Turbulent Times

Jon Boyd, Keith Kahn-Harris, Melanie Phillips, Miri Weingarten, Martin Bright

06/03/2011 3:00 pm
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The Jewish people have always been a disputatious lot. In the contemporary British Jewish community, issues such as attitudes to Israel, antisemitism, Jewish practice and schooling can be deeply divisive. Debates in the Jewish community can often be bitter, angry and alienating. So how can Jews maintain a sense of community and people-hood in the face of such differences? Can a more civil discourse replace some of the angry accusations and counter-accusations? Four very different panellists vocalised their opinions in what was a lively discussion.

Jon Boyd

Jon Boyd is the Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London. His recent research examined the attitudes of Jews in Britain towards Israel (co-authored with David Graham).

Keith Kahn-Harris

Dr Keith Kahn-Harris is a writer and sociologist. He teaches at Leo Baeck College and Birkbeck College and runs the European Jewish Research Archive at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

Melanie Phillips


Melanie Phillips is a British journalist, broadcaster and author, best known for her column about political and social issues, which is currently appearing in The Times and her regular radio appearances on The Moral Maze. She also has a weekly radio show on Voice of Israel. A past recipient of the Orwell Prize for Journalism, she is the author of many works of nonfiction, the most recent of which is Guardian Angel: My Story, My Britain

Miri Weingarten

Miri Weingarten is Director of JNews – alternative Jewish perspectives on Israel and Palestine – and works for Physicians for Human Rights and other organisations.

Martin Bright

Martin Bright is former political editor of the JC and a former political editor of the New Statesman. He is founder of the youth employment charity The Creative Society.