Columnists

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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I am more restive than festive

By Daniel Finkelstein, December 30, 2010

It was chaos. There were a lot of Jews about, and so of course it was chaos. We were inside 10 Downing Street - which is often chaotic but they keep it hidden in the side rooms and at the back, up the stairs.

On the surface, things are calm - "No, no, after you, Monsieur le President". This was chaos in the state rooms, at a public reception.

It was the annual Number 10 Chanucah party and every single guest was trying to sing the blessings using a different tune.

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Pinteresque drama at school

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 29, 2010

The Yesodey Hatorah schools, Hackney, owe their existence principally to the efforts of the late rabbis Abraham Pardes and Shmuel Pinter. The kindergarten and primary schools are private establishments. But the secondary school is "voluntary aided", meaning that it is part-funded by the state and is expected to conform to certain state-mandated norms.

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The facts tell a different story

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 24, 2010

On the face of it, the Israeli rabbis who signed up to an edict forbidding Jews from selling or renting homes or land to non-Jews have scored a spectacular own-goal.On the face of it this edict, which appears to have originated with the Chief Rabbi of Sfat, contravenes Israeli law, which naturally prohibits discrimination on racial grounds.

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My loyalties won't fade away

By Julie Burchill, December 22, 2010

This will be my last JC column for a year or so as I feel I have said all I can say for the time being about my abiding affection and reverence for the Chosen, both here and in their beautiful homeland.

You should know that the reason I'm stepping away for a while has nothing to do with the hysterical levels of abuse that greet any Gentile who expresses support for Israel; on the contrary, I very much enjoy a bit of a verbal scrap.

But don't get me wrong, my admiration for the Jews and Israel came first; the nasty name-calling is just a side benefit.

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Masterful ignorance rewarded

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 20, 2010

A typical master's degree consists of a number of taught courses and a short thesis - generally 25,000 or so words. I have examined hundreds of such offerings.

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Left-wing criticism is not right

By Miriam Shaviv, December 20, 2010

What is really behind the objections to Jewish Leadership Council chief Mick Davis's criticism of Israel? Is it what he said? To whom he said it? Or is the real issue, perhaps, who said it?

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Time to attack local terrorism

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 9, 2010

The greatest threat to the safety and security of Jews living in the UK comes from Muslims also living in the UK. Not all British Muslims, of course, or even a majority of them. But a section of British Muslim society harbours malevolent and occasionally murderous intentions towards British Jews. This is a deeply unpalatable truth. But truth it is.

In last week's JC, political editor Martin Bright commented on a forthcoming report by the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute that identifies the UK as (in Martin's words) "the centre of a systematic assault on Israel's right to exist."

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