Columnists

What a daft idea for a boycott

By David Aaronovitch, July 2, 2009

There’s a letter for me waiting at The Times today. “Dave, how’s this for a conspiracy?” scrawls an H. Mullin on the blank side of a piece of paper. On the other side is a photocopy of page 5 of some indeterminate publication featuring an article by a Harry Mullin. The piece concerns the supposed landing in Scotland “a few years ago” of submarine-borne Israeli agents bent on the extermination of Mr Mullin’s pals in the British Anti Zionist Organisation, and on the execution of PLO representative in London Said Hammami.

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Could the whole sorry, not to say costly, mess have been avoided?

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 2, 2009

The time has surely come to pin the tails firmly upon the donkeys to which they rightfully belong.

To judge by my electronic mailbag, British Jewry is in a state of confusion over the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of “M,” whose mother was converted by a non-Orthodox Beth Din and whose application for admission to the JFS was, on that basis, vetoed by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks.

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Obama’s deadly hand revealed

By Melanie Phillips, June 25, 2009

Among American Jews, a degree of buyers’ remorse has been detected recently.

Almost 80 per cent of American Jews voted for Barack Obama as President. Those of us who warned that this man would endanger Israel were scorned.

How could that possibly be, said the secular, liberal American Jews. He’s a Democrat, he’s black and he’s pro-abortion. With this triple-lock of unassailable virtue, how can he be bad for Israel? Now some of them are getting an awful feeling that they may have made the biggest misjudgment of their lives.

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Are all Jews in the news ours?

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 25, 2009

Did you know that David Cameron has Jewish roots? I must confess I didn’t until I read an item in last week’s Jewish Tribune. I was aware of Cameron’s direct descent from William IV and William’s fecund mistress Dorothea Jordan, and that Cameron is therefore a distant cousin (a fifth cousin, twice removed, to be exact) of our present Queen — though on the wrong side of the sheets (a fact upon which the Tribune was naturally silent).

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Mohammad’s got my mobile

By Peter Rosengard, June 18, 2009

In Canada visiting friends last half term, we had just taken off on a flight from Montreal to Toronto. “Can I have my phone back, Lily,” I asked my 13-year-old daughter.

“I haven’t got it, Dad.”
“But I gave it to you at the gate!”
“I put it on the table.”
“I didn’t see it.”
“That’s not my fault!”

My mobile has not only got 1,200 numbers in it, but losing it means business disaster.

Also my mother would like to hear from me again.

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I can see why people voted BNP

By Daniel Finkelstein, June 18, 2009

It was well past two o’clock in the morning and I had been sitting on a hard, small stool for more than five hours. I couldn’t put my feet down properly on the ground, nor could I stand up, because I was live on the BBC European Election results programme. At any moment, someone might ask me why I thought Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Smer party had found favour among Slovaks. Things couldn’t get any worse. And then they did.

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Women rabbis? Why ever not?

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 18, 2009

Avraham Weiss is one of the most dynamic Orthodox rabbis to have emerged in the post-Holocaust era.

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Obama shows he really means business

By Alex Brummer, June 11, 2009

Amid the British media’s blanket coverage of the Labour Party’s disintegration, few other stories have broken on to the front pages or into leader columns. An exception was President Obama’s much-hyped Cairo address. This even managed to unify those papers which cast a very critical eye over Israel’s actions in the Middle East with those that tend to take a more balanced view.

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The real Obama ultimatum

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 11, 2009

Did Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo on June 4 signal a looming confrontation with the government of Israel?

As an example of political rhetoric, the speech was a tour-de-force. It confirmed — if confirmation was needed — that the US President is a great orator. It also confirmed the President as a risk-taker, and a courageous one.

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Big test of settlement attitudes

By Jonathan Freedland, June 4, 2009

By all accounts, Barack Obama is a keen and skilful poker player. That’s useful to know because he’s about to call the bluff of Israel and many of its supporters around the world.

That much became clear last week when Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, told Israel that the President “wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions” but an end to all settlement expansion on the West Bank. Period.

Obama himself has rammed the point home. He wants a “freeze on settlements”: no qualifiers.

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