Columnists

Let's cut out the shul snobbery and be grateful

By Miriam Shaviv, September 10, 2009

In the past two years, I have been to shul no more than a dozen times. A crisis of faith? Not at all. Because my neighbourhood has no eruv, and I have very young children, I rarely go to services on Shabbat — when I would not be able to carry or push them — and attend, instead, on Yomtov, when the restrictions don’t apply.

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How to insult successfully

By David Aaronovitch, September 9, 2009

The other week I appeared in a documentary on US TV which, among other things, demolished some of the conspiracy theorists’ cherished notions of how Bush brought down the twin towers eight years ago today. My role was to explain how otherwise sane people believed insane things. Soon the emails started to arrive. Let me take two to stand for the rest.

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This JFS mess was avoidable

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 9, 2009

I have read few documents in the field of Anglo-Jewish history more miserable in tone and more immature in content than the “Certificate of Religious Practice”, which is now required from all parents who wish their children to be considered for admission to the JFS in September 2010.

Only applicants scoring at least three points in answer to a series of questions will be given “priority” status. Has your child attended synagogue (apparently any synagogue, however informal, will do) on the High Holy Days — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (two points)?

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Obama's dangerous strategy

By Melanie Phillips, September 3, 2009

The farce over doorknobs for centrifuges masks the fact that President Obama’s whole Middle East strategy is in the process of imploding.

Obama has been pressuring Israel to freeze every brick and widow-frame of all settlement construction as a precondition for the US “getting tough” with Iran. This has caused Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to walk a diplomatic tightrope. But it is arguably President Obama who has the rope around his own neck.

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BNP case is of special concern

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 3, 2009

Last October, the Conservative MP for Monmouth, David Davies, addressed the annual conference of the National Black Police Association. Mr Davies had apparently been invited by mistake — the NBPA had meant to ask the former shadow Home Secretary, David Davis. No matter, Mr Davies is a special constable.

The speech he gave clearly arrested his audience — so much so that, while some gave him the slow handclap, others simply walked out.

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Bevis Marks: a very fishy row

By Jonathan Freedland, August 27, 2009

They say there’s no war so bitter as a civil war, to which we can surely add an amendment. There is no broiges quite so acrimonious as a synagogue broiges. If you want a row that has fear, loathing and everything in between, look no further than a bust-up in a shul.

The sensible JC columnist would steer well clear. It’s impossible to write about a synagogue dispute without one faction — sometimes both — denouncing you in the following week’s letters page for totally misunderstanding the entire business. Still, every rule is made to be broken — so here goes.

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I'm ashamed to be British

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 27, 2009

This has not been the best of months for the standing and reputation of the British judicial system. On Thursday 6 August, the UK justice secretary, Jack Straw, announced that he had decided to release from prison, on compassionate grounds, one Ronald Biggs. Exactly two weeks later the Scottish justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, announced that he had decided to release from prison, on identical grounds, Mr Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi.

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How not to handle international blood libel

By Miriam Shaviv, August 27, 2009

Last week, Aftonbladet, a Swedish tabloid, carried a story alleging that the IDF killed Palestinians in order to harvest their internal organs.

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It is right to expose Wiesenthal

By Daniel Finkelstein, August 20, 2009

‘Simon Wiesenthal’s reputation is built on sand. He was a liar and a bad one at that. From the end of the war to the end of his life, he would lie repeatedly about his supposed hunt for Eichmann as well as his other Nazi-hunting exploits.

“Wiesenthal would also concoct outrageous stories about his war years and make false claims about his academic career.”

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A wedding guest’s discourtesy

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 20, 2009

On Sunday August 9, a marriage ceremony took place in London’s East End. The bride was an investment banker and her groom the director of a training company and there were around 800 guests.

By all accounts (and there have been many accounts, since the wedding to which I refer was reported across the national press and on radio and television), this was a glitzy, upper-middle-class affair.

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