Robin Lustig
Former presenter of The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 and Newshour on BBC World Service.

Entries by Robin Lustig

It's Time for Israelis to Wake Up

(161) Comments | Posted 22 November 2014 | (00:00)

The worshippers were slaughtered as they prayed. Their killers stopped only when they themselves were killed. And then some of their co-religionists praised them to the skies, as heroes and martyrs.

I'm describing the appalling, sickening scenes at the Kehilat Bnai Torah synagogue in Jerusalem last Tuesday, when four rabbis...

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In Defence of Ed Miliband

(17) Comments | Posted 14 November 2014 | (16:36)

Perhaps I'm the last person in the country - but I still like Ed Miliband. More than that, I think he could be a pretty good prime minister. Yes, I know there aren't many of us left, and I want to try to analyse why.

Let's leave aside all those...

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The Fall of the Wall, Russell Brand and the 89ers

(0) Comments | Posted 8 November 2014 | (00:00)

Twenty-five years ago, on 9 November 1989, I was on shift at The World Tonight as a newly-arrived presenter. It was the night the Berlin Wall was breached and history was made.

I don't need to try to remember what I felt that night because I kept a recording...

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This Immoral Government

(96) Comments | Posted 3 November 2014 | (00:00)

I have rarely felt so ashamed, or so angry. David Cameron, it seems, regards it as a "moral duty" to cut taxes - but not to save desperate migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean. By comparison, Marie Antoinette ("let them eat cake") was compassion incarnate.

Sometimes, it's a real disadvantage...

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Journey's End: Migrants, Then and Now

(6) Comments | Posted 25 October 2014 | (01:00)

A little over three months ago, together with a like-minded American journalist friend, I set out on a journey that we called In The Footsteps of Our Families. The idea was to retrace the journeys made by our immigrant forebears, from eastern and central Europe to the UK...

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Iraq and Syria: A Better Way

(2) Comments | Posted 4 October 2014 | (01:00)

In May of last year, President Obama announced that future US air strikes against suspected al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan and Afghanistan would be authorised only when there was a "near certainty" that civilians wouldn't be harmed.

The new policy was in response to growing hostility to the strikes, especially in...

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Iraq: War Without End?

(6) Comments | Posted 27 September 2014 | (01:00)

By the time you read these words, RAF Tornados will either have started, or will be about to start, bombing targets in Iraq. Here we go again ...

Six weeks ago, I wrote: "We should be in no doubt: we, the West, are back in Iraq." And so it has...

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Time for a New Start

(1) Comments | Posted 19 September 2014 | (09:53)


Those of us who were desperately hoping that the Union would remain united are surely entitled to a sigh of relief. But there's already another battle looming: who's going to take control of what happens next?

David Cameron, in his early morning, post-referendum statement, suggested that a...

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Why I'd Vote No - With a Passion

(74) Comments | Posted 12 September 2014 | (17:20)

I am not Scottish, and I don't live in Scotland, so I don't have a vote in next week's independence referendum. But if I were, and if I did, I would unhesitatingly vote a great big No.

Here's why:

I am a passionate believer in multiculturalism and multinationalism. I believe...

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A World Without a Globo-Cop

(11) Comments | Posted 5 September 2014 | (16:54)

I can't think of anywhere that would have been less appropriate as a venue for this week's Nato summit than the UK.

A United Kingdom that within the next couple of weeks may become shatteringly disunited. A once middle-ranking European power that now has no idea what sort of international...

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A Widening War: We're Back in Iraq

(6) Comments | Posted 16 August 2014 | (01:00)

I fear that it is no longer fanciful to see the conflagration that has engulfed Syria and Iraq as the Middle East's version of the First World War. Big power rivalries are sucking the region inexorably into the vortex, with incalculable consequences.

When the history books come to be written,...

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A Grandfather's Grave

(0) Comments | Posted 2 August 2014 | (01:00)

In a far corner of the "new" Jewish cemetery (opened 1902) in the Polish city of Wrocław, Piotr Gotowicki is hacking away at the thick ivy that has grown over a gravestone lying flat on the ground.

It's not just any old gravestone, as Piotr knows full well. He has...

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Honouring Ilse Cohn (1897-1941)

(2) Comments | Posted 29 July 2014 | (01:00)


A sun-dappled meadow slopes gently down from the hilltop towards the city of Kaunas. The grass is freckled with yellow and purple wild flowers, a peaceful summer scene that belies an unimaginably brutal past.

On 29 November, 1941, my grandmother, Ilse...

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A Postcard From Pastavy

(1) Comments | Posted 26 July 2014 | (01:00)

What is it about railway stations that conjures up ghosts of the past? I'm standing on the platform in Pastavy (or Postavy), deep in the Belarussian countryside, almost exactly 100 years since my friend Stu Seidel's grandfather, Julius Seidel, stood on this same platform (or one very like it) and...

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In the Footsteps of Our Families

(2) Comments | Posted 19 July 2014 | (01:00)

I'm about to embark on a project that I hope might be of as much interest to you as it will be to me.

It's called In the Footsteps of our Families. Together with my good friend, the American journalist Stu Seidel, a former senior editor at the US public...

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Scrap the BBC Licence Fee: Pay More, Get Less

(47) Comments | Posted 12 July 2014 | (01:00)

As a sales pitch, perhaps it leaves something to be desired. "Pay more, get less." Who could resist?

Yet for reasons that I have never understood, that's exactly what's on offer from those people who argue that it's time to scrap the BBC licence fee and switch to some form...

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Voices of Hate

(3) Comments | Posted 5 July 2014 | (01:00)

Ever since the discovery on Monday of the bodies of the murdered Israeli teenagers, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, and ever since the discovery on Wednesday of the body of the Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdair, murdered apparently in revenge, I have been hearing voices in my head.

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Something Is Rotten...

(5) Comments | Posted 28 June 2014 | (01:00)

What do you call an organisation, originally based in Sicily, that uses bribes and threats to buy influence and power?

Here's a clue: it begins with the letter M.

Here's another question: Whom did the Labour MP Tom Watson, at a parliamentary select committee hearing in November 2011,...

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Amira's Story

(1) Comments | Posted 21 June 2014 | (01:00)

Every night, when Amira goes to bed in the crowded room that she shares with her five young children, she lies awake, frantically worrying about what the following day has in store for them.

Will she be able to find food? Will the children be safe if they venture out,...

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Iraq - The End?

(14) Comments | Posted 14 June 2014 | (01:00)

What folly. What crass, indescribable, unbelievable folly it was to invade Iraq in 2003. I wonder what George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair think now as they read of the latest disasters to befall that wretched land.

Do they still say that Iraq is better off than it was...

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