Geoffrey Alderman

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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Miliband’s ill-defined integration

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 31, 2012

In a recent speech, Labour leader Ed Miliband - the son of Polish Jewish immigrants - made some important statements designed to address ongoing public concern about levels of immigration to the UK. He did so against the backdrop of data from last year's census.

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‘Safe’ choice is probably the last

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 24, 2012

As a non-member of the United Synagogue, my interest in the process by which it has chosen a new chief rabbi is naturally limited. But, as a historian of Britain’s Jewish communities, my curiosity is intense.

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Black hats turned upside down

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 18, 2012

While the Board of Deputies prepares to reflect on its future, while the Chief Rabbinate Trust ponders whether it can appoint a genuinely credible successor to Lord Sacks, and while the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation makes ready to resume its search for a new spiritual leader (hoping, no doubt, to do so without repeating the comprehensive hash that it made of this quest last time), a pe

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We can’t ignore this sorry affair

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 11, 2012

At first glance, the story of the divorce of Beth Alexander and Michael Schlesinger is all too familiar. Two young people meet. They get married. Children come along — in this case, twin boys. Then things start to go wrong (or perhaps they started to go wrong much earlier). The couple split up.

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Open mouths but closed eyes

By Geoffrey Alderman, December 4, 2012

OK. I agree that the semi-hysterical revelries commissioned by Hamas once its cease-fire with Israel had been announced reflect a kind of madness. Much of the Hamas infrastructure is in ruins. A number of key Hamas operatives have succumbed to their wounds. Neither Iran nor Hizbollah came to Hamas's aid. Nor did its Egyptian godfathers of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Welcome addition to UK Jewry

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 27, 2012

For seasoned devotees of this column, this is a rare moment. I'm about to welcome the establishment of a new Anglo-Jewish communal organisation. What's more, I'm going to say that its establishment is long overdue.

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Spectre of Stalin in our land

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 20, 2012

In recent weeks, two legal actions began in two different courts. The outcome of each will directly impact on Jewish communities throughout the UK.

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Why anti-Zionists are racists

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 8, 2012

Last week marked the 95th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. This took the form of a letter, written on 2 November 1917 by Arthur Balfour to Walter (Lord) Rothschild. Balfour was then Foreign Secretary in Lloyd George’s wartime coalition government. Rothschild was an eccentric but well-respected zoologist who also happened to be the country’s richest Jew.

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Facts behind a skewed survey

By Geoffrey Alderman, November 2, 2012

On October 23 Ha’aretz published a sensational headline, supported by a breathtaking editorial. It read: “Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel.” The editorial, penned by the paper’s well-known, empty rhetorician (and editorial board member) Gideon Levy, did not mince its words.

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Miliband chose the wrong man

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 30, 2012

On October 2, Labour leader Ed Miliband - the first Jew to lead the party - made a remarkable speech to the socialist-inclined faithful assembled in Manchester. Miliband invoked the political philosophy of Benjamin Disraeli, the UK's first Jewish prime minister, who was a Conservative.

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Taxpayer-funded discrimination

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 23, 2012

How far should the British state go in enforcing the private religious prejudices of its citizens?

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Smell of garbage clears the air

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 15, 2012

I've just finished watching Innocence of Muslims, the film that has led to worldwide, often violent and occasionally murderous protests by adherents of the Islamic faith. As I did so, news came through that Muslim leaders are threatening to bring the film to the attention of the United Nations, with a view to persuading the international community to enact a law against religious defamation.

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Imperfect prize, perfect winner

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 10, 2012

I have been thoroughly bemused by the international furore surrounding the decision of the municipality of Frankfurt-am-Main to award a 50,000 euro prize to Dr Judith Butler, an academic who teaches critical theory at Berkeley, California.

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Tragedy of an academic stage

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 3, 2012

Royal Holloway and Bedford New College - to give it the mouthful of a title by which it was established by private Act of Parliament in 1985 - sits majestically at the top of Egham Hill, Surrey. Its origins lie in the ambitions of one of the great Victorian entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Thomas Holloway, by whom it was founded in the 1880s as an institution for the higher education of women.

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Hague's poor university exam

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 24, 2012

I make no apologies for bringing to your attention again a matter that I raised in my column two months ago. On that occasion, I berated the Israeli academic establishment for its frankly self-serving opposition to the proposal to upgrade the status of Ariel University Centre, in the West Bank, to that of a full university.

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On the move: exiles and emigres

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 21, 2012

What you see is not necessarily what you get. The blurb on the cover of this book states that it is “a comprehensive account of how the Jews became a diaspora people.”

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