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God’s gift?

Ephraim Mirvis, Britain’s current Chief Rabbi (in fact, he’s the Chief Rabbi of the orthodox United Hebrew Congregation, to which only a minority of British Jews are affiliated) has penned an appalling column in Jewish News. Mirvis is leading a group of 50 Rabbis in “one of the largest ever rabbinic missions to Israel from… Read more

Once again, Britain’s Jewish leaders miss the point

In a confidential report (revealed by Jewish News), the Board of Deputies of British Jews at last acknowledges that there is a significant division of opinion about Israel among British Jews. However, it proposes to address that division not by promoting open, informed debate, but through pro-Israel forces adopting a somewhat subtler, softly-softly approach. The… Read more

A further note on BDS and “singling out” Israel

Opponents of the BDS campaign accuse its supporters of unfairly “singling out” Israel while neglecting a host of other deplorable regimes. It seems that until we simultaneously campaign against all outstanding injustices, any campaign against a particular injustice will remain illegitimate. Presumably, however, the liberal critics of BDS have no objection to the Palestinians themselves… Read more

“If not now, when?” On BDS and ‘singling out’ Israel

[This is an edited version of a letter I’ve sent to a relative in the US who’s been trying to figure out the BDS issue in the wake of the recent onslaught against the American Studies Association’s decision to support the academic boycott.] The “singling out” objection seems to me quite perverse. It’s not possible… Read more

How the left supported ethnic cleansing

Contending for the Living Red Pepper, December 2013 The British left has made some terrible errors in its time but surely few more appalling than its 1948 support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their own land. Today the left is attacked for “singling out” Israel for criticism but historically its record is the… Read more

Sheikh Jarrah and the “masterplan” for Jerusalem

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 20 February On a visit to Jerusalem in December, we met with residents of Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood north of the Old City, where 28 extended Palestinian families are waging a struggle against eviction and displacement by Jewish settlers. The families came here in 1948 as refugees from Israel. With… Read more

Bible bashing (lessons for the rich)

CONTENDING FOR THE LIVING Red Pepper, February-March 2011 A body of antiquated dogma and myth, a source of repression, paean to patriarchy, bulwark of hierarchy. That’s how many would summarise the Bible, and there are more than enough juicily quotable Biblical passages to justify that view. But there’s much more to this book – or… Read more

Palestine campaigners threatened with legal gag

March 29th will see the resumption in an Edinburgh court of an extraordinary trial with disturbing implications for freedom of expression and campaigners for Palestinian rights. Back in August 2008, five members of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign disrupted an Edinburgh performance of the Jerusalem Quartet, who are promoted and indeed contracted to act as… Read more

Journey of events and evidence

If I Am Not For Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew by Mike Marqusee reviewed by Daniel Machover, Socialist Lawyer, September 2008 “a highly readable and engaging mix of biography, autobiography and political analysis…” This book tracks the life of the author’s grandfather, Edward V Morand (known in the book as EVM), a journalist, founder… Read more

The Jews and the Left

[This essay was published in 2008 in A Time To Speak Out, the Independent Jewish Voices initiative published by Verso.] “Fear the Lord, my son, and the king, and with dissidents do not mingle.” (Proverbs 24, 21) The recent emergence of Jewish dissent on Israel has been met with fierce hostility by established Jewish organisations… Read more