Comment

Yes, we are not neutral - we support peace

By Barbara Stocking, October 8, 2009

In recent months, a distressing rift appears to have emerged between the Jewish community’s perception of Oxfam’s mission in Israel-Palestine and the reality of that mission. This has become evident to me in the course of meetings with leading members of the Jewish community in the UK, from concerns expressed by Jewish Oxfam staff over how our work in the Middle East is characterised, and most recently, from reading Dan Kosky’s piece in the JC on September 11, which grossly misrepresented Oxfam’s mandate in Israel and Palestine.

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Israel is not a merely modern state

By Rich Cohen, October 8, 2009

In most minds, the state of Israel is twinned with the Holocaust, the former having risen from the latter like the desert bird winging away from the fiery wreckage. It determines how everyone sees the conflict and how the Jewish state itself is seen: as an accident of history, a temporary redoubt, a hedge against future disaster.

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Denham challenged on Prevent

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

Britain’s leading moderate Muslim organisation has challenged Communities and Local Government Secretary John Denham over his claim that government money was not being used to fund groups and institutions promoting radical Islamist ideology.

Speaking at a fringe event during Labour Party conference in Brighton, Ed Husain, director of the anti-extremist Quilliam Foundation, said he would provide Mr Denham with a list of organisations funded by the government’s Prevent strategy that should be a cause for concern to ministers.

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'Assisted suicide' amounts to a licence to kill

By Rabbi Daniel Levy, October 1, 2009

The recent clarification by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the question of assisted suicide is closer to the thick than the thin end of the wedge. Gone are the halcyon days when foetuses developed calmly in their mother’s wombs. Gone, too, the peaceful days when old people were respected and treated despite their chronic conditions and the cost this entailed.

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Obama rises above blind Jewish bias

By Richard Wolffe, October 1, 2009

We were together in a synagogue hall in Boca Raton, Florida — a presidential candidate on a bar stool, a semi-polite audience seated in rows in front of him, and the world’s media straining to hear every word.

It took less than 10 minutes before Barack Obama faced the inevitable attack, phrased as a question: could he name any “close personal friends” who were “solemnly pro-Israel and anti-terrorist”?

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Naked lunch? Maybe not in Pinner

By Joe Joseph, October 1, 2009

When you hear that the new dining craze in London is the Japanese art of “nyotaimori” — which is the practice, found in elite, secretive Tokyo restaurants of serving sushi off the body of a naked woman — naturally you wonder why it is that you can tramp from one end of Golders Green to the other, past dozens of restaurants, and not one of them is serving salt beef or cheesecake off the body of a bare lady.

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Being rude is not a crime

By Stephen Pollard, October 1, 2009

Some of my best friends are Jews. Of course. And given what you're reading at the moment, so are yours. Here’s the thing: my friends have, on occasion, annoyed me. No big deal. Friends do that to each other sometimes. And what with some of them being Jews, that means that I’ve been annoyed by Jews.

Do you know what? I think I might have sworn at them. Bloody Cohen. I’ve probably even used the f word. And I expect that they’ve been offended by my language.

Here’s my question. Should I have been prosecuted because they took offence?

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This man transformed the world

By Stephen Pollard, September 24, 2009

Can I share with you one of the most terrifying moments of my life? I was giving a talk on ‘the protean Left’ at a seminar in Washington, DC. As if the other panellists — Fred Barnes and Eric Breindel — were not daunting enough, what reduced me to a palpably gibbering, sweaty, nerve-wracked hulk was the sight that greeted me in the front row.

Lined up before me were every one of my intellectual heroes: Norman Podhoretz, Midge Decter, Gertrude Himmelfarb and Irving Kristol. And they were focussed on one thing: me.

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Be fair, give unions their due

By Roger Lyons, September 24, 2009

There has been confusion and anger over the past week about the criticism of Israel by the TUC at its annual conference last week.  The initial picture does look negative, but when you look at the final motion, and understand how trade unions develop policy, its final bark is probably much worse than its bite.    

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Coping with the yomtov feet of endurance

By Naomi Greenaway, September 24, 2009

Last week, during a break from Israel-bashing, the Trades Union Congress championed the plight of air stewardesses, bank clerks and receptionists who are forced to wear high heels to work.

They should only know what we female shul-goers endure over the High Holy-Days — long walks, steep stairs and those never-ending Amidahs. Add in obstructed vision from under a hat brim and perhaps a child or two hanging off each appendage, and the trolley dolly’s slow totter up the aisle hanging off a drinks cart begins to look like a walk in the park (and they don’t even do any of the cooking).

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