“Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power.” Natalie Portman, Friday 20 April 2018 Dear Natalie I too was a liberal Zionist. I too thought the problem was the leaders of Israel and their policies. I too thought… Read more

When Israeli soldiers shoot, maim and kill unarmed Palestinian protestors living under Israeli siege in Gaza – where has Zionism taken us? When a nation descended from refugees turns it back on African asylum seekers because they will dilute the Jewish purity of the State – what moral integrity does Zionism have? When the President of the Board of Deputies in Britain describes a left-wing religious Jewish group as “a source of virulent antisemitism” because they openly criticise Israel –… Read more

Dear Prince William To be honest I’d rather you didn’t go to Israel this summer. Much better to stay home with Kate and help look after the new baby. Why not take some paternity leave and set a good example for Britain’s fathers? But I realise you don’t really have a choice in the matter. You’re going, and that’s that. Your employer is Her Majesty’s Government and your job is to ‘bat for Britain’ in whatever way is considered most… Read more

– A call to Jewish students for Israeli Apartheid Week 2018 We need to talk about Jewish racism. I know what you’re thinking. How dare I accuse us, a people who’ve suffered so greatly from prejudice, hatred and persecution, of holding racists attitudes ourselves? But it turns out that our past experience provides no protection and our communal memories can hinder not help us. This particular conversation is about to become more urgent if you’re a Jewish student on a campus… Read more

As we were leaving the theatre an email dropped into my inbox inviting me to give some feedback. “Did you enjoy Oslo?” was the subject line. Hmm, tricky question. The acting was good. The dialogue was sharp and witty. But the process it depicted turned out to be a political nightmare and a national catastrophe for the Palestinian people. That didn’t stop the audience in London’s West End applauding the show with enthusiasm. Men in suits JT Rogers’ play, about… Read more

It was an unusual week in the history of Jerusalem. Simultaneously, nothing changed; and everything changed. What changed was 70 years of US diplomacy and international consensus on the status of Jerusalem. What changed was belief in the possibility of a genuine 2-State solution. What changed was that Donald Trump was, for once, telling us the truth. As he said in his speech, “this is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.” That “reality” of Jerusalem as Israel’s… Read more

Dear Professor Schama I’ve just read your letter to The Times this week about Zionism and antisemitism in the Labour Party, co-signed by your fellow historian Simon Sebag Montefiore and novelist Howard Jacobson. As you’re the senior academic, I’m addressing my concerns to you, although I’m slightly embarrassed at having to offer someone of your reputation a history lesson. While I’m sympathetic to some of your points over the language and tone of the Israel/Palestine debate in some parts of… Read more

Greetings from East Jerusalem in Israeli occupied Palestine. Tomorrow (2 November) is the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Around the world there is limited interest in this anniversary. Even in Israel it’s not much of a news story. Prime Minister Netanyahu can afford to be in London with Theresa May and Boris Johnson celebrating Balfour at a private dinner party. But here in the Occupied Palestinian Territories it’s different. Here Balfour matters. It’s on the streets, it’s in the air. Here… Read more

This past week Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn snubbed a dinner invitation from the Jewish Leadership Council while Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, sent an angry email to the UK Ambassador to the United Nations. Arthur Balfour and his infamous Declaration are to blame for both incidents. It doesn’t sound like much to get worked up about. But you should do. As the Balfour centenary year approaches its climax on 2 November, we’re witnessing… Read more

The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is nearly upon us (November 2nd 2017) and its 67 words of apparent British imperial generosity towards the Jewish people are already taking on sacred status. We are about to canonise Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, and turn his letter to Lord Rothschild, which viewed “with favour” the establishment of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, into a holy Jewish text. But unlike other Jewish scripture, these are not words our rabbis will be allowed to… Read more

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