I had a chat with my sister yesterday. She lives in Rome, and tells me that a friend of hers read about my grandmother's passport (I have a copy of her Nazi-issued passport) and volunteered to help me translate the German. That inspired me to do a bout of research into my father's childhood in the Weimar republic. If you read my earlier post (my other passport is with Mossad) then you will know my father, who grew up in Nuremburg, only just got out of Germany thanks to a parliamentary question and a forged passport.
My grandmother, Betty Lowenstein (maiden name Ehrlich), caught one of the last Trans-Siberian trains before the Nazi invasion of Russia. Family legend has it that as she caught the train to leave Germany, a woman handed her a baby to take with her.
I should add that her husband committed suicide in 1932. Though there may be some question marks over exactly how that happened to him. I have his death certificate here. Max Lowenstein death certificate
My father lef…
The Security Council is the only international body whose decisions are genuinely "law" and need to be obeyed. That is because they imply an agreement between the world's great powers: USA, Russia, China the UK and France and can be implemented by force (though that requires a further decision). To give you an example, if the International Court in the Hague makes a decision, it becomes a recommendation to the Security Council. If the council ignores it or it is vetoed it has little or no significance. The same applies to UN General Assembly votes: they are recommendations to the Security Council and can be ignored or vetoed. The "big five" members basically take all the decisions and a great power consensus is required for any action to be taken.
There are 10 temporary Security Council members drawn from the General Assembly on a mixed rota-election system. Those members can make proposals for the others to veto or forget. This is significant because about 1…
I recently heard an Israeli-Palestinian law-maker being interviewed on the Voice of Israel radio station. He had just returned from an academic conference in France where it seemed that Israel's treatment of its Arab minority was compared to minority treatment in Western Europe. This can easily be misleading, annd I thought it would be a good idea to also compare Israel with other Middle Eastern countries. My findings from a brief investigation:
I rounded figures as they are very rough. Mostly they come from http://minorityrights.org.
CountryKurdishLarge religous minoritiesLarge national minoritiesTotal populationPer capita incomeHuman development indexLife expectancy
10-15% Alawite 11%
Kurds 10 - 15%
74 Christian 10%Iraq15-20%Sunni 30%Kurds 15-20%35m14,00012069Iran