Cohen

What the ceasefire vote means for the future of the Labour party

It’s a little too easy to dismiss the huge Labour rebellion on the Israel-Hamas war last night as ‘virtue signalling’. No one can deny that politicians were striking poses. A party, not in government, tearing itself apart about a conflict that does not involve the UK, over policy recommendations which all the combatants will ignore, in the unlikely event that they care enough about the British Labour party to even notice the vote in the first place.  In an interview that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas member, praised the massacre of Israeli civilians on October 7, and vowed that his

It’s time Israel stopped playing by Hamas’s rules in Gaza

For Israel, the war in Gaza is a zero sum game. Israel must win and Hamas must lose. Nothing but total victory over Hamas after the appalling terrorist attacks which left over 1,400 Israelis dead, hundreds injured and over 200 civilians taken hostage, will suffice. But how is victory going to be defined and what is Israel’s end game? When the dust of war finally settles what does Israel want Gaza to look like? An empty, lifeless, bomb-cratered ruin or a self-governing entity, secure within its own borders and no longer a threat to Israel? Unless Israel has a clear strategic aim, its troops risk becoming trapped inside Gaza, possibly

Freddy Gray

The 2024 veep show has already started

Vice presidents are meant to be dependable – and in a funny way Kamala Harris is exactly that. Joe Biden knows that, no matter how bad his poll numbers, hers will be worse: she’s the most unpopular vice president since polling began, according to one recent survey. Biden can afford to be pitifully vague in public partly because she is so painfully annoying. He loses his thread; she loses the plot.  That’s one of the reasons why, for all the alarm in Washington circles about the Commander-in-Chief’s ‘job performance’ and the distinct possibility that he might lose to Donald Trump next year, the Biden-Harris ticket seems locked in place for

Migrants should want to go to Rwanda

  Kigali The Supreme Court’s ruling that sending migrants to a former hostel in Kigali is illegal strikes another hammer blow to the government, not least because Rwanda gets to keep the £140 million that set up the proposed deal in the first place. Never mind what happens now – and this story is far from over – if I were a migrant about to take a small boat to Britain, the prospect of ending up here, where it’s easier to start a business than almost anywhere else in the world, would hardly be a deterrent. The facts are these: Rwanda was a broken country after the 1994 genocide. It

Toby Young

My futile morning guarding Churchill’s statue

On Armistice Day I made my way to Parliament Square with some vague notion of protecting Churchill’s statue. I’d discussed the need to stop it being defiled by pro-Palestinian protestors a few days earlier with a group I’m involved with called the British Friends of Israel, but in my head this had been a theoretical discussion, not something that involved me personally. Then Allison Pearson, a member of the group, announced in the Telegraph that she intended to stand in front of the statue armed with a rolled-up copy of the paper, and I felt shamed into joining her. Not that I was worried about her being knocked over by

Al-Shifa won’t be the last hospital Israel raids in Gaza

Late on Tuesday night, about a week after the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) encircled Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, Israeli forces entered the complex in what has been described as a ‘targeted operation against Hamas’. IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that troops are operating specifically within the western area of the hospital, one of the largest medical facilities in Gaza. The IDF’s military operation within the hospital, and other hospitals in Gaza, has been a highly contentious issue in the international community. The US – Israel’s closest ally – declared that Israel operate with extreme care in hospitals, making sure that patients and staff do not get caught in the crossfire. 

Will Lebanon be dragged into a war with Israel?

Southern Lebanon In the week following the 7/10 attacks by Hamas, a journalist in Beirut put the question all of Lebanon wanted to ask to the Prime Minister, Najib Mikati: do we have to be dragged into the war with Israel? It was more of a cri de coeur than a question, because the whole country knows the answer and knows that Lebanon has no choice. Hezbollah, the Shia Islamist party and militant group, unofficially controls many, if not most, of the levers of power in Lebanon and it does not answer to the people or the government here. Hezbollah’s leader, the reclusive cleric Hassan Nasrallah, holds no public office