Peace talks no comfort for jaded Golan Druze

By Paula Slier, May 30, 2008

As Israel and Syria start talks, a community mulls its divided loyalties

In the central square of Majdal Shams, the largest of the four Druze villages in the Golan Heights, towers a large statue of Sultan Basha El-Atrash.

Engraved below the Syrian resistance hero who fought French colonialism are two lines in Arabic by the Tunisian poet Abu El-Qassem El-Shabi: “If one day the people desire freedom and life, then inevitably destiny will comply — and inevitably darkness will melt away, and inevitably the chains will be broken.”


Review: 1948: The First Arab-Israeli war

By Ahron Bregman, May 30, 2008

By Benny Morris
Yale University Press, £25

Writers and scholars (myself included) have tended to ignore, or dismiss, the jihadi character of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and to regard the Arab rhetoric that accompanied their assault on the Jewish community and state as empty words.


How the battle for Jaffa lives on

By Ben Lynfield, May 16, 2008

Jews and Arabs hold conflicting memories of the confrontation that lead to Israel's establishment

Despite flags everywhere and aerial acrobatics for Israel’s 60th birthday, ghosts were still haunting Jaffa this week.

At Etzel House, a museum that commemorates the conquest of Jaffa in 1948 by Menachem Begin’s underground fighters, also known as the Irgun, 82-year-old veteran Joseph Nachmias recalls how forces moved from house to house, hammering holes in the walls to enter.


London’s Arab media ‘give a distorted view’

By Rachel Fletcher, May 2, 2008

Arab journalists in London have been criticised by a leading Israeli Arab activist for giving a distorted view of Israel.

Wafa Fahoum, who runs Israel’s oldest co-existence project, Bet Hagefen, spoke out after meeting the Muslim and Arab media in the capital last week.

She said: “One woman said, as though there were no debate, that there is apartheid in Israel. I was surprised. I told her that there was a big difference between fighting for equality and shared citizenship and apartheid. I want my rights, but it’s not apartheid.


Muslims enjoy a seder night

By Jay Grenby, May 2, 2008

An imam told an interfaith audience last Wednesday that, according to the Prophet Mohammed, great honour should be paid to the Jews who escaped from their Egyptian slave-masters in biblical times.

Rezia Wahid cats to Miriam Winston at the
interfaith third seder

Sheikh Salah al-Ansari of Basingstoke Mosque was addressing a third seder at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood, held under the auspices of Alif-Aleph UK, which promotes contact between British Muslims and Jews.


PCC rejects complaint against JC

April 18, 2008

A complaint against the Jewish Chronicle made by the Islamic Human Rights Commission has been rejected by the Press Complaints Commission.

The protest concerned a report of last October’s Al-Quds Day demonstration in London, which the IHRC supported with other organisations.

The JC reported a claim made by a Jewish blogger, writing as Edgar Davidson, that he had been subjected to cries of “Kill the Jews” while demonstrating against the rally.


Reject the support of Islamists

By David Toube, April 18, 2008

Labour and Lib-Dem politicians should condemn endorsements from radical Muslims


What I, as an Israeli Arab, am hoping for

By Ghaida Rinawi Zoabi, April 18, 2008

Ten years ago, I finished my masters degree at Haifa University and went to the ceremony with my husband and parents. The stadium was full of graduates and their families, and the event began with the Hatikva. Everyone got up to sing, and we remained sitting, a small group. There were very few other Arab graduates then, and people began looking at us, nudging and whispering. It was as if we were creatures from another planet. The experience marked me for life.


Exam whistleblower wins £70,000 claim

By Rachel Fletcher, April 18, 2008

A sacked teacher who criticised an Islamic school for using books that described Jews and Christians as “monkeys” and “pigs” has spoken of his ordeal.

Colin Cook, who taught English at the King Fahad Academy in Acton, West London, was last week awarded nearly £70,000 for unfair dismissal by a Watford Employment Tribunal.

The tribunal upheld his claim that he was wrongly fired from his £36,000-a-year position in December 2006 for whistleblowing about alleged cover-up of cheating in a GCSE exam. He failed in a claim of race discrimination.


Film ‘will polarise’ faiths

April 4, 2008

Dutch Jews have spoken out against an anti-Islam film by a rightist politician. The 15-minute long Fitna depicts clerics calling for Jews to be killed and praising Adolf Hitler. CJO, the community’s central body, warned that the film by Geert Wilders would only “polarise Dutch society”.