Geoffrey Alderman

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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Coming to a podium near you

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 16, 2012

In common with other members of British Jewry enjoying a certain media presence, from Maureen Lipman to David Baddiel and Vanessa Feltz, I am the recipient of invitations to speak to all manner of communal groups.

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Truth rebuffed as 'interference'

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 11, 2012

A great deal of heat has been caused by a letter sent last month by Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, to the Quartet (the USA, EU, UN and Russia) - the group charged with facilitating a Middle East peace process.

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I come to bury, not to raise

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 4, 2012

In common, I'm sure, with many other JC readers I initially thought that reports of the sale in parts of Jerusalem of special glasses that blurred salacious visions were nothing more than mischievous rumours. But they weren't.

The manufacture of "blinkers" - or "vision impeding hoods" - to blot out forbidden images I initially took to be a gimmick. I was wrong.

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Romney is not alone on Israel

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 27, 2012

Yanks! You either love 'em or hate 'em. Or (like me) both. Until I went to live and work in the US some 12 years ago my experience of Yanks was confined to meeting them at conferences and spending time as a tourist in their midst. The US is a vast country. Most of its citizens do not have passports and so have never ventured beyond its borders.

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Romney is not alone on Israel

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 27, 2012

Yanks! You either love 'em or hate 'em. Or (like me) both. Until I went to live and work in the US some 12 years ago my experience of Yanks was confined to meeting them at conferences and spending time as a tourist in their midst. The US is a vast country. Most of its citizens do not have passports and so have never ventured beyond its borders.

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Putin’s policy on Syria is right

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 21, 2012

Is it really in the interests of Israel, or of the West, that the Syrian civil war should result in the departure from Damascus of President (and ophthalmologist extraordinary) Bashar al-Assad?

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'What if' game is a cheap trick

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 13, 2012

"Counterfactual conditional analysis" is a phrase used to describe an approach to the past in which the questions asked are not "what happened and why did it happen?" but rather "what might have happened and why did it not?" In other words, the "what if…" approach.

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Prejudice made respectable

By Geoffrey Alderman, August 6, 2012

On the subject of the unassuming hairdresser from Oldham, Mohammed Sajid Khan and his diminutive but charming wife Shasta Khan much more remains to be said.

Mr and Mrs Khan hold the dubious record of being Britain's first married couple to be convicted of terrorist offences. At Manchester Crown Court she was given an eight-year sentence as a reward for having planned to blow up Jews.

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Great leaders, but what legacy?

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 30, 2012

Apart from the fact that we both shared a Jewish identity I had one thing in common with the late Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv, whose funeral in Israel last week was reportedly attended by 250,000 people. Neither he nor I had ever studied at a yeshivah. In my case, this was more by design than by accident: my career took me into academia at the age of 18 and I have never been inclined to leave.

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The end of interfaith relations?

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 22, 2012

I told you so.

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Self-interest that hurts the state

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 16, 2012

Everything that infuriates me about Israeli politics and society was encapsulated in two decisions taken in Jerusalem last week. The first concerns the status of Ariel University Centre in the West Bank. The second relates to the arrangements by which Israel's so-called "ultra Orthodox" citizens are able to avoid military service.

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Brit milah and religious health

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 5, 2012

If it wasn't so serious, the decision of the district court in Cologne to brand circumcision a criminal act would be almost humorous.

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Answering the GCSE question

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 29, 2012

"Explain, briefly, why some people are prejudiced against Jews."

Some weeks ago, I devoted this column to the above question, which was included in a GCSE paper on religious studies set recently by the Assessment & Qualifications Alliance (AQA).

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Hypocrisy: a key Olympic sport

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 21, 2012

I first became aware of the hypocrisy that lies at the heart of the world-wide athletics fraternity when researching the role of drugs in sport with special reference to the case of the British sprinter Dwain Chambers.

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A win for Reform, not women

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 7, 2012

The sweeping election of Laura Marks as senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies of [some] British Jews is certainly a landmark and possibly a signpost.

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It’s the GCSE answers that matter

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 6, 2012

"Explain why some people are prejudiced against Jews."

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