Comment

Acts like this destroy democracy

By David Newman, January 13, 2011

The delegitimisation of Israel reached a new peak last week with continued attacks on its democracy. But this time the damage was not done by private groups or foreign governments and anti-Israel lobbies. This time the worsening of its reputation as a state which values democracy and freedom of speech was caused directly by members of the Knesset.

No, not by Arab MKs critical of the occupation, but by extreme right-wing MKs, self-proclaimed super-patriots who falsely portray themselves as its defenders.

More..

Time to hold these groups to account

By Gerald Steinberg, January 13, 2011

Politicised NGOs funded by European governments have powerful impacts on Israeli domestic politics and on the conflict. For many years, their influence was protected from debate but, last week, the Knesset voted to establish a committee to examine this controversial issue.

A credible and non-partisan evaluation of foreign government funding for political NGOs is long overdue. Whether the Knesset framework will meet these criteria remains to be seen.

More..

Why I'll be backing the Year of the Bagel

By Chris Huhne, January 13, 2011

The festival of Tu B'Shvat is a celebration of continuity.

Commitment to the future is one of the Jewish community's many strengths. For this reason I am delighted to have the opportunity to show my support for the Year of the Bagel, part of the Big Green Jewish Campaign, launching on Tu B'Shvat.

More..

Dangers of ignoring the contrasts in Euro hatreds

By Benjamin Weinthal, January 13, 2011

It is now a commonplace in Europe to regard antisemitism and the more recent phenomenon, "Islamophobia", as much of a muchness. Yet there are important historical distinctions between the hatred of Jews and anti-Muslim prejudice. While European Muslims are without question subject to discrimination and violence, no reasonable observer could claim that they face the prospect of a Final Solution-style extermination plan.

More..

Why Murdoch's BSkyB bid really is worrying

By Deborah Lipstadt, January 7, 2011

I know many Jews who, in European terminology, would be classified as "centre left." They believe that the domestic and foreign policies of the Republican Party bode poorly for America. They abhor Sarah Palin and fear the Tea Party and what they consider to be its rather simplistic world view. Irrespective of where they live, their daily paper is The New York Times.

More..

The BBC's fantasy extremists

By Stephen Pollard, January 6, 2011

Imagine for a moment that you're a BBC reporter. You're on the Sunday programme, the Radio 4 early morning religious affairs show. In September, it'll be a decade since the events of 9/11. You've been asked to look at the impact on the relationship between Islam and the West.

So what do you focus on? The alliance between the hard left and Islamists? Maybe. The rise of radical Islam on campus? Perhaps. The failure of some in the West fully to grasp the threat? Possibly.

More..

Our colour blind slave traders

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, January 6, 2011

I was recently invited to hear the writer Andrea Levy give a small informal talk about her Booker Prize nominated The Long Song, which follows the life of July, a slave girl on a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the uncertain last years of slavery and the process of freedom that had to be negotiated after abolition.

As her inspiration, Ms Levy very movingly described a conference she attended when a young girl stood up and admitted she felt shame at coming from a lineage of slaves and how could she reclaim some pride in her humble ancestry.

More..

Expose this ignorant bigotry

By David Conway, January 6, 2011

This September will mark not only the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but also that of another event no less portentous in what it presaged for Israel, although this escaped notice at the time.

This was the (first) United Nations Conference on Racism, held in Durban days before the attack on the Twin Towers.

More..

The tightrope awaiting the next Chief Rabbi

By Simon Rocker, December 31, 2010

When Jonathan Sacks was appointed Chief Rabbi in 1989, he was so firm a favourite, it would have been astonishing had he not got the job. Not only was he widely viewed as the heir-apparent to Lord Jakobovits, but he also had a powerful patron in Lord Kalms, who was chairman of Jews' College when Rabbi Sacks was its principal (though the good lord subsequently lost faith in his protégé).

More..

Wild views on sorting Jews

By Martin Bright, December 30, 2010

I recently came across a curious little volume of essays on "the Jewish Question" in a second-hand bookshop in London.

Gentile and Jew: A Symposium was published just before the end of the Second World War. It contains around 100 articles, all from non-Jews, collected by the book's editor Chaim Newman.

More..