• Uncategorized

    Four strategic threats on Israel’s radar | a special briefing by former IDF intelligence head Amos Yadlin

    Speaking at a private Fathom Forum in late 2018, Director of the Institute for National Security Studies, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin presents an overview of the different regional threats facing Israel as well as the ongoing challenge of the Russian presence in the Middle East. Below is an edited transcript of his remarks.  INTRODUCTION Israel faces numerous strategic security challenges both on its borders and hundreds of miles away. Its main security challenges come from Hamas in Gaza, Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In order to fully understand the scope of these threats, one must analyse them on a scale of immediacy and severity…

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    Fathom 21 | Pop Islam: How Germany is tackling the new Islamic antisemitism

    (March of Life at the Brandenburg Gate, against racism, antisemitism and Israel hatred.) In 2018 Germany appointed the diplomat Dr. Felix Klein to the newly created post of Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism. Klein has expressed his determination to fight all forms of Jew-hatred, including the oft-ignored Islamic antisemitism that has been on the rise in Germany for two decades. Daniel Rickenbacher examines the challenges facing Klein, including the rising appeal of ‘Pop-Islam’ to second and third generation Muslims who have only have a rudimentary understanding of their faith. ‘This Islamist pop culture may be the most dangerous propagator of antisemitic ideas in Germany…

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    Leave will probably have to win a second referendum. But even winning again will not secure Brexit if we make the same two mistakes again. By Professor Alan Johnson

    The England manager Alf Ramsey famously told the team before extra time in the 1966 World Cup Final, ‘You have won it once, now go out and win it again’. This is the week when it will became clear that the 52 per cent will have to win it again.  This article is not about what a democratic outrage the ‘second referendum’ is, how it will likely poison our politics, open the door to the far-right, and destroy what little trust is left in what the Italian political theorist Norberto Bobbio (along with anybody with political common sense) calls the rules of the game. Instead, I ask why winning one referendum…

  • Marxism

    On Norman Geras’s ‘Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution’

    Norman Geras and Alan Johnson launching The Euston Manifesto, 2006. A friend has assigned one of Norman Geras’s essays (Our Morals: The Ethics of Revolution) for his undergraduate course, and as a consequence all the students have to fill in a special form, in accordance with the university’s implementation of the Government’s ‘Prevent’ policy. – Tweet by Cambridge University academic Chris Brooke on 6 November 2018. Alan Johnson is the author of ‘On Geras’s Marxism’ in The Norman Geras Reader, edited by Ben Cohen and Eve Garrard, Manchester University Press, 2017. In this post he argues that it is well worth using the occasion of Prevent’s intervention to encourage people…

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    British Jews and Israel: A Fathom Symposium

    In July 2018, the Jewish Chronicle identified ‘fundamental questions which must now be urgently asked’ in light of what it termed the ‘potentially seismic change’ in relations between British Jews and Israel. Fathom invited writers from across the spectrum – Sir Mick Davis, Jonathan Hunter, Robin Moss, Tamara Berens, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Toby Greene, Hannah Weisfeld and Maya Ilany, Simon Gordon and Keith Kahn-Harris –  whether they thought there was still a ‘centre ground’ for British Jews on Israel, what forms of criticism of and engagement with Israel they thought were acceptable and effective, and whether they believed British Jews have a responsibility to avoid helping those who wish to demonise Israel.…

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    ‘I had planned to own a farm but I ended up in the Israeli political zoo’: an interview with MK Sharren Haskel

      From combat soldier to veterinary nurse to the youngest MK in the Knesset, Sharren Haskel has had an unconventional route into politics. In early October Haskel sat down with deputy editor Samuel Nurding to discuss how she believes she can change Israel for the better, her vision for the future of the West Bank and Gaza, and her long-term goals in what she calls the ‘Israeli political zoo’. Download a PDF version here.  Samuel Nurding: How and why did you get into politics? Sharren Haskel: I never thought I would end up in politics. After my military service – I served as a combat fighter in the Border Patrol…

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    Fathom 21 | This is a conflict over narratives. Israel needs to tell ours to Palestinians.

    Yossi Klein Halevi is senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and the author of the recent New York Times bestseller, ‘Letters to my Palestinian Neighbour’. In conversation with Fathom deputy editor Calev Ben-Dor, he sets out the main themes of his book: the need for both sides need to stop the war on the legitimacy of each other’s narrative, and the need for a radically new kind of Israeli-Palestinian conversation about the conflict based on respect and deep mutual recognition.  TELLING OUR STORY My book originated in the 1990s when I undertook a year-long journey into Palestinian society, specifically into its religious life, going to mosques and monasteries looking for shared devotional language with my neighbours. I…

  • Brexit

    Ten reasons we should compromise and consider taking the Norwegian option, by Alan Johnson

    ‘Norway is not a member of the EU but it is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), and therefore the EU’s single market. Having a deal like Norway’s means joining the EEA and having almost the same level of tariff- and barrier-free trade with EU countries as we have now, plus the ability to strike our own trade deals with non-EU countries. It also means accepting a significant proportion of EU law, including the “four freedoms”— the free movement of goods, services, people and capital.’ (Full Fact, the UK’s Independent Factchecking Charity) ‘The concept of compromise is not particularly in vogue, especially among young idealists. This is because it is perceived as an…

  • Israel,  Middle East

    Fathom 21 | ‘Understanding the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is the key to understanding the whole Middle East conflict’: an interview with Lyn Julius

    Earlier this year Fathom’s Grant Goldberg interviewed Lyn Julius about her new book, Uprooted, which documents 3,000 years of Jewish civilisation in the Arab world and explains how and why that civilisation vanished in a single generation in the middle of the 20th century. Julius describes what brought Nazi Germany, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem into an alliance and how this impacted Jews in the Middle East and the formation of the State of Israel.  Grant Goldberg: What prompted you to write the book? Lyn Julius: I have a strong connection to the region. My parents arrived in Britain in 1950 as Iraqi-Jewish refugees, and throughout my…

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    Sean Matgamna on Left Antisemitism (Fathom)

    Contemporary left-wing antisemitism is first and foremost a denial of Israel’s right to exist and, as a result, a comprehensive hostility to pro-Israel Jews, that is to most Jews alive, branding them as ‘Zionists’ and seeing that description as akin to ‘racist’ or ‘imperialist,’ writes Sean Matgamna. In this clear-sighted essay taken from his book, The Left in Disarray (Workers Liberty Press, 2017), he sets out what ‘left-wing antisemitism’ is, where is it manifested and what is to be done about it. Fathom would like to thank Sean Matgamna for permission to reprint the essay. I What is ‘left-wing antisemitism’? Where is it manifested? What is to be done about it? There are three difficulties, three confusions and…