Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • One more and we'll have a set

    Jenni Frazer
    Dec 19, 2011

    According to the Mail on Sunday, disgraced MP Aidan Burley not only sat beside his friend who wore full Nazi uniform at the now notorious French stag party, but Burley actually ordered the uniform.
    This rather begs the question of not only Burley's own judgment, which we may accept is dubious, but in the Conservative Friends of Israel rush to cover him with the mantle of their blessing. "Not an antisemitic bone in his body," the CFI declared. That would be the non-antisemitic bones which persuaded him to order an SS uniform, I imagine.
    Who's kidding who, here?
    Burley himself, asked directly why he hadn't got up and left the event when someone appeared in SS dress, burbled something weaselly about its being difficult to leave somewhere when one was 800 miles up a mountain. Now we know: he was protecting his investment.

  • Here's to an apolitical Chanucah

    Orlando Radice
    Dec 16, 2011

    Today I am feeling light and serene. No, I haven’t just finished a course of acupuncture. It’s that I think I have been ideologically de-tethered. And it feels good.

    Let me declare an interest. Before I worked at the JC, I voted Labour. That was before I began to understand the pet passions of my local MP, Jeremy Corbyn. That’s right, the one who went to a jamboree in Beirut this summer with George Galloway and representatives of Hamas and Hizbollah.

    Over the past couple of years, Cameron jumped into a European Parliament alliance with a man with an allegedly antisemitic past, and the Lib Dems have been, well, the Lib Dems (Jenny Tonge. ’Nuff said).

  • A week of weakness

    Marcus Dysch
    Dec 15, 2011

    While our non-Jewish friends and colleagues wind down in advance of the festive period and we look forward to the joys of Chanucah, I find myself, as usual, rather disgruntled.

    Never mind the season of goodwill, this has been a strange week and one in which I’ve spent a considerable amount of time shaking my head in disbelief.

    When I first saw the story about Tory MP Aidan Burley’s presence at a Nazi-themed stag do late on Saturday night I was disgusted, as I expect were most of you. I felt sure that when the JC spoke to Jewish community representatives this week there would be outrage.

  • A guide for the perplexed

    Jenni Frazer
    Dec 12, 2011

    This is for MPs and MEPS, of whatever party, who appear to be intellectually challenged.

    1. If someone appears at a celebration, and sits next to you wearing full Nazi uniform, it's time to go home. Do not even think of posing for a picture. You will not look good. Early Day Motions will be tabled.

    2. If you even think about making a comparison between the treatment of present-day Palestinians and either Holocaust behaviour or 19th century antisemitism, you need to lie down in a dark room for several days. You will not look good.

  • The conflict ignored by all

    Jessica Elgot
    Dec 9, 2011

    Conservative MEP Sir Robert Atkins has apologised for a blog he wrote after a recent visit to Gaza.

    “Pressure must be exerted on Israel and her diaspora to realise that what they are doing in Palestine generally, and Gaza specifically, is not only illegal under international law but is also inhumane."

    Infuriating to be sure, but these days such language seems unsurprising. No-one, except the JC and some notable bloggers ever seems to call officials out on language like this any more.

  • After the "Jew goal", the "Jew punch"?

    Marcus Dysch
    Dec 1, 2011

    Remember the “Jew goal”? Well now it seems another sport may have adopted a similarly tasteless phrase.

    Welcome to the world of the “Jew punch”.

    Subscription boxing channel BoxNation this week apologised and launched an investigation after a retired boxer made a rather dubious remark on one of its shows.

  • Among the missing

    Jenni Frazer
    Dec 1, 2011

    I have rarely felt such a sense of disappointment in a Labour leader as I do today in Ed Miliband.
    Repeatedly asked to condemn what you might think would be a no-brainer, MP Paul Flynn's scurrilous remarks about the British ambassador to Israel and his alleged "dual loyalty", Mr Miliband took refuge in weak silence. It was left to his shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, to do the deed and castigate Mr Flynn's comments.
    In recent weeks Mr Miliband has let drop intriguing hints about releasing his inner Jew. He has had, we are told, deep conversations with himself about his Jewish identity following the birth of his second son. He has had long discussions with the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, and the new Israeli ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub (who, by Paul Flynn's bizarre logic, should also be guilty of dual loyalties since he is British-born.)
    I can't imagine that such conversations, were they to take place this week, would be so comfortable for Mr Miliband.
    All he has to do - in fact all he had to do - was to state clearly and unequivocally that Paul Flynn's remarks are completely and utterly unacceptable, no ifs, buts, or maybes. No hedging, no fudging, no ringing round with putting in context.
    What Paul Flynn said was deeply offensive and completely bought in to every antisemitic trope and stereotype currently being peddled on what we have hitherto considered the lunatic fringe. But Flynn has now brought this attitude into respectable conversation. Mr Miliband needs to tread on this immediately; but I cannot understand why he hesitated. Unless, of course, he believes that his own background will lead to a loss of credibility, and he is allowing his Jewish identity to constrain him.
    For shame, Ed. I thought you were better than that.

  • Democracy in Israel - how worried should we be?

    Orlando Radice
    Nov 30, 2011

    What to make of the so-called ‘anti-democratic’ laws being batted around in the Knesset? Is this the beginning of end of Israeli democracy, as many on the left would have it? Not all bills are as ruinous to political pluralism as they have been made out.

    The ‘Grunis’ Bill, for example, which is designed to reduce the Supreme Court president’s minimum tenure and has been much derided for potentially allowing a right-leaning Judge, Justice Asher Dan Grunis, to preside over the court, will not change the identity of the entire court since even the president only has one vote and can be overruled, just like any other court member.

    Moreover, Bibi, caught between a sustained legislative campaign from the right of the Knesset and negative feedback from the media and opinion polls, is trying to steer a middle way, promising to “soften” the laws before the are presented for their final votes in the Knesset.

  • How not to talk about the Arab Spring

    Orlando Radice
    Nov 25, 2011

    Congratulations to Israeli news website Ynet for posting a shining example of the kind of bigoted thinking that keeps the Middle East in perpetual conflict.

    In a series of dangerous conflations and groundless generalisations, the op-ed claims that ‘Arabs are in love with anarchy’ and ‘Egyptians failed to understand that Tahrir Square protests are not real democracy’. It goes on to blur the activities of suicide bombers, the Egyptian military and pro-democracy protesters, claiming that the rallies in Tahrir Square are 'sanctifying violence'.

    What nonsense - and hypocrisy. What chance do Egyptian people have of ever winning some degree of freedom other than through aggressive demonstration against their long-time oppressors? When Israel fights to defend its existence, freedoms and democracy is it then 'sanctifying violence'? Are price-tagging settlers therefore the same as an IDF pilot taking out a Hizbollah missile silo?