Bright on politics

Finding nuance in religious debate? I’ve got quite a job

By Martin Bright, January 24, 2014

We all have our dream jobs, and editing a publication analysing the role of religion in conflicts around the world is mine.

I never imagined for a moment anyone would offer me the role, so I was delighted to be approached by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to work on a new website on religion and globalisation.

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Why myth-makers still fight the battle of Masada

By Martin Bright, January 9, 2014

I have spent the past few weeks reading about Masada.

I won’t need to remind readers of this paper of the significance of the Jewish people’s last stand against the Roman occupiers following the destruction of the temple. Nor will I need to tell them of the importance of the story to the construction of Zionist identity or, indeed, the state of Israel.

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Why the Syria vote was all about Iraq

By Martin Bright, September 3, 2013

The events of the past week should leave no one in any doubt that the Iraq War is the defining event for the present political generation.

Neither 9/11 and the rise of Islamic extremism, nor even the economic crisis, which both have had more direct and visible consequences on the streets of Britain, have scratched scars as deep as the decision to go to war in 2003.

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Farewell from a front-row seat at impressive displays of solidarity

By Martin Bright, March 7, 2013

This is my last Bright on Politics column.

After three-and-a-half years at the JC, I will leave with a lump in my throat, so please forgive me if this piece is a little sentimental or, dare I say it, schmaltzy.

When I started work at the paper, some of my former colleagues warned me I was consigning myself to a backwater. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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John Kerry's visit teaches Hague about patronising platitudes

By Martin Bright, February 28, 2013

The new US Secretary of State, John Kerry, honoured the UK with a visit at the start of his first diplomatic tour in the post and dished out a lesson in how it feels to be a small nation patronised by a superpower. There was ample briefing in advance that the focus of his discussions with the UK government would be Syria and the stalled Middle East peace process.

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Ward affair erodes support for LibDems after Tonge

By Martin Bright, February 21, 2013

The David Ward affair continues to rumble on, driving a further wedge between the Liberal Democrats and the UK Jewish population. The party has acted to give the Bradford East MP what Nick Clegg has described as a "yellow card". But it is unclear what purpose this was intended to serve.

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Telling the truth about dialogue

By Martin Bright, February 14, 2013

Last week, I chaired a debate on the vexed question of interfaith dialogue. Our brave co-hosts were the Jewish educational charity Spiro Ark and Harif, which promotes the history of the Jews of North Africa and the Middle East.

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How the ‘pariah state’ conquered the hi-tech world

By Martin Bright, February 7, 2013

This week, an American friend visited who had been in Israel for the elections. A veteran peace activist and trade unionist, she was here to talk to fellow liberal supporters of Israel about the boycott movement and how to fight it. Like others working in this troubled arena, my friend knows that Britain stands at the epicentre of an international campaign of delegitimisation.

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The week extremism became mainstream

By Martin Bright, January 31, 2013

In January 2013, a watershed was reached in the history of anti-Zionism. Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), a time for reflection and collective grief for the suffering of the victims of genocide, was overshadowed by two men.

First, LibDem MP David Ward drew a parallel between the death camps and the “atrocities” against the Palestinian people by “the Jews”.

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UK may now have to reset its relationship with Israel

By Martin Bright, January 24, 2013

The much-predicted hysterical lurch to the right turned out to be a sober march to the centre ground.

Israeli elections often produce surprises, but the results this week will have led to an unprecedented collective sigh of relief in Whitehall.

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