Columnists

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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Israel's impaired global vision

By Jonathan Freedland, April 1, 2010

The word of the hour is delegitimisation. Doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but it has nevertheless become the vogue term of art for those defending Israel.

Critics no longer merely "disagree with" - or even "attack" - Israel; they now seek to undermine its very legitimacy as a state.

So hot has this topic become, the Jewish Leadership Council and Bicom are hosting a joint seminar on it this month. Their focus will be a report by Israel's Re'ut Institute that has already prompted a major think-in hosted by Israel's Foreign Ministry.

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Bibi is wrong, Obama is right

By David Aaronovitch, March 25, 2010

As a general proposition, the following is true: democrats around the world prosper when an American president succeeds. The strengthening of Barack Obama as a consequence of his victory on health care reform, for example, will help him almost as much in Afghanistan as in Arkansas.

So we should badly want him to win. How strange then, in the wake of the administration's recent falling-out with the Israeli government, to find usually level-headed Jews taking the side of the right-wing coalition in Jerusalem, rather than that of the leader of the free world.

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Bibi is right, Obama is wrong

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 25, 2010

Three weeks ago, the American vice-President Joe Biden visited Israel in order to kick-start what were termed "proximity talks." What this odd phrase really means is that, rather than pressure PA President Mahmoud Abbas to talk face-to-face with Bibi Netanyahu, Mr Biden hopes to act as the go-between. He will talk to one side, and then to the other. And so on and so forth. Whether this is a sensible way of going about peacemaking is a pertinent question, but it is not one that concerns me at the moment.

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Can we trust Gordon Brown?

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 18, 2010

Politics - I keep telling my students - is a nasty business, in which principle counts for little and pragmatism - cynical and often heartless - counts for a great deal.

The late Michael Foot, for instance, was a man of principle, and therefore a very unsuccessful politician. Tony Blair, by contrast, was a survivor, a Thatcherite leader of an ostensibly socialist party. Behind him, waiting in the wings, was of course Gordon Brown, a professional student of politics as well as a consummate practitioner.

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Why truth beats diplomacy

By Melanie Phillips, March 18, 2010

The Obama administration's fury at Israel over the "insult to the US" of building more homes in east Jerusalem has provoked what is described as the worst crisis in US-Israel relations for more than three decades.

Leave aside, for the moment, the notable absence of "insult to the US" caused by the Palestinian Authority a day or so later, when it named a square after a terrorist "martyr" who not only slaughtered dozens of Israelis, but also in 1978 murdered the American niece of a US Democratic senator.

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