Israel

I’m setting up a ‘climate crisis hub’

‘We thought the house would make the most fantastic centre for climate action,’ I heard myself telling the cat rescue lady as she let the two moggies out of their carriers into the living room. I was trying to reassure the socially conscious liberal who had brought the two cats we were adopting that she was leaving them in what she would consider a good place. I said: ‘We want it to be somewhere schoolchildren can come to learn about biodiversity…’ What was I on about? Still, pretending I was turning my house into a climate crisis hub was a bit much. I had just come back from the bank

Portrait of the Week: Sunak’s downpour, national service and the ‘triple lock plus’

Home Parliament was dissolved, leaving no MPs until the general election on 4 July. With hours to go, Diane Abbott had the Labour whip restored to her, and Lucy Allan MP was suspended from the Conservative party for endorsing the Reform UK candidate for Telford. Among bills that were lost was one prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 31 December 2008. Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, had provided an abiding memory by announcing the election standing in heavy rain in Downing Street and making a speech as though it weren’t raining. The Conservatives suddenly said that everyone should do a form of national service at the age of 18.

Netanyahu’s strategy in Rafah isn’t working

On 7 April, six months after the October massacres in southern Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the public that the country was just ‘one step away from victory’ in its war against Hamas in Gaza. Nearly two months later, Israel hasn’t taken that step yet. The war continues. No more hostages have been released alive. Hamas rockets still fall inside Israel, including a barrage earlier this week that rained down on the suburbs of Tel Aviv. The two leaders of Israel’s war effort haven’t spoken to each other for a fortnight In the meantime, international public opinion has hardened against Israel. Some countries, like Colombia, have broken diplomatic relations.

Israel may have to stop its offensive in Rafah

The devastating fire that, according to Hamas, killed dozens of displaced civilians in Rafah and that reportedly started because of an Israeli attack on Hamas terrorists, has come at the worse possible time for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.  Four days ago, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel must immediately halt activities in Rafah. Although the language used by the court could imply that Israel may carry out some activities in the city as long as it conforms to its obligations under the Genocide Convention, there were international calls on Israel to cease all activities, and warnings of a disaster have sadly come true. Israel’s ability to carry on in

The grandstanding against the Hay Festival is short-sighted 

When the country’s largest literary festival parts ways with its main sponsor, it is not usually a cause for rejoicing among writers, performers, and the sorts of people who like to go to literary festivals. It is usually a disaster for the festival. Yet when on Friday the Hay Festival sacked (yes, it was that way round) the investment fund Baillie Gifford as its main sponsor, it was felt that a mighty blow had been struck against injustice. The decision was the result of a campaign that took exception to the colour of Baillie Gifford’s money, seeing the company as part of a disaster-capitalist enterprise that profits from the destruction of the planet by investing in fossil fuels, and that indirectly

What is Trump’s new foreign policy?

26 min listen

Freddy Gray speaks to author Jacob Heilbrunn about what another term in office for Donald Trump might mean for America’s foreign policy, its relationship with Israel, and the war in Ukraine. How have his views changed since last time? And what will his relationship with Putin be like?

How Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden fell out

After the atrocities committed by Hamas in southern Israel on 7 October, President Biden offered his total and unflinching support for retribution against the terrorist-designated rulers of the Gaza Strip. Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu vowed to annihilate every member of Hamas and to gain the release of the 252 Israeli and foreign hostages abducted and taken into Gaza. Biden agreed that these objectives were right and proper. So, too, did the UK government and other like-minded nations, appalled by the images and reports of slaughter, rape and brutality by Hamas. Relations between Washington and Tel Aviv are not beyond repair Nearly eight months later, that policy of unflinching support for Israel

Anti-Semitism has returned to French politics

New Caledonia is an archipelago in the South Pacific not far from Australia. James Cook discovered it in 1774, but, after concluding that too many languages were spoken there, he declined to annex it to the British Empire. France, not as cautious, made it a distant colony under Napoleon III. Today, riots are convulsing the territory. Supposedly ‘decolonial’ in aim, they are most certainly violent and fuelled by the anti-white racism that, from London to Brussels and Paris, has become the trademark of the new radical left. The strangest thing is that among the flags of the Kanak independence movement, one also sees Azeri flags. Why Azeri? Because Azerbaijan, which

Portrait of the Week: Infected blood apologies, falling inflation and XL bully attacks 

Home Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, said: ‘I want to make a wholehearted and unequivocal apology’ for a ‘decades-long moral failure at the heart of our national life’, as described in the report by Sir Brian Langstaff from the Infected Blood Inquiry, which found that successive governments and the NHS had let patients catch HIV and hepatitis. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, apologised too. So far more than 3,000 have died, of the 30,000 infected with HIV or hepatitis C from blood products or transfusions between 1970 and the early 1990s. Interim compensation of £210,000 will be paid to some within 90 days. BT postponed until January 2027 a

The dignity of Eden Golan

Two questions dominated last night’s Eurovision Song Contest final in Malmo, Sweden. First, whether 20-year-old Eden Golan, Israel’s entrant, would defy the odds and actually win. And secondly, whether some kind of security breach involving pro-Palestinian protesters would result in the final being disrupted. In the end, proceedings passed off relatively peacefully. The eventual winner was Switzerland’s Nemo with ‘The Code’, a song mixing rap, pop and opera. A huge public vote helped lift Golan’s entry ‘Hurricane’ into fifth place. The winning song will be forgotten soon enough, suffering the same fate as the vast majority of entries into the Eurovision Song Contest – a competition that has always been

