Comment

The blood libel is alive and well over Gaza

By Barry Rubin, March 26, 2009

A group of young Israeli soldiers met to evaluate their experiences in the Gaza war to see what could be learned from them. The next thing you know, there is a global news story about Israel committing war crimes.

Given the eagerness to find Israel evil and guilty, it falls into the category of a “blood libel”, the historic allegation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood for matzo.

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End this brutalised occupation

By Jonathan Freedland, March 26, 2009

Soon my favourite festival will be upon us, the season of freedom, where we celebrate the greatest liberation story in human history. I love everything about Pesach, from the ridiculous — kosher-for-Passover washing-up liquid, anyone? — to the sublime, including the glow that comes from a family sitting around a Seder table retelling a tale passed down the generations since the beginning of Jewish time.

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Shalit must be regarded as a prisoner of war

By Marian Lebor, March 26, 2009

It was very sad and frustrating to watch Gilad Shalit’s parents packing up their protest tent last Saturday night.

Although Noam and Aviva Shalit did not allow themselves to be too optimistic, a sense of expectation had built up that a breakthrough would be achieved by Saturday’s 1,000-day mark, which should have coincided with the end of Ehud Olmert’s premiership.

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Being ‘foreign’ in today’s Britain

By Amanda Craig, March 26, 2009

Unlike writer Rhoda Koenig’s friend, as described in her New Statesman article earlier this month, I have never been told at a dinner party that, “if you’re Jewish you can’t be British”. But I am all too aware of what it is like to feel foreign in today’s Britain. Having my father’s Scottish surname, and the Scottish red hair to boot, gives me the experience of being both insider and outsider — which is somehow crucial to the development of a great many writers in this country.

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Our charities are doing well. Give them a break

By Barry Frankfurt, March 19, 2009

It seemed all too familiar. A UK charity had promised a significant sum and then failed to deliver. The charity argued that the intended recipients had not given it the undertakings required. The would-be beneficiaries said they had been promised the cash and were in desperate need.

Sound familiar? No, it’s not JNF-UK, whose tribulations the JC has extensively reported, but Sentebale, the charity set up by Princes William and Harry, which had promised £30,000 to a children’s home in Lesotho.

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Young need hope, not judgment

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, March 19, 2009

Worryingly, I have recently found myself spiritually in tune with Daily Mail readers. I tut at the sight of young people on the streets. I sigh at the hopelessness of hoodies and their anti-social behaviour. I despair at 14-year-old fathers and even younger “baby mothers”. Oy, what sort of society is this when children have no respect for adults? This week I left my judgmental comfort zone and went to Pelton, County Durham, where my prejudices were severely challenged.

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Let’s treat all bigots equally

By Douglas Murray, March 19, 2009

The Home Office decision to bar Hizbollah spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi from the UK is a victory for common sense. It is more than a month since a colleague of mine at the Centre for Social Cohesion noticed that Moussawi was due to come to London to address a seminar on political Islam at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

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How to make a drama out of an Israeli crisis

By John Nathan, March 19, 2009

Last week, Britain’s most influential political playwright, Sir David Hare, presented Wall — his one-man, 40-minute foray into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — at London’s Royal Court Theatre. He has been here — and there — before. It was at the Royal Court, in 1998, that Hare performed Via Dolorosa, his earlier monologue about the conflict.

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So what were the gains in Gaza?

By Geoffrey Paul, March 19, 2009

Even before I type this first sentence, I see the heads shaking in disapprobation, the eyebrows raised as they only can be in response to criticism of Israel within this traditionally supportive community — where, if Israel can make any mistakes, it is wise not to say so lest you upset your family.

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Time to invoke Shylock in defence of Israel

By Eric Lee, March 12, 2009

I call it “my Shylock moment” and it’s happening more and more. I’ve had the opportunity three times in the last few weeks to represent the Israeli point of view in public debates. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy task. The audiences — two British universities and at a TV studio in London — are overwhelmingly hostile.

The questions repeat themselves, as do my answers. And every time, there’s one person whose question is a little bit different; this is what triggers the Shylock moment.

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