Columnists

Why Netanyahu was wrong over Mandela

By Jonathan Freedland, December 24, 2013

There is an idle habit I picked up in childhood which I have never quite shaken off. I suspect there are other JC readers who share it too. When confronted with any kind of list of the world’s nations, my eye runs an instinctive, involuntary check to see if Israel is among them. Flags flying outside a hotel or along a boulevard: I look for the blue and white.

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Don’t need no education? Shallow Waters really does

By Martin Bright, December 19, 2013

When I was growing up, Roger Waters and his band Pink Floyd were considered self-indulgent rock dinosaurs by any self-respecting hipster.

Punk rock was supposed to sweep aside this sort of pretentious nonsense and replace it with snappier, more politically engaged song-writing.

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Land polluted by rancid hot air

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 13, 2013

Last week, some of Britain’s leading newspapers carried a shocking advertisement, announcing that the property rights of thousands of people are going to be swept aside in the name of progress. As a result of government policy, families who have lived in particular localities for generations are going to be uprooted and resettled. Whole communities are facing destruction.

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My cure for Holocaust fatigue

By Miriam Shaviv, December 13, 2013

About 10 years ago ago, I felt myself getting Holocaust fatigue.

Not that – God forbid – I stopped caring about the terrible atrocities or the national tragedy. Rather, I had reached saturation point. I had been surrounded by Holocaust stories and history for so long, I did not feel the need to know any more.

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Netanyahu snub insults anti-apartheid heroes

By Martin Bright, December 12, 2013

As I write, I am watching the inter-faith prayer at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

South Africa’s Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein, is invoking the universal message of forgiveness contained in the story of Joseph in Genesis. With Joseph in a position of authority in Egypt, his brothers, who sold him into slavery, fear retribution.

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A strike against Iran is now more likely

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 6, 2013

The Iranian deal stitched up in Geneva last week by US Secretary of State John Kerry and his friend Baroness Ashton of Upholland, and applauded so obediently by their compliant cheerleader, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, represents a humiliating climbdown.

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Bedouin plan critics have a point

By Martin Bright, December 6, 2013

Last week’s “day of rage” against Israeli government plans to move tens of thousands of Bedouin Arabs in the Negev desert to purpose-built settlements was predictable enough.

Even more predictable was the letter to the Guardian from musicians, artists, fashion designers, activists and, naturally, Jemima Khan opposing the so-called Prawer-Begin plan.

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Not a cause, not a problem - Israel is a country

By David Aaronovitch, December 5, 2013

The weekend before last, I was in Jerusalem again, for the third time in my life.

The third time in my life in Israel and every time, no matter how brief the visit, I come away feeling something different.

My earliest visit was in 1977. I was on a student “fact-finding” delegation to Israel, Lebanon and the West Bank.

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The miracle of Chanucah is that, now, everyone knows about it

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, November 29, 2013

It’s Chanukah again, folks. And, yes, that’s the way we spell it in our household. The chanukiot have a temporary home by the pond in Hampstead Heath, alongside Golders Green Station, and pride of place on our mantelpiece. My daughter is bleating for doughnuts, gelt and every Moxie doll she sees on television.

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Limmud and the heretics

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 29, 2013

I am (in case you hadn’t noticed) a congenital pessimist, albeit with a refined sense of humour. Optimists believe that things will always turn out for the best. Often they don’t, which is why optimists are prone to sadness. We pessimists believe that things will usually go wrong. Often they don’t, which is why pessimists are basically happy people.

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