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418px-sara_khan Britain 

What’s the problem with the new head of anti-extremism ? She’s too anti-extremism..

The British government has appointed a lead commissioner for the new Commission for Countering Extremism. She is Sara Khan, a British Muslim human rights activist and the chief executive of Inspire, an organisation she founded in 2008 to fight extremism and gender inequality. The decision to set up this commission followed the Manchester bombing, one of five terror attacks in Britain in 2017. The commission’s remit is to identify and challenge all forms of extremism, advise ministers on anti-extremist policies and promote “pluralistic British values”. Sara Khan has a track…

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great-comet-of-1577-over-prague-woodcut-jiri-daschitzsky Britain 

A rare sighting

Quick, get out the binoculars! There’s been a sighting of a rare phenomenon – a Remainer acknowledging reality! Ok, the former conservative Treasury minister Lord O’Neill still says Britain would do better if it remained in the EU. But he told The Times (£): “I certainly wouldn’t have thought the UK economy would be as robust as it currently seems. That is because some parts of the country, led by the North West [of England], are actually doing way better than people seem to realise or appreciate. As well as…

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seal-of-achiav-ben-menachem-excavated-city-of-david Britain Israel 

Palestinianism is over. Someone please tell the British

Apparently insulted by repeated slights from Britain’s political class and populace, President Donald Trump has decided to cancel his proposed visit there. Desperate to rescue the all-important post-Brexit US trade deal that might now be in jeopardy, Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to “clear the air” with the president at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week. Good luck with that one. Mrs. May herself has contributed to the hysteria about Trump’s fitness for office by publicly condemning some of his tweets. Rather more to the point, however,…

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HepHep riots, Frankfurt, 1819; from contemporary engraving by Johann Michael Voltz Britain Israel 

Eugenic libels, Jews barred at Warwick U

This all gets ever more dreadful. A vile event was put on at Warwick university last night. It was advertised as featuring unhinged claims that Israel was using eugenics to enhance the Jewish birthrate at the expense of Arab reproduction, and a disgusting proposal to retaliate by using eugenics to do the same in reverse to Israel. The indefatigable David Collier and two other Jews tried to attend the meeting, which was supposedly a public event. They were barred from entry. Collier writes: “It is difficult to describe the emotions…

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the-guardian Britain 

Peter Preston

Peter Preston, who was my editor at the Guardian when I worked there, has died at the age of 79. The Guardian is running tributes to him from former colleagues to which I have contributed this: Peter was a complex, difficult character who hid behind a wall of elliptical utterances and deniable obfuscation. Presiding over the temple of media liberalism, he himself was no ideologue. When I worked as the paper’s social policy editorial writer, there were occasions when he approved the argument I was making even though it was…

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HepHep riots, Frankfurt, 1819; from contemporary engraving by Johann Michael Voltz Britain 

Time to shame those who spread prejudice

University antisemitism is a serious and growing problem. Jewish students increasingly say they fear being on campus because of anti-Jewish vilification or harassment. Last year, an NUS study found more than a quarter of them had been subjected to personal abuse on social media or other channels. The universities minister, Jo Johnson, made an important speech last week at Limmud, the acclaimed Jewish learnathon. While the universities had to defend free speech better than they were doing, he said, there could be no place on campus for antisemitism. A welcome…

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william-blake-voltaire-c-1800 Britain 

Where to draw the line on true free speech

Offensiveness or wrong-headedness hurt no one. The claim that they do is designed to shut down legitimate debate. The proper antidote to speech that offends is other speech. Opinion anchored in reason can be countered by other opinion. Lies can be exposed by factual evidence. Truth emerges from debate and disagreement. The only sort of speech that deserves to be banned, on campus or elsewhere, is that which peddles true prejudice. This means speech that attacks people on the basis of an irrational hatred which by definition is immune to…

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once_upon_a_time_writer_author_story_short_story_legend_myth_once-738184 Britain 

A novel idea

Many people fondly imagine they “have a novel inside them”. I certainly did. That, though, was where for most of my life it stayed. Firmly inside. For as long as I can remember, I believed some people had the gift of writing creatively while others did not and that I was without doubt in the latter category. So the disjointed fragments of stories and characters that swirled around in my head stayed there. Until now. For, to my surprise, I find that I have written a novel. What’s more, it…

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palestine Britain Israel 

Perfidious Albion (yet again)

After the UK’s morally repellent and intellectually vacuous support for the vicious UN resolution against President Trump’s recognition that the capital of Israel is the capital of Israel, in what sense can Britain now claim to be an ally of either Israel or America? And what price now all Prime Minister Theresa May’s warm words of sympathy and support for Israel and the Jewish people?

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law Britain 

The rape of Britain’s justice system

There are two possible explanations for the rape scandal now engulfing the police and Crown Prosecution Service. The first is rank incompetence and the second is ideology. Clearly, competence has hardly been on display in the two rape cases that have collapsed within the space of one week. These could have caused devastating miscarriages of justice against the two defendants who were unjustly charged. This cannot simply be explained away, however, by carelessness or bungling. The real reason is that, from top to bottom of the criminal justice system, the…

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