This ruling creates more problems than it resolves

By Joshua Rozenberg, December 17, 2009

The difficulty of the JFS case, said Lord Mance, one of the Supreme Court judges who dismissed the school’s appeal, “is that the word ‘Jewish’ may refer to a people, race or ethnic group and/or to membership of a religion”.

Lord Pannick QC, for JFS, tried to persuade the court that it was only the latter — and that its definition was a matter of Jewish law alone.

But the problem he faced was the Race Relations Act 1996. This bans discrimination not just on grounds of race but also on grounds of ethnic or national origins.


My relief at the verdict for my son

By Father E, December 17, 2009

The father of the child at the centre of the JFS Supreme Court ruling who brought the original case against the school has spoken of his “relief” at this week’s decision.

The father, known as “E” for legal reasons, said: “I believe it’s important for people to know that the same Race Relations Act that provides such valued protection for Jews, as well as others, from ill-judged or misguided prejudices, also provides for the fair and equal treatment of all children within our educational system.


It's the right decision for the community

By Lucian Hudson and Danny Rich, December 17, 2009

Liberal Judaism wholeheartedly welcomes the Supreme Court decision.

Although arguably legally complex, this issue is for Liberal Jews a simple one: Jewish identity is a matter of sincere commitment, and genuine identification. Liberal Judaism has, therefore, right from the outset, supported those families who have felt discriminated against by the Jewish Free School (JFS) Board of Governors.


We will find the legislative remedy to this verdict

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, December 17, 2009

While disappointed that the Supreme Court, by the slimmest of majorities, was unable to find in favour of JFS, as a community we should be heartened by the fact that the court recognised the religious integrity of the school, the United Synagogue, the London Beth Din and our office.

The judges, without exception, were emphatic in denying that racism played any part in this case.

The most important outcome is a point made, one way or another, by eight of the nine judges, that there may be something wrong with race relations legislation as it stands.


Both glad and angry

By David Lightman, December 17, 2009

After battling to get my daughter into JFS for over five years, we now have victory. While there is a part of me that feels a huge sense of relief, my overriding sensation is one of sorrow, sadness and anger.

First, because things should never have gone to court, let alone the highest in the land.

For the past five years we tried to talk to the Chief Rabbi, the Beth Din and the Office of the Chief Rabbi, only to be met with silence. We would have chosen a private conversation, but the OCR and Beth Din ensured this could never happen.


The legal anomaly that split the judges

By Jon Benjamin, December 17, 2009

The popular perception is that judges make the law, but any first-year law student would quickly point out that this is not so. Judges interpret the laws made by Parliament and refer to past decisions either to support or distinguish their rulings.

Even so, the result can be that judges find themselves unable to work around the strict wording of a piece of legislation, and have to arrive at conclusions that seem unsatisfactory.

Perhaps no clearer example of this exists than this week’s decision of the Supreme Court in the JFS case.


The Iran game is heating up

By Tim Marshall, December 17, 2009

It is a tangled web that the world powers are weaving. Some are manoeuvring to ensnare the Iranians in a sanctions trap, others are constructing Tehran’s escape route. The Russians are doing both, simultaneously.


What broadband revolution?

By Simon Round, December 17, 2009

Recently I decided to upgrade my home internet capability — mainly so that I would be able to obtain accelerated access to the JC’s superb online coverage of the Jewish world… and also to watch the occasional edition of Top Gear on the iPlayer.


Israel: Foreign Office is prejudiced

By Andrew Roberts, December 17, 2009

One area of policy over which the Foreign Office has traditionally held great sway is in the question of royal visits. It is therefore no coincidence that, although the Queen has made more than 250 official overseas visits to 129 different countries during her reign, neither she nor one single member of the British royal family has ever been to Israel on an official visit.


The Charedim are not as uniform as we think

By Nathan Jeffay, December 17, 2009

Last Saturday, for the fifth week in a row, there was a Charedi protest outside Intel in Jerusalem — a show of fury against the computer-chip giant for keeping the plant running on Shabbat.

But Israelis’ interest in the protests seems to have declined. Demonstrators braving the cold to make their point have dwindled in number from 1,000-plus to around 200. Yet, if the issue is so fundamental --- multinational computer corporation under pressure to observe biblical law --- why has the campaign flagged?