lady painting


Extracts from the Feb 2002 Journal

The fief of Baghdad (editorial)

When the allegedly unwinnable war in Afghanistan was entering its final sanguinary stage, two BBC panellists (one Labour, one Tory) were asked about the advisability of extending military action to Iraq. Both returned an emphatic 'No!' This drew loud applause from the audience, since proclaiming pacific intent provides easy access to the moral high ground, while hard-nosed belligerence jars modern sensibilities. [more...]

Letter from the editor

Several readers have latterly accused me of subscribing to the Likud ideology of aggressive Israeli nationalism. Actually to dub me a Likudnik is similar to calling Gandhi a meat-eater. I simply take my cue from Shimon Peres, who felt that the crisis threatening Israel necessitated the formation of a "national" government. [more...]

University to research Manchester refugees' history

The hitherto untold story of the settlement in Manchester and its environs of German-speaking Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution in the 1930s, and their impact on the religious, social, cultural and economic life of the city, is to be researched for the first time and a book resulting from the research is to be published. This exciting project, which has been initiated and supported by the AJR, is being undertaken by the University of Manchester. [more...]

A year of East-West Judeophobia

'May you live in interesting times' is the Chinese code for wishing somebody ill luck. Afghanistan, Kashmir and Palestine may make us think we live in uniquely interesting times, but a similar situation existed exactly half-a-century ago, with the 'Jewish question' obtruding on both hemispheres. [more...]

'Closure': Returning to Prague as a stranger

You know what it feels like. The place you once called home no longer exists. The streets which saw the Nazis and the Communists come and go are changed beyond recognition. Apartment blocks built in the 1950s and scathingly referred to as rabbit hutches keep pace with ambitious edifices of the new democracy. The city is cleaned up, beautiful, but after a few days you sense its coldness. The shops provide little indigenous culture apart from garnet jewellery, glassware and the tourist tat of any Western metropolis. Dwarfed by the buildings, confused by the cobbled, pedestrianised streets, the old world is a strange place. [more...]

Art Notes

The £20,000 Turner Prize awarded to Martin Creed by Madonna makes you wonder when conceptual art became a question of the Emperor's New Clothes. It's less difficult to connect it to the Saatchi aura of super-trendiness, which has clearly affected the way art is seen in the contemporary world. Today's Turner Prize has little to do with the artist who blended storm, ship and sunset into a multi-dimensional creative experience. The prize, which may well make Turner turn in his grave, was established in 1984 by a body worryingly described as the Patrons of New Art and is intended to "promote public discussions of new developments in contemporary British art". [more...]

RG's Interface

Generational continuity. Having previously drawn attention to Matthew Neale (novelist son of Judith Kerr) and to John Krebs (scientist son of Sir Hans Krebs), we now focus on Tom Kempinski. Like the aforementioned two, Kempinski (almost) followed in his father's footsteps. While Gerhard had acted on the stage of the Free German League of Culture, Tom became a playwright, a calling for which his life provided ample material. Evacuated as a toddler to America, he grew so attached to his 'foster parents' that he experienced the postwar return to his real parents as a trauma. The long-term consequences of this were obesity and agoraphobia. Withal Kempinski is a gifted playwright, whose Duet for One (starring his then wife, Frances de la Tour) was a hit in the West End. Sad to relate, he has long espoused the anti-Zionist cause and refuses to have his work performed in 'racist' Israel. [more...]

Continental Britons'

Jewish refugees from Nazi Europe [more...]

English-speaking (dis)union

'Two countries divided by a common language' was George Bernard Shaw's description of England and America. Others called England the Greece to America's Rome - meaning that the former had wisdom, and the latter power. [more...]