January 4, 2018

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

December 10, 2017

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

November 8, 2017

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

November 1, 2017

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

October 22, 2017

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

October 1, 2017

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

September 9, 2017

This month a new generation of Jewish students will begin their first term at university. Here’s my advice to them. Read more

August 5, 2017

The strange thing is that calling for equal rights is generally considered ‘a good thing’ At least it is in Western liberal democracies. Except when it comes to Israel when suddenly a whole set of other considerations come in to play. Read more

July 7, 2017

Well, you can’t say you haven’t been told. The Christian community in Occupied Palestine has just called time on 70 years of world-wide Christian/Jewish collusion in their oppression and slow demise. In an open letter to the World Council of Churches, they’re demanding a different course of action from their Christian sisters and brothers because, they write, the situation is now “beyond urgent”. The exasperation of the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine is understandable. The Church around the… Read more

June 12, 2017

How to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration this November? You can be sure there’s going to be no end of bad ways. Albert Hall Hiring the Royal Albert Hall in London on 7 November with a 500 voice international Christian choir will definitely be up there with the most crassly inappropriate ways to remember Balfour. Don’t expect to see a single Palestinian Christian in the building which alone should make you question this event’s integrity. However, I… Read more

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