Comment

The Teacher: Is there a political agenda behind the judgement?

By Jo Wagerman, July 2, 2009

A political agenda behind the judgement?

It is startling that for the first time in England a judge, be he Christian, secular or anything else, believes he can impose his interpretation of Jewish identity on the community. This judgement reflects the confusion between race and religion that bedevils much of English life.

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Liberal Judaism has sought to build a policy of inclusion

By Danny Rich, July 2, 2009

Liberal Judaism has long and consistently argued that Judaism is primarily transmitted culturally and through example and influence. That transmission, which frequently happens to children in families, but may happen to adults too, is perhaps best described as one of Jewish education in its broadest sense.

This education equips the Jew with a sense of identity and commitment which is forged by an encounter with Jewish beliefs, values, attitudes and ideals, and an immersion into Jewish practice and Jewish mores.

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A bad ruling at a bad time: To confuse religion and race is a mistake.

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, July 2, 2009

The learned judges who ruled last week that the admission procedures of the JFS were in breach of the Race Relations Act clearly did not wish to claim that Judaism is racist. Yet, by one of the great ironies of our time, a law, intended to protect Jews from racism, has now been used against them.

Since the days of Abraham and Moses, Jews have been commanded to educate their children and thus hand on their faith across the generations. We are the people who predicated our survival on education, the first in history to create a universal system of schooling.

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Jews are not a race; but then again, no one else is either, race is a social construct

By Tony Kushner, July 2, 2009

Since the 1930s, Jews in Britain have sought some protection from the state against discrimination and libel.

Such moves reflected the rise of political antisemitism and wider social prejudice.

In the 1950s, with the growth of new Commonwealth immigration, there was a revival in support for anti-racist measures, but politicians and the state rejected them as being against the laissez-faire approach then adopted to “race relations”.

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Von Brunn reminds us that ideas really can kill

By Dr Winston Pickett, June 25, 2009

The moment the self-declared white supremacist, conspiracy theorist and hardcore antisemite James Von Brunn walked into the US Holocaust Memorial Museum earlier this month and began opening fire, he brought more than death and the shattering of innocent lives to the public consciousness.

He also shattered a number of myths and rationales that saner members of society carry around with them when not confronted with pure hatred, face-to-face.

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It’s no act, being Jewish is in my DNA

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, June 25, 2009

It’s been one of those weeks where synchronicity has brought three acting parts my way, each totally different and each filming in a different British city.

First, to Birmingham to play an innocent woman dubbed “The Black Widow” by her neighbours for allegedly murdering two husbands — and now seemingly attempting to murder her third.

Mid week I’m in Glasgow in the role of an aggressive, predatory female editor of a “Lads “ magazine who doesn’t know when enough is enough.

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Is this museum of tolerance being intolerant?

By Danny Rich, June 25, 2009

On a recent trip to Israel with my teenage son, I stopped at the Mamila (Muslim) cemetery, which I have always walked through en route from the headquarters of the World Union of Progressive Judaism in King David Street to my cousins’ home near Meah Shearim.

“When I was on my shnat programme, we had an interfaith project to clean up this cemetery. My friends and I would come but the Arab boys and girls rarely turned up,” remarked my 18-year-old.

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Patriotism - an unrequited love

By David Aberbach, June 25, 2009

A recent Gallup and Coexist Foundation poll shows that most British Muslims are patriotic and loyal to Britain, and respectful of its institutions, to a far greater degree than the general population, whose members wrongly tend to associate them with fanaticism and terror.

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Holocaust deniers: we’ll take your ads please!

By Stephen Pollard, June 18, 2009

How would you react if, on your way to work, you were confronted by a series of adverts from David Irving, telling you to look at his website for ‘The Truth’, and urging you to find out what is really happening in the world from the only truly reliable source: himself.

You’d — at the very least — wonder why Transport for London considered it appropriate to accept adverts from an antisemitic propagandist. Not, of course, that a public body such as TfL would ever accept such advertising.

But that’s, to all intents and purposes, what TfL has now done.

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How a movie trailer cured my horror fantasy

By John Nathan, June 18, 2009

I vividly remember my first Nazi. I was sitting in my living room at about the age of 10. And, though this Nazi’s appearance was on my TV screen, I am not talking about an Anton Diffring, “Achtung, schweinhund”, British Second-World-War movie character. This was the real thing. I was watching footage of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. The film was overlaid with Richard Dimbleby’s famous eye-witness radio broadcast. I watched as well-fed Germans lifted dead bodies by their spindly arms.

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