Columnists

Law snubbed by MP and a jury

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 8, 2010

Last week's acquittal of seven so-called "activists" who had been charged with having caused some £200,000 worth of criminal damage at a Brighton arms factory, must concern to all of us who wish to uphold the rule of law in this country.

What does it mean, to uphold "the rule of law"? Well, it involves us electing a parliament to make laws on our behalf, laws that we are all bound by - whether or not we like them.

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If Israel did listen to friends..?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 1, 2010

How seriously should we take the current groundswell of diaspora Jews declaring their friendship for Israel, and then begging it to change course before disaster strikes?

It is certainly a popular message. J Street, the doveish lobby in America, led the pack in 2008; then there was J Call, its European imitator. Last month we had writer Peter Beinart fretting that young American Jews were becoming alienated from the Jewish state because of its "illiberal" policies.

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Watchdog has no bite or sight

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 1, 2010

On June 11, the JC Diary included an item about a submission I had made to the Press Complaints Commission. As some of you have been kind enough to contact me about this, I'm going to explain why I complained to the PCC, and what its rejection of my complaint means for what the media here in the UK choose to report about Israel.

In its issue of March 28, the Sunday Times carried an opinion piece by Andrew Sullivan, an Oxford educated Catholic who is said to live in the USA and to be a "political conservative".

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Israel, listen to your friends

By Jonathan Freedland, June 24, 2010

If there's one thing we know about Israel, it is that it doesn't listen to its enemies. Those implacably hostile to the Jewish state can rant and rave, but Israel simply closes its ears. If anything, such criticism only makes the country dig in its heels, confirming its gloomiest, most isolationist instincts: "see, everyone really does hate us ­- all the more reason for us to retreat from the world, becoming the people that dwells alone".

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EU shechitah plan is troubling

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 24, 2010

Last week, the European Parliament approved a set of draft proposals designed to provide consumers within the EU with much more accurate information about the food products they buy. Among these is a regulation - still in draft - which, if endorsed by the European Commission later this year, will mean that shechitah-slaughtered meat that finds its way on to the general market will need to be labelled as "meat from slaughter without stunning".

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A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is etc

By David Aaronovitch, June 17, 2010

On the second leg of a train trip to Kiev, I began to think on the proposition that where you say something matters as much, if not more than, what you say.

The provocateuse was Professor Jacqueline Rose, whose very, very long article in the London Review of Books I was reading. Her piece - "J'accuse. Dreyfus in our times" - purports to examine what might be learned from the late 19th-century case of the Jewish officer in the French army, falsely convicted of treason and transported, and the subsequent scandal.

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Numbers that don't add up

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 17, 2010

The counting of Jews has never been straightforward. Orthodox Jews maintain that it is forbidden to count Jews directly. Some say that in biblical times a half-shekel was taken from every Jew, and then the coins were counted.

Today, in Israel, the prohibition on counting Jews is side-stepped through the argument that the census also counts non-Jews. In Britain, the census now contains a religious identity question, but I have come across individual Jews who tell me either that they do not answer this question, or that they answer in a nonsensical manner.

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The spread of flotilla sickness

By Melanie Phillips, June 10, 2010

The flotilla episode provided the trigger for a frenzied demonstration of the world's collective loss of mind over Israel.

Israel did what it was entitled to do and what any other country at war would do: intercept boats that might be carrying weapons for an aggressor regime. Since six out of the seven intercepted boats then proceeded peacefully to Ashdod where their cargo was checked, this was demonstrably not an Israeli "attack".

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A Prime Minister's question

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 10, 2010

On several occasions prior to taking office, David Cameron was gracious enough to boast of his friendship with the Jewish people and to declare pride in his own Jewish ancestry. Unfortunately, I now feel moved to question how sincere those protestations of friendship really were. So, here goes:

Dear Prime Minister,

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Will a Jewish template work?

By Daniel Finkelstein, June 3, 2010

It can't be on Israel again - they'll have had plenty of that. And the general political stuff won't work with this audience. We can take questions on that, but that's all. Why don't we go down the charity route?

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