David Aaronovitch

Murders become symbols

By David Aaronovitch, July 3, 2014

I was in an airport hotel in Kuala Lumpur when I heard that the three kidnapped Israeli boys - let us always name them - Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Sha'ar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16 – had been found murdered.

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In praise of Shimon Peres

By David Aaronovitch, May 22, 2014

There has never not been Shimon Peres. For all of my life, somewhere in the drama of Israel and the world, have appeared the generous, handsome features of Israel’s eternal public figure — big nose, lips, hair, laugh-lines and sharp eyes.

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Sexist ark larks in Russell Crowe's Noah

By David Aaronovitch, April 10, 2014

I like a nice inundation, so on Sunday afternoon I went with my youngest daughter, Eve, to see Noah.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it’s about how a supreme deity — fed up with humanity’s wicked ways — sends a flood to drown everything on earth.

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Beware the whiff of casual prejudice

By David Aaronovitch, February 27, 2014

My last column here was rather an angry one. It made no attempt at analysing anything, but in the wake of the Dieudonné business and my encounters with nervous Jews, it was simply what is unpleasantly called “venting” about antisemitism.

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Barring Dieudonné is wrong, in principle, and it won’t even work

By David Aaronovitch, February 6, 2014

In my book on conspiracy theories, Voodoo Histories, first published in 2009, I devoted two pages to the phenomenon of Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. I saw him as an exemplar of an unofficial alliance between the far left and the far right, which combined an anti-imperialism (in reality an anti-Americanism) with an antisemitism masquerading as anti-Zionism.

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Arsenal, Spurs, Dreyfus, Anelka - I'm having a Jewday meltdown

By David Aaronovitch, January 16, 2014

One day last week — it doesn’t matter which, so let’s call it Jewday — I had two encounters in the space of five hours that, together, left me feeling alarmed. The first was a planned meeting with a young woman seeking career advice. The other was when I was run into in a tube station in North London as I was going in and this man, the runner-in, was going out.

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Not a cause, not a problem - Israel is a country

By David Aaronovitch, December 5, 2013

The weekend before last, I was in Jerusalem again, for the third time in my life.

The third time in my life in Israel and every time, no matter how brief the visit, I come away feeling something different.

My earliest visit was in 1977. I was on a student “fact-finding” delegation to Israel, Lebanon and the West Bank.

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What Erich Priebke teaches us about evil

By David Aaronovitch, October 24, 2013

The other day, I met a Jew who was upset. Since I work for The Times and his argument was with The Times, he was a little upset with me, though he was as courteous as a Lord Lieutenant at a royal garden party. His issue was this: should we have carried, in our obituaries section, a piece on the life of Erich Priebke, the Gestapo officer, who died last week aged 100? He thought not.

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Hail to the rights of passage

By David Aaronovitch, September 24, 2013

Despite myself I’ve been having a jolly time recently. And one of the jolliest of these times was at a 60th birthday party the week before last. The man whose emergence from youth we were celebrating is one of those welcome new friends of my middle years, so although I know his past and family a little, most of what I heard that night constituted news.

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Learning Hebrew - just a minor lamentation

By David Aaronovitch, August 16, 2013

I was sailing away from Odessa when Jonathan Freedland’s column on learning Hebrew was published in the JC, so I only got round to reading it this week.

Readers may recall that Mr F, one of my favourite scribbling Jews in a crowded field, gave himself up to a minor lamentation (wringing but no rending) on the inability of a sufficient number of British Jews to speak Hebrew.

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An unhelpful approach

By David Aaronovitch, July 7, 2013

Two weeks ago in the JC the writer Douglas Murray described the idea of Islamophobia as "a crock". Douglas and I have shared a few platforms over the years and I have a respect for his combination of intellectual and street-fighting skills.

So it is with disappointment and trepidation that I take issue with him here. He is, I think, completely wrong. And here's why.

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Israel does not hold the key

By David Aaronovitch, June 2, 2013

When Israel was founded out of Jewry's near-destruction, it was at once a liberation for Jews and a disaster for Palestinian Arabs. What happened in the subsequent years - who did what to who and when - is not the subject of this column, but we need to agree that something that was good for one people was bad for another.

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Pogroms that we cannot ignore

By David Aaronovitch, April 21, 2013

The Holocaust, as we know, was not a sudden event and nor is it - as some well-meaning (mostly) religious people often suggest - incomprehensible. Its scale, its ambition was what was remarkable about it. How it came about is not amazing at all.

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Zionists I would want on my side

By David Aaronovitch, March 8, 2013

It's been one of those fortnights. So much so that, in the bookshop at Jewish Book Week last Sunday, I spotted a coffee-table effort with an octopus on the cover and wearily thought "another tome on antisemitism", before closer inspection showed it to be a book on Venetian cookery.

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Mr Morsi’s Nick Clegg moment

By David Aaronovitch, January 30, 2013

This is an unfair world in which people are always trying to bring a guy down. Take President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt. Here's a chap who, since taking the reins of power in his country in June (and then the saddle, the spurs and the bridle), has by and large acted in foreign affairs as his predecessors did.

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Braw bricht lichts of Chanucah

By David Aaronovitch, December 13, 2012

So, readers, "Happy Hannukah!" That's what it says on the strange, giant, zinc candlestick near Jack Straw's Castle in Hampstead (for our more observant customers, I ought to explain that Hampstead is a shtetl about 2,500 miles west of Jerusalem and 10 miles south-east of Radlett).

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The everyday language of hate

By David Aaronovitch, November 4, 2012

It wasn’t so much what a young woman called Naz Kahn said about Jews a few weeks ago that triggered my flight or fight response. It was how she said it.

To recap: Ms Kahn is a recently appointed woman’s officer in the party, Respect, which plays backing band to Bradford West MP George Galloway’s political PJ Proby.

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The rumours and the rampage

By David Aaronovitch, September 20, 2012

Travelling as I was in the middle of last week, I missed the beginning of the story of what became known as the "US film" - in reality a shoddy YouTube trailer made by someone in the US - that led to/sparked/coincided with/had nothing at all to do with (delete according to source) the attacks on US and other diplomatic buildings in the Muslim world.

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Eruv or not to eruv: who cares?

By David Aaronovitch, August 12, 2012

The other day, notices appeared in our area informing of a consultation concerning the erection of an eruv. As the notices went up, so too did the balloon. One hundred per cent of those questioned by Aaronopoll in a survey for this column, were not just opposed to the eruv, they were foaming at the mouth.

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My plan to reboot Anglo Jewry

By David Aaronovitch, June 29, 2012

Jews don't like censuses. We're awkward folk and, anyway, that famous one held in the reign of Caesar Augustus ended up doing us no favours at all. So the bad news is that, in a few weeks, we'll be seeing the results of the 2011 census and we almost certainly won't like them.

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