Board of Deputies

Israel ad ban appeal unsuccessful

By Robyn Rosen, August 5, 2010

An appeal against a ban on a holiday advert describing the Western Wall as part of Israel has been unsuccessful.

The Israel Government Tourist Office (IGTO) appealed after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint in April that the Kotel was actually in the Occupied Territories.

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Israel boycotters pitch up in Waitrose

By Robyn Rosen, August 5, 2010

Vsecurity guards were forced to remove protesters who pitched a tent in the aisle of a Waitrose store and spent an hour urging shoppers not to buy Israeli goods.

The protest was organised by Brighton Jordan Valley Solidarity and its supporters included Simon Levin, one of the seven activists cleared last month of damaging an arms factory after successfully claiming they had acted to prevent Israeli "war crimes".

Staff called police after 10 protesters refused to move from the store in Western Road, Brighton.

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Chaos over government counter-terrorism plans

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

The government is working to allay fears that its counter-extremism policy is floundering, three months after the coalition came