Britain doesn’t need an Iron Dome

Air defence was in the news this week, after Israel, with the help of allies including the UK, shot down around 99 per cent of over 300 cruise and ballistic missiles and drones fired at it by Iran. The perils of depleted air defences were shown by Russian missile and drone bombardments of Ukrainian energy infrastructure and cities, leading again to many civilian deaths. Eighteen civilians were killed in a Russian strike on Chernihiv. In the wake of the Iranian attacks, Tobias Ellwood, former chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee, told the Telegraph that the UK needs to build ‘a permanent umbrella of security defending our key locations’. This required, he said, ‘investments,

Inside the new Arab-Israeli alliance

As Jordanian fighter jets shot down Iranian drones heading for Israel on Saturday night, there were joyful cries of Allahu Akbar on the ground as some people lent out of their windows to cheer the drones they thought were getting through. King Abdullah II was depicted on social media wearing an Israeli military uniform complete with the Star of David and he must dearly wish that Israelis would shut up about their ‘new strategic alliance’ with old enemies like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Jordan’s foreign minister was forced into an unconvincing declaration that they would shoot down anyone’s drones, not just Iran’s. Yet, the important fact remains: this is

Svitlana Morenets

Why does the West protect Israel but not Ukraine?

When Israel and its allies shot down hundreds of Iranian drones and missiles, they demonstrated what an effective air defence looks like. The slow-moving Shahed-136 suicide drones were not hard for the Israeli, Jordanian, British, American and (probably) Saudi air forces to find and eliminate. Even Iran’s cruise missiles were thwarted. It was an overwhelming victory for Israel and a humiliation for Iran. In Ukraine, all this was watched with desperation and even anger. While Israel boasts robust air defence systems and, with its allies, can deploy hundreds of combat aircraft to repel Iran’s attack, Ukraine must ration its defence munitions. Kyiv is forced to choose which cities to protect. Ukraine’s

Charles Moore

My letter from Chris Packham

I do not know Chris Packham, the BBC nature broadcaster, personally, but he wrote me a letter last month, enclosing a book called Manifesto, The Battle for Green Britain by Dale Vince which, he tells me, ‘has something very important to say at this most important time’. In his letter, Chris says that ‘irrespective of any party politics’, ‘The coming election will be the most important of our lifetimes’ because we are ‘halfway through the last decade’ left to avoid ‘the worst of climate breakdown’. So ‘we must help young voters navigate the new voting rules’. Politics has ‘become the final frontier for a real greener Britain’. What Chris does

The Lebanese always return home

Beirut You might have thought that the threat of the Gaza war spiralling into an all-out regional conflagration, along with breathless travel advice from western governments urging their nationals to leave the country, would have deterred Lebanon’s expats from flying home to celebrate Eid al-Fitr this year. Not one bit. Flights, hotels and restaurants were fully booked despite Iran’s drone strike. The Lebanese know that even if there is fighting (and in South Lebanon, there is on an almost daily basis), if it isn’t on your doorstep, there’s no reason to stop the party. The Lebanese know that even if there is fighting, if it isn’t on your doorstep, there’s

Liz Truss returns – again

14 min listen

It’s 18 months since Liz Truss left Downing Street and her new memoir, Ten Years to Save the West, is out. She gave her first interview to Fraser Nelson on Spectator TV, covering why she wants to abolish the Supreme Court, Donald Trump, her husband’s warning that her leadership bid would end in tears, and so much more.   We also cover Iran’s missile attack on Israel, and what might come next.  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson.  Produced by Megan McElroy.  You can listen to the full interview on Spectator TV:

Why do MPs send nude pictures of themselves?

Adam Dyster has gone to work for the shadow Defra secretary Steve Reed. I admit this is not an appointment which would normally trouble the political scorers, but it is a straw in the wind. Mr Dyster was, until recently, the adviser to both the chairman and the director-general of the National Trust. As Zewditu Gebreyohanes points out in her new pamphlet, ‘National Distrust: the end of democracy in the National Trust’, it was against the interest of the Trust that Mr Dyster advised both, since it blurred the necessary governance difference between the trustees and the management. Mr Dyster was previously, in the Jeremy Corbyn era, the national organiser

Portrait of the Week: Tory phishing, tension over Rafah and Cameron in America

Home The review by Dr Hilary Cass of gender-identity services for people under 18 called for an end to prescribing powerful hormone drugs; warned that children who change gender may regret it; and found that many had experienced trauma, neglect and abuse. More than 150,000 patients had to wait more than 24 hours in A&E before getting a hospital bed last year, a tenfold increase on 2019. Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, suggested that Labour could plug the gap in its spending commitments by getting more taxes sooner from non-doms. Five Bulgarians admitted in court to stealing more than £50 million in fraudulent claims for Universal Credit. Britain held talks

Rod Liddle

A new survey that may be of interest

My favourite opinion polls are those which elicit enormous shock in the population for stating something everybody knew for ages, or could have guessed. Such as those headlined ‘People in Torquay are happier than people in Rotherham’ – goodness me, etc. Surely we are reaching the time when bland, deceitful shibboleths should be replaced by reality The polls that always occasion the gravest shock, however – despite the fact they come out every year or so – are those dealing with the views of the British Muslim community. In the lacunae between these reports their findings are completely ignored in favour of the approved set of lies with which the

Even pilgrims are staying away from Jerusalem

Israel has a new train line: 25 minutes from Ben Gurion airport to Jerusalem. The Christian pilgrims would love it but they’re not here. Instead, there are soldiers and visiting American Jews. My taxi driver says American Jews come with thousands of dollars of cigarettes and drive around looking for soldiers to give them to. He says American Jews love Israel more than Israelis. Then he moves his machine gun – it’s on the front seat – and says: ‘Welcome to Israel.’ The American Jews go south to the massacre sites of 7 October to stare at the bullet holes. I don’t. You can’t forget the war here. At the