Columnists

Lieberman is betraying Israel

By Jonathan Freedland, February 18, 2009

As parties go, this was not exactly a classic. There was not much in the way of food or drink — just a few plates loaded with those crumbly kosher biscuits that are a staple of the shul Kiddush — and not much of an atmosphere. Indeed, the host was among the last to arrive. Still, the victory party of Yisrael Beiteinu in Jerusalem was a night to remember.

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Beware Lord Ahmed’s bigotry

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 18, 2009

On January 26, Baron Ahmed of Rotherham exercised the privilege of his position as a member of the House of Lords to ask the government “whether any British citizens are serving in the Israeli Defence Force or the Israeli Defence Reserves”.

How the government could possibly know this is a moot point, because British citizens are under no obligation to inform the government where they are going when they leave the UK; in any case, their first port of call might not be their final destination.

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Israeli fatalism may be fatal

By David Aaronovitch, February 12, 2009

So, Israel picks up and starts again, further back than it was before. We can talk a bit, if we like, about the toytown election system, which turns voters into adolescents who expect their exact political view of the moment to be represented in their choice, rather than making the adult compromise — the necessary decision between several less-than-ideal coalitions — themselves. Israel is a land desperately in need of leadership, where the mechanism for electing governments makes it almost impossible to lead. Except when there’s a war to be fought.

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Why I worry about the JNF

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 12, 2009

The Jewish National Fund is almost as old as the Zionist movement. The Fund was established in 1901 to purchase and develop land in Turkish-controlled Palestine. The monies used for this purpose were derived partly from wealthy philanthropists and partly from the pennies collected in the famous “blue boxes” that graced the mantelpieces of even the poorest Jewish households.

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Troubling Irish lesson for us all

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 5, 2009

Sometimes it is salutary to step back from our own communal preoccupations and try to capture a wider view of the society in which we British Jews live. With that end in mind, I propose to consider an extraordinary event that took place in Belfast last week.

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How credible is the Pope’s denial?

By Melanie Phillips, February 5, 2009

As if the Jews didn’t have enough on their plate, what with blood libels and Israel-hating calumnies flying thick and fast over events in Gaza, the Pope had to choose this moment to readmit into the fold a bishop who denies the Holocaust.

Britain’s Bishop Richard Williamson has said that only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews died in Nazi concentration camps and “none of them in gas chambers”.

He also reportedly endorsed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and is on record as saying that the Jews are fighting for world domination “to prepare the Anti-Christ’s throne in Jerusalem”.

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Israel itself is their real target

By Daniel Finkelstein, January 29, 2009

When HL Menken was editor of the New Yorker, he hit upon an excellent way of dealing with the huge number of letters he received every day. Whatever the correspondent said — praise, complaint, advice, insult — he or she would receive the same reply: “Dear Sir (or Madam), You may be right. Yours HL Menken”.

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The Jews who wish others dead

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 29, 2009

Now that an uneasy truce has descended upon Gaza and southern Israel, it is time to consider some of the uglier domestic repercussions of the recent conflict. By “domestic”, I mean here, in the United Kingdom, where it seems to me that Israel’s action has unleashed an anti-Jewish demon that lay, like some slumbering reptile, waiting for its moment to pounce.

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Outrage that is highly selective

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 22, 2009

In the aftermath of the London transport bombings of July 2005, a number of respected leaders of Islamic communities in the UK, whilst condemning the bombings without reservation, called nonetheless for an official inquiry into their cause.

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Why I did not 'rally for Israel'

By Jonathan Freedland, January 14, 2009

It was a strange weekend. Saturday saw a demonstration against Israel’s military action in Gaza. Of course I was not there. I could never stand with those who oppose not just Operation Cast Lead but Israel itself, those who carry banners linking the Star of David to the swastika.

As a believer in Israel, someone who wants desperately to see that country flourish, that could clearly never be my place.

So would I be at the Sunday solidarity rally, standing in support of Israel? Well, no, I could not stand there either.

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