Geoffrey Alderman

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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Board acted with gay abandon

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 25, 2013

It's a plucky commentator indeed who sets out to criticise the editor on whom he relies for his weekly dole. But this is what I am about to do, and I'm about to do it primarily in order to correct a serious misconception that I fear is widespread within British Jewry.

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Union heeding wake-up call

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 18, 2013

On the assumption that most of you are not devotees of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, or in full paid-up membership of one of its numerous conventicles, I need to bring you up to speed on developments within the Union and its affiliates that are without precedent.

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The false dignity of departure

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 4, 2013

Last week, London's Barbican Centre staged the glitzy spectacle of the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, being interviewed by David Frost. According to one report, "successive speakers waxed lyrical" about Sacks's influence on them, the Jewish community, and British society at large.

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Capitulation of the Deputies

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 27, 2013

'What goes around comes around" - so they say. I began writing this column 11 years ago. My debut appeared in the issue of March 1 2002. The topic I had chosen for my inaugural essay was the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

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When hypocrisy met vanity

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 20, 2013

Coincidence is a funny thing. Take last Wednesday. I had reserved that morning to prepare a lecture on the intellectual origins of Nazism. I intended asking why so many apparently sane academics saw fit to endorse Nazism, and indeed promote it.

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One small step, not a giant leap

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 13, 2013

The election of Mrs Karen Appleby as the first female chair of a United Synagogue shul (St Albans) is certainly a landmark. The question is, precisely what sort of a landmark is it?

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It’s not necessarily good to talk

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 7, 2013

In 1906 a portentous meeting took place between Chaim Weizmann and the Conservative leader Arthur Balfour. Weizmann expounded to a shocked Balfour the broad principles of Zionism. Balfour was shocked because these unashamed nationalistic aspirations did not reflect the views he was accustomed to hearing from the highly assimilated Anglo-Jewish establishment whose company he enjoyed.

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When segregation is acceptable

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 30, 2013

Recent media reports have focused on instances of gender segregation at events arranged by Islamic societies at British universities.

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Fit for a king, but not for a rabbi?

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 22, 2013

The tragedy of Gilles Bernheim is symptomatic of a wider hypocrisy where issues of intellectual dishonesty are concerned.

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Where next after UCU ruling?

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 15, 2013

In 2011, the University College Union repudiated the "working definition" of antisemitism promulgated by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism. This definition, while permitting criticism of Israel as of any other state, nonetheless included among its examples of antisemitic conduct, "manifestations" that "target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity."

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