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Extracts from the Dec 2002 Journal

SelfExculpAbility (editorial)

When financial clout secured the German publishing octopus Bertelsmann a slice of the American market, some US authors such as Philip Roth expressed concern about the firm’s possible past Nazi connections. To still such fears, Bertelsmann put out a corporate history which laid heavy emphasis on their Catholic provenance and their preoccupation with publishing books of religious instruction for the laity. It also purported to show that they had not only kept their distance from the NS regime, but had actually been closed down on Nazi orders in 1944. [more...]

Literati debase 4-letter word

A generation ago Ken Tynan caused outrage by uttering the F-word on air. What really shocks now is the indiscriminate use of the N-word – an expletive so obscene that I hesitated before writing its initial. Just as an adult would be taken aback to hear the F-word bandied about in a children’s nursery, so I am quite staggered to hear the N-word trip lightly off the tongue of fastidious literati. [more...]

£1 million healthcare breakthrough for Austrian victims in UK

A new fund to help needy Austrian refugees and Holocaust survivors who find themselves in financial difficulty and in need of urgent medical attention comes into operation this month. The Austrian Holocaust Survivor Emergency Assistance Programme will be administered by the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in the UK on behalf of an ‘umbrella group’ of six Jewish charities, at the request of the US-based Claims Conference.

Benefits

Grants to refugees and survivors from the Austrian Assistance Programme’s fund – which will begin operating with £1 million at its disposal – will be made to those living on low incomes, who have a medical problem requiring urgent attention, or who suffer a domestic emergency with which they cannot afford to deal. It is anticipated that the fund will be operational for two years, until 2005. The Programme’s key objective is to provide financial assistance to Austrian victims of the Nazis. [more...]

When Irish Ayes are smiling

The Second World War visited death and suffering upon more people than any other catastrophe in history. The only way of coming to terms with this unimaginably devastating tragedy is to focus on its positive after-effects, of which there are three: (a) the notion that democracy and human rights have potentially worldwide application; (b) the creation of the State of Israel; (c) the concept of a unified Europe. [more...]

The nucleus in perspective

The nucleus has had a bad press recently. In speculations as to whether Iraq again possesses weapons of mass destruction, the most feared have been nuclear devices. Closer to home, when British Energy recently ran into financial difficulties, we were reminded that this company generates its electricity in nuclear power stations using uranium as fuel. When the company was privatised in 1996 it was deliberately not called British Nuclear Power for fear that nobody would want to buy shares in an organisation labelled with what The Times termed ‘the dreaded N-word’. [more...]

Continental Britons: The Continental heritage

Rabbi Julia Neuberger, chief executive of the Kings Fund, led a symposium on ‘The Heritage of the Past: Blessing or Burden?’ attended by a packed audience at the Jewish Museum. Having German Jewish parents “completely shaped my life,” said Julia Neuberger, who from her earliest years recalled the German accents of her parents’ friends. A feeling of social superiority appeared unavoidable. Even a Continental diet played a role in defining their cultural identity. [more...]

Anne’ll fix it (profile)

Anne Marx is a ‘doer’. You sense it right away. Others may talk, but she gets on with it. At the same time, there’s a splendidly bashful side to her: ‘Don’t make a big thing about this profile, will you - not too much space!’, she asked earnestly. [more...]

Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Belgian Restitution Commission

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Lord Woolf says Human Rights Act has strengthened democracy in Britain

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, said, in a lecture sponsored by the AJR, that the Human Rights Act has ‘strengthened our democracy by giving each member of the public the right to seek the help of the courts to protect his or her human rights in a manner that was not previously available.’ [more...]

The psychopathology of politics (editorial)

CND posters on myriads of hoardings demand ‘Don’t attack Iraq’ and couple this with ‘Freedom for Palestine’. Such slogans hardly square with the organisation’s professed aim, which is nuclear disarmament. How can an attempt to prevent a state like Iraq with a record of serial aggression against neighbouring countries – Iran, Kuwait, Israel – from going nuclear earn the censure of opponents of nuclear proliferation? Nor does another favourite CND mantra, ‘Jaw-Jaw not War-War’, chime with an intifada-bred battle cry like ‘Freedom for Palestine’. Jaw-Jaw showed signs of prevailing over War-War in Israeli-Palestinian relations for most of the 1990s until Arafat’s obduracy hoisted Sharon into power. [more...]

Freudian slippage

One day in September the Daily Telegraph reported an American scientist’s discovery of a gene that renders Jews averse to consuming alcohol in large quantities. It didn’t seem a particularly world-shaking discovery since we are widely known to have a greater propensity for fressing than shickering (a term which incidentally has entered Australian slang). However, embedded in the text of the report lurked a hideously inept malapropism. This was the description of European Jews as ashkenazis. ASHKENAZIS! [more...]