My plea to the left: treat Jews the same way you’d treat any other minority | Jonathan Freedland

The row over Ken Livingstone and Labour antisemitism has exposed people who think they’re anti-racist – but make a curious exception for Jews

Let’s imagine for just a moment that a small but vocal section of the left was consumed with hatred for one faraway country: barely an hour could pass without them condemning it, not just for this or for that policy, but for its very existence, for the manner of its birth, for what it represented. And now let’s imagine that this country was the only place in the world where the majority of the population, and most of the government, were black.

Related: Is this self-ignited firestorm the end for Ken Livingstone? | Hugh Muir

Related: Ken Livingstone must be thrown out of Labour. He’s had his last second chance | Jess Phillips

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My plea to the left: treat Jews the same way you’d treat any other minority | Jonathan Freedland

The row over Ken Livingstone and Labour antisemitism has exposed people who think they’re anti-racist – but make a curious exception for Jews

Let’s imagine for just a moment that a small but vocal section of the left was consumed with hatred for one faraway country: barely an hour could pass without them condemning it, not just for this or for that policy, but for its very existence, for the manner of its birth, for what it represented. And now let’s imagine that this country was the only place in the world where the majority of the population, and most of the government, were black.

Related: Is this self-ignited firestorm the end for Ken Livingstone? | Hugh Muir

Related: Ken Livingstone must be thrown out of Labour. He’s had his last second chance | Jess Phillips

Continue reading...

It took Barack Obama to crush the Brexit fantasy | Jonathan Freedland

The US president destroyed one of the Vote Leave campaign’s core arguments, ending a week that may define the referendum debate

No wonder they were desperate that he keep his mouth shut. At his podium in Downing Street Barack Obama flattered his hosts, paid lip service to the notion that the referendum on British membership of the European Union on 23 June is a matter for the British people – and then calmly ripped apart the case for Brexit.

It was the Vote Leavers’ worst nightmare. For years – no, decades – the anti-EU camp has suggested that Britain’s natural habitat is not among its continental neighbours but in “the Anglosphere”, that solar system of English-speaking planets which revolves around the United States. Break free from Brussels and we could embrace our kindred spirits in Sydney, Toronto and especially New York, Washington and Los Angeles. The Brexit camp has long been like the man who dreams of leaving his wife for another woman, one who really understands him.

Related: Barack Obama: Brexit would put UK back of the queue for trade talks

Every day Johnson spends tag-teaming with Farage – who repeated his ‘half-kenyan line' – risks trashing the Boris brand

Related: The Guardian view on a key week in the EU debate: Obama sends the right message | Editorial

Continue reading...

It took Barack Obama to crush the Brexit fantasy | Jonathan Freedland

The US president destroyed one of the Vote Leave campaign’s core arguments, ending a week that may define the referendum debate

No wonder they were desperate that he keep his mouth shut. At his podium in Downing Street Barack Obama flattered his hosts, paid lip service to the notion that the referendum on British membership of the European Union on 23 June is a matter for the British people – and then calmly ripped apart the case for Brexit.

It was the Vote Leavers’ worst nightmare. For years – no, decades – the anti-EU camp has suggested that Britain’s natural habitat is not among its continental neighbours but in “the Anglosphere”, that solar system of English-speaking planets which revolves around the United States. Break free from Brussels and we could embrace our kindred spirits in Sydney, Toronto and especially New York, Washington and Los Angeles. The Brexit camp has long been like the man who dreams of leaving his wife for another woman, one who really understands him.

Related: Barack Obama: Brexit would put UK back of the queue for trade talks

Every day Johnson spends tag-teaming with Farage – who repeated his ‘half-kenyan line' – risks trashing the Boris brand

Related: The Guardian view on a key week in the EU debate: Obama sends the right message | Editorial

Continue reading...

AB Yehoshua: ‘Instead of dealing with Palestine, the new generation do a play or write a story’

The acclaimed Israeli novelist on the political role of the writer and why it is time to rethink the two-state solution

They are, if not the holy trinity, then at least the hallowed trio. Amos Oz, David Grossman and AB Yehoshua – once hailed as “the three tenors” of Israeli literature, who have for decades served an exalted double role. Inside the country, they are the unofficial liberal conscience of the nation: delivering rousing speeches at demonstrations or firing off newspaper polemics that burn with righteous indignation, whether lamenting Israel’s march rightward, denouncing its presence in the territories occupied since 1967 or making the deeply unfashionable case for peace with the Palestinians. Outside Israel, where literary prizes are heaped on them with unflagging regularity, they offer those same red-hot criticisms – but at the same time, and with no contradiction, also mount a defence of Israel itself: not its governments, but its right to be there and what they see as its enduring necessity.

Of the three, Yehoshua might be the least well known beyond Israel. Perhaps that’s because he does not have Oz or Grossman’s unnerving ability to deploy the English language with a precision and eloquence few native speakers can muster. Yet Yehoshua, who in his 80th year is the oldest of the trio, is at least as celebrated. In 2005, he was the sole Israeli on the shortlist for the first International Man Booker prize.

Related: Sounds Jewish podcast: Jewish Book Week special

Continue reading...

AB Yehoshua: ‘Instead of dealing with Palestine, the new generation do a play or write a story’

The acclaimed Israeli novelist on the political role of the writer and why it is time to rethink the two-state solution

They are, if not the holy trinity, then at least the hallowed trio. Amos Oz, David Grossman and AB Yehoshua – once hailed as “the three tenors” of Israeli literature, who have for decades served an exalted double role. Inside the country, they are the unofficial liberal conscience of the nation: delivering rousing speeches at demonstrations or firing off newspaper polemics that burn with righteous indignation, whether lamenting Israel’s march rightward, denouncing its presence in the territories occupied since 1967 or making the deeply unfashionable case for peace with the Palestinians. Outside Israel, where literary prizes are heaped on them with unflagging regularity, they offer those same red-hot criticisms – but at the same time, and with no contradiction, also mount a defence of Israel itself: not its governments, but its right to be there and what they see as its enduring necessity.

Of the three, Yehoshua might be the least well known beyond Israel. Perhaps that’s because he does not have Oz or Grossman’s unnerving ability to deploy the English language with a precision and eloquence few native speakers can muster. Yet Yehoshua, who in his 80th year is the oldest of the trio, is at least as celebrated. In 2005, he was the sole Israeli on the shortlist for the first International Man Booker prize.

Related: Sounds Jewish podcast: Jewish Book Week special

Continue reading...

AB Yehoshua: ‘Instead of dealing with Palestine, the new generation do a play or write a story’

The acclaimed Israeli novelist on the political role of the writer and why it is time to rethink the two-state solution

They are, if not the holy trinity, then at least the hallowed trio. Amos Oz, David Grossman and AB Yehoshua – once hailed as “the three tenors” of Israeli literature, who have for decades served an exalted double role. Inside the country, they are the unofficial liberal conscience of the nation: delivering rousing speeches at demonstrations or firing off newspaper polemics that burn with righteous indignation, whether lamenting Israel’s march rightward, denouncing its presence in the territories occupied since 1967 or making the deeply unfashionable case for peace with the Palestinians. Outside Israel, where literary prizes are heaped on them with unflagging regularity, they offer those same red-hot criticisms – but at the same time, and with no contradiction, also mount a defence of Israel itself: not its governments, but its right to be there and what they see as its enduring necessity.

Of the three, Yehoshua might be the least well known beyond Israel. Perhaps that’s because he does not have Oz or Grossman’s unnerving ability to deploy the English language with a precision and eloquence few native speakers can muster. Yet Yehoshua, who in his 80th year is the oldest of the trio, is at least as celebrated. In 2005, he was the sole Israeli on the shortlist for the first International Man Booker prize.

Related: Sounds Jewish podcast: Jewish Book Week special

Continue reading...

Be thankful the US is willing to be our global policeman | Jonathan Freedland

The long arm of the American law is investigating the company behind the Panama Papers. After taking on Fifa, drug lords and the corrupt, it seems the only nation strong enough to do the job

When someone describes the US as a self-appointed “global policeman”, they don’t usually mean it as a compliment. Ordinarily, it serves as shorthand for the arrogance of American power, invading countries and imposing regime change, charging about the world heedless of everyone’s needs but its own.

But every now and then the phrase seems apt in a rather more positive way. On Tuesday it emerged that the US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the international tax avoidance schemes revealed earlier this month by the Panama Papers. The US attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, has written to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the organisation which oversaw the exposé of the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca seeking further information. Since the leak contained 11.5m files, there’s certainly no shortage of that.

The long reach of US anti-corruption laws are a global asset not to be dismissed lightly

Related: What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak

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Be thankful the US is willing to be our global policeman | Jonathan Freedland

The long arm of the American law is investigating the company behind the Panama Papers. After taking on Fifa, drug lords and the corrupt, it seems the only nation strong enough to do the job

When someone describes the US as a self-appointed “global policeman”, they don’t usually mean it as a compliment. Ordinarily, it serves as shorthand for the arrogance of American power, invading countries and imposing regime change, charging about the world heedless of everyone’s needs but its own.

But every now and then the phrase seems apt in a rather more positive way. On Tuesday it emerged that the US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the international tax avoidance schemes revealed earlier this month by the Panama Papers. The US attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, has written to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the organisation which oversaw the exposé of the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca seeking further information. Since the leak contained 11.5m files, there’s certainly no shortage of that.

The long reach of US anti-corruption laws are a global asset not to be dismissed lightly

Related: What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak

Continue reading...

Be thankful the US is willing to be our global policeman | Jonathan Freedland

The long arm of the American law is investigating the company behind the Panama Papers. After taking on Fifa, drug lords and the corrupt, it seems the only nation strong enough to do the job

When someone describes the US as a self-appointed “global policeman”, they don’t usually mean it as a compliment. Ordinarily, it serves as shorthand for the arrogance of American power, invading countries and imposing regime change, charging about the world heedless of everyone’s needs but its own.

But every now and then the phrase seems apt in a rather more positive way. On Tuesday it emerged that the US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into the international tax avoidance schemes revealed earlier this month by the Panama Papers. The US attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, has written to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the organisation which oversaw the exposé of the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca seeking further information. Since the leak contained 11.5m files, there’s certainly no shortage of that.

The long reach of US anti-corruption laws are a global asset not to be dismissed lightly

Related: What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak

Continue reading...