Columnists

Beware of chain-letter blight

By Daniel Finkelstein, August 12, 2010

The Judaic Studies programme of the University of Kentucky offers a course designated as "History 323: The Holocaust". I found this out last week for a rather odd reason, and I thought you would like to know.

Every so often over the past three years, you see, I have been receiving emails about the teaching of the Holocaust. Perhaps you have, too. And I have been ignoring them. But now I realise that perhaps I shouldn't have.

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Friends uninvited to the party

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 12, 2010

My dictionary defines a "gaffe" as "a blatant mistake or misjudgment". Prime Minister David Cameron has recently been accused of having made several political gaffes in the course of various ill-judged foreign policy initiatives.

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Just remember your mates to stay immune from hate

By Michael Freedland, August 5, 2010

One of the problems for those of us on the wrong side of middle-age is that we show too much respect for certain people in our past, and too little for others. You could say it’s the natural order of things. But every now and again when my dearest and most loyal pals and I get together, I start asking questions.

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It’s ‘This Life’ with sheitels on

By Jonathan Freedland, August 5, 2010

I’ve been thinking about Natti: is he ever going to get over his commitment problem and settle down? And Yifat is worrying me: she’s getting too used to being alone. And Amir is so lonely these days it hurts.

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Avoid these shady shnorrers

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 5, 2010

Attending a Tisha b’Av morning service at a synagogue in north-west London last month, my recitation of the exquisite kinot (elegies) composed for this occasion was aggressively interrupted twice by “collectors” waving grubby sheets of paper and soliciting cash donations for the supposed charities on whose behalf they were raising funds.

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Beware the spiritual splitters

By Angela Epstein, August 5, 2010

My name is Angela and I like to go to synagogue on Shabbat.

Not quite as epic an admission as confessing to lashing Jack Daniels on my Cocoa Pops, I know, but since we live in times when assimilation is on the rise and the attraction of a shmooze in the pews is diminishing, declaring a fondness for doing the shul run is something of a rarity.

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Rich Desmond's white paper

By David Aaronovitch, July 28, 2010

Some people will no doubt see the hidden hand of International Jewry behind Richard Desmond's purchase of Channel 5 this week. They will be updating Nick Griffin's old list of media bagel-eaters, and quite conceivably putting this particular ownership at the very top - especially now that Michael Grade has laid down the burden assigned to him by the Elders back in the day.

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Yet another out-of-tune rabbi

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 28, 2010

Earlier this month, one of my many Israeli admirers sent me a web-link to a story that on first reading I felt sure was a spoof. After all, the summer months are traditionally the media's "silly season" and this particular story struck me as particularly silly. Sadly, however, I have to confirm that the story is in no sense a spoof. It was, indeed, featured as a news item in last week's JC.

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How to top an implacable foe

By Melanie Phillips, July 22, 2010

Among those bewildered and horrified by the fact that Israel has been turned into a pariah state, it is common to hear complaints about the uselessness of Israeli PR. But this is to miss the point by a mile. Yes, there are many examples of amateurishness or inexplicable silence on the part of Israel's hasbarah effort, although it is getting better.

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Abuse of freedom is not freedom

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 22, 2010

Last week, the Knesset gave preliminary approval to a bill aimed at curbing the activities of citizens of the Jewish state who advocate economic or academic boycotts against it. The bill has been jointly sponsored by Knesset members Zeev Elkin (Likud) and Dalia Itzik (Kadima). It therefore enjoys support across much of Israel's political spectrum - a rare occurrence - and its preliminary reading was approved virtually unanimously - an even rarer occurrence.

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