My two weeks in writing

Last week saw Israel go to the polls for a general election. Following the surprising show of support for centrist Yair Lapid, I wrote for the Independent about how he was essentially “the main character of Aaron Sorkin’s as-yet unwritten series about Israeli politics” and expressed my hopes for the future.

With Holocaust Memorial day on the horizon, I challenged former Respect parliamentary candidate Lee Jasper on his comments comparing Israel and the Nazis, a comparison which was made later in the week by Liberal Democrat MP David Ward. In particular, his use of the phrase “the Jews” drew condemnation and a swift rebuke from party officials.

Elsewhere, I covered the row over a particularly gruesome Sunday Times cartoon attacking Benjamin Netanyahu – then wrote for the Independent about why I felt it was not antisemitic, merely unpleasant.

I  also interviewed former BBC presenter Robin Lustig on his distinguished career and why he is such an advocate of Twitter, covered the lunch of a new parliamentary probe in electoral misconduct and looked into why a holocaust education programme is not available in Northern Ireland. I also spoke to MP John Mann about his visit to Hungary and his thoughts on the rise of an extremist party there.

The fruits of my recent trip to Glasgow were also visible this week, with an extended report on the future of Scotland’s sole Jewish school, Calderwood Lodge, which has been the subject of a particularly fraught disagreement.

In Optima, to mark the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I looked at the continued cultural significance of the novel. And I also questioned whether the tradition of changing a name after marriage was still relevant in the 21st century – not that I have made up my mind yet.

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