Britain Israel USA 

Leaving Egypt to cross the (metaphorical) seas

At the festival of Passover, which Jews are about to celebrate, the story is recounted of how the children of Israel managed to redeem themselves from slavery through their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea in which their Egyptian pursuers proceeded to drown. Plunging into the sea was a supreme act of collective faith by the escaping Israelites, involving extraordinary courage and requiring an equally crucial act of leadership. These three factors are in conspicuously short supply in the west today. In Britain, the stalled and sabotaged Brexit process irresistibly…

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Israel 

Madonna chooses freedom singing at Eurovision

The singer Madonna has announced she’ll be singing at next month’s final of the Eurovision song contest in Tel Aviv before an estimated global audience of 180 million viewers. She intends to perform two songs, including a new one from her forthcoming album. Cue all the too predictable outrage from those who demonize Israel. Jewish Voice for Peace launched a “Tell Madonna to Choose Freedom” campaign, claiming that “there’s no neutrality in situations of injustice,” and calling on the star to “stay home” and “lend your voice for freedom.” Would…

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Britain Israel 

From the Golan to Brexit, “compromise” is a fig-leaf for surrender

Two current sources of uproar tie Britain, the United States and Israel into a matrix of hypocrisy, double standards and spinelessness. The first was the welcome announcement by President Donald Trump that the United States will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategically crucial mountain range that Israel seized from Syria in 1967. Cue horror in the foreign ministries and policy circles of the world where Israel’s annexation was denounced as a violation of international law. Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, tut-tutted: “We should never recognize the annexation…

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Europe Israel 

Is Netanyahu making deals with the devil?

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been severely criticized for cozying up to sundry dictators, autocrats or governments that downplay or deny their country’s role in the Holocaust. Among those he has either visited or hosted are Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who boasts of creating an “illiberal democracy” and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines who once compared himself to Hitler. The next summit of the Visegrád group, an alliance of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, will be held this month in Jerusalem.…

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Ireland Israel 

Ireland’s obsessional hatred of Israel

There’s a particularly sweet spot in the enormous technology deal Israel has just pulled off. Over the next five years, the tech giant Intel will invest a whopping $11 billion in a new semiconductor fabrication plant in Israel. The investment will be worth around 0.7% of Israel’s gross domestic product and is expected to produce thousands of jobs. The sweet spot is that in securing this deal, Israel beat off competition from Ireland. For Ireland has become the most extreme Israel-bashing country in the West. Its Dáil, or parliament, recently…

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Watson Israel 

Vindictive punishment of James Watson

James Watson was one of the Nobel prizewinning team that discovered the double helix structure of DNA in 1953. Now the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory he ran in New York has revoked all his titles and honours on account of his “reprehensible” comments about race and intelligence. The move leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. There’s no question but that Watson, described as perhaps the most influential biologist of the second half of the last century, has expressed some dubious and unacceptable views. He has suggested that fat people…

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Israel USA 

Two national leaders: two TV addresses to fire up their base

Last Monday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on TV to make what was billed in advance as a “dramatic announcement.” Reacting to rumors that Israel’s Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, might announce during Israel’s general election campaign an indictment against him on the three corruption cases under investigation, he declared that this would be unjust, and that he hadn’t been allowed to confront the three state’s witnesses in the investigations against him despite asking twice to do so. “How can you get to the essence of the truth if…

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fashion 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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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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Labour party antisemitism 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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