Here we go again: it’s brainless boycott time

By David Newman, June 4, 2009

Once again, the University and College Union passed a motion condemning Israel at its annual convention. Once again it recommended boycotting Israeli universities. Once again, this will have negligible impact on academic links between the two countries.

This time, the Israeli media have given it very little coverage. Academics were mostly unaware that the issue had come up again, while those who have scientific links with their UK counterparts all reported that these had not been affected in any way.


The one sure way to achieve peace

By Simon Baron-Cohen and Avi Machlis, June 4, 2009

With plans under way for a new US-backed peace process, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will soon be busy preparing check-lists of vital interests, intractable demands and red lines. But no peace agenda can possibly succeed without addressing the bilateral erosion of empathy. Israelis and Palestinians have fears and concerns that seem diametrically opposed. Bridging those gaps requires empathy --- the ability to imagine someone else’s thoughts and feelings. But after a century of violent conflict, both sides appear incapable of empathising with the suffering of their neighbours.


Make your link with Israel personal, not financial

By Barry Frankfurt, May 28, 2009

Since 1900, UK Jewry has supported first the idea and then the reality of the Jewish state. We have donated hundreds of millions of pounds for everything from schools to opera houses, and pretty much everything in between.

In the aftermath of Israel’s independence in 1948, the needs grew and with them our financial contribution. During the 1967 Six-Day War the young Zionists of that era forged the inextricable links that saw them become the formidable communal leaders and Israel fundraisers of the last 40 years. They saw Israel under attack and responded with their time and money.


If you want to be happy, avoid news

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, May 28, 2009

I tried an experiment today. I picked up a broadsheet and looked for a positive news story. I got to page 11 without finding a single one. Susan Boyle doesn’t count.

I gave up. Looking for a good news story is a bit like trying to find an unbiased approach to reporting on Israel. Apart from Fox News, it doesn’t exist.


Don’t let political disillusion stop you voting

By Zaki Cooper, May 28, 2009

What do Gordon Brown, Prince Charles and the Chief Rabbi have in common? It may sound like a joke but the answer is they have all given speeches to the European Parliament in the past year.

All this reflects a renewed interest in the Parliament. The Conservative Daniel Hannan’s savage riposte to the Prime Minister’s speech to MEPs in Strasbourg in March attracted a cult following on Youtube.


Power breakfasts are really no yolk

By Peter Rosengard, May 21, 2009

Daniel knelt by my side at the table, a knife in his hand. With one decisive blow… he sliced the top off my boiled egg.

“ At last!... perfection Mr Rosengard!” he said. “Yellow runny; white firm.”

“Well done Daniel,” I said to the young waiter.

We were having a slight problem with the boiled eggs this morning. I have been having two, sometimes three, breakfast meetings a day at Claridge’s for almost 30 years.

“Just walk into the lobby and look for someone who looks like he’s had three or four hundred breakfasts,” I tell my guests.


Solidarity born of shared horrors

By Noam Schimmel, May 21, 2009

Collective tragedies become a part of the consciousness of a people. So it is with Jews and the Shoah.

From a young age, I learned that however much the Jewish people suffered and were persecuted, they remained fundamentally resilient and unbowed, a people, a religion and a civilization that revelled in community, learning and doing the right thing. I found much joy in Judaism, never finding it weighed down by the sadness and pains of the past, however enormous and overwhelming.


Just mamaloshen? Have I got views for you…

By David Crystal, May 21, 2009

In his 1965 composition, A Yiddish Poet, Menke Katz wrote: “My mother tongue is as unpolished as a wound, a laughter, a love-starved kiss...”


Prague’s declaration of disgrace

By Dovid Katz, May 21, 2009

Not many have heard about the Prague Declaration, which is currently making the rounds at the European Parliament. Proclaimed last June in Prague (but cooked up in the Baltics), its innocuous theme is “European Conscience and Communism”. Now who would oppose that? The heinous crimes of Communist regimes clearly merit full exposure. Victims deserve recognition. When the grand jamboree of freedom, fun and prosperity got under way for us lucky westerners in 1945, entire nations ceded to Stalin were condemned to totalitarian rule.


When the Middle East really means just ‘Arab’

By Jan Shure, May 14, 2009

In case you need reminding, we are almost half way through 2009. It is 31 years since the Camp David agreement, 20 years since the formal Arab boycott of Israel ended and 16 years since Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, leading, supposedly, to the normalization of relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours.