conservatism Culture wars 

Jewish conservatism is the key to our survival

In his new book The Second Mountain, the American writer David Brooks says something that shocked me. After a long night of the soul Brooks, a distinguished New York Times columnist, has realised that what should drive us is not worldly ambition and achievement. What’s more important is to live a moral life and put others first. Accordingly, he’s also come to realise that the hyper-individualism now dominating the west, the ideological pivot of left-wing politics, is inimical to human flourishing. This is all part of his moral and religious…

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frenzy Britain Culture wars 

Jews on the wrong side of the west’s lethal culture wars

Why are so many Jews getting our vicious culture wars so very wrong? “Cultural Marxism” is a term that refers to the strategy propounded by left-wing theorists in the last century to use the institutions of a society’s culture to bring about a revolution in society. In a speech this week, a British Conservative MP, Suella Braverman, said that conservatives were engaged in “a battle against cultural Marxism, where banning things is becoming de rigueur; where freedom of speech is becoming a taboo; where our universities, quintessential institutions of liberalism,…

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USA 

Will black be the answer to US Jews’ diaspora blues?

In a recent speaking tour in the US, I kept coming across Jews who were consumed by anxiety that so many of their young people were turning against Israel. I had encountered such anxiety on previous trips, but this time it was worse than ever before. Their children, they said, were being hoodwinked by bigoted hostility to Israel — wildly ridiculous lies and libels that they were choosing to believe because these formed the default anti-Zionist narrative on campus. What was to be done to reverse this, the parents repeatedly…

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antisemitism Israel 

After Pittsburgh: the true significance of antisemitism

As Jews around the world grieve for those who were slaughtered in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, the reaction of many in both Jewish and non-Jewish circles has demonstrated a refusal to acknowledge the true significance of what happened. Unforgivably, the attack was immediately politicized by those whose hatred of President Donald Trump effaced both decency and reason. Through his rhetoric on illegal immigrants and nationalism, he was accused of creating the toxic narrative that inspired the suspect, Robert Bowers, to commit the atrocity. This says far more about those making…

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conservatism Culture wars USA 

Jews and conservatism: an idea whose time has come

Last Sunday, I took part in the Jewish Leadership Conference in New York on Jews and conservatism. There were some excellent presentations from a line-up including Ruth Wisse, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Jonathan Haidt, Yoram Hazony and others. The point of the conference was, in the JLC’s own words, to harness the power of conservative ideas to strengthen the Jewish people and revitalise American civic life. It is not over-dramatic to say this is a project that is urgently needed to save the west. For the past several decades, the bedrock…

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antisemitism Britain 

UK Jewish community leaders lose the plot on antisemitism, hate and lies

The Jewish community leadership has been pleading with the Labour Party to deal properly with antisemitism and become again the party of moral decency. Surely no-one in the Jewish leadership believes this will happen? Even if the party adopts the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, does anyone really think its antisemitism will then go away? The core problem goes way beyond Labour. It is that the new antisemitism, expressed through virulent anti-Israelism, is now the defining motif for “progressive” circles. This attitude intrinsically repudiates the unique right of the…

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conservatism Culture wars USA 

Judaism under attack: the Orwellian hijack of tikkun olam

Throughout the west, the left has a big problem with Israel. This much is well established. In America, the Jewish community has a big problem with galloping assimilation, intermarriage and the steady abandonment of Judaism by its children. This much is also now all too obvious. What’s less appreciated is the extent to which the two are symbiotically linked, and the disturbing implications of how that link works. It’s not just that so many Jews are leaving the faith. It’s not just that the loss of connection to Judaism produces…

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Britain Israel USA 

Israel gets the nation-state right while the west fumbles with identity

Two utterly fundamental and seismic issues are threatening to tear apart Britain, Europe and America. They are mass immigration and national identity. The majority of Jews in Britain and America are warmly disposed towards the former and terrified of the latter. They have got it precisely the wrong way round. Diaspora Jews have a Pavlovian response to immigration. This is entirely understandable: the vast majority, myself included, are the descendants of immigrants and refugees. Jews are also commanded in the Torah not to wrong or oppress a stranger “for you…

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Culture wars Israel 

Time to leave? The question the Jews of Britain and Europe must ponder

These are alarming times for Jews in Britain and Europe. The British Labour Party is convulsed over the realization that it is riddled with antisemitism. Jeremy Corbyn, its leader and a friend to Hamas, has been exposed as belonging to Facebook groups hosting claims that the Jews were behind ISIS and 9/11, that the Rothschilds controlled the world’s finances and other such paranoid theories. The backwash from the exposure of these groups revealed a tsunami of anti-Jewish insults, smears and libels by Labour supporters. Corbyn’s responses, often truculent and insulting…

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Global conflict 

Time to go? Simon Wiesenthal memorial lecture

Last week, I was privileged to deliver the Simon Wiesenthal memorial lecture at St John’s Wood synagogue in London. My title was “Time to go? Jews in Britain and Europe”. Did I answer my own question? Find out by watching a recording of the event below. An edited version of the text of the lecture is due to be published in the June issue of Commentary magazine, which will be on line next month.

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