Your blogs

  • Bin Laden's death shouldn't be a kodak moment

    Jennifer Lipman
    May 6, 2011

    A couple of months ago I opened an email that I later wished I hadn't. It contained photographs, grisly, explicit photographs of the victims of the Itamar massacre.

    Yuli Edelstein, Israel's Minister of Information explained the decision thus: "our goal in sending out the photos was clear: to show that this attack crossed all lines."

    A fair point, surely. Israelis – sadly – are perhaps more desensitized than others around the world to scenes of horror and devastation, yet what happened to the Fogels was incomprehensible.

  • Julian Assange finds another Jewish conspiracy

    Jennifer Lipman
    May 3, 2011

    Never knowingly under-paranoid, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has found a new Jewish bogeyman.

    Following on from his "Jewish conspiracy at the Guardian out to get me" meltdown, I give you Assange v Zuckerberg.

    As told to Russia Today, Assange thinks Facebook is "the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented".

  • Dateline Washington

    Geoffrey Paul
    May 3, 2011

    Just as those who were around at the time recall where they were when Kennedy was assassinated, folks here in Washington DC are already exchanging details of where they were when they heard of the Osama bin Laden assassination. Most it seems were already in bed (a vast amount of US TV viewing seems to be done in a prone position) but quickly aroused themselves when they heard the President was to make an unprecedented near-midnight address to the nation. There's no question about the boost the killing of bin Laden has given his prestige. His re-election seems almost guaranteed, unless the Republicans find a strong (non-female) candidate to put up against him and there is no sign of this to-date. Many American Jews, specially on the religious right where support for Likud is solid, are concerned that a strengthened Obama,relying on his national popularity,will feel emboldened to pressure Israel for a deal with Fatah (now, possibly, Fatah-Hamas) which will be unsafe for Israel. Obama was already so unpopular among some Orthodox Jewish groups that congregations with which they pray have, quietly and unofficially, dropped recitation of the prayer for the President. While they most certainly applaud the political and military risk that Obama took in authorising the bin Laden operation, they are unlikely to be sporting the favourite tee-shirt of the day which proclaims the widespread delight that "Obama Got Osama!"

  • More than a few crumbs

    Geoffrey Paul
    Apr 21, 2011

    Having spent the first days of Passover in an American venue of kosher excess - 24-hour food of such variety, quality and abundance that it becomes almost impossible to accept a small portion, the wine bottles piled high with an invitation to help yourself - it came as a real shock to open the New York Times to a front page splash, based on a Census Bureau report, that the poorest village, town or city in the US with a population of more than 10,000 is the Satmar-dominated ultra-orthodox community of Kiryas Joel, less than an hour's drive from New York City. Seventy per cent of its 21,00 residents live in households whose income is below the federal poverty threshhold. The women marry young and have many children. The median age in Kiryas Joel is 12. Many of the boys will follow in their fathers' footsteps and spend their days,not working, but in religious studies.

    All of which intrigued the New Yirk Times reporter. If things, according to the Census Bureau, were so bad, how come they had thriving schools and a first-rate medical centre with a highly-developed welfare system for over-burdened mothers? If you visit Kiryas Joel, you won't find people starving or a lack of pushchairs, kids' bikes or even cars. How do they do it ? Well, in the first instance, in any election, federal or state, Kiryas Joel can be counted on to vote as a solid block for favoured candidates. When it comes to handing out funds for education, health or programmes, these favoured candidates are unlikely to forget Kiryas Joel. Most unlikely. Then there's the matter of the local poultry slaughter house which has a throughput of 40,000 chickens a day. Since the community owns it, it rates as a not-for-profit enterprise. And the major matzo bakery which produces 800 tons of matzo a day? That belongs to a local shul and is equally a charitable enterprise.

    They certainly know how to count their chickens in Kiryas Joel,,,which reminds me, it must be time to go and have a bite or two to eat.And a glass of wine, of course.

  • Help the JC mark Israel's 63rd birthday

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 18, 2011

    What's your favourite thing about Israel?

    To mark Israel's 63rd birthday, we want you to send in video clips and photos telling us what it is about Israel that you love.

    Whether it's the diverse geography, the view of the Kotel in Jerusalem, the Israeli drivers or the taste of an Iced Aroma, let us know and we'll put them together into a video for the world to see.

  • Bieber, Bibi, Barack and Bill

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 15, 2011

    Remember when Bill Clinton hosted Charlotte Church at the White House? Did you know Mariah Carey recently entertained the Obamas for Christmas? Or that before he became Prime Minister David Cameron dined with Simon Cowell?

    What about the Alternative Vote campaign (both yes and no) at the moment – both sides of which are a veritable who's who of showbiz supporters?

    What have they got to do with a teenage pop star from Canada with floppy hair?

  • Don't stop leaning: Glee's Pesach connection

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 13, 2011

    For years, we had Ross and Monica Geller, then Josh Lyman and Toby Ziegler and of course the Sandy and Seth Cohen double act. But in recent years, there have been very few.

    I'm talking about Jewish characters on the small screen. Years after the demises of Friends, The OC and of corse The West Wing, television watchers remained without a credible "Jewish hero or heroine to get behind. And no, the cast of Friday Night Dinner and Grandma's House don't count.

    So when Glee launched last year, it marked a turning point. Rachel Berry, a proud Jew who even, in one memorable episode, dated rudeboy Jew Noah Puckerman. Awkward humour, annual Simchat Torah screenings of Schindler's List, Neil Diamond Songs. Jewish TV quota, check.

  • The Fifth Question

    Geoffrey Paul
    Apr 12, 2011

    Is there no end to Jewish ingenuity (or the ability of some to see a way of making a dollar or two)? I ask because someone has sent me the ultimate in Pesach marketing. You will know, of course, that at the Seder table it is the custom to lean, in recognition of the fact that free men (and women), in contradistinction to slaves, can relax in the comfort of their homes and eat, as apparently did the aristocracy of Talmud times, tilted comfortably to the left, as on a chaise longue. Leaning left, it seems, is better for the digestion than leaning right. Ha! But, what if you live in the modern world, where the possiblity is that your chairs do not have sides which will support you when you lean? What then? Never fear! Our redoubtable friends of the hairy headgear have come up with an attachable arm which will fit (guaranteed to fit) on the left side of any chair at all. So there you are. No problem – except, of course, if you happen to have rather large goblets for your four cups of wine and, in your absolute freedom, you momentarily lean right......

  • Judge Goldstone and the small print

    Jennifer Lipman
    Apr 6, 2011

    For some, Judge Goldstone’s bizarre about-turn on his findings on Operation Cast Lead has vindicated Israel and wiped the slate clean. For others, his sudden crisis of faith on the Goldstone Report is merely personal opinion and doesn’t change a thing about what happened or didn’t happen in Gaza two years ago.

    Outside of Westminster Village or the Beltway (you get the idea), it makes little difference. Anyone who had a prior stance on Israel has simply had whatever they believe reinforced, yet again. For most people, though, the ins-and-outs of Goldstone’s backtrack are fish-and-chip wrapping or, in our multimedia world, a footnote in yesterday’s browsing history.

    If they read anything at all about Goldstone’s comments, confined as they were to the depths of the world news sections, the likelihood is that they gave only a cursory glance over yet-another Israel story.

  • A view from the Grill

    Geoffrey Paul
    Apr 1, 2011

    Is it just me or is there something that smells particularly unpleasant tucked into the middle of Alistair Horne's review (published in this week's Spectator luxury supplement) of a meal in the new Savoy Grill? I am not one of those who senses bigotry on every hand, or who goes looking for it, but...well, you read what troubled me: “Our conversation was beaten down by the nasal tones of Finchley Road entrepreneurs, boasting their latest high-powered deals” which carried him back to a party in the Savoy Grill in 1940 for a war-hero cousin who had brought his battalion out of Dunkirk. As they rose at the end of the meal, Horne relates, the cousin “looked around the room and asked scathingly:'Are these really the people we fought for?' He might possibly have posed the same question today,” adds Horne, “except that he was killed two years later at the head of his brigade in the desert.”