How not to find Jews funny

By Julie Burchill, May 27, 2010

When I was a 12-year-old, redneck kid growing up in the West Country, one of my most prized possessions was a slender paperback called Best Jewish Jokes. Though it's been almost 40 years, I can remember some of the gags till this day:

1. Mrs Cohen is in bed with her lover when Mr Cohen walks in. Mrs Cohen: "Oh no, there's Blabbermouth - now everyone will know!"

2. Mrs Cohen tells Mrs Steinberg: "Don't tell anyone, but I'm having an affair!" Mrs Steinberg: "Mazeltov! Who is doing the catering?"


Experiencing Hackney downs

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 27, 2010

I recently spent a pleasant morning in Jewish Hackney, visiting some of my old haunts and marvelling at the changes that have taken place in the borough since I married and moved away from the area some 36 years ago.


Covering up a shocking crime

By Miriam Shaviv, May 21, 2010

No subject has irritated the Orthodox world more, this year, than sexual abuse perpetrated by its religious leaders.


CST sledge-hammer, MPAC nut

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 21, 2010

The Community Security Trust seems to be seriously exercised by the antics of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. Why?

It transpires that, earlier this year - well before the general election - the CST held a meeting with the Equality and Human Rights Commission raising concerns about MPAC.

The CST was particularly concerned about MPAC's propaganda activities against certain serving MPs whom it perceived as being either sympathetic to Zionism or Islamophobic.


The PM who understood Jews

By Jonathan Freedland, May 13, 2010

There'll be no hard evidence of it - not since my upstairs neighbour on this page, Prof Alderman, ended his studies of the Jewish vote in British general elections - but it is widely assumed that, last week, Britain's Jews switched their allegiance from Labour to Conservative.


Special pleading's bad effects

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 13, 2010

At its recent biennial conference, Liberal Judaism's chief executive, Rabbi Danny Rich, warned his audience against "special pleaders" - by which he meant those who argue that faith groups should be accorded an exceptional position within British society.


How 'aid' can be anything but

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 6, 2010

The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. The peacemakers at Versailles thought they were creating a Europe free from war; all that they succeeded in doing was to prepare the continent for a conflict even bloodier than the one they believed they had brought to a conclusion.


Shock news: S&M link to Tories

By David Aaronovitch, May 6, 2010

A writer's life is a happy life, except in one circumstance. That is, as this week, when the lambent flow of phrases, sentences and paragraphs have to be created in advance of a life-changing event but will generally be consumed after it. I write before the election; you are probably reading this when the result is known.


Clegg's not-so-liberal stance

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 29, 2010

By the time you read this, the third and final television debate between the leaders of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties will have taken place.
Whatever else happens on polling day, it is clear that these debates have changed the terms upon which political discourse is conducted in this country.

To some extent, the outcome of the poll is going to be decided by the public's perception of the party leaders based on how they have performed in these debates.


Insulting the Pope is no joke

By Melanie Phillips, April 29, 2010

Some Jews may - when the Sunday Telegraph revealed the offensive and infantile suggestions for the Pope's visit to Britain by a bunch of extremely undiplomatic diplomats - have found themselves, for once, on the side of mandarins in the Foreign Office.

What was uppermost in these officials' minds was the Vatican's recent record on issues such as paedophile priests, gay rights, abortion and contraception.

It is a fair bet that what was not on their minds was the attitude of Benedict XVI towards Israel and the Jews. This record is certainly a troubling one.