Jonathan Freedland

Too much out in the cold

By Jonathan Freedland, October 7, 2014

It is the festival of exile. I know the notion of wandering and of a temporary home is built into the very idea of Succot, but that's not what I mean. Rather, it's the weather. The prospect of eating and sleeping outdoors, with only the slimmest canopy of leaves between you and the stars - and doing that in October - makes no sense in most parts of the world where Jews live.

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War is not always the answer

By Jonathan Freedland, August 28, 2014

Perhaps it was my choice of holiday reading. The book that dominated my summer break was Howard Jacobson's exceptional and unsettling new novel, simply titled "J". The word "Jew" does not appear, yet that very absence is the book's haunting theme.

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It's not a playground spat

By Jonathan Freedland, July 17, 2014

One of the joys of being the father of a teenage son is getting to glimpse, thanks to him, videos that have gone viral. The latest was made in 2012 but it's spread anew among Jewish teens. It's a South Park-style cartoon that, without words, depicts the background to the hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

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The Haggadah got it right

By Jonathan Freedland, April 24, 2014

Man cannot live by bread alone — still, a slice or two makes a nice change after eight days of matzahs. Some JC readers will, I know, be glad to see the back of Pesach for another year, glad if they don’t clap eyes on another box of Rakusen’s this side of 2015. But I am not one of them. I’ve always loved Passover.

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Its not Ed Miliband's fault, it's ours

By Jonathan Freedland, March 13, 2014

Ed Miliband looked out on the 1,000 guests gathered for a sit-down, kosher-catered meal and said: “This is the barmitzvah I never had.”

Actually he didn’t say that, but perhaps he should have. When the Labour leader addressed the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust last week, he didn’t bother with an opening gag. He said a few thank-yous, then went straight into substance.

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Peter Hain's one-state solution is a sobering vision

By Jonathan Freedland, January 30, 2014

If you want to know what a politician really thinks, wait till he or she leaves office. It’s when politicians no longer have to court votes, or worry about party discipline, that they finally speak their true mind.

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Why Netanyahu was wrong over Mandela

By Jonathan Freedland, December 24, 2013

There is an idle habit I picked up in childhood which I have never quite shaken off. I suspect there are other JC readers who share it too. When confronted with any kind of list of the world’s nations, my eye runs an instinctive, involuntary check to see if Israel is among them. Flags flying outside a hotel or along a boulevard: I look for the blue and white.

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Why Netanyahu was wrong over Mandela

By Jonathan Freedland, December 24, 2013

There is an idle habit I picked up in childhood which I have never quite shaken off. I suspect there are other JC readers who share it too. When confronted with any kind of list of the world’s nations, my eye runs an instinctive, involuntary check to see if Israel is among them. Flags flying outside a hotel or along a boulevard: I look for the blue and white.

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Arsenal vs Spurs? It's Doves vs Hawks

By Jonathan Freedland, November 7, 2013

The plural of anecdote is not data, I know. A few random experiences do not a scientific sample make. I appreciate that, too. So I tread warily — not least because I am about to venture into territory where two of the most toxic divisions in our community converge. But here goes.

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Was the Daily Mail piece antisemitic?

By Jonathan Freedland, October 3, 2013

You didn’t have to be Jewish, to adapt an old phrase, to feel queasy at the Daily Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband. Plenty of Britons, including, I suspect, many Mail readers, will have disliked the notion of condemning a dead man who cannot defend himself and of suggesting a son should be blamed for the words and beliefs of his father.

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Rabin, Arafat and a handshake of hope

By Jonathan Freedland, September 13, 2013

It was twenty years ago today. On September 13 1993, in bright sunshine and nudged together by Bill Clinton – younger than the others, but playing the father figure – Yitzhak Rabin extended a reluctant hand to a smiling Yasser Arafat before an audience on the White House lawn.

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Ani Yonatan. Efshar l'azor li?*

By Jonathan Freedland, July 24, 2013

Several years ago I did a Jewish event alongside Michael Gove. It was clear whose views the audience preferred. Courteous, witty and as hawkish as they were on Israel, he was the son-in-law of their dreams (apart from the obvious drawback).

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When the Israel boycott goes mainstream

By Jonathan Freedland, June 7, 2013

Sometimes it takes just a single word. This particular word, used three times in a newspaper article, offered a glimpse of an unwelcome future - one in which Israel is seen all but universally as a pariah state.

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Plan could end in blame game

By Jonathan Freedland, April 26, 2013

The long-ago BBC Jerusalem correspondent, Michael Elkins, once lamented that too many war reporters had not served a journalistic apprenticeship by working on a local newspaper.

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Miliband’s natural constituents?

By Jonathan Freedland, March 15, 2013

Most of the debate about last week's appearance by Ed Miliband at a meeting of the Board of Deputies has dwelled on the Labour leader's remarks about Zionism. Which is a pity. Because much else happened that day that says a good deal about him - and something rather unexpected about us.

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It wasn't bias, it was wrong polls

By Jonathan Freedland, February 1, 2013

What matters about last month's Israeli elections is what kind of government they produce. Talk of how those elections were covered in the media is, I know, secondary.

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This is about more than Oxfam

By Jonathan Freedland, January 17, 2013

On Sunday the Board of Deputies of British Jews will decide whether it should go ahead with a joint project with Oxfam, in which the aid organisation will train 25 Jewish volunteers, equipping them to become better campaigners.

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Intrigue worthy of Shakespeare

By Jonathan Freedland, December 24, 2012

Some people love politics the way others love soap opera. They follow the plots and intrigue not out of a worthy interest in this or that policy but for the sheer human spectacle. For those so inclined, I often recommend an obsessive interest in the US: the outsized egos, the extravagant characters, the perennial culture wars are all reliably gripping.

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We all need to help Israel shift

By Jonathan Freedland, November 9, 2012

You wait years for big elections that will shape the world, or at least shape a part of the world you care about, and then three come at once. This week, has seen a US presidential contest and a change at the top in China (admittedly without a single democratic vote cast). And the third? That’s coming in Israel in January.

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A pogrom conducted by Jews

By Jonathan Freedland, September 27, 2012

You've probably had your fill of atonement for this year. You'd be forgiven if you didn't want to think of Yom Kippur for another 12 months.

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