Last week’s newspaper was mainly taken up by coverage of the fighting between Israel and Hamas, and each day was spent posting up-to-date reports and news on our website. In the paper, I reported on Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell’s response to the escalating fighting in the region, which many criticised for drawing on long-established antisemitic tropes.
In more light-hearted news, I rounded-up the annual Jewish Film Festival, which it’s director said had been the best year yet, and spoke to a man whose long-lost great-uncle had been a Hollywood filmmaker in the era of the silent picture.
In Comment, I was delighted to commission Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, to look at how other countries than Israel have responded to similar threats on their doorsteps. And I wrote a piece sharing my thoughts and opinions on the situation in Israel, arguing that while there are strong emotions on either side, balance is important.
“Mothers on both sides are seeing their children caught up in a war they did not seek. Recognising that does not draw a moral equivalence between the two sides, or absolve Hamas of responsibility for actions that triggered another devastating battle.
We can highlight where the media has fallen short and we can question a paper for printing a cartoon reproducing established antisemitic tropes, without rejecting every uncomfortable report. We can stand up for Israel and make the case for its right to protect its people – and still acknowledge the tragedy of war. For Israel’s sake, we must.”
As the week turned into the next, I reported on a Lords debate about religion, in which the Chief Rabbi suggested that faith could “act as a counter voice to the siren song of a culture that sometimes seems to value self over others”.
I also interviewed advertising star Nicola Mendelsohn, about her recent appointment as chair of the Creative Industries Council and found out why she believes the arts are so important to this country.
Continuing on the theme of culture, I reported on the plans to open an indoor Jacobean theatre beside Shakespeare’s Globe, and followed up on Beth Alexander’s ongoing campaign for custody of her two young sons in Vienna. And in what I hope is the last installment of my coverage of Batsheva’s UK tour, I spoke to Dance Consortium about why it has been one of their most successful tours yet.