Martin Bright

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Conservative party chairman who is ‘a Brit who happens to be Jewish’

By Martin Bright, October 4, 2012

Grant Shapps is nothing if not confident. Since taking over as chair of the Conservative Party last month, he has shifted the focus to the next election, even installing a giant countdown clock in the office. When I visited, it was at 948 days and some eager staffers had programmed the clock as their screensaver.

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Something shifting in political climate

By Martin Bright, October 4, 2012

Could Ed Miliband be the first Jewish prime minister since Benjamin Disraeli? He certainly improved his chances with this year’s party conference speech in which he invoked the spirit of the father of One Nation Toryism.

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What’s happened to Labour's passion and principle when the only way was ethics?

By Martin Bright, September 28, 2012

There was a time, not so long ago, when you knew where you stood with Labour Party foreign policy. Remember 1997 and that headline in the Observer: "Goodbye Xenophobia"? Robin Cook's ethical foreign policy may now be lost in the mists of New Labour nostalgia, but it was an inspirational rallying cry.

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Good and bad in Israel boycott poll

By Martin Bright, September 27, 2012

It is hugely reassuring that the people calling for a boycott of Israeli actors, dancers and musicians are not in the majority in this country. Sometimes, in the heat of the debate, it is easy to lose perspective. The voices branding Israel an apartheid state are so shrill and vocal that it is easy to forget that they command only limited support.

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Time for one state, says key Liberal Democrat

By Martin Bright, September 21, 2012

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes has said that the opportunity for a two state solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute is now “near to the end” and the international community should consider a “one state solution”.

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Pay attention: Simon Hughes really knows what the liberals think

By Martin Bright, September 20, 2012

Simon Hughes’s interview with the JC today should come as yet another wake-up call to supporters of Israel. Mr Hughes is not just one of the country’s most senior politicians and deputy leader of a major party; he acts as something of a touchstone for liberal opinion.

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Friends groups head to Israel

By Martin Bright, September 20, 2012

A combined Lords and Commons cricket team will fly to Israel the day after David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference. The delegation aims to use Britain’s greatest sporting export to combine Middle East fact-finding with cultural diplomacy.

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Community needs to re-think how to make Israel’s case

By Martin Bright, September 13, 2012

Supporters of Israel are losing the battle of ideas in the UK. This has probably been true for some time, if only they would admit it. But after this year’s TUC conference there is no longer any question about it, on the left at least.

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Reshuffle involves two men who wouldn’t take a stand

By Martin Bright, September 6, 2012

In many ways, David Cameron’s first reshuffle was a non-event. Since coming to power two years ago, the Prime Minister has made it plain that he is aiming for consistency and continuity. He has refused to indulge in the manic reshuffling of his predecessors, believing coalition politics to be unstable enough even without a constant change of personnel.

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Beware the language of suspicion

By Martin Bright, August 31, 2012

As the 2012 party conference season approaches, it is probably fair to say that the concerns of the Jewish community could not be further from the minds of the political class. Dark times produce inward-looking party conferences and discussion in the bars will be focused on the economy, whether the coalition can hold together and if the Labour Party will ever be ready to return to government.

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Cristal farce may hide serious truth

By Martin Bright, August 23, 2012

There is something deeply surreal about the Moty Cristal affair. It would be comical if the principles involved were not so fundamental.

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