Columnists

Stop this shocking proposal

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 9, 2011

From time to time, the JC has been criticised - and so have I, personally - for reporting and commenting on events from a narrow ethnic or religious perspective.

Appearing at a charity fund-raising panel last year, I was asked whether it was really "a good thing" for me to use this column simply to air "Jewish" concerns.

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Palestinian leaks' positive side

By Daniel Finkelstein, February 9, 2011

I have just started reading a book on political hypocrisy. It has started rather well but I haven't got to the point yet. You see, the back cover promises that, by the time I get there, the book will have explained why hypocrisy is not as bad as it is usually painted. It is an honourable part of liberal democratic tradition, apparently. I hope that is right because, otherwise, I've just wasted a lot of time reading about Thomas Hobbes. But I bet Julian Assange is even keener than I am to learn that hypocrisy has its plus points.

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New ways of wishing 'gd Shbs'

By Miriam Shaviv, January 28, 2011

It is 11 years since a number of Israeli rabbis came out against their followers using the internet, and at least half-a-decade since they attempted to ban internet-enabled mobile phones.

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Rules seem beyond our Ken

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 27, 2011

In principle, there is no reason why an active politician - one still involved in the cut-and-thrust of public life - should not also have a regular slot as a contributor to or even as a presenter of a television programme.

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McCarthyism - Israeli style

By Jonathan Freedland, January 24, 2011

'An evil wave is sweeping over Israel" and the latest act of the Knesset "sends a warning signal: here is darkness."

Before you dash off a letter to denounce the authors of those words as hateful anti-Zionists bent on delegitimising the state of Israel, pause a moment. Because the first quotation comes from the Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and the second from Likud MK Benny Begin. What could have moved such fervent Israeli patriots to speak this way?

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Going through the motions

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 24, 2011

Those of us who attended the boycott debate held at the London School of Economics last week were privileged to learn some valuable lessons about the boycott issue itself, the motives of those - including some Jews - who identify themselves as boycott sponsors, and the manner in which their arguments may be comprehensively confounded.

We were also given a demonstration of how, on an emotive issue, a civilised academic dialogue can nonetheless be conducted.

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How they lost the (Zionist) plot

By David Aaronovitch, January 14, 2011

'See that bird, swooping low over the Arabian desert, my son? Spot that shark swimming the shallows of the Red Sea, beloved daughter? What do they have in common? No, no, no. Not that they're both vertebrates -everyone knows that. No - they're both Mossad agents, my children, that's what."

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Abbas's ineffectual UDI threat

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 14, 2011

The current negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinian Authority are, if not actually dead, then certainly in a critical state exhibiting every sign of comprehensive systemic failure.

I say this in spite of the commendable optimism voiced earlier this month by Quartet representative Tony Blair, who told Sky News that direct talks between the two sides could start "within weeks."

Well of course they could. But how meaningful would they be?

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Dubious claims of a peacenik

By Melanie Phillips, January 10, 2011

One of the great divisions among Jews is between those who believe the Palestinians are genuinely prepared to live in a Palestine state side-by-side with Israel, and those who believe that they are not. The former are scorned by the latter as dreamers or idiots, the latter denounced by the former as right-wing extremists and bigots.

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Chief Rabbi as mythical hero

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 10, 2011

It was the celebrated historian A. J. P. Taylor who taught me a fundamental truth about my profession. Commenting more or less positively on a research seminar presentation I'd given, he remarked: "Remember, Geoffrey, that the historian's job is to destroy myth. Of course, it is far better to prevent myth in the first place."

It is in this spirit - prevention being better than cure - that I offer some thoughts triggered by the encomia that greeted the announcement that Lord Sacks is to retire as Chief Rabbi at his contractual retirement age in 2013.

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