Welcome to Spiel, the JC’s blog.

  • The US presidential election

    Simon Rocker
    Jul 6, 2011

    All too often elections to Anglo-Jewish organisations are a formality, with one group of leaders slipping unopposed into the seats vacated by their predecessors.

    So it’s worth applauding the fact that there will be a contest to lead the community’s largest organisation, the United Synagogue, for its next triennial.

    The post is particularly significant this time because the victor will have a big hand in recruiting the next Chief Rabbi – and the Chief Rabbi, for all the changes that have taken place in British Jewry over the last quarter of century, still remains its most influential office.

  • Reporting Raed Salah

    Marcus Dysch
    Jun 30, 2011

    I had intended to blog about some of the bizarre coverage yesterday of the Raed Salah case.

    Guardian reports of his detention and the events surrounding the Home Secretary’s decision to deny him entry to Britain (Border Agency officials shamefully, and perhaps terrifyingly, failed to act on Theresa May’s orders) were quite shocking.

    For Conal Urquhart to cover Salah’s situation without even briefly mentioning the allegations of antisemitism the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel faces – the accusation of “virulent antisemitism” (made in Parliament by MP Mike Freer) apparently being a key reason for the Home Secretary’s banning order decision – almost beggars belief. But then it is the Guardian…

  • Haneen Zoabi's black and white argument

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 30, 2011

    Haneen Zoabi, the Israeli Arab MK, writes a vitriolic piece for Comment is Free on the deportation of banned Israeli Raed Salah. I won't go into the details – you can peruse the contents as you wish – but there was one point that particularly jarred.

    She says: "There is no other meaning to a "Jewish state" except the recognition of the legitimacy of granting privileges to Jews in Israel at the expense of Palestinian citizens, annulling the legitimacy of our struggle for real democracy."

    So, question from the class. If there is "no other meaning" to a Jewish state than the denial of privileges to its non-Jewish citizens, what exactly would a Palestinian state amount to?

  • Foreskin Man: the movie

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 30, 2011

    The comic book into movie formula has become a tried and tested staple of summer cinema. But who would play the mohel-hunting superhero Foreskin Man in a big screen adaptation?

    That chiselled face, that blonde hair, those blue eyes. Perhaps Brad Pitt could take on the role of the ultimate American hero? Or Ryan Reynolds, after he hangs up his Green Lantern costume? Or what about Leo?

    But we're in luck. Foreskin Man creator Matthew Hess has revealed exactly who he'd choose to play his eponymous character.

  • Your message to Gilad Shalit

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 23, 2011

    To mark the five years of his captivity, the JC wants to give readers the opportunity to leave a message for Gilad Shalit.

    Please post your thoughts and feelings in the space below.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • The BBC, the shaggy dog story and the gas chambers

    Robyn Rosen
    Jun 23, 2011

    Yesterday, the BBC admitted it had “failed to make the right checks” after it irresponsibly posted a false story about a dog who was reportedly ordered to be stoned to death by a Jewish judge in Israel after a court believed it was the reincarnation of a disgruntled lawyer.

    The story, one which spread like wildfire throughout the international press, was not checked by one single reporter. It was, of course, utterly false.

    Yahoo ran the item as its top news story last week, attracting more than 1,900 comments, the majority of which contained antisemitic diatribe including: “Dirty Jews should be stoned instead” and “Should have let Hitler gas all of them, big noses small brains”.

  • A shout at the radio moment

    Jenni Frazer
    Jun 10, 2011

    From The Independent, September 2003: "The fugitive Asil Nadir will not apply for legal aid when he returns to Britain to face trial, his lawyer has insisted.

    Peter Krivinskas, Mr Nadir's long-standing solicitor, said that "rich friends" would fund his defence. "There has never been any question about legal aid. His friends will help him," said Mr Krivinskas.

    There had been reports that Mr Nadir wanted the taxpayer to finance his defence. Although he appears to live comfortably in Turkish Cyprus, where he fled in 1993, Mr Nadir is a declared bankrupt in the UK."

  • On Assad, Israel and external enemies

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 6, 2011

    In his 2004 book The Case for Democracy, Natan Sharansky says it better than I ever could:

    "Non-democratic regimes always need to mobilise their people against external enemies in order to maintain internal stability."

    It is undoubtedly terrible to think of the 20 people who were said to have been killed yesterday on the border between Syria and Israel.

  • Sarah Palin's Jerusalem Day fashion statement

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 2, 2011

    Israelis may not be overly fussed about Jerusalem Day, but at least there's one person out there who took yesterday's festivities seriously.

    Not that she's from Jerusalem of course. But Sarah Palin wanted to mark the date of the reunification of Jerusalem, so she decided to make a statement. A fashion statement.

    She was spotted in New York by her battle bus yesterday, sporting the glitziest of Magen David necklaces. When questioned on it, she explained: "Today is the 44th anniversary of Jerusalem being reunited," she said.

  • On the festival of cheese, a vegetarian's perspective

    Jennifer Lipman
    Jun 1, 2011

    This time next week, we will be celebrating the festival of Shavuot, the point in the Jewish calendar when we mark the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

    Obviously, this is a time of spiritual significance, and the week before should be one of Jewish learning and examination.

    But as a vegetarian, Shavuot isn't really about those things. For those of us who don't eat meat (yes, really, not every Jew enjoys chicken soup) this festival is like manna in heaven.