Follow me on Twitter @tonylerman
I’m a writer living in North London commenting mostly on Israel-Palestine, Middle East politics, antisemitism, racism, Jewish life in Europe, global Jewish politics, multiculturalism, religion in public life, the arts, running and home life. I used to blog weekly on the Guardian Comment is Free website and currently blog weekly at Eretz Acheret.
A biographical note by no means automatically sets out a convincing case as to why you should want to read my blog, but in the interests of context and transparency, knowing where I have come from and what I am now might help.
From February 2006 to January 2009, I was Director of JPR (the Institute for Jewish Policy Research), a think-tank I founded in 1996 and directed until 1999, which devises policy solutions to social, political and cultural problems facing Jews and other minorities in Europe.
Prior to that, from December 1999, I was Chief Executive of the Rothschild Foundation (Europe), a grant-making trust I established for the UK Rothschild family, chaired by Lord Rothschild. The Foundation supports Jewish life in Europe focusing on academic Jewish studies, Jewish heritage and Jewish culture. When I left in 1999, the foundation was giving grants totaling £4 million a year for projects in more than 30 countries.
Before founding JPR, I was Director of the Institute of Jewish Affairs, JPR’s predecessor, from 1991 to 1996. At JPR I was the founding General Editor of Antisemitism World Report, a country-by-country yearly survey of antisemitism. From 1986 to 1999 I was editor of Patterns of Prejudice, an international academic journal on racism and antisemitism (published by Taylor & Francis).
In the early 1990s I was a member of the Runnymede Trust’s Commission on Antisemitism (chaired by Richard Harris, then Bishop of Oxford) and from 1998-2000 was a member of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain chaired by Lord Bihkhu Parekh.
I graduated from Sussex University in 1976 with a first class BA Honours degree in modern European and British history. I then pursued research in the history of 20th century British industrial relations at the London School of Economics (1976-1979) and lectured in British and European history at what is now Brighton University (1977-1979). I joined the Institute of Jewish Affairs in 1979 as a Research Officer and became Assistant Director in 1983.
I am the author of numerous papers and articles on contemporary Jewish affairs, Middle East politics, international relations, antisemitism and racism. I am Editor of Jewish Communities of the World: A Comprehensive Guide, published in 1989 by Macmillan, and was Assistant Editor of the annual Survey of Jewish Affairs from 1982 to 1992, published by Blackwell. From 1985 to 1986 I was the Editor of the Jewish Quarterly magazine.
I am a member of the Black-Jewish Forum and of the Advisory Committee of the Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. I was a founder member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights, am a member of the Independent Jewish Voices steering group, a Trustee of the Humanitarian Trust and a Board Member of the European Jewish Publication Society. I am a member of the Board of Paideia, the European Institute of Jewish Studies in Stockholm, and a Trustee of the Friends of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
I have written for the Independent, Guardian, Haaretz, New Statesman, Prospect, the Nation, Congressional Quarterly, Jewish Chronicle, Red Pepper, Jewish Quarterly, openDemocracy, Jewish Renaissance and other publications. In the mid-1980s, I was temporary Media Columnist for the Jewish Chronicle for four months.
I am currently writing a book which explores my personal, political and intellectual engagement with Israel and Zionism over 50 years.
I lived in Israel for 3 years in the 1960s and 1970s, and served in the Israeli army, spending most of my time living as a member of a kibbutz and worked in a banana plantation on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.