Jonathan Freedland

Beinart is not our wicked son

By Jonathan Freedland, April 11, 2012

You're probably exhausted. Attending, let alone hosting, two Seders will do that to a person. You've packed away the Haggadot by now and won't be in the mood for a reminder. But forgive one more mention of the Four Sons (or Four Children, for those whose Seder is a tad more right-on).

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If Auschwitz was in Hampshire

By Jonathan Freedland, March 1, 2012

The shock comes in the very first line.

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Good to talk? Useful, anyway

By Jonathan Freedland, January 19, 2012

First, I should declare an interest. I am a friend and admirer of Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, leader of Britain's Masorti movement. But I also like and admire the JC's political editor, Martin Bright.

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Europe's Jews need this union

By Jonathan Freedland, December 15, 2011

There's one number you won't find in the torrent of opinion polls unleashed by David Cameron's European summit veto.

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This is Israel? Not the one I love

By Jonathan Freedland, November 7, 2011

All credit to Israel's friends in the British Jewish community: they are nothing if not energetic. A matter of months after they gathered for BICOM's We Believe in Israel rally in London, they are now erecting a Big Tent for Israel in Manchester. According to an ad for a spin-off event, once again the focus will be the "delegitimisation of Israel".

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Say (cottage) cheese and smile

By Jonathan Freedland, September 16, 2011

Call it the cottage cheese revolution. The protest movement that has convulsed Israel these past few months began with a Facebook campaign to lower the price of the white stuff. Furious at being overcharged, Israelis stopped buying this staple of the national diet - forcing the dairy companies to slash the price.

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Legislators against free speech

By Jonathan Freedland, August 12, 2011

An old song has been coming back to me, one I learned back in my youth movement days. Perhaps it's in my mind because, last week, I packed off my eldest son to his first summer camp.

The song is Gesher Tzar Me'od (A Very Narrow Bridge) and it resonates now because that is where I feel I stand - on a very narrow bridge, getting narrower by the day.

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A glaring glut of own goals

By Jonathan Freedland, July 1, 2011

Israel's new ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub, is not just British-born: he grew up steeped in communal life. He will, therefore, already be familiar with the lament he will hear every day from the moment he steps off the plane at Heathrow until he finally heads back home: "Why does Israel have such bad public relations?"

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Cheers won't quell the fears

By Jonathan Freedland, May 19, 2011

It's now a cinematic cliché. You know the scene: high-society types are quaffing champagne or dancing the foxtrot, while outside a revolution is brewing. Those on the inside remain in a cosy bubble of complacency, unaware of the storm about to hit them.

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Attacked by single-view mobs

By Jonathan Freedland, April 18, 2011

Can you walk and chew gum at the same time?

Can you do - or think - two things at once? I only ask because I am beginning to wonder if it's a rarer feat than I'd realised.

Here is what I have in mind. Last week, I wrote a column in the Guardian about the Goldstone affair, triggered by the semi-retraction that the South African judge had delivered a few days earlier.

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Are Arabs the new Zionists?

By Jonathan Freedland, February 28, 2011

Long after his death, the wisdom of Abba Eban lives on - no nugget more frequently dug up than his observation that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

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McCarthyism - Israeli style

By Jonathan Freedland, January 24, 2011

'An evil wave is sweeping over Israel" and the latest act of the Knesset "sends a warning signal: here is darkness."

Before you dash off a letter to denounce the authors of those words as hateful anti-Zionists bent on delegitimising the state of Israel, pause a moment. Because the first quotation comes from the Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and the second from Likud MK Benny Begin. What could have moved such fervent Israeli patriots to speak this way?

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Misplaced shots at true Zionist

By Jonathan Freedland, December 9, 2010

Nearly a month has passed and the fallout keeps falling. The episode that future historians of Anglo-Jewry will surely dub "The Mick Davis Affair" goes on and on, as supporters and critics of the chairman of the UJIA argue ferociously about his right to speak, his motives and his judgment following the remarks he made about Israel and the diaspora at a public meeting in London in mid-November.

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Allow our artists Leigh way

By Jonathan Freedland, November 1, 2010

Last week saw two Manchester Jewish titans of the arts of near-identical vintage get two very different responses from our community.

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A very Jewish book's appeal

By Jonathan Freedland, September 16, 2010

At least one Jew among us has begun the new year sweetly. Twenty-four hours before Rosh Hashanah, Howard Jacobson was named on the shortlist of the Man Booker Prize. "About bloody time" was my reaction. Incredibly, Jacobson - long placed by the critics in the first rank of British writers - had never made the shortlist before. (Almost as surprisingly, Jacobson thereby became the first Jewish man to have achieved the feat: Jewish women, including past winners Anita Brookner and Bernice Rubens, have tended to do better.)

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It’s ‘This Life’ with sheitels on

By Jonathan Freedland, August 5, 2010

I’ve been thinking about Natti: is he ever going to get over his commitment problem and settle down? And Yifat is worrying me: she’s getting too used to being alone. And Amir is so lonely these days it hurts.

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Israel, listen to your friends

By Jonathan Freedland, June 24, 2010

If there's one thing we know about Israel, it is that it doesn't listen to its enemies. Those implacably hostile to the Jewish state can rant and rave, but Israel simply closes its ears. If anything, such criticism only makes the country dig in its heels, confirming its gloomiest, most isolationist instincts: "see, everyone really does hate us ­- all the more reason for us to retreat from the world, becoming the people that dwells alone".

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The PM who understood Jews

By Jonathan Freedland, May 13, 2010

There'll be no hard evidence of it - not since my upstairs neighbour on this page, Prof Alderman, ended his studies of the Jewish vote in British general elections - but it is widely assumed that, last week, Britain's Jews switched their allegiance from Labour to Conservative.

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Israel's impaired global vision

By Jonathan Freedland, April 1, 2010

The word of the hour is delegitimisation. Doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but it has nevertheless become the vogue term of art for those defending Israel.

Critics no longer merely "disagree with" - or even "attack" - Israel; they now seek to undermine its very legitimacy as a state.

So hot has this topic become, the Jewish Leadership Council and Bicom are hosting a joint seminar on it this month. Their focus will be a report by Israel's Re'ut Institute that has already prompted a major think-in hosted by Israel's Foreign Ministry.

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Israel needs its internal critics

By Jonathan Freedland, February 18, 2010

Perhaps from the very beginning, there have been two distinct types of critic of Israel: those from within and those from without. For many years, the latter have been barely tolerated. If outsiders - whether the United Nations or the BBC or Amnesty International - dare to criticise Israel, their observations are immediately discounted. "What do you expect of [fill in name of loathed foreign institution here]? We've always known they hate us."

Dissenting voices from the inside, however, were treated differently.

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