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secular Britain 

Times column and exploding brains

While my Times column this morning has attracted much support (for which, many thanks to all) other brains appears to have been exploding over my argument that there is no moral equivalence between antisemitism and Islamophobia. The New Statesman has devoted an entire article, no less, to what it calls my “terrible column on the ‘fiction’ of Islamophobia, annotated”. Writer Nicky Woolf laboriously holds up paragraph after paragraph for scrutiny. Presumably she intends to demonstrate that not one of my arguments can withstand the force of such forensic analysis. Alas,…

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Antisemitism and Islamophobia Britain 

Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate

Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate Remarks I made on BBC TV’s Sunday Politics seem to have caused some controversy. Even before the credits started to roll, Twitter was going into meltdown. I had said there was no equivalence between antisemitism and Islamophobia. The former was a deranged demonisation of a people; the latter was used to shut down debate. Cue foaming outrage. No matter that I acknowledged the existence of prejudice against Muslims, just as against Sikhs, Hindus and others. In denying Islamophobia, I was an Islamophobic…

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Brexit Britain 

Sunday Politics show: why Anna Soubry was wrong

I appeared on BBC TV’s Sunday Politics show last weekend, talking about the local election results and the Brexit negotiations. You can watch the whole show here. On Brexit, I said this about the proposal for Britain to remain in a customs union with the EU (my remarks were kindly reported in the Express:) “Either you are in the EU or you are not in the EU.The customs union is a way of keeping us in the EU by stealth and all those voters, all those millions of British voters,…

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Mad Hatter's tea-party, from Alice's Adventure in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; Tenniel illustration Britain 

Rudderless over immigration in Brexitland

What a mess the British government is now in over immigration — a mess that the arrival of the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is unlikely to clear up. Consider. Amber Rudd resigned as Home Secretary through misleading Parliament over whether or not the government had “uncompassionate” targets for removing illegal immigrants. This followed the revelation that the government had treated appallingly Caribbean “Windrush” immigrants who arrived in the sixties but who were threatened with deportation decades later. These Windrush immigrants, however, were in Britain legally. Doesn’t the fact that…

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islands Britain Israel USA 

Three islands of exceptionalism in west’s darkest hour

On a plane to New York this week, I watched the movie Darkest Hour for the second time. If it packed a punch the first time, on second showing it seemed even more apposite to our current nail-biting era. The movie is about the traumatic period in May 1940 when, as the Nazis swept across Europe, Britain was staring at the prospect of defeat and invasion. Darkest Hour points out the catastrophic error of trying to negotiate with a regime whose agenda brooks no compromise. Britain didn’t acknowledge this until…

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constitutional Britain 

Betraying Brexit voters spells constitutional crisis

The constitutional crisis bubbling just below the surface ever since Britain voted to leave the EU is now at the point of eruption. That crisis is the prospect of parliament pitting itself against the people. Remainers and EU negotiators are ganging up in a push to reverse Brexit through the back door. The House of Lords passed an amendment last week committing the government to outline its moves to enable the UK to remain in a customs union with the EU. The Commons will have a symbolic vote on this…

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Jews being persecuted; Rochester Chronicle, 13th century Britain Europe 

In Britain and Europe, antisemitism’s ugly history repeats itself

Violent Islamist attacks on Jews in mainland Europe are causing acute concern. But fanatical religious belief which creates the impulse to murder Jews in the service of God, however appalling and terrifying, is not hard to grasp. What is even more unsettling is that people from the European mainstream, who have gone to great lengths to show they have learned the lessons of the Holocaust, or who display affection for the State of Israel, or who are obsessed with anti-racism and human rights – that such people are now coming…

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inquiries Britain 

Justice in the dock

The justice system is in deep trouble. Two developments suggest at least the beginnings of an attempt to rescue it. First, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, is to stand down at the end of her term of office. This has been marked by a series of controversies and disasters at the Crown Prosecution Service. The second welcome development is the level-headed approach being taken by the Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick. She will abandon the Met’s policy of automatically believing people who claim they are victims of crime,…

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Antisemitism darkening Britain 

Giddy at their boldness – but Corbyn didn’t cause Labour antisemitism. He’s its product

Giddy from having put its collective head above the parapet for the first time ever, Britain’s Jewish community leadership is telling itself that it has managed to change the political weather. Earlier this week, the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council published a blistering attack on Labour’s leader Jeremy Corbyn for facilitating antisemitism in his party. A demonstration they called outside Parliament, which brought around 2,000 mainly Jewish people onto the streets, produced the extraordinary sight of dozens of Labour MPs turning up to express solidarity against their…

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Antisemitism darkening Britain 

Open and shut case

An open letter backed by more than 2,000 supporters of Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that the Jewish community’s protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party was the work of a “very powerful special interest group”, the Independent reports. Some 2000 people turned up at Monday’s demonstration. There are around 65 million people in the UK. The Jewish community numbers about 270,000. There are an estimated 2.8 million British Muslims. The letter says the organisers of the demonstration had mobilised its “immense strength” to “employ the full might of the BBC” in order…

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