Martin Bright

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.

More..

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.

More..

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?

More..

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.

More..

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

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

UK policy on Israel: passion needed

By Martin Bright, November 1, 2012

This week’s Bicom dinner, one of the set-piece events of the year for UK supporters of Israel, was a reminder, if anyone needed it, of just how stuck things have become. Ehud Barak gave a rather good speech, but his very presence was a reminder of how far we are from that Camp David handshake with Yasir Arafat in 1999.

More..

Barak makes pledge on Syria arsenal

By Martin Bright, November 1, 2012

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has reiterated his country’s determination to prevent Syria’s weapons falling into the hands of Lebanese terrorist organisation Hizbollah.

More..

Israeli firm conspiracy: It’s probably not murky at all

By Martin Bright, October 25, 2012

It was inevitable really. The Sunday Times investigation into “generals for hire” has uncovered an alleged conspiracy involving an Israeli defence firm, a lobbying company and British supporters of the Zionist state.

More..

MEPs vote to remove drug trade barriers

By Martin Bright, October 25, 2012

A major new agreement to open up the trade in medicines between Israel and the European Union has been hailed as a significant victory over the boycott movement.

The deal removes barriers to trade in pharmaceuticals in both directions, and will have a direct effect on Britain by making Israeli medicines more quickly and more cheaply available in this country.

More..

Message is: support our policy of urging Netanyahu to cool it

By Martin Bright, October 18, 2012

It is not unusual for prominent politicians to speak at dinners for prestigious Jewish organisations, although it is always something of a coup when the Prime Minister turns up. Such occasions have a set protocol. The invited politician will pay due tribute to the Jewish community: its contribution to UK business, its philanthropic tradition or its respect for family values and education.

More..

The little European problem that the Conservatives would prefer to forget

By Martin Bright, October 11, 2012

The Conservative Party has a problem with the European Union and probably always will. Though the issue of our membership of the EU remains low on the priority list of most of the electorate (ask any pollster), it concerns Tory activists and backbenchers to the point of obsession. Europe is the destroyer of Conservative governments and could yet be the downfall of the Coalition.

More..