Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • Still the Middle East's beacon of tolerance?

    Jessica Elgot
    Aug 3, 2009

    The attack on the gay youth advice centre in Tel Aviv was a tragic set back for the country which has set the standard for gay rights in the Middle East.

    But as blogger Chas Newky-Burden points out:
    "In many of the countries surrounding Israel, the government and police would not be condemning and hunting somone who murdered gay people - they would be committing the murders themselves as part of their barbaric legal systems."

    The worst thing that could happen as a result of these heartbreaking murders now is that Israel is categorised, along with its neighbours, as a hotbed for violence and intolerance against the gay community, when the country has in fact led a shining example.

  • The Barmitzvah That Never Was

    Simon Rocker
    Aug 3, 2009

    A rather sad tale of everyday intermarried life from this weekend’s Guardian.

    In a first-person piece, Annabel Wright, a self-confessed “non-practising Jew” married to a “lapsed Church of England” husband, recounts how her 12-year-son Marcus became interested in Judaism and wanted to have a barmitzvah.

    A friendly Progressive rabbi suggested that she and Marcus join classes at the synagogue but, alas, Annabel eventually found she couldn’t go along with the religious ride. “As time wore on, I realised that if Marcus was to follow the faith, I just couldn’t do it with him,” she said.

  • Press TV held in breach by OFCOM

    Stephen Pollard
    Aug 3, 2009

    Press TV has just been held by OFCOM to be in breach of the required impartiality standard. The judgment is here:

    Under the Communications Act 2003, and therefore the Code, due impartiality must be preserved by broadcasters in all major matters of political or industrial policy. In dealing with these major matters broadcasters must include an appropriately wide range of significant views.

    ...The Israeli-Palestinian conflict understandably raises extremely strong views and emotions from all sides. It is right that broadcasters are able to reflect such opinions within its programmes. There must be a place for such programming which gives air to highly opinionated and vocal reaction on issues of such importance. However, in order to comply with the Code, broadcasters must ensure that, when discussing matters of major political or industrial controversy or a major matter relating to current public policy, a real range of significant views are included in a programme. Further, in such cases, when presenting any significant alternative view, it must be given due weight and consideration.

  • No more Curb?

    Stephen Pollard
    Aug 3, 2009

    I've been away for a few days, devoid of news, so I'm only now catching up with the key story, which we covered here.

    I don't know whether to be thrilled or in despair: thrilled that

    The cast of Seinfeld will finally be reunited after 11 years

  • The football world has lost a true gent

    Danny Caro
    Jul 31, 2009

    The football world has lost a dear friend and gentleman in Sir Bobby Robson.

    I have wonderful memories of his best achievement on the international stage where he led England to the 1990 World Cup semi-final.

    Not around to see the heroics of 66, I was kept on the edge of my seat as his team made hard work of getting out of a group.