Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Why Lily Allen is wrong to compare the UK to Nazi Germany

    The JC Blog
    Oct 27, 2016

    Rosa Doherty writes:

    A few weeks ago, pop star, Lily Allen, visited “The Jungle” refugee camp in Calais.

    While she was there she spoke to a 13-year-old boy who told her he had left Afghanistan, escaping the threat of Daesh and the Taliban, and had travelled alone for six months to try and get to his father, who was living in Birmingham.

  • I used to sneer at twice-a-year Jews - now I'm one of them

    Noa Gendler
    Oct 25, 2016

    Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the high holy days this year.

    I was dreading them, because I often feel so disingenuous, going to shul and reciting the words, when I’ve actively avoided religion for the rest of the year.

    I used to sneer at twice-a-year Jews, and wonder what the point was, what they hoped to get out of it – and now I’ve become one of them. And, what’s more, my current lack of association feels even more painful on the days which used to be the most important to me.

  • Strictly Recap: Lesley Joseph bows out in style

    Strictly Watch
    Oct 25, 2016

    Well, that was dramatic, wasn’t it? There is nothing like seeing two of your favourites plummeting into the Strictly dance-off to remind you of the fragility of human existence.

    In the end, poor Lesley Joseph bit the dust, after putting up a valiant effort against Daisy Lowe. But then, the writing really was on the wall for her on Saturday night.

    She started her tango well enough, summoning the anger-driven intensity that the dance demands as only a seasoned actress knows how. But unfortunately, her steps couldn’t keep up. They seemed delayed and sloppy.

  • Shocked by antisemitism at university

    Student Views
    Oct 20, 2016

    This blog is a guest post from Lara Glantz

    Last night for the first time in my life I felt the genuine threat of antisemitism. The event was a discussion titled “Is criticising Israel antisemitic?” led by Tony Greenstein, the political activist, who was recently suspended from the Labour party. While addressing his suspension he ensured us that there was “absolutely no anti-Semitism in the Labour party”, while also promptly ensuring that we all knew that “Ken Livingstone is a long term friend and I know he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body” - really akin to saying that one can’t be racist if they have a black friend. But unfortunately the problematic nature of the discussion, and the affirmation of antisemitism in Bristol and further through the UK and Europe, was achieved not only through the views of Greenstein himself, but worsened by the booming, loud, obnoxious voices of drunken white men, with no affiliation to Israel personally but whose speech and actions made countering any point impossible.

    Ultimately this is not a feminist issue. I went in to the meeting with criticism of the image used on the Facebook group (inserted above), and the antisemitic (NOT anti-Zionist but specifically antisemitic) connotations of equating Israel/Judaism with the power and wealth of America as well as the use of age old rhetoric of the corrupt, capitalist Jew.

  • The Premier League: English jobs for English players?

    The Arsenal Blog
    Oct 20, 2016

    'British jobs for British workers’ was once the clarion call of the British National Party in the 1980’s, and, since the Brexit vote, this slogan has been revived. With work permits potentially becoming harder to obtain, it could be more difficult for players coming from abroad to be signed by Premier League clubs. This begs the question, what would the Premier League look like without foreign players?

    As of 2011, each first division club can include a maximum of 17 foreign players. With a maximum squad size of 25, the rest of the players must be ‘home-grown’.

    In fact, these ‘home-grown’ players don’t have to be British at all. They simply have to have been through a Welsh or English academy system, so players like Fabregas and Clichy (both signed by Manchester City after passing through Arsenal’s academy) fit into this category.

  • There's no place like home. But which home is home?

    Student Views
    Oct 19, 2016

    Since acquiring my own house at university; having a space that I am able to make mine, living with people with whom I chose to live, not (for the most part) having to follow anyone else’s timetable for meals or housekeeping, I have felt much more settled in Durham. I have, on more than one occasion, found myself calling my house in Durham ‘home’ (which I am sure has traumatised my mother far more than she is letting on).

    Due to circumstances, I was not able to go back to my original home to visit my family for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, and although I yearned for the holidays with my family, surrounded by the people and customs and traditions that I have known my whole life, this is a slightly different feeling from ‘missing home’, which I had not yet felt this year. It was only when I arrived at home that I realised how much I had missed it, and how important it was, and will always be, for me.

    I hadn’t realised that, even at 20 years old, nothing would match the feeling of contentness I have when hugging my mother, laughing with my sisters, rolling my eyes at my father; things that previously I took for granted, and didn’t realise how important they are in my life until I had them back in it.

  • Whether we like it or not,the press have decided Spurs are title contenders.

    The Spurs Blog
    Oct 19, 2016

    Glass half full or glass half empty?

    It’s pretty easy to go for the former. The only unbeaten side in the league, just four goals conceded in eight games and a recent demolition of Pep’s highly-rated Man City despite missing a few key members of the team’s spine, including golden boot winner Harry Kane. A rampant Heung-Min Son, the emergence of Winks, Edwards and Carter-Vickers as genuine first-team squad members, oh and a win and clean sheet away at CSKA in the Champions League.

    But this is Spurs, so a hefty dose of glass half-empty is essential (I'm sure there's a Yom Kippur gag in there somewhere!) and if you're going for gloom and doom then what better place to start than West Brom.

  • There's a very thin line between exercising power for the sake of the public, and exercising power for its sake.

    Le Blog Français
    Oct 14, 2016

    In my previous life in Normandy, I used to be a History teacher. Once, I brought my students to the local archives in Evreux, a middle-sized city located south from Rouen. We wanted to study the archives related to the Shoah in our department.

    In France, we say “Shoah” instead of “Holocaust”, because this term implies some sort of sacrifice, a burnt-offering, that might suggest some sort of sin. Shoah in its plain meaning means “destruction”. It is precisely what happened then.

    We discovered documents about the mechanisms of Shoah in a place where very few Jews lived: letters of denunciation, arrest reports, letters from the public asking where people were gone, and so on. We followed a family, the Rabinovitch, who came from Eastern Europe just before the war, and settled down in the little village I was living, Les Ventes, ten miles south from Evreux.

  • Arsene Wenger's legacy to a young generation

    The Arsenal Blog
    Oct 11, 2016

    Last week, Arsene Wenger celebrated 20 years as Arsenal manager. For the old guard it was a sentimental day, remembering the glory days of Highbury. For the new generation of fans however, Wenger’s reign has been less spectacular.

    For those fans who are increasingly taking over the seats at the Emirates Stadium, ‘The Invincibles’ seems either a distant memory, or a highlights reel on television. They were not there to experience the magic of Arsene’s first 10 years; the way he created a well-oiled winning machine; how he came from Grampus Eight as ‘Arsene Who?’, before becoming one of the best-known names in football, and how Wenger changed the way football is played by transforming footballers into fine-tuned athletes. The young generation was not there to witness Arsene Wenger as a fresh, young revolutionary. They are only here now, when he is an old, boring leader.

    It is this same generation that drives the ‘Wenger Out’ campaigns when it pops up on a regular basis. They lack an appreciation for what the manager has done for Arsenal and the Premier League. They are used to the culture of sack first, think second.

  • A Pleasant Holiday in Italy... and a rough return to France

    Le Blog Français
    Oct 10, 2016

    The views of a group of French Jews who are now living in London

    It seems a distant memory now, but August brought a welcome break from the intensity of living in Paris.

    Northern Italy is made of mountains and green hills, ancient stone cities and elegant bridges. People are welcoming and the food is great, from Courmayeur (“St. Moritz”) to Donizetti’s beautiful Bergamo.