Extracts from the Apr 2008 Journal

National sovereignty and national interest

As the Treaty of Lisbon wends its weary way through parliament, the familiar arguments for and against European treaties are rolled out. The populist press echoes to accusations that under the treaty Britain is sacrificing elements of its sovereignty, allowing supranational bodies like the Council of Ministers a measure of control in British affairs, and generally conceding to ‘foreigners’ powers that it ought to preserve for itself as a nation-state. Pro-Europeans are forced onto the defensive, arguing that the concessions are inconsequential and that Britain has negotiated opt-outs from the more significant provisions of the Treaty - or whatever else they can come up with. [more...]

Sharing a couch with Freud

My family tree had many branches - some straight, some crooked, now alas cut back to a few gnarled sticks with a few new twigs beginning to show. But there was a time of teeming family life, an international cousinage spreading from the Black Sea to South America: we could have been the Rothschilds if we had had the money. [more...]

Art notes

What better time to celebrate celebrity itself than the time of the Oscars? Into the melee of actors and their designer labels, the National Portrait Gallery launched its Vanity Fair Portraits photo show - from the jazz and modernist era of 1913 to 1936, when the magazine ceased publication, to its resumption in the clamorous, glamorous 1980s. [more...]

Hopelessness beats eternal ... (theatre review)

This attempt to transpose Chekhov’s subtle and pessimistic Three Sisters from a Russian garrison town to post-war Liverpool in the days of incipient Jewish statehood is a brave but awkward one. Following the success of Kindertransport, we have come to expect dramatic courage from Samuels but, while writers often reinterpret old classics, the issues here are different. Chekhov’s Prozorov sisters - Olga, Masha, Irina - yearn for Moscow in a Russia of deep political change. Hope Street’s Lasky siblings - Gertie, May, Rita - are less rooted in their society. Far-flung from their native New York to Liverpool after their mother’s death, they have no psychic link with such national identity. [more...]

Carl Franz Flesch (obituary)

The passing of Carl Flesch, who died on 11 February 2008, has taken from us one of our last links with the great heritage of German Jewry. Carl had to emerge from the shadow of a famous father, then as a young man to flee the Nazis and build a new life from next to nothing in Britain. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing him can testify to his success in meeting those challenges. [more...]

AJR Report

Stealing Klimt premiere
The AJR was proud to sponsor the premiere cinema screening of Stealing Klimt at the Odeon Swiss Cottage at the end of February. [more...]

Letter from Israel

England anti-Semitic?
Forty-odd years ago, when I was a student at the LSE, the members of the Jewish Society would go along ‘for a laugh’ to the annual London University Students’ Union debate on the proposal to abolish the State of Israel and establish an Arab state in its stead. No Jewish student took the subject seriously, and the anger displayed by the handful of Arab students (there were no Palestinians at that time) seemed futile. [more...]

Letters to the Editor

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