TV Israel 

Once again into the fray in TV’s gladiatorial circus

I did two TV appearances in one day yesterday – the first on the BBC’s daily Politics Live, and the second on the BBC’s flagship political debate show, Question Time. It was the first edition of Question Time with Fiona Bruce in the chair after the retirement of its venerable anchor David Dimbleby who had become something of a national institution. So it was a show that attracted much attention and considerable comment in today’s newspapers. All eyes were on Fiona and whether she could fill Dimbleby’s patrician shoes. You…

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obesity Britain 

Obesity is a national obsession, not a disease

The Royal College of Physicians has said that, in order to bring obesity under control, it should be viewed not as a result of lifestyle choice but as a disease. Statistics about obesity are contestable and should be treated with caution. There is no doubt, however, that being overweight exacerbates both the incidence and severity of certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. To call obesity itself a disease, however, is an abuse of language. A disease is an organic disorder that affects a particular function and happens…

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murder Israel 

The terrorist murder of Aisha Rabi

As the result of an Israeli gagging order being partially lifted, it has been revealed that five Jewish teenagers from a yeshiva in the disputed territories have been accused of the murder of a Palestinian woman, Aisha Rabi. This was a heinous and appalling crime. Rabi, the mother of nine children, was killed last October when a rock was hurled at her car. Lawyers for the five teenagers claim that the Israeli security service, the Shin Bet, used torture and ill-treatment against the boys who the lawyers say are innocent…

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Antisemitism humbug Britain Israel 

How western humbug gives antisemitism a free pass

A few days ago, I wrote about antisemitism in the Labour party following the rough ride given to shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry when she spoke at Limmud. I suggested that those who, like Thornberry, were concerned about the egregious examples of antisemitism in their party were nevertheless unable to face an inconvenient truth. This was that the bigotry against Jews which so horrified them was symbiotically connected to the commitment throughout progressive circles to the Palestinian cause, whose foundation, activities and goals are defined by virulent, murderous Jew-hatred. In response,…

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Times USA 

The pathological animus of the New York Times

A recent column by Bret Stephens in The New York Times was headlined “Donald Trump is bad for Israel.” Others may think a more appropriate headline would be: “The New York Times is bad for Israel.” The paper is regarded as the bible of America’s intellectual classes. Yet for years, its coverage of Israel has been a disgrace. Of course, it’s entitled to criticize Israel as it would any other country. But it doesn’t treat Israel like any other country. It singles it out for demonization based on falsehoods, distortion…

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The Punishment of the Thieves; William Blake, 1824-7 Culture wars 

Lennon’s utopia is no dream, it’s a nightmare

Lennon’s utopia is no dream, it’s a nightmare At the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations last night in New York’s Times Square, a hallowed tradition was observed once again. Bebe Rexha was the latest singer to perform John Lennon’s song Imagine immediately before the 60-second countdown to the pyrotechnically punctuated stroke of midnight. The song is chosen for this sacred annual spot because it is regarded by many as a hymn to a better world. “Imagine there’s no countries,” sang Lennon, “It isn’t hard to do/ Nothing to kill or…

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crazy world Israel 

Our crazy world: US Syria pullout, EU antisemitism survey

Please join me here as I discuss with Avi Abelow of Israel Unwired some major events of the past few days in our crazy world. We consider the implications of President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, the ramifications of which are more complex than might be imagined from the shallow mainstream media accounts. You can also read my take on what really matters about America’s approach to Syria and Iran here. We also talk about the recent EU survey of perceptions by Jewish communities in Britain and…

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map Britain 

The Labour party’s out-of-body antisemitism experience

When Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry spoke last week at the annual Limmud Jewish cultural festival in Birmingham, she declared in relation to the accusation that the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was an antisemite: “I don’t believe there is a racist or antisemitic bone in his body”. And she claimed that Corbyn had been unable to deal properly with the issue of Labour antisemitism because he had been so emotionally affected by being accused of it himself. Cue derision and jeers. Which was only to be expected. After…

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de-radicalisation Global conflict 

Who are the real isolationists in America?

Ever since President Donald Trump astounded the world by announcing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, commentators have been trying to work out the significance of this decision. Among those conservatives who believe America should make alliances against the enemies of the West and then stand by those allies, there has been shock and consternation. A number of Israeli analysts have expressed similar dismay. The cause of the concern is obvious. By withdrawing the 2,000 or so U.S. troops stationed in the border area between Iraq, Syria and Jordan,…

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denial Israel 

The elephants of antisemitism in the European room

The latest report by the EU’s agency on fundamental rights which finds antisemitism on the rise across Europe should be treated with some caution. This is because it deals not with objective measures of the rate of attacks on Jews but with the views of Jews themselves about the extent of antisemitism. Such views are inevitably limited in accuracy and scope. It is beyond any doubt, however, that the perception of increased antisemitism is widespread among the Jews of Britain and Europe. It is also beyond doubt that there is…

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