Columnists

Shimon, stay out of politics

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 28, 2009

During the recent Succot festivities, an extraordinary meeting took place in the succah of rabbi Yosef Elyashiv in Jerusalem. Rabbi Elyashiv — now in his hundredth year — is a talmudic sage without equal in the Charedi world. As spiritual leader of the Degel Hatorah party (now part of United Torah Judaism, which has two seats in the current Knesset) he also naturally wields a certain amount of political influence within as well as beyond Jewish state.

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A big blind eye to extremism

By Jonathan Freedland, October 22, 2009

Here’s one accusation I never thought I’d have to make: I’m worried that we Jews are not sensitive enough about antisemitism. Oh, I know we’re super-vigilant about the threat from the Arab and Islamist extremes and I know, too, that we scour every sentence in the liberal media for the smallest hint of bias. Rightly so.

Yet when a menace looms so large it could blot out the sun, somehow we fail to see it — even when the source of the danger is that part of the world where antisemitism wreaked its most lethal havoc.

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Board packs a (puny) punch

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 22, 2009

There’s nothing like a good row to clear the air — and I welcome the revelations of recent discord between the Board of Deputies and other communal interests.

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How can we trust Kaminski?

By David Aaronovitch, October 15, 2009

Could I have been one of the “Eurofanatics” who was only raising the Kaminski case (as I did in The Times a fortnight ago) in order to embarrass the Conservative Party?

The editor of the JC would seem to think so, since he admitted no other category of critic in his pugnacious assault on the “smear tactic” used against Mr K, who turns out to be a friend of the Jews (or Israel, which is held to mean the same thing).

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Items to usher in a good year

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 15, 2009

It is time — I thought as I recovered from Yom Kippur — to reflect upon some recent good news stories. So, now we are into a new year, let me share with you some of these stories and invite you to join me in savouring the optimism that they project.

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Goldstone's human wrongs

By Melanie Phillips, October 8, 2009

In the theatre of the absurd that now passes for international relations, a Jewish human-rights lawyer takes the side of those who wage genocidal war against the Jews.

This is in turn deemed profoundly unhelpful to a “peace process” that is attempting to reward with territory others waging the same genocidal war — albeit with better manners — against the same Jews, a process that now expects those Jews to make concessions to their assailants, who will themselves be exempt from making reciprocal gestures to their victims.

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Every chief needs a rich patron

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 8, 2009

‘While the Chief Rabbi prepares to don his ermine… speculation is growing over who is likely to succeed him as mainstream Orthodoxy’s spiritual supremo.” So ran the introduction to Simon Rocker’s reflections (JC, September 25) on the gossip now beginning to gather momentum, triggered by the realisation that Professor Lord Sacks has only three-and-a-half years remaining of his contract as Chief Rabbi of “the United Hebrew Congregations”. Who — if anyone — will succeed him?

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Cameron’s neo-con heritage

By Daniel Finkelstein, October 1, 2009

I call it his “Heir to Irving strategy”. Not its conventional name, I admit, but I think it fits.

I am not the first person to notice that David Cameron’s conservatism is not what we have been used to from the Conservative Party.

His talk of community, of voluntary action, of civil society; his attempts to explain why he is a progressive; his insistence that there is more to life than money; his emphasis on the need to lift people out of poverty. They seem odd themes for a Tory.

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Excusing Iran is a fatal flaw

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 1, 2009

At one level, no one need be the least bit surprised at either the tone or the content of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s most recent speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation.

Not once during that speech — apparently — did Ahmadinejad mention Israel or the Jews.

“It is no longer acceptable”, the Iranian President insisted — “that a small minority would dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks”.

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Dancing to a different tune

By Miriam Shaviv, September 24, 2009

The first time I watched Dirty Dancing, as a teenager, I completely missed its Jewish undertones.

Swept up in the music and the moves, and of course, completely in love with Patrick Swayze — who died last week, aged 57 — I naturally rooted for middle-class “Baby” to overcome her parents’ prejudices and get together with her working-class dance instructor, Johnny Castle.

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