Daniel Finkelstein

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".


Here are my fifty shades of 'J'

By Daniel Finkelstein, January 14, 2013

Just before, ahem, Christmas, I received an email asking me to take part in the My Jewish Identity Project. You can, too. We all can.


Feeling at home in the Synod

By Daniel Finkelstein, December 2, 2012

It's an odd thing, when you are called Finkelstein, to find yourself commenting on the internal debates of the Church of England. But such was my fate - both on television and in print - when the Synod made its decision not to allow women to become Bishop.


Similar fathers, different views

By Daniel Finkelstein, October 22, 2012

Years ago, when Roy Hattersley published a book arguing in favour of equality of result rather than of opportunity, I remember remarking that, in which case, we would all have, like him, to aspire to be leader of the Labour Party. In fact, seeking that office would become compulsory.


Tutu and a badly slipping halo

By Daniel Finkelstein, September 7, 2012

"If you like the president's politics, you probably like his voice and appearance as well". So writes social psychologist Daniel Kahneman in his wonderful book Thinking Fast and Slow. The Nobel laureate used the example to introduce his readers to the "Halo Effect".


Why I support gay marriage

By Daniel Finkelstein, June 14, 2012

We Jews like to pray. We spend hours at it. And we've been doing it for thousands of years. Granted, it's in Hebrew so most of us are a bit hazy on the detail. And we aren't big on decorum, or even sometimes on appropriate behaviour.


United by Galloway and Le Pen

By Daniel Finkelstein, May 3, 2012

On the night David Cameron entered 10 Downing Street, I wrote about the deal he had done with the Liberal Democrats. It seemed to be a significant moment in the development of the centre-right, postponing the day when Labour could annex the entire Lib Dem support.

That now looks correct in retrospect. Correct, but incomplete.


Dr Williams is special (I think)

By Daniel Finkelstein, March 22, 2012

When I heard the news of the resignation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, my thoughts went back to the beginning, to that day at the end of February 2003 when Dr Rowan Williams was enthroned.

I had wandered through to the features department at The Times to ask their advice about a tricky problem I had encountered, only to find that everyone was glued to the television.