David Aaronovitch

Analysis: Gaza protesters might be 'angry' but they're still guilty

By David Aaronovitch, March 4, 2010

In January 2009 someone sent me a link to footage taken at one of the Gaza protests in London. Taken by a demonstrator, and 10 minutes long, it showed a thin cordon of policemen being, in effect, chased from the edge of Trafalgar Square to the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly.

For the entire distance, men with faces covered were throwing traffic cones, sticks and anything that came to hand at the retreating officers, while shouting "Run, you f**** cowards!" The only time this mantra changed was when the police, briefly, put up a fight, when the shout became "you racist bastards!"

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The politics of disinvitation

By David Aaronovitch, February 11, 2010

There ought to be an addition to the books of etiquette on the subject of disinvitation. Invitation we know all about.

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Me and my propaganda pals

By David Aaronovitch, December 30, 2009

On the Monday morning, I found out I’d been libelled by the Independent on Sunday. It was in one of those media gossip columns that proliferate these days because you can get cheap, young journalists to write pages of stuff without the expense of leaving the office.

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We're an invention? Prove it

By David Aaronovitch, November 19, 2009

Beware of scholars with agendas. When the modern historian, Tony Judt, described The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand as being remarkable, cool, scholarly and vital for anyone “interested in understanding the contemporary Middle East”, was it because he had genuinely been able to assess Sand’s assertions about the historiography of the Jews, or because it resonated with his view that a “self-serving and mostly imaginary Jewish past (had) done so much to provoke conflict in the present”?

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How can we trust Kaminski?

By David Aaronovitch, October 15, 2009

Could I have been one of the “Eurofanatics” who was only raising the Kaminski case (as I did in The Times a fortnight ago) in order to embarrass the Conservative Party?

The editor of the JC would seem to think so, since he admitted no other category of critic in his pugnacious assault on the “smear tactic” used against Mr K, who turns out to be a friend of the Jews (or Israel, which is held to mean the same thing).

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I spent two weeks in the same pants

By David Aaronovitch, October 8, 2009

Long, long ago, in the days before laptops and iPhones — well, just about exactly 36 years ago — I was driven by a Cypriot Stalinist up the new M40 to begin my short career at Balliol College, Oxford. My trunk followed by rail — except that it didn’t. I spent a fortnight in the same underwear.

Oh the disasters! The bathrooms were so cold you had to undress in the steam. I couldn’t organise a gown so missed matriculation. Hated Jacob Burckhardt so failed German prelims. Got into the politics so much that I missed everything else.

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How to insult successfully

By David Aaronovitch, September 9, 2009

The other week I appeared in a documentary on US TV which, among other things, demolished some of the conspiracy theorists’ cherished notions of how Bush brought down the twin towers eight years ago today. My role was to explain how otherwise sane people believed insane things. Soon the emails started to arrive. Let me take two to stand for the rest.

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The ironies of hating oneself

By David Aaronovitch, August 6, 2009

I was faffing around in the end of the 19th century, for reasons connected with another project, when I came across the name of Otto Weininger. Some readers will already know of the young Viennese Jew who converted to Christianity in 1902, published the book Sex and Character in the summer of 1903, and killed himself four months later, but I hadn’t encountered him before.

To modern ears, the striking thing about Weininger is not his pseudo-scientific stance on sexuality — that was common to his period, and is not unknown today.

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What a daft idea for a boycott

By David Aaronovitch, July 2, 2009

There’s a letter for me waiting at The Times today. “Dave, how’s this for a conspiracy?” scrawls an H. Mullin on the blank side of a piece of paper. On the other side is a photocopy of page 5 of some indeterminate publication featuring an article by a Harry Mullin. The piece concerns the supposed landing in Scotland “a few years ago” of submarine-borne Israeli agents bent on the extermination of Mr Mullin’s pals in the British Anti Zionist Organisation, and on the execution of PLO representative in London Said Hammami.

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Gay soldiers, a rabbi and Mr X

By David Aaronovitch, May 28, 2009

There is a secret life of headlines. Most of the specific complaints that are ever made to me about what I write have something to do with what I didn’t write: the headline. A large amount of what people imagine they read in my columns exists in the headlines, and not in my copy. And so it is with news stories, too.

Of course, the headline above this column, which I haven’t read and can hardly imagine, will be impeccable. But elsewhere?

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Gilad Atzmon's discordant notes

By David Aaronovitch, April 23, 2009

Here’s a story in which I take no pleasure. Some time ago, I was asked to participate in a “debate” on antisemitism at a respectable literary festival. The other speakers were to be Denis MacShane MP and the radical Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe. Though the debate’s topic was unclear, with a book due to be published on conspiracy theories, I happily agreed.

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Moussawi or Wilders, in or out?

By David Aaronovitch, March 19, 2009

For the purposes of this column, I remember two things about that period towards the end of the Dark Ages when I was president of the National Union of Students. The first is the pestering we got in those days from UJS on the subject of Soviet Jewry. So much so that I began to believe that either almost all Soviets were Jews, or else that almost all Jews were Soviet.

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Israeli fatalism may be fatal

By David Aaronovitch, February 12, 2009

So, Israel picks up and starts again, further back than it was before. We can talk a bit, if we like, about the toytown election system, which turns voters into adolescents who expect their exact political view of the moment to be represented in their choice, rather than making the adult compromise — the necessary decision between several less-than-ideal coalitions — themselves. Israel is a land desperately in need of leadership, where the mechanism for electing governments makes it almost impossible to lead. Except when there’s a war to be fought.

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The BNP respectable? Hmmm

By David Aaronovitch, January 8, 2009

I begin the goyishe new year with the shattering observation that people are odd. If we are very unlucky, we might find out in the next 12 months just how odd. This generalisation is attached to a story, of sorts. About a month ago, following the leak of the membership lists of the British National Party, I wrote in The Times that respectability would always be denied to an organisation that contained, at its core, a collection of genuine antisemites and equally authentic criminals and convicts.

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Gethsemane’s stereotype Jew

By David Aaronovitch, December 4, 2008

This is a strange one, this row about Sir David Hare’s Gethsemane and the Jewishness or otherwise of its devilish (though charming) character, Otto Fallon. I think the saga, with its attendant accusations of antisemitism, is telling us something, but what on earth is it?

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Corfu, and the nature of hate

By David Aaronovitch, October 30, 2008

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Unity? How totally unrealistic

By David Aaronovitch, September 19, 2008

The community will never be as one as long as the Orthodox believe they are better Jews than the rest.

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Smirking over Dunner? Careful

By David Aaronovitch, August 15, 2008

Taking delight in the fall of the rich and famous, however good they were reputed to be, has its own moral pitfalls

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Was it really terrorism last week?

By David Aaronovitch, July 11, 2008

There is no proof that the bulldozer killer was motivated by politics

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And the UK's bottom Jew is...

By David Aaronovitch, June 6, 2008

Shunned by the JC Power 100, at least I’m not on the list of the 10 least influential people in the community

Each week last month I scanned the JC Power 100 list. I wasn’t in 60-100. The next week I wasn’t in 30-60. And finally I wasn’t in 1-30. For those slower readers, allow me to summarise by saying that I therefore wasn’t anywhere in the top 100 Jews or influencers of Jewish life in Britain. Which makes you wonder what I’m doing at the bottom of this page at all. Just a hang-over from the Ned Temko days, I suppose.

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