Daniel Finkelstein

Let's get behind moderates

By Daniel Finkelstein, September 24, 2015

I go to churches, I go to mosques, I go to synagogues. I find the power of faith very interesting." So said the new leader of the Labour Party. And of course he does. Of course Jeremy Corbyn believes in the power of faith, because, after all, he is a man of faith.


Why is Labour so placid?

By Daniel Finkelstein, August 13, 2015

You may know the story of the King of France, woken by the Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt to be told of the fall of the Bastille. "Is this a revolt?" he asked sleepily. "No, Sire," replied the Duke. "It is a revolution."

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader would not be a problem for the Labour Party. It would be a debacle. A catastrophe. A calamity. A disaster.


Thirteen, a lucky number

By Daniel Finkelstein, July 2, 2015

Last weekend was my son Aron's barmitzvah. Here are some more or less random thoughts prompted by the event. First, barmitzvahs are a magnificent invention. I apologise if that is rather a banal observation, but they are, aren't they? Watching your children come of age really is wonderful, life-affirming stuff. So having a ceremony to mark the occasion is simply genius.


Labour's Israel question

By Daniel Finkelstein, May 21, 2015

Leaving a Minister's office in March, I was taken down in the lift by one of the messengers. We had met many times over the past five years and with the election coming up, I said to him: "Well, this might be the last time you take me downstairs like this. In a month, you may have a new government and a different minister."

He looked at me, shook his head slowly and said: "Naah".


Why Mr Farage worries me

By Daniel Finkelstein, April 8, 2015

I need your help with something. Together, if that's alright with you, we need to think through something that's been bothering me. I'm finding it hard to put it into words. Which is awkward, being as that's what I'm paid for. So I just need you to bear with me.


When wrongs make rights

By Daniel Finkelstein, February 26, 2015

'A covenant with death and agreement with hell". These were the words used by the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to describe the American constitution, agreed in Philadelphia in 1787. And it is hard to disagree with his words. As the negotiations between the states proceeded, a terrible obstacle had loomed. What should the constitution say about slavery?


Do they know what 'We are Jewish shoppers' means?

By Daniel Finkelstein, January 15, 2015

All week I have been puzzling over something. Why is it, when I see people saying "We are Charlie" it sets my teeth on edge? And why do I find it annoying when people tweet "We are Jewish shoppers now"?


In praise of cosy boredom

By Daniel Finkelstein, December 4, 2014

Last month, the UJIA, working with video talks website JDOV, organised an evening of short talks and asked me to give one of them. The brief was to give the audience the message I'd want to leave them if it was my last speech to the Jewish community.


It is vital to define terms

By Daniel Finkelstein, September 18, 2014

Not long after the Gaza troubles started up again, I noticed something odd about some of the people attaching my name to tweets attacking Israel. They seemed to be strangers, but I'd come across them before. Then I realised where. It had been during the recent debates about child abuse. There was a group of people who linked Jews, Israel and paedophiles.

But it was all done very carefully.


Britain is Christian. Be glad of it

By Daniel Finkelstein, May 16, 2014

Is Britain a Christian country? Or a country in which increasingly few people regard themselves as Christian? Both. And it takes a Jew to appreciate it.


Peers, fears, and shechita

By Daniel Finkelstein, February 21, 2014

The other day, the House of Lords turned its attention to shechita. If I hadn’t been a member of the House I’m sure I would have missed it. It was a shock to realise that something that matters a huge amount in people’s lives could come and go without much attention.


Praying with a purpose

By Daniel Finkelstein, January 10, 2014

"What do you think will happen if you pray?” asked my friend. It was New Year’s Eve, and a left-wing, but religious, fellow journalist had just kindly wished me everything that I prayed for in 2014. In fact he had gone further. He had wished all his followers on social media all that they prayed for.


Dear Nick Clegg, we need to talk about David Ward

By Daniel Finkelstein, November 29, 2013

Dear Deputy Prime Minister,

As I hope you know by now, I have great respect for you. I believe it took substantial courage and imagination to agree to the coalition deal and to see it through in the way that you have.

So I write now in full confidence of your goodwill and your willingness and ability to do what is right.


It's courage versus arrogance in the Mirvis Limmud row

By Daniel Finkelstein, October 17, 2013

Look, I hope you won’t mind what I have to say here. It’s just that, well, I think it needs to be said, however diffident I am about it.


High cost of the Syria climb-down

By Daniel Finkelstein, September 17, 2013

It’s safe to say that it wasn’t a great moment. Prime ministers are never — really, in modern times, never — overturned in the House of Commons on great matters of foreign policy. I don’t think I could argue with the universal conclusion of my colleagues that to lose in this way on acting in Syria was a disaster. I don’t suppose David Cameron disagrees either.


Let’s all tame Twitter now

By Daniel Finkelstein, August 9, 2013

I have spent an odd few days on Twitter. Well, both on Twitter and not on Twitter actually.


Science and religion: we don’t control the facts

By Daniel Finkelstein, June 28, 2013

When I last visited my doctor’s surgery I saw a big sign on the wall with the figure 79 in large bright red letters. This, the sign said, was the number of patients who had failed to attend appointments in the past week and not told the doctor. As I explained to readers of The Times later the same week, this sign is a mistake.


Truman show’s real star

By Daniel Finkelstein, May 17, 2013

As ome of my best friends are Jews. It is a boast so thin and irrelevant that it has become an in-joke. So it was a surprise to discover, when reading the other day, that one of the most important and positive events in the modern history of the Jewish people took place because someone's best friend was Jewish. And I thought it was a story worth telling.


She liked us because we were outsiders too

By Daniel Finkelstein, April 11, 2013

When, many years ago, Harold Wilson was delivering an election speech in the Chatham docks, he explained his support for a strong navy. “And why am I saying all this?” he asked rhetorically. “Because you’re in Chatham,” came a voice from the back of the hall.


How dare she tell us all to leave

By Daniel Finkelstein, February 25, 2013

'Which do you find more difficult? Being a Tory or being a Jew?" It was another evening speaking at a synagogue and another characteristically blunt audience question.

I stumbled through a response: "Erm, well, before 1997 when the Tories were in power and very unpopular that was quite hard. But, um, after 9/11 I did get quite a few pieces of antisemitic correspondence".