Anshel Pfeffer

Tony Blair reaches out to ‘Jewish values’ at Succot

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 17, 2008

Tony Blair, the former prime minister, today lauds the work done by Jewish organisations to alleviate poverty around the world, and calls upon the community to join other faith groups in fighting hunger and deprivation.

Writing in this week's Jewish Chronicle, Mr Blair says that the current festival of Succot "gives rise to the virtues of charity and solidarity, core covenantal values expressed in the work of the community's NGOs - World Jewish Relief and Tzedek, among others".

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Financial crisis? That will be the Jews’ fault

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 10, 2008

A new anti-Jewish conspiracy theory was spawned on the internet this week, latching on to a wave of antisemitic online comments blaming Jewish financiers for the global credit crunch and then exploiting it.

According to the latest false theory, Jewish executives at Lehman Brothers sent $400 billion (£230bn) to Israel before the bank collapsed last month.

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Deech reclaims her family silver

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 10, 2008

Sixteen knives and forks, the only remaining property of a prosperous Jewish family that lived until the Holocaust in a small town in southern Poland, have been returned to Baroness Deech.

A 101-year-old Polish painter, who had received the silver cutlery from Baroness Deech's aunt, contacted her following a report in the JC in June revealing that she plans to sue the Polish government for lost family assets.

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Don’t make martyrs of deniers

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 10, 2008

It's a waste of money prosecuting Shoah-deniers -just confront their views in public


Any limit on freedom of speech is wrong and almost always achieves the opposite to that which it is aiming for. But in the case of Holocaust-deniers, sticking them in prison is an especially bad idea.

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Your silver, baroness. I hid it in the garden

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 10, 2008

In June, we reported Ruth Deech's plans to sue Poland's government over family property lost in the war. She has now returned - and had an emotional reunion in Krakow.


It was a story of two Polish families that had not been told for almost seven decades. One Jewish, the other Catholic - the Frankels and the Wanieks; living just a street away from each other, with children of similar ages playing together, the mother of the Catholic family giving private piano lessons to the Jewish children.

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Lord Levy still has security protection

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 10, 2008

Sixteen months after ending his role as the Prime Minister's envoy to the Middle East, Lord Levy continues to have security protection. He was last week seen travelling to synagogue accompanied by a bodyguard.

Cabinet ministers and senior government officials do not normally continue having official protection after they leave their positions, with the exception of the Prime Minister and, during the "Troubles", former Northern Ireland Secretaries.

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Gordon Brown's cabinet reshuffle yields a mixed bag

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 7, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's reshuffle this week yielded a mixed bag as far as Jewish and Israeli interests were concerned, with some appointments greeted with quiet satisfaction and others with mild concern.

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Israel urges branding guru to shed its ‘war-torn’ image

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

One of Britain's top image-makers is to lead a campaign to recreate Israel's international profile.

Fiona Gilmore, head of the Acanchi group, was in Israel last week meeting all levels of society, from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to environmental activists in the Negev.

Ms Livni had appointed Acanchi as part of a campaign she has led for three years to re-brand the country and lose its image as a spartan and war-torn.

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Selling out to Premier Putin

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

Why is a major Israeli fundraising body appointing one of the Kremlin's men as head of its Russian operation?


Last October, I interviewed a group of twenty-somethings participating in the first Limmud to take place in Russia, near Moscow. They were intelligent and articulate on the future of Jewish life in their country. Just one of my questions remained unanswered: did they not fear living in a society whose hard-won democratic freedoms were rapidly being eroded by the government? They all smiled awkwardly and declined to say anything on the subject.

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Prosor’s UK tenure ‘may end early’

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

There are suggestions in Israel that the London ambassador, Ron Prosor, might return home after only a year of service here if Shaul Mofaz is appointed Israel's next Foreign Minister.

There is widespread belief in Jerusalem that Mr Prosor would be Mr Mofaz's leading candidate to become director-general of the ministry, a post he previously held between 2004 and 2006.

Mr Mofaz, currently Transport Minister, came a close second two weeks ago to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in the Kadima primaries.

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Conservative think-tank unfavourably compares Sharia courts to Batei Din

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

Unpublished research by one of the UK's leading think-tanks makes unfavourable comparisons between the conduct of Muslim Sharia law courts with that of rabbinical courts, the Batei Din. The research suggests that while Batei Din are injuncted by Jewish law to act in accordance with the law of the land, Sharia courts aim to usurp local laws.

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Tory conference sketch:Two-day Boris steals the show

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

The warmest applause at the Conservative Friends of Israel lunch was reserved for the two members of the Christian Friends of Israel who remained behind to man the stand - while the Jews rushed home to spend Rosh Hashanah with their families.

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Gove attacks faith schools ‘persecution’

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

A Shadow Minister has attacked the government's interventions over faith-schools admissions policies, saying that he is "incensed by the way the government's actions have put Jewish schools in the dock".

Michael Gove told the JC at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham that the long experience of Jewish faiths schools should act as a model for schools of other faiths.

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Row over sheikh’s £2.5m LSE donation

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

The Students' Union of the London School of Economics has attacked the LSE's acceptance of a £2.5 million donation which will entail the naming of a new lecture theatre after the late ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Harvard University refused a similar donation in 2004 due to the alleged ties of the Sheikh Zayed Centre to antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

The Centre is understood to have sponsored lectures and publications on Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

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US plans to deter UN 'anti-Israel' agenda

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 26, 2008

The United States Congress has passed a resolution calling on the government to ensure that next year's United Nations human-rights conference will not have an anti-Israel agenda.

The resolution called on the administration to lead efforts to prevent any UN member states and NGOs turning the summit into a venue for anti-Israeli feeling or antisemitism, as in the previous conference in Durban in 2001.

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Brown and Miliband both appear at LFI fringe event

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 26, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has reiterated Britain's commitment to the diplomatic campaign against Iran's nuclear programme.

Speaking at the annual reception of Labour Friends of Israel on Monday at Labour's conference in Manchester, Mr Brown said that Iran had only two alternatives - to comply with the demands of the international community or steadily to isolate itself.

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Peres: Iran’s a world threat

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 26, 2008

Israel's president, Shimon Peres, warns today that it must not be left to Israel alone to solve the Iranian issue. "The Iranian threat is not only towards Israel, but the whole world," the president says in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with the Jewish Chronicle to mark Rosh Hashanah.

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Israel seeks to change its image

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 24, 2008

A top British re-branding guru, Fiona Gilmore, is currently on a fact-finding visit to Israel. Ms Gilmore's company, Acanchi, has been hired by the Israeli government to lead the campaign to recreate the country's international image.

The contract with Acanchi was announced last month. It is part of the campaign that Foreign MinisterTzipi Livni has been leading for the last three years to create a new international image of Israel, as far away as possible from its current Spartan, grim and war-torn one.

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Year of the Lame Duck

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 23, 2008

Gordon Brown will probably manage to ward off the latest Labour rebellion, for now, and depart from his party's conference for the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Effectively a lame-duck prime minister, just waiting for the moment in which one of his cabinet ministers plucks up courage to wield the knife.

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High votes against Israeli-Palestinian peace possibility

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 19, 2008

An audience this week voted overwhelmingly against the possibility of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the next five years.

The debate in Westminster on "Paths to Peace: Proposals to Resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" was sponsored by the Weidenfeld Institute for Strategic Dialogue and The Spectator magazine.

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