Comment

It is time to abandon ‘Zionism’

By Sidney Brichto, January 22, 2009

The Yiddish expression, which I first heard from my father as a child, “Ess is shver zu zein a Yid” (“it is hard to be a Jew”) rang in my ears as Israel’s air attack against Gaza began. This was because I didn’t know how emotionally to cope with the knowledge that Israel would be condemned for defending itself against an enemy whose objective was Israel’s destruction. Its moral right to enable 900,000 of its citizens to live normal lives would be subsumed by the wagging finger: “Only a handful of you have been killed, not like the hundreds of Palestinians you have killed!”

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Turkish anger may backfire

By Daniella Peled, January 22, 2009

Israel seems to have made it through Operation Cast Lead without suffering too much diplomatic damage. Despite all the global outrage and condemnation, only a handful of countries severed ties with Jerusalem — and Israel can probably live without its friendships with Venezuela, Bolivia, Mauritania and Qatar.

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Sorry, the President can’t fix the MidEast right now

By Tim Marshall, January 22, 2009

At a key moment in his speech, the American President looked down the Mall, past the adoring throng, and sent a message to a very different audience. He spoke directly to Osama Bin Laden, to the disciples of Sayyid Qubt, to Mullah Omar, and to the new Zarqawis of the world, and he told them: “We will not apologize for our way of life...for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”

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Is it safe to be American again?

By Hadley Freeman, January 22, 2009

To paraphrase the famous tagline for Jaws (and paraphrase it in a context of which director Steven Spielberg would surely approve): just when I thought it was safe for me to go back to dinner parties...

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Slavery to freedom: Obama’s story is ours

By Dr Winston Pickett, January 22, 2009

As an American and as a Jew, I have many different reactions to Tuesday’s events in Washington. But they all, somehow, come together.

One of the core components of the Obama phenomenon is the way that America, and indeed much of the world, is caught up in the story of his personal ascent to the presidency. For me, Obama’s journey is compelling precisely because of the way it touches on a deeper narrative of redemption — not a specific, Christological redemption, but one that hearkens back to an earlier Biblical recension.

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The Guardian just loves self-hating Jews

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, January 15, 2009

Last Saturday, the Guardian published a letter that compared Israel to the Nazis; described the Palestinian Authority as “Palestinian Quislings”; called on Britain to recall its ambassador to Tel Aviv; and supported a boycott of Israeli goods.

Before informing the readers that the images from Gaza “reminded” them “of the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto”, the 78 signatories felt compelled to say: “We the undersigned are all of Jewish origin”, somehow establishing a connection between what they said (Israel = Nazi) and who they were (Jews).

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Your new year bonus? Freedom

By Joe Joseph, January 15, 2009

You know that financial fiasco which hogged the headlines for much of last year, the one which involved various financial institutions pursuing investment strategies that were only a little more sophisticated than buying trillions of dollars’ worth of lottery tickets?

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Will Obama’s inauguration respect all faiths?

By Marc Saperstein, January 14, 2009

Prayer plays an important role in American public life. Sessions of Congress begin with an invocation by a member of the clergy. Many graduation ceremonies of American universities are framed by an invocation and benediction — as are presidential inaugurations. The first inaugural invocations and benedictions were given by Protestant and Catholic clergy.

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After justification we need justice

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, January 14, 2009

These past two weeks have been for me, and I imagine for most of us, among the most painful of our lives. We know what Israel is doing, and why. But the cost in human suffering has been immense. I believe we have all felt it. Israelis have felt it. This was not what any of us wanted. We weep that it has come to this.

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It’s hard to be a Jew, especially in a recession

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2009

The harsh winds of recession have started to make an impact on the Jewish community. Donors have cut back pledges, synagogue bodies are laying off staff and one institution has already gone to the wall. MST College, in North-West London, which specialised in teacher training for strictly Orthodox schools, closed at the end of last month.

MST may not be the only casualty. Despite the falling Jewish population, the number of Jewish charities has been increasing at more than five per cent annually in the UK in recent years.

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