Amnesty joins Israel-bashers

By Eric Lee, December 3, 2009

In recent months, Amnesty International in the UK has taken a sharp anti-Israel turn. This will be obvious to anyone who receives the organisation’s bi-monthly magazine, which now features articles bashing Israel in every single issue.

For example, last summer the magazine carried a long report on a visit by an Amnesty delegation to Israel and Palestine. It was an utterly one-sided account, reporting the suffering of Palestinians without even hinting at the possibility that Israelis too might be victims of the conflict.


Jews and Muslims must both grasp the nettles

By Ed Kessler, December 3, 2009

Too often, when Jews talk to Muslims, we avoid the difficult issues, notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, we each tend either to engage in friendly but essentially vacuous conversation or take delight in pointing out the other side’s faults (while ignoring our own).

Authentic dialogue must allow for sharp difference. It was unwillingness to tackle difference that led to a number of interfaith dialogue groups collapsing in the aftermath of the Gaza war.


How to get back to Mid-East basics

By Linda Menuhin, December 3, 2009

Two months ago, my sister and I were delighted to accept a wedding invitation from an Iraqi family living in Amman, Jordan. The groom’s grandfather, a distinguished lawyer, had spent his internship with my father in Baghdad in the 1940s. A couple of years ago in London, I had approached this man to see if he could help unearth any clues about my missing father, who was kidnapped during the reign of Ahmed Hassan Al Bakr, Saddam Hussein’s predecessor, and of whom we have heard nothing since.


Tories must reject 'Double Genocide' proponents

By Dovid Katz, November 30, 2009

From here in Lithuania, it is painful and baffling to see Jews in the freedom of the UK defending both a Polish politician who suggests “the Jews” should apologise for “participation in communism” in return for any apology for Polish participation in the Holocaust in specific locations like Jedwabne, and a Latvian party that showers honour on Waffen SS officers.


Israelis blind to the essence of life

By Nathan Jeffay, November 30, 2009

The first time I heard the idea, my friend was suggesting it as a joke. He was sopping wet from Israel’s first winter rains and said that perhaps now we had seen a few drops fall from the sky we should abolish the drought tax.

For Israel, this is the fifth consecutive year of drought, and the first during which the budget encouraged citizens to be careful with water via the so-called drought tax. Households were allotted a monthly quota of water, enough for normal usage taking account of the size of the family. If they exceeded that, they were charged at a higher rate.


Can't concentrate? Don’t go away

By Joe Joseph, November 26, 2009

I am at London’s O2 arena, watching a tennis match between a Swiss and a Spaniard, and a fan in the seat in front has a flag the size of Seville that he’s waving every time the Spaniard hits the ball, obstructing my view. What is the etiquette? Is it OK to tell him to cut it out?

So come on
Let me entertain you
Let me entertain you …

What? That snatch of Robbie Williams that you just heard in the last paragraph? Oh, that was to keep your attention on this column.


Bitching is not what it used to be

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, November 19, 2009

I recently had my hair done for a TV presenting job. So while I was trapped in this West End salon in a small confined chair, hair tinted and trussed up in more tin foil than a turkey at Chanucah, I had nothing to do except read.

I cursed my luck when I realised that I had forgotten my book, then my phone battery went dead and thus I was left to leaf through the endless copies of “Celebrity” magazines.

One thing I noticed is that we love a good feud. For example, Posh Spice on Jordan: “Who let the dogs out?”

Cheryl Cole on Lily Allen: “You’re fat and ugly.”


There's no need for the gloom

By Stephen Pollard, November 19, 2009

It’s been a year since I arrived at the JC. Before I came, I had some professional experience of the community, having helped establish an antisemitism think tank, and written a fair amount about Israel and the Middle East. But other than that, I was no more connected than most people — the occasional shul visit and a strong Jewish social life.

So these past 12 months have given me a wonderful opportunity to learn about the community, from its heart, with the perspective of an outsider (although after a year at the JC, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to call myself that again!).


Netanhayu is steering Israel to disaster

By Yariv Oppenheimer, November 19, 2009

Richard Goldstone is an antisemitic Jew, Turkey has long since become an Islamic state, the Russians are a disappointment, the Chinese are confused, the Indians are wrong, the Swedes and Norwegians are always against us, and the Americans — we can do without them.


We must lead fight against extremists

By Martin Bright, November 19, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of addressing an audience of well-informed, liberal and politically committed Jews on the rise of radical Islam in Britain. I suggested it was a tragedy that east London, for so long associated with Jewish immigration and the fight against fascism, had now become the home of the Islamist extreme right.