Stephen Pollard

Incomparable giant who charmed the world's elite

By Stephen Pollard, January 21, 2016

If we are all unique, George Weidenfeld was, well... more unique than everyone else.

Publisher, statesman, writer, philanthropist, fixer - and much, much more. In each of his many roles he soared to heights that most of us would never come close to in just one career. At 96 he was the master of all his trades, the Jack of none.


Opera: Eugene Onegin

By Stephen Pollard, December 23, 2015

Let's pass over the unforgivably drab scenery and costumes, and concentrate on the - wonderful - plusses of this first revival of Kasper Holten's production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. Holten's central conceit - having the story performed as a flashback, with alter egos of both Tatyana and Onegin watching on - has been badly received generally.


Opera: Orpheet Eurydice

By Stephen Pollard, September 17, 2015

With the Royal Opera House currently on tour in Japan, Sir John Eliot Gardiner's English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir take over from the home team for this new production of one of the greatest of all operas - Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice.

And they alone would make this a performance not to be missed.


Lord Weidenfeld: It’s far easier being 95

By Stephen Pollard, July 23, 2015

One of the many privileges of editing the JC is meeting all sorts of people. I've been lucky enough to meet prime ministers, presidents and monarchs.

But I've no doubt at all that the greatest man I have met as editor, the thought of whose company always thrills me in advance and never disappoints, is Lord Weidenfeld - or just George.


Exclusive: The real reason Britain voted against Israel at the UN

By Stephen Pollard, July 6, 2015

Britain voted in favour of a UN resolution based on a report that condemned Israel’s actions in last summer’s Gaza war and accused it of war crimes – at the request of Benjamin Netanyahu.


NYLO New York

By Stephen Pollard, May 14, 2015

I've tried Downtown, Midtown and the Upper East, but my heart belongs to the Upper West.

And despite New York City's reputation for hotel prices as high as the skyscrapers, I maintain that if you look sensibly you can find seriously good value.


David Cameron: Israel was right to defend itself over Gaza — I feel that very clearly

By Stephen Pollard, April 30, 2015

Last month’s JC poll showing that 69 per cent of British Jews are planning to vote Conservative might, on one level, owe more to the community’s view of Labour leader Ed Miliband than it does to any attributes of David Cameron.

But that is a far too flippant response to what is, by any standards, a huge endorsement of the Prime Minister.


Israel was right to defend itself over Gaza, insists David Cameron

By Stephen Pollard, April 28, 2015

David Cameron has spoken of his belief that it is “important to speak out” about Israel’s right to have defended itself last year in Gaza.

In an interview with the JC to be published on Thursday, Mr Cameron contrasts the “indiscriminate” attacks on Israel with its defensive response.


A medical breakthrough: starve, and you lose weight

By Stephen Pollard, April 8, 2015

You wouldn’t guess from our obsession with talking about our health, but a report a few weeks ago found that British Jews are in better health than almost any other group in the country.

I’m not convinced. Having just turned 50, I could cure your insomnia with a list of my various ailments — and I am far from alone in this.


Larry David - the man I wish I was

By Stephen Pollard, March 12, 2015

I’m hoping that if I say Palestinian Chicken to you, it prompts thoughts not of sumac, za’atar and lemon but of the best 30 minutes of comedy ever. And if I say Ski Lift, it’s not Klosters or Verbier that spring to mind but Larry David pretending to be an Orthodox Jew.


A better way to report the views of British Jews

By Stephen Pollard, January 14, 2015

One of the frustrations for anyone working in the Jewish community is that it has been impossible to provide a reliable snapshot of opinion on any given subject. What were our views of the Gaza war last summer? Do we think shechita is under threat? Have we experienced antisemitism? The list of issues on which it would be invaluable to know what Jews think is almost endless.


Opera: Tristan und Isolde

By Stephen Pollard, December 11, 2014

I first heard Tristan und Isolde 29 years ago, with Reginald Goodall conducting at the ENO. Those performances set a high bar – they were so all-encompassing that I was unable to listen to music for weeks afterwards and, to this day, I can recall the impact.


Balotelli: Reaction is both stupid and dangerous

By Stephen Pollard, December 4, 2014

Another week, another "football antisemite" exposed.

And another series of outraged comments from our communal leaders.

Last week it was Dave Whelan, the Wigan chairman, who informed a reporter that "Jewish people chase money more than everybody else", prompting demands that he be ritually defenestrated.


Opera review: Idomeneo

By Stephen Pollard, November 13, 2014

Martin Kusej's cult-cum-dictatorship interpretation of Idomeneo was roundly booed on its opening night. But although much of it is rather silly - Arbace wanders around, inexplicably, with an accordion - much of it is rather good. It's thought-provoking to have the chorus singing not in admiration of Idomeneo but compelled by force to do so.


Faiths unite in fury over two-religion GCSE plan

By Stephen Pollard, September 23, 2014

Plans by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to require GCSE religious studies students to learn about two faiths have been delayed following a row between Mrs Morgan and the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles.

The reform was due to have been announced this week and trumpeted at next week's Conservative Party conference.


Opera review: Xerxes

By Stephen Pollard, September 18, 2014

I've seen Nicholas Hytner's production of Handel's comic opera at least a dozen times since it opened in 1985. And still I don't feel sated. This is simply one of the greatest opera productions - and it changed forever the perception of Handel as an opera composer. From box office death, Handel now almost guarantees a sell out.

This latest revival doesn't merely seem as fresh as ever.


JW3 and LJCC set to unite in historic merger

By Stephen Pollard, September 17, 2014

JW3, the £50m London community centre, is to merge with the LJCC, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, based at Ivy House in Golders Green.

The merger, which has long been predicted but has been repeatedly denied by both organisations, will be completed within the year.

As yet there is no name for the new joint organisation. But both bodies are keen to maintain their identities.


DEC Gaza appeal

By Stephen Pollard, August 14, 2014

There has been some controversy over the advert for the DEC Gaza appeal in this week’s paper.

I understand why some people are angry and upset and I thought it important to respond.

This is an advert, and not an expression of the JC's view. We keep editorial coverage entirely separate from our commercial operations.


Jewish Chronicle is donating Tricycle’s cash to Israel charity

By Stephen Pollard, August 13, 2014

For a number of years the JC has carried a small weekly advert from the Tricycle Theatre. Given the theatre’s demand that the UK Jewish Film Festival sever its ties to Israel, we could simply have severed our own ties to the Tricycle.


Is this the tipping point?

By Stephen Pollard, August 7, 2014

Malcolm Gladwell defines a tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”.

On Tuesday, Baroness Warsi resigned because the government refused to attack Israel sufficiently.

Later that day, the Tricycle Theatre told a Jewish charity it was not welcome unless it denounced Israel.