Geoffrey Alderman

'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.


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.


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.


The end of interfaith relations?

By Geoffrey Alderman, July 22, 2012

I told you so.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


It’s the GCSE answers that matter

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 6, 2012

"Explain why some people are prejudiced against Jews."


Finkelstein’s very valid interview

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 24, 2012

Earlier this month the BBC's Hardtalk TV programme featured an interview with the American-Jewish political scientist Norman Finkelstein. As a result the BBC has brought upon itself a great deal of communal opprobrium, on two counts.


A good hour's scandalous end?

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 17, 2012

Within the next few weeks the BBC, which is funded by British taxpayers through revenues derived from the television licence fee, will take a decision directly affecting the lives of, if not all British Jews, then certainly those living in the North-West.


Anglo-Jewry’s leaders must act

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 10, 2012

Last month the Times of Israel carried an essay by one Shimon Cohen attacking the distinguished former leader of Australian Jewry, Isi Leibler, who is now based in Israel. In March Leibler - a onetime senior vice-president of the World Jewish Congress - had launched a blistering critique of the current leadership of British Jewry.


OK, Corbyn, let's have an inquiry

By Geoffrey Alderman, May 3, 2012

In the wake of the Raed Salah fiasco a member of the British parliament made an outrageous intervention, about which every British Jew ought to feel thoroughly alarmed.

Salah was accused by the Home Secretary of being an antisemitic, Israeli Arab rabble-rouser who used his oratorical powers to defame both the Jewish state and the Jewish people.


Don’t swallow Globe arty jokes

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 27, 2012

What is the connection between the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, the BBC Proms and the Globe Theatre? I know that they are all in London, but the association I have in mind is a little more subtle than that.

Next month, Israel's Habima theatre company will, by invitation from the Globe Theatre Trust, be giving at the Globe two performances in Hebrew of The Merchant of Venice.


Black hats and Jewish babies

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 19, 2012

The statistical report published earlier this month by the Board of Deputies makes for interesting reading. The number of funerals carried out in 2010 under the auspices of any Anglo-Jewish religious authority fell again, thus confirming the trend of the past two decades.


The upside to Galloway’s win

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 11, 2012

On the morrow of George Galloway's victory in Bradford West, a colleague phoned to ask me whether this was "a good thing". For a moment I wondered what was meant by this question. "Democracy," I said, "is a good thing, and if Bradford West wants a cunning, extrovert, smooth-talking, publicity-seeking maverick political operator as its MP, so be it." This response didn't satisfy my interrogator.


First- class dishonours

By Geoffrey Alderman, April 6, 2012

A great many people have had their say on the decision of the officers of Leeds University JSoc to withdraw from Brooke Goldstein the invitation previously extended to her to address the society.

In all the hullabaloo that has surrounded this incident, some basic facts seem to have been lost sight of.


Self-blame is a dangerous game

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 29, 2012

This month has seen the publication of two remarkably identical statements that address the elusive quest for peace between Israel and its neighbours. One has been authored by a Liberal Jew, while the other has been written by a reported adherent of Orthodoxy.


We don’t want ‘equal marriage’

By Geoffrey Alderman, March 22, 2012

Last week the government launched a consultation on how the law might be changed to permit the introduction of civil marriage for same-sex relationships. From a variety of Christian clerics there has issued forth a variety of opinions for and against the proposition.