A short roundup of interviews, articles, quotes and opinion from elsewhere on the web over the past two weeks…
In mid-July I wrote about the Royal Black Institution demonstration in Scarva Co. Down. Having attended a very interesting talk on the Home Rule crisis I went on to write about Brigadier General Ambrose Ricardo. Ambrose Ricardo was of Sephardic decent and helped to raise a militia to oppose the Third Home Rule Bill in Ireland.
I was disappointed with the token reprimand of Liberal Democrat MP David Ward over comments he made in the run up to Holocaust Memorial Day in January and subsequently on Twitter. In an interview with Anglican Friends of Israel I said:
We broadly welcome the news of Mr. Ward’s sanction although this appears to be a very limited gesture. The removal of the whip during the summer recess and expiring the day before the Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference is a soft option. We take some solace from the fact that the Liberal Democrats have informed Mr. Ward that he should use balanced and proportionate language in future discussions of Israel/Palestine.
Given the potential for renewed peace talks we especially urge him to heed Party advice and to consider the responsibilities he has as an elected representative.
The proscription of the military wing of Hezbollah provided welcome news. In a second interview with Anglican Friends of Israel I said:
The European Union has finally acted to proscribe the military wing of Hezbollah. Although this is a welcome development, the practical impact will be marginal.
The political wing, assuming one accepts the description of Hezbollah as being so sub-divided, does not fall within the bounds of this sanction and will continue to receive funds and political legitimacy from within some European states.
Many will view the timing of this decision to be rather cynical. The European Union did not act following the terrorist attacks against Israeli tourists in Bulgaria. The EU’s disinclination appears to have been diminished by Hezbollah’s significant military support for Bashar al-Asad.
I was shocked and saddened by an attack on Hasidic children on a visit to the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. Writing at the Times of Israel and for Anglican Friends of Israel I called for there to be no toleration of a ‘culture of silence’. Paradoxically, this incident followed positive news from a Community Safety Trust report showing a fall in recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Britain in the first half of 2013.
There was more to say on anti-Semitism with the death of Helen Thomas, the discourse between Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Rabbi Abraham Cooper and a damning report from the Simon Wiesenthal Center on the German magazine Der Landser.
Organ donation is a very complex and emotive subject and I explored some of the different legislative changes being proposed in Wales, Northern Ireland and Israel.
In Tech news, I posed the question “Is 3D Printing Safe?” This followed publication of a report highlighting serious health concerns about exposure to ultra-fine particles.
Twitter trolls dominated the headlines in the UK with Caroline Criado-Perez and Stella Creasy MP receiving disgusting violent sexual abuse, followed by bomb threats against female journalists. I described a vision of a Troll Free Twitter, by 2014.
In an interview with the Press Association I also called for responsible digital citizenship to be part of primary and secondary education.