November 25, 2018

Last week Quakers in Britain became the first Christian denomination in the U.K. to adopt a responsible investment policy towards the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land. It was the first denomination but I doubt it will be the last. Within hours of the announcement, the Board of Deputies, the body which asserts its right to represent Jewish interests in Britain, had issued a statement of rebuke from its President, Marie van der Zyl. In a few short paragraphs, van de… Read more

October 18, 2018

“No religion is an island” – Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, November 1965 Dear Archbishop Justin and Chief Rabbi Mirvis You sat down together in the rabbi’s home in north London just before the Jewish new year. You drank tea and you talked about antisemitism. A few days later, the Church of England’s Bishops’ Conference in Oxford adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism and the 11 illustrations attached to it. Your meeting, and the actions that followed, told us much about… Read more

September 6, 2018

There are lots of good reasons to think the IHRA document, now adopted “in full” by Labour’s NEC and by Labour MPs, is, well, a bit rubbish. • The actual definition of antisemitism is not up to much • The illustrations are a legal mess • It appears to be having no impact on antisemitism in the (few) countries which have endorsed it • And it’s already being used to prevent open debate on university campuses A recent article by… Read more

September 2, 2018

Earlier this week Rabbi Jonathan Sacks made himself look foolish, tarnishing his worldwide reputation as a man of considerable Jewish learning and wisdom by making outlandish criticism of the Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn. This morning, on the BBC Andrew Marr Show, he did it again: “He [Corbyn] implies the majority of British Jews are essentially alien to British culture…he is as great a danger as Enoch Powell.” For younger readers and those less familiar with U.K. political history, Enoch… Read more

August 19, 2018

(Book review followed by interview with Professor Marc Ellis) This summer has seen young American Jews walk out of Birthright tours in Israel, fed up with the lack of Jewish community acknowledgement of Palestinian oppression; it’s seen prayers for Palestinian protestors shot dead in Gaza by Israeli snipers read in public by young British Jews; it’s seen the launch in Britain of Na’amod, a Jewish anti-occupation group inspired by If Not Now in America; it’s seen more than 40 Jewish… Read more

July 28, 2018

Greetings from Britain, where the Jewish community is facing an “existential threat to Jewish life”. At least that’s according to an editorial shared by all three of our Jewish community newspapers this week – the Jewish Chronicle, The Jewish News, and the Jewish Telegraph. You’re probably thinking that Her Majesty’s Government must have just introduced the equivalent of Hitler’s Nuremberg race Laws of 1935. Perhaps it’s worse. Perhaps the round-ups have already begun. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed a major… Read more

June 24, 2018

Dear Ed Husain I’ve just finished reading your new book ‘The House of Islam’, and like your autobiographical debut ‘The Islamist – Why I Joined Radical Islam in Britain, What I Saw Inside and Why I Left’, it’s going to be a bestseller. There’s much to welcome in your new work, in particular your strong critique of Salafi-Whahhabi beliefs which have fueled al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and others to commit brutal and murderous crimes. But when it comes to your… Read more

May 25, 2018

I’ve seen the Jewish future in Britain and it looks good. The next generation of Jewish leadership showed up in Parliament Square on 16th May and gave their elders a lesson in Jewish ethics and how to avoid compromise, timidity and hypocrisy when faced with a clear case of atrocity. They also began the long haul to rescue Judaism, and the Jewish community in Britain, from the dead hand of Zionism. At least I hope that’s what happened. There’s a… Read more

May 14, 2018

Why Jews in solidarity with Palestinians will win the day Because it’s not 1933. Because the Palestinians are not the Nazis. Because we have not been here before. Because this is new. Why Jews in solidarity with Palestinians will win the day Because you cannot shout about racism here but not there. Because you cannot care about refugees here but not there. Because discrimination at the Western Wall matters less than the Apartheid all around you. Because an Israeli sniper’s… Read more

April 22, 2018

“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

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