Comment

End this misguided criticism of 'Hitler's Pope'

By David Conway, January 7, 2010

Few familiar with John Cornwall’s book, Hitler’s Pope will ever forget the photograph on its cover. It shows the controversial, wartime Pope leaving a building in full clerical regalia. Majestically, he sweeps past saluting, steel-helmeted German soldiers to an awaiting car whose door is held open by a uniformed, saluting footman.

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In the armrest war, I'm battle-ready

By Peter Rosengard, December 30, 2009

I’d just arrived at the theatre with Lily to see Thriller, the Michael Jackson tribute show. I put my arm on the armrest. There was another arm already there on my side of it. I glanced sideways at its owner, a man in his early 30s with a tiny, shaven head with heavily muscled shoulders and huge tattooed arms. Clearly he’d dressed up for an evening at the theatre — he was wearing a tank top.

But I think even the UN would agree I was clearly on my side of the armrest.

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We all have views on Israel so let’s hear them

By Keith Kahn-Harris, December 29, 2009

In 2009, the long-running controversy over Jewish communal representation in relation to Israel took a new turn. The election of Vivian Wineman, a founder of British Peace Now, as president of the Board of Deputies was met with the criticism that his doveish views were inappropriate for the head of an organisation that should unequivocally support Israel.

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Christmas is when secular Jews go crackers

By John Nathan, December 23, 2009

A question for secular Jews: Which festival makes you feel most Jewish? It is hard to beat the piety that comes with the abstinence of Yom Kippur. But piety, surely, is more a Christian concept.

What about Rosh Hashanah? For me, the elemental call of a ram’s horn ushering in the new year sends me at the speed of light back to Rosh Hashanahs of my past. And to one in particular.

I was in that period of ostentatious observance common among Jewish boys in the run-up to barmitzvah. I laid tefilin, I asked questions. In synagogue, I sang loudly. It didn’t last.

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Israel-Arab dispute is a local affair

By Naomi Shepherd, December 23, 2009

The world seems to be obsessed with the Israel/Palestine conflict. It figures near the top of the pile of documents on the American President’s desk. Tempers rise in debates at the United Nations, which are punctuated by walk-outs. Diplomats and mediators shuttle wearily between Jerusalem and Ramallah, while vast media coverage has led to more complaints about partisan reporting than on any other news topic. All this for a struggle over a territory without oil or other significant reserves and with a total population, including Israelis and Palestinians, of around 10 million.

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I’m sort-of Jewish. Can I still join?

By Bryony Gordon, December 23, 2009

My name is Bryony and I am, in the words of Jonathan Miller, Jew-ish. In my 29 years on this planet, I have been to a synagogue twice — once for the barmitzvah of a family friend, and the next time, I seem to recall, on a school trip.

I could not tell the difference between Yiddish and Hebrew if I tried.

This year, in keeping with every other year, I shall celebrate Christmas instead of Chanucah.

I am a screaming atheist — I’m not in the slightest bit religious. And, technically, I am not the slightest bit Jewish.

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Auschwitz theft: sign of times

By Rabbi Barry Marcus, December 23, 2009

The joy of our Chanucah celebrations was dampened when we awoke on the 7th day to learn of the distressing theft of the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign from the gates at the entrance of Auschwitz I.

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This is an attack on democracy

By Tzipi Livni, December 17, 2009

For me to be put on trial is an abuse of the British legal system, because it’s not about me, it’s not a lawsuit about Tzipi Livni, it’s not a lawsuit against Israel, it’s a lawsuit against any democracy which fights terror.

I am proud of the decisions I made as Israeli Foreign Minister in order to protect our civilians. I am proud of the Israeli soldiers who have taken action in order to stop terrorism and taken all the necessary steps in order to avoid civilian casualties in impossible situations.

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This ruling creates more problems than it resolves

By Joshua Rozenberg, December 17, 2009

The difficulty of the JFS case, said Lord Mance, one of the Supreme Court judges who dismissed the school’s appeal, “is that the word ‘Jewish’ may refer to a people, race or ethnic group and/or to membership of a religion”.

Lord Pannick QC, for JFS, tried to persuade the court that it was only the latter — and that its definition was a matter of Jewish law alone.

But the problem he faced was the Race Relations Act 1996. This bans discrimination not just on grounds of race but also on grounds of ethnic or national origins.

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My relief at the verdict for my son

By Father E, December 17, 2009

The father of the child at the centre of the JFS Supreme Court ruling who brought the original case against the school has spoken of his “relief” at this week’s decision.

The father, known as “E” for legal reasons, said: “I believe it’s important for people to know that the same Race Relations Act that provides such valued protection for Jews, as well as others, from ill-judged or misguided prejudices, also provides for the fair and equal treatment of all children within our educational system.

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