Being defensive no longer works

By Tony Bayfield, September 2, 2010

I went to a reception for a departing Israeli diplomat. She told me with passion and conviction that Britain was terrible for its pro-Arab attitudes and deep-rooted antisemitism. She couldn't understand how Jews could live here.

President Shimon Peres talked recently about pro-Arab, anti-Israel sentiments in our establishment. He described Britain as Israel's next big problem. Many American Jews say that Britain is a place where even the universities are infected by blatant antisemitism masquerading as a boycott of Israeli academics.


Happy New Year. Pass the tequila

By Venetia Thompson, August 26, 2010

I think it's time to take a collective deep breath: we're about to hit holiday season - Rosh Hashanah will immediately morph into Yom Kippur, and then before we've evenhad time to make New Year's resolutions, it'll be Chrismucah. I know that for some of you this will be your favourite time of year, but I'm currently embracing that feeling of impending doom that will stay with me until January 2nd.


You know Prague but what about Plymouth?

By Valerie Bello, August 26, 2010

When we choose to visit European cities that have a significant Jewish history, such as Prague or Amsterdam, for many of us, the first port of call is the area where Jews once lived and thrived. We identify enthusiastically with our heritage and culture in other countries. By contrast, we fail entirely to acknowledge it on our own doorstep.


Israel's sad slide from democracy

By Hagai El-Ad, August 26, 2010

In June, Israeli MK Miri Regev (Likud) shouted, in Arabic, at her fellow MK, Haneen Zoabi (Balad): "Go back to Gaza, traitor!" as Zoabi tried in vain to address the Knesset on her return from her participation in the "Free Gaza" flotilla.

In July, the Knesset decided by a 34-16 vote to strip Zoabi of her parliamentary benefits.

In August, the release of a heavily edited video clip by the army led to renewed calls in the Knesset to revoke her citizenship.


Initiatives like these are arguments against boycotts

By Martin Bright, August 19, 2010

The other week I spent the evening in a beautiful garden in east Jerusalem listening to sublime music that brought together the best of the traditions of western, Arabic and Jewish music, ancient and modern.

It was a unique event, bringing together two of the most prominent musicians in the region, one Jewish, one Palestinian. Also performing for a small audience of friends and invited outsiders was a group of rappers from the Shuafat refugee camp. Everyone agreed that it was an astonishing moment.


Finally, we're no longer a niche

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, August 19, 2010

For those of you who have become familiar with me through these columns, or indeed are related to me and only get a chance to catch up with me via this hallowed newspaper because I don't answer the phone very often (sorry mum), then you'll know that I do take my charitable and civic responsibilities seriously.

I do try to do my bit, however small that bit may be. I've done a number of luncheon talks recently and been a host of charitable award


Britain can be a brutal host

By Carol Gould, August 19, 2010

A friend and I were having a lovely time at a house party after the First Night of the Proms when a young man in a baseball hat sauntered over to me and said: "I have some questions for you." He started with, "So, what do you do?" and I explained that I have in the past been on tough panels discussing Israel and the USA. He gave me "the look", as I like to call it. I thought he was going to strike me. He sputtered, "So, why do you people always have to say, Look at me! I'm a Jew?"


How JCoss inclusion extends beyond religion

By Norma Brier, August 19, 2010

Among the several comments published in recent weeks in the JC concerning the "best" way to deliver education to children in the Anglo-Jewish community, only two or three letters have referred to the sizeable minority of students who have special educational needs.


Names are there to be changed

By Monica Porter, August 19, 2010

I have just been reading the most recent autobiography of nonagenarian movie star Kirk Douglas (his fourth). The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Douglas started life with the name Issur Danielovitch. It was Americanised for the sake of his film career.

In his book, Douglas remarks that sometimes he still mourns the passing of Issur, the erstwhile identity he was forced to "kill off". Particularly since the major stroke he suffered in 1996, which caused him to re-evaluate his life and embrace Judaism.


I'm on holiday, and so is my psyche

By Simon Round, August 12, 2010

Part of the reason I enjoy holidays so much is that they give me time out to reflect on what is really important in life – a respite to let my thoughts wander to subjects and places far removed from the normal workday existence, as the waves lap onto the shores of the Adriatic.

Therefore, like Byron, Hemingway and Greene before me, I have decided to share some thoughts and reflections from abroad in the hope that I may have distilled something of the true essence of the human experience. Here is a selection of my journal entries from Croatia's Dalmatian coast …