Geoffrey Alderman

Limmud and the heretics

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 29, 2013

I am (in case you hadn’t noticed) a congenital pessimist, albeit with a refined sense of humour. Optimists believe that things will always turn out for the best. Often they don’t, which is why optimists are prone to sadness. We pessimists believe that things will usually go wrong. Often they don’t, which is why pessimists are basically happy people.

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The community's changing - the way we're represented must change too

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 22, 2013

The communal statistics for 2012 recently released by the Board of Deputies should come as no surprise to those who have kept a weather eye on the changing demographics of Britain’s Jewish populations.

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Why Kristallnacht could happen anywhere

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 15, 2013

Jewish communities across the globe have been commemorating the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the name given to the orgy of pogroms visited upon the Jews of Germany and Austria in early November 1938.

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Mr Hickey, I can help you become Dr Hickey

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 8, 2013

An Open Letter to “Mr” Tom Hickey, principal lecturer in international politics and philosophy at the University of Brighton

Dear Tom

I take the liberty of writing to you as a fellow academic, dedicated, as I am sure you are, to the sanctity of scholarly dialogue, to the dispassionate pursuit of truth, and to the acceptance of truth however unwelcome or distasteful we may find it.

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Just who is really under attack?

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 1, 2013

The contents of a document are sometimes less important than the context in which it was written and the audience for which it was intended.

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Searchlight's pride in prejudice

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 25, 2013

Searchlight will be known to some of you as a well-researched and professionally produced magazine specialising in exposés of racism, fascism and antisemitism.

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Oxfam bends the rules

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 18, 2013

At the end of September, a two-day conference was held in Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum. Entitled, Realising the Return of Palestinian Refugees, the theme was the alleged “dispossession” suffered by Palestinian Arabs at the time of Israel’s re-establishment, and the remedies that might even now be offered in atonement, as it were, for this supposed injustice.

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Great TV, but there were gaps in Simon Schama's story

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 11, 2013

Next year, I shall be giving some classes on the recent history of the Middle East — or, rather, on the history of the Jewish dimension to Middle Eastern politics since the early 19th century.

My audience will be a mixed bunch of UK, EU and international students, all of whom will (if past experience is anything to go by) come with a predetermined set of ideas about that history.

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Confront the Charedi Taliban

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 25, 2013

I'm not in the least surprised that the Department for Education is carrying out an investigation into the education of Orthodox Jewish boys in institutions not officially registered for this purpose. On the contrary, I’m surprised that it has taken the government so long to convince itself — or to be convinced — that this is a scandal demanding investigation.

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Can this Jew-hater G K Chesterton be a saint?

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 18, 2013

I never cease to be amazed at the lengths to which some will go to excuse or belittle clear expressions of antisemitism articulated by public figures, present or past. The issue of G K Chesterton, to which Oliver Kamm brought our attention in the JC last month, is a case in point.

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Unity is Chief Rabbi Mirvis's toughest challenge

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 13, 2013

I believe that the unity of the Jewish people is fundamental to our survival. I believe that many, if not all, of the disasters that have overtaken us throughout history have been due, in part at least, to our disunity. I believe that Jewish self-hatred is wicked and that it is contrary to the Divine Will. These beliefs go to the core of my existence.

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Some answers from on High

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 4, 2013

Next week, Marion and I will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. As wedding anniversaries go these days, this is no big deal.

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Guidance on those EU guidelines

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 30, 2013

I make no apology for drawing your attention once more to the small matter of the “Guidelines on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards.”

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The history behind the histories

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 23, 2013

I have just finished the final draft of my next book. With numerous appendices, voluminous footnotes and an index (which, unlike most authors, I am insisting on compiling myself), not to mention the introduction, it will run to around 200,000 words. It is a new history, British Jewry Since Emancipation, to be published by the University of Buckingham Press.

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A person of no importance?

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 16, 2013

So tell me, just how important do you think you are? And – scarcely less significant but frightfully important nonetheless — just how important do you think you ought to be?

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Not a scintilla of authenticity

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 9, 2013

Believe me, if I thought for one moment that the so-called “Middle East Peace Process Talks” (the phrase is that of the US State Department) had a chance in a trillion in bringing genuine peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours I would back them to the hilt.

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Burt’s very blurred big picture

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 14, 2013

At the end of June, House Magazine carried an interview with the parliamentary under-secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, Alistair Burt. Burt has a daunting portfolio, for his responsibilities encompass no less than 27 countries stretching from North America through North Africa to the Middle East.

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When history is in a sorry state

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 8, 2013

On June 25, Dr James Renton, a history lecturer, delivered a lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies on the subject of the Balfour Declaration. Hosted by Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Renton addressed the question "Should Britain apologise for the Balfour Declaration?" He clearly believes the answer is in the affirmative.

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Banker, Traitor, Scapegoat, Spy?

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 5, 2013

Next year we shall commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. When Britain declared war on Germany scenes of jubilation were seen throughout the UK. But as the war dragged on, and as British casualty lists climbed to obscene levels, violent anti-German hysteria, cynically exploited by politicians, gripped the nation.

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Assaulted rabbi deserves to win

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 28, 2013

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s election season in Israel. The candidates are setting forth their manifestos, and — naturally — throwing verbal vitriol at each other. Insults fly thick and fast. Two weeks ago, one of the candidates was actually physically attacked by certain of his opponents. “It’s disgraceful (I hear you say) — but what can you expect of politicians?”

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