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

Trump is no antisemite

President Donald Trump seems to be a man who thinks (and tweets) from his gut. He appears emotional, self-absorbed and impulsive. His language is careless and inaccurate. He shoots his mouth off repeating something he’s seen or heard on Fox News or talk radio which as often as not turns out to be false. All these things are alarming and indefensible. Nevertheless the unprecedented distortion, fabrication, selective reporting, double standards, wrenching out of context and character assassination by association in the mainstream media’s general approach to Trump has created a…

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The banquet of Esther and Ahasuerus; Jan Victors, 1840s Global conflict Israel USA 

A parable for our times

Today and yesterday (depending on where you are in the world) observant Jews have been celebrating the festival of Purim by reading the megillah of Esther. This is the story of the Persian king Ahasuerus, commonly identified as Xerxes I, who went along with the plan hatched by his vizier Haman to exterminate the Jews. Ahasuerus was then persuaded out of this by his Jewish queen Esther, who was urged on by her brother Mordecai, and hanged Haman instead. Witty folk have been comparing Ahasuerus to Donald Trump. This is…

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Battle of Williamsburg, 1893, Library of Congress USA 

The non-denial denial

Once upon a time, in the days when the media had its eyes open, journalists would be galvanised by what they dubbed “a non-denial denial”. Poring over what was actually said when someone denied an allegation, journalists would pounce upon the words or phrases which revealed, as often as not by their absence, that the denial had been carefully worded to make some fine distinction that was calculated to conceal the truth while protecting the denier from any subsequent accusation of lying. The very opposite is true today. Starting with…

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Vincenzo Camuccini: La Morte di Cesare, 1804-1805 USA 

Sedition stalks the Beltway

While the US media is in a feeding frenzy over feverish claims that the Attorney-General Jeff Sessions lied over his Russian contacts, the evidence is steadily building that this is actually part of an attempted rolling coup against President Trump. The accusations against Sessions would be laughable were they not so menacing. According to Justice Department officials, Sessions had two encounters last year with the Russian AmVbassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak. The first was at a Heritage Foundation event in July during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, when…

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Antisemitic sign, pro-Palestinian rally San Francisco 2009 Britain USA 

Viewing antisemitism through a glass darkly

Suddenly, everyone’s worried about surging antisemitism. Remarkable. In recent decades, antisemitism has been the prejudice that dare not speak its name. The “Israel apartheid weeks” on campus, the blood libels about Israelis wantonly killing Arab children, the high proportion of attacks on Jews by Muslims – no one was allowed to call this anti-Jewish hatred. Anyone who did so was accused of Islamophobia, sanitizing the crimes of Israel by waving the shroud of the Holocaust and so on. Now people are shouting about antisemitism almost every day. Recent events are…

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extinct-dinosaur Britain USA 

The left dies in daylight

The British political and media class is today poring over the entrails of yesterday’s by-elections. The Tories won an unprecedented victory in Copeland, while Labour defeated the UKIP leader in Stoke. The discussion is over whether Labour’s hapless far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn is finished or will use the victory in Stoke to stagger on, and whether the useless UKIP leader Paul Nuttall made a strategic error in targeting Labour rather than Conservative voters. This all misses the point. The by-elections point to something rather bigger that is now taking place….

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inquisition Britain USA 

Political correctness kick-started populism

The reason nobody saw the people’s revolt coming is that political correctness is too easily dismissed. Reason has been supplanted by a secular inquisition, complete with an index of prohibited ideas. It is in effect a dictatorship of virtue, drawing upon the doctrine first promoted by Jean-Jacques Rousseau of forcing people to be free. Of course it’s not freedom at all but a form of moral extortion: extracting a free pass for bad or questionable behaviour under threat of character assassination and social opprobrium. My column in The Times of…

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boibi-trump Israel USA 

Hope for a real solution? No wonder Europe’s dismayed

President Trump’s comments to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu about the solution to the Israel-Arab impasse produced consternation and contempt in equal measure. At the press conference after their meeting at the White House, Trump said: “So I’m looking at two state and one state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians are…

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Aeneas and his companions fighting the Harpies, Francois Perrier, before 1650 USA 

First strike to the black state

Rarely can a much anticipated official visit have been so eclipsed by a convulsion taking place behind the scenes. People have been poring over every word and gesture of the meeting in Washington between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump. The encounter offered an opportunity to discover not just the new American policy toward Israel but also to get the measure of this unsettling president. However, the back story told rather more about Donald Trump than was on display at the love-in with Netanyahu – and it wasn’t…

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