Martin Bright

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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Courageous campaigner is determined to reveal the truth

By Martin Bright, January 17, 2013

Last week I had the honour of meeting Dr Richard Stone, the former chair of JCore, who sat on the panel of the Macpherson Inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

He will shortly publish his memoir of the inquiry, Hidden Stories, which will provide a unique perspective on an extraordinary moment in late 20th century history.

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Community politics are not ghetto politics

By Martin Bright, January 10, 2013

One of the first meetings I had when I took the job as political editor of the JC was with the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The chief executive and president were curious to know why a gentile had taken the job and who I believed I was writing for. At the time, I thought this a rather peculiar question as I thought one clue at least lay in the title of the newspaper.

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Why Israel has become a backbench obsession

By Martin Bright, January 3, 2013

What are we supposed to make of last week’s JC story by my colleague Jennifer Lipman, which showed that MPs had signed up to 21 early day motions about Israel, compared to just eight on Iran, three on Egypt, two on Syria and just one on Libya?

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UK Labour Party gets closer to its Israeli counterpart

By Martin Bright, December 27, 2012

As the year draws to a close, there is really only one event in the forthcoming few weeks. The Israeli elections on January 22 have the capacity to define the geopolitics of the region. They will also define the relationship between Israel and the British political class.

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The good, the bad, and the very ugly - Martin Bright's 2012 political awards

By Martin Bright, December 20, 2012

As the year end awards ceremonies proliferate, it is only appropriate that the JC should make its own set of honours.

In such a time of austerity there are no gongs as such and the event will not be televised, but here are the JC Political Editor’s Awards, some serious, some less so.

Jewish and Proud Award: Ed Miliband

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Muslim Tory MP: After Britain, Israel is best

By Martin Bright, December 13, 2012

It is not often that the Prime Minister is upstaged when he is guest of honour at an official function. It is even more unusual when it is one of his own MPs who is responsible. But this is just what happened when Sajid Javid, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and MP for Bromsgrove, spoke at the Conservative Friends of Israel “business lunch” on Tuesday.

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Britain beginning to close its ears to Israel

By Martin Bright, December 6, 2012

It comes to something when Conservative Friends of Israel is forced to issue a statement distancing itself from the position of a Tory-led government towards Israel. But even after the Foreign Office played down reports that William Hague was considering withdrawing our ambassador from Israel over plans to expand settlement building, CFI felt it necessary to issue a highly critical statement.

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UN bid throws party positions into sharp relief

By Martin Bright, November 29, 2012

What a difference a year makes. Last September, Ed Miliband marked a definitive break with his party’s pro-Israel New Labour past by backing the Palestinian bid for an upgrade to their status at the United Nations. At the time this seemed precipitous and naive.

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With Cameron, it’s all about the economics

By Martin Bright, November 22, 2012

If you want to understand UK foreign policy in the Cameron era, the government’s reaction to events in Gaza is enlightening. Following William Hague’s statement to Parliament on Tuesday, there can be no doubt about the UK government’s position as to where the blame lies for the fresh outbreak of violence.

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UK government reiterates Hamas responsibility in escalation of violence

By Martin Bright, November 20, 2012

Foreign Secretary William Hague used a statement in parliament on Tuesday to reiterate the UK government's view that Hamas should bear the principal responsibility for the escalation in violence in Gaza over the past week. The statement came as Israel announced it was suspending plans for a ground operation to allow talks in Egypt to take place to secure a truce.

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Unison in unison with Department of Health

By Martin Bright, November 15, 2012

Across the country, strikes are being organised in the heath service by public sector union Unison. Just this week, the union described plans to cut 50 per cent of nursing staff at NHS Direct as a “disaster”. The Department of Health and Unison are effectively at war.

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Will the community go on riding the bus with Denis?

By Martin Bright, November 8, 2012

Denis MacShane was a politician of passionately held convictions whose career ended in the most humiliating fashion.

The Commons Standards and Privileges Committee found that his abuse of the expenses system was the “gravest case” called to its attention.

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Israeli professor to sue Manchester health trust

By Martin Bright, November 8, 2012

An Israeli professor who was dropped as a speaker by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust said this week that he wanted a public acknowledgment of the discrimination against him.

Professor Moty Cristal, an expert on negotiations and conflict resolution, was formally disinvited from a seminar in Manchester in May with less than a week’s notice.

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Britain lashes out at Israel on settlements

By Martin Bright, November 8, 2012

Middle East minister Alistair Burt this week condemned Israel’s latest plans to extend settlement building in East Jerusalem and Ariel.

Mr Burt was reacting to the publication by the Israeli Housing Ministry of plans for nearly 1,300 new units.

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