Thought of swapping galaxies yet?

By Simon Round, October 15, 2009

One of my favourite stories of last week was about the space probe that Nasa sent crashing into the Moon to create a big cloud of dust which will tell us if there is water there.

Scientists had recently found evidence to suggest that there is water on the moon and made a big deal out of it, although I could have told them that years ago — after all, if there was no water on the Moon, what did The Clangers make their soup out of?


Human rights watchers with poor visibility

By Mark Gardner, October 15, 2009

Groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) are the guardians of society’s universal human rights, their mission anchored upon the horrors of Nazism. So you would expect them to have zero tolerance for anything associated with Nazism. Not so, it seems.


BNP on Question Time? Why not?

By Jeremy Isaacs, October 15, 2009


‘Let Truth and Falsehood grapple”, wrote Milton in Areopagitica, his classic argument for freedom of speech. “Who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?”


For the best stand-ups, go to shul

By Peter Rosengard, October 8, 2009

On Yom Kippur I made my first visit to synagogue since  my daughter’s batmitzvah in March, when, just before commencing the service, the rabbi announced “No recording equipment of any kind is allowed.”

Everything was going without a hitch, until I stood up with the rest of the congregation, and the silver cassette  recorder (about the size of a 1lb packet of Tate and Lyle granulated sugar), with a 10in-long microphone attached, that I’d  hidden under my chair, got entangled in my tallis and dangled there by my knee about a foot off the ground.


Only aliyah can save Israel

By Uzi Silber, October 8, 2009

Hiking through a Galilean meadow during army service in pre-intifada 1985, a childhood friend approached a severely weathered and abandoned wooden shed. Drawing closer, he was able to decipher a message sprayed on to one of its crumbling walls.

“The future is ours,” averred the roughly scrawled words, whose Hebrew penmanship and spelling suggested the hand of a non-Jew; an Arab field worker, perhaps. The implication of the message was clear: the future won’t be “owned” by those who possess the present — namely Jews.


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.


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.


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.


'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.


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”?