On Felek Scharf

  Rafael Felix Scharf: 18 June 1914 -16 September 2003 For readers of the Jewish Quarterly, ‘Felek’ Scharf was a familiar name as a frequent contributor since the inception of the periodical. For those who worked on and for the Quartery he was the affectionate elder statesman whose good nature smoothed over altercation and disagreement … Read more

He’s no Joe Lieberman

Imagine waking up one morning to discover that Dracula is Jewish. Imagine, too, that he has been elected unopposed to become leader of the British Conservative Party. Confused? Unless you have been reading the British press during the last fortnight, you would be. The unexpected emergence of the Transylvanian Tendency in British political life has … Read more

Scandal in Bournemouth

Early in August, the octogenarian Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs, perhaps the preeminent talmudic scholar in Britain and founder of the Masorti movement [loosely affiliated with the US Conservative movement], attended the aufruf of his granddaughter’s future husband in the coastal resort of Bournemouth. The synagogue, however, looked to the United Synagogue group, from which Jacobs … Read more

The Legacy of the War on Terror

The problem in negotiating with Hamas is that it does not base its ideology on the Enlightenment and 19th-century nationalism – as does the IRA – but on the political theology emanating from the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Its 1988 charter seeks to replace Israel with an Islamic entity. It clearly has no … Read more

Sinn Fein and the Zionists

The newly released MI5 files (Terrorists plotted death of Bevin, May 22) further confirm historians’ belief that Jewish nationalist groups fighting the British in Mandatory Palestine in the 1940s regarded themselves as “the Zionist Sinn Fein”. Both Menachem Begin and Avraham Stern looked to the Irish struggle. The nom de guerre of Yitzhak Shamir, the … Read more

Putting Peace on the Map

Ewen MacAskill’s suggestion that the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration and the Israeli right read from the same hymn sheet may sound logical, but it is not borne out by the facts (Road map to nowhere, April 14).Just before the outbreak of the Iraqi war, Paul Wolfowitz stated that the US stake in pushing for … Read more

Vladimir Jabotinsky, Riga and the Legacy of Revisionist Zionism

Isaiah Berlin and Vladimir Jabotinsky In his ‘personal impression’ of Chaim Weizmann in 1958, Isaiah Berlin made a passing reference to Vladimir Jabotinsky as ‘the leader of the extreme right wing Zionists’.1 In one sense, such a comment presupposes that a leader must hold the same opinions as his followers. In the case of Jabotinsky, … Read more

The pushing and pulling of Jonathan Sacks

It is Jonathan Sacks’s destiny to inhabit several disparate worlds. Sacks is the scholarly British chief rabbi who heads the United Hebrew Congregations of the UK and the British Commonwealth Controversy seems to stalk him. His latest imbroglio relates to the republication of The Dignity of Difference, Sacks’s most recent book – ostensibly an Orthodox … Read more