Columnists

Clegg's not-so-liberal stance

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 29, 2010

By the time you read this, the third and final television debate between the leaders of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties will have taken place.
Whatever else happens on polling day, it is clear that these debates have changed the terms upon which political discourse is conducted in this country.

To some extent, the outcome of the poll is going to be decided by the public's perception of the party leaders based on how they have performed in these debates.

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Insulting the Pope is no joke

By Melanie Phillips, April 29, 2010

Some Jews may - when the Sunday Telegraph revealed the offensive and infantile suggestions for the Pope's visit to Britain by a bunch of extremely undiplomatic diplomats - have found themselves, for once, on the side of mandarins in the Foreign Office.

What was uppermost in these officials' minds was the Vatican's recent record on issues such as paedophile priests, gay rights, abortion and contraception.

It is a fair bet that what was not on their minds was the attitude of Benedict XVI towards Israel and the Jews. This record is certainly a troubling one.

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The ASA drops its standards

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 22, 2010

The decision of the Advertising Standards Authority to ban an advertisement placed in the British press by the Israeli Government Tourist Office is not only wrong. Nor is it merely mean and malicious. It is all these things. But it also betrays a shocking partisanship on the part of the ASA, which has permitted its adjudicatory process to be prostituted in the service of rank political prejudice.

The advertisement contained

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Extremism comes in crowds

By Daniel Finkelstein, April 22, 2010

Have you ever heard of group polarisation? Here's how it works. A small group of you are sitting together watching the televised Prime Ministerial debate. One of you thinks Gordon Brown is doing well and you're not convinced by the other two. Soon you are laughing at every Nick Clegg and David Cameron answer. The one member of the group who hates Brown begins to see his merits. By the end of the evening, you've all gone Browntastic.

Then you see the poll. Much of the rest of the world thinks Clegg won. And there's a group at work who watched and gave the gold medal to Cameron.

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So, there really is a Jewish vote

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 15, 2010

Even before Gordon Brown had journeyed to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen for a dissolution of parliament, I had found myself on the receiving end of inquiries from the media as to the existence and likely impact of "the Jewish vote".

The fact that we can now ask these questions in public - "Is there a Jewish vote and, if so, what effect might it have?"- shows how far we have come during my own lifetime as an academic interested in such matters.

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Call me 'Miss Understanding'

By Julie Burchill, April 15, 2010

I've always laughed at people who say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when you take it in the swaggering sunshine of the Eilat seafront (look, Jenny Tonge, even their sunshine swaggers about like it owns the place - which it does) at the incomparable CafeCafe and it features a Cosmopolitan and a bottle of Yarden wine, I'm starting to think they might have something.

I'd already had my five-a-day (Hawaiian Tropic Factor 5 features mango, papaya, guava, avocado and passion fruit) so the way I looked at it, with the cranberry and the grapes, I was well ahead of the game.

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Why parents must vote Tory

By Miriam Shaviv, April 15, 2010

Over the past couple of weeks, countless families have experienced heartache and stress as the rejection letters from Jewish primaries dropped through their letterboxes. As usual, there are simply not enough places in our faith schools to accommodate all our children. And while some will doubtless find a school place over the coming weeks or months - often after much trauma - many others will be locked out of a Jewish education forever, to the detriment of our entire community.

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Israel's mess: the real culprit

By Miriam Shaviv, April 8, 2010

Who has come off worse in the spat between Israel and the US over building in Jerusalem? There's not much to choose between the principals.

US President Barack Obama has confirmed that he is a bully, responding aggressively to weakness and snubbing allies while kowtowing to dictators and rogues. Worse, he shows little understanding of such Middle East realities as the constraints of Israeli coalition politics, the almost unanimous agreement among Israelis over the status of Jerusalem, and the connection between his rough treatment of Israel and escalating waves of Palestinian violence.

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Frum move back to the future

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 8, 2010

Three weeks ago, a meeting took place in London that could have fundamental repercussions for the way British Jewry organises itself.

Although held at the Maida Vale premises of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, the gathering owed its existence to the initiative of Jonathan Guttentag, rabbi of the Whitefield Synagogue, Manchester.

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Hacking off Hackney voters

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 1, 2010

Three weeks ago on this page, I addressed a serious communal problem, namely the tendency of our Charedi brethren to put their own interests above everything else. Citing several recent new stories, I referred to the seeming inability or unwillingness of Charedim "to consider their needs in the context of the needs of the wider society of which they are part."

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