Daniel Finkelstein

Moderate left is ready to rally

By Daniel Finkelstein, October 7, 2016

At a Labour fringe meeting in Liverpool, the chairman started to make jokes about Beatles songs. Maybe the title of the next Labour manifesto could be Help! he suggested. "Twist and Shout," called out someone else. "Taxman" said a third. At which point I couldn't help calling out "Revolver".


Is our Corbyn strategy working?

By Daniel Finkelstein, August 25, 2016

Is it acceptable for a newspaper columnist to ask a question without being entirely sure of the answer? I hope so because that is exactly what I am going to try.

I want just to pause a second and ask if we are certain that our strategy towards Jeremy Corbyn is right.

Let me give you three incidents in the past week that have caused me to think hard.


Having a referendum was right

By Daniel Finkelstein, July 14, 2016

"Whether Mr Cameron was right to call a referendum on the European Union is an issue for historians to argue about". Well no, actually, I think we have to argue about it right now, if that's alright with you. You see I think the question matters right now. And matters to Jews. I think I'd better explain.


Jews get in the way of the left

By Daniel Finkelstein, June 2, 2016

Two things happened this week - one public and one personal - that didn't seem to be connected. But, when I thought about them for a little while, I realised that they were.


Twitter’s Holocaust denial

By Daniel Finkelstein, April 7, 2016

When I was first told about it, I thought it was pretty funny. Microsoft had created an automated system that could engage in social media conversations as if it were a real person. It had then had to withdraw Tay, as it was called, because the thing started abusing people.


All in one piece for peace

By Daniel Finkelstein, March 10, 2016

"Is there a Jewish view of Brexit," asked a friend. Well, no, I replied. There isn't even a single Jewish view of Judaism. My father used to say the best sort of synagogue committee had two members, with one person unavoidably absent.


The language of power

By Daniel Finkelstein, January 28, 2016

When I was growing up, it was quite usual to hear friends and family speak in a foreign language. My parents used German to discuss birthday presents when we were in the room. And my grandmother spoke Polish to her friends on the phone.


Reasons to meet Mr Corbyn

By Daniel Finkelstein, December 17, 2015

Is Jonathan Arkush right? Should the Board of Deputies meet Jeremy Corbyn? Or are the critics right to argue that there is nothing to discuss and nothing to be gained?


Foolishness of Kaufman

By Daniel Finkelstein, November 5, 2015

Sir Gerald Kaufman has a poor grasp of statistical theory. This may seem an odd response to his outrageous remarks about fellow Jews but I think apposite. Last week, Sir Gerald made another of his extraordinary interventions on the subject of Israel.


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.