Zionism, Apartheid and the Delegitimisation of Passover

'Delegitimisation' is the favourite attack word used by defenders of Israel's unique (mis)understanding of democracy.It's usually deployed to accuse human rights campaigners of wanting to 'wipe the Jewish State off the face of the earth' for daring to suggest an alternative and fairer way of running the country. The apocalyptic rhetoric is designed to close down a debate about institutional discrimination and portray the call for Palestinian rights as the most poisonous act of antisemitism … [Read more...]

Dear Rabbi Sacks – stop your lies about BDS

Dear Jonathan SacksStop telling lies about BDS.Your video animation, designed to make the moral and political case against this year's Israel Apartheid Weeks on campuses around the world, is a skilful piece of deceit that needs urgent challenge from all who support human rights.I've always admired your writing on Judaism and I recommend your books to others. Except where you talk about Israel, at which point you appear to abandon your learning and your ethical values.You're … [Read more...]

“As Jews, we welcome refugees” (unless they’re Palestinian). 

 Apart from the Israeli government, Donald Trump, and various Zionist lobby groups around the world, like the Board of Deputies of British Jews, everyone else knows that the West Bank Settlements are obstacles to peace.But there's something else that's just as big an obstacle to peace as the Settlements. But nobody wants to call it out. Nobody wants to draw attention to the double standards, the tragic irony, the gaping hypocrisy.It's the obstacle to peace and reconciliation that gnaws … [Read more...]

Love in the Age of Trump

There’s a part of me thinking that Donald Trump’s inauguration can’t come soon enough. I’m impatient for him to enter the Oval Office, I’m looking forward to his cronies taking over the West Wing.It’s the part of me that thinks everything will be so much easier once the Donald is in charge.Have I lost my mind? Shouldn’t we be mourning the death of truth? Aren’t the lights of liberal reason being snuffed out?In many respects the fear and foreboding are right and I feel it too.Trump … [Read more...]

“OMG! I’ve just renounced my right to Jewish national self-determination.”

Okay, here goes.I'm renouncing my right to Jewish national self-determination.OMG!There. I've done it.It didn't hurt.I'm still here.I'm still Jewish.But what was it? And how did I get it in the first place?And just why do our Jewish leaders like to talk about it so much?I understand, thanks to various pronouncements from the Jewish community, that as a Jew I have the right to something called Jewish national self-determination.Thanks chaps. It sounded … [Read more...]

Reclaiming the lost Jewish voices of the Balfour Declaration

A leading British Rabbi has written: “Zionism and Zionistic activities not only depress Judaism by putting nationality first and religion second, but they injure Judaism by combining religion and nationality." The same Rabbi, who also happens to be President of the Anglo-Jewish Association, is convinced that non-Jews who support Zionism are, as often as not, "antisemitic".Meanwhile, The Times newspaper has published a letter co-signed by the President of the Board of Deputies s … [Read more...]

‘Children of Palestine’ – the radical new folk song bringing the tragedy to a new audience

How do you explain the tragedy of Palestinian history in just two and half minutes?  How do you convey to those new to the subject what has happened to the Palestinian people over the last 70 years? Is it possible to galvanise concern and change people’s perceptions just through writing a folk song?It’s a challenge taken up by Jim Boyes, one third of the English Folk acapella group Coope Boyes and Simpson. Their name may sound like a firm of rural England estate agents, but over the last 23 y … [Read more...]

A call for artefacts for the Museum of Modern Jewish Life

Inspired by a visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin, August 2016 1. As your Synagogue PresidentIt is my honourTo make this years'High Holidays Appeal As I said on Rosh Hashanah,Thanks to your generous donations last yearWe have been able to raise the moneyTo build the extensionTo our Jewish Museum I think we can all agreeThat the international design competitionAlthough controversialHas been a great … [Read more...]

Birth of a Kairos Jew

This is the text of my talk given on Friday 30 September 2016 at Victoria Methodist Church to the Sheffield Kairos group, part of the Kairos Britain movement for church solidarity with Palestine. My thanks to Garth Hewitt, founder of Amos Trust, for inviting me to share the stage with him. Kairos [Pronounced: Kai-ros] is a Greek word meaning 'the right time' or 'the moment of truth'.  Labels When we met briefly at the Greenbelt Festival in August Garth said to me that perhaps I should say th … [Read more...]

Settlement Boycotts – calling time on the hypocrisy of our Jewish leadership

With 2017 marking 50 years of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and the annexation of East Jerusalem you can guarantee that the debate over boycotting Israeli Settlements, whether by ordinary consumers or by businesses, will be a strong feature of the anniversary.It may also be its most peculiar feature unless we succeed in reframing the terms of the debate and challenge the self-appointed gate-keepers of the discussion - the diaspora Jewish leadership. Topsy-Turvy Boycotting the … [Read more...]