Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • 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.

  • God and religion and all that sort of thing

    Noa Gendler
    Oct 10, 2016

    The other day, after a few drinks, I got into a huge argument with one of my closest friends about God and religion and all that sort of thing.

    She doesn’t need God, she said, because she can see beauty in science. She can appreciate the world without old-fashioned explanations. She also said that she would rather base her choices on her own instincts and experiences, rather than on an ancient value system which discriminates against gay people, sex workers and lepers. But she held strong that Judaism was still her religion; she was culturally Jewish, and that was enough.

    I’ve struggled with this idea for a long time, but although it’s a question I often think about, my view on it very rarely changes. When I was deeply engaged with Judaism and went to shul a lot and believed in God, I felt that if you didn’t respect and understand the philosophical core of Judaism then you were missing out. The food and the music are one thing, but learning about the big ideas that have been discussed and debated for thousands of years are so much more precious, and so much more fragile. My friend would argue that she doesn’t need those ideas, and that she can find her own moral path without the help of dead homophobes.

  • Happy ending after a night at the movies

    Strictly Watch
    Oct 9, 2016

    Phew, that was close!

    Hands up who didn't feel the tiniest bit nervous as Lesley Joseph and partner Anton du Beke waited to hear their fate as one of the last two couples facing the dance-off.

    Thankfully for them, presenter Tess Daly announced it would be Tameka and Gorka having to take to the floor again to save their Strictly lives.

  • You don't belong here

    The JC Blog
    Oct 6, 2016

    Josh Jackman writes:

    “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.”

    If Theresa May is trying to appeal to Jews or young people, it’s not going well.