Geoffrey Alderman

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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Rescuing a refugee was her ‘great achievement’

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 11, 2013

Margaret Thatcher was arguably the most philosemitic Prime Minister this country has ever had. The daughter of a Grantham grocer who was also a Methodist lay preacher, her strict religious upbringing instilled in her a deep respect for the Jewish people.

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Hatred that needs no ‘context’

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 9, 2013

For the past 14 years, there have been two debating chambers used by members of the House of Commons. The first is the one we are all accustomed to seeing on our television screens, with government and opposition members facing each other confrontationally, their exchanges moderated by the Speaker.

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The great mini-latke conspiracy

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 28, 2013

There’s something deeply sinister behind the current mini-latke crisis.

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My dear, put-upon Lord Ahmed

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 24, 2013

An Open Letter To The Lord Ahmed of Rotherham in the county of South Yorkshire, c/o The House of Lords:

As-salamu 'alayka!

Greetings from your Lordship's Humble Servant, Professor Geoffrey Alderman.

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Don’t mourn Hugo the wicked

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 19, 2013

Two years ago I caused a certain amount of controversy with my reaction to the death of a Palestinian activist. I was told it was not the done thing for a Jew to express pleasure at the death of another human. Well, we have just celebrated Purim, on which we are expected to make merry at the deaths of hundreds of Jew-baiters in ancient Persia.

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Storm in a Zionist teacup...

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 11, 2013

Should we be concerned that the national council of the Zionist Federation has declined to approve an application for ZF membership that had been lodged several months ago by an organisation calling itself Yachad?

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Madoff, Nolan and Israeli funds

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 26, 2013

Two decades ago I supervised a doctoral student researching aspects of corruption in British public life.

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The wrongs of a rights council

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 15, 2013

Last month, a joyous event, unprecedented in the history of the UN, took place in Geneva. Under what is known as the “Universal Periodic Review”, every UN member state has agreed to submit itself to a five-yearly inquisition by the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC). On January 29, it was Israel’s turn.

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A Scarfe won’t Ward off the cold

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 12, 2013

Look, I know we're all supposed to be beside ourselves with anger over That Cartoon. I know That Cartoon has given rise to a communal uproar - a rare instance of almost total communal unity, our righteous outrage dutifully articulated by the Board of Deputies, the JLC, CST and so on.

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Winner in the eccentricity race

By Geoffrey Alderman, February 5, 2013

I was saddened to learn of the death of Michael Winner, whose passing formed the subject of retrospectives throughout the media. I never knew him personally. I found his films vulgar and second-rate - though most were box-office successes. I had little enthusiasm for his claim to be a connoisseur of non-kosher foods and of the restaurants that served them.

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Why let Obama call the shots?

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 30, 2013

This week has witnessed two events of supreme importance for Israel's future. First, Barack Obama was sworn in as US president. Second, Israelis went to the polls. And Benjamin Netanyahu is set to head a new coalition government.

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Care needed on rushed move

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 22, 2013

Sometimes, as we all know, the road to hell can be paved with the best of intentions. Recent events at the Morris Feinmann Home in Didsbury provide a perfect illustration of this dictum. Everyone appears to be acting through the noblest of motives. But not everyone is pleased at the way things are turning out.

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Israel’s ‘Soviet’ prayer police

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 15, 2013

Last month, Israeli police arrested worshippers at the entrance to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The worshippers had committed a heinous crime: they had tried to pass through the gates leading from the plaza to the Wall itself wearing tallitot.

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Making light of a meaty issue

By Geoffrey Alderman, January 3, 2013

In November I participated in a debate held at the London Jewish Cultural Centre and billed as "a thought-provoking and provocative evening about the relationship between Jews, meat and shechitah (ritual slaughter)". The evening was undoubtedly thought-provoking and certainly provocative.

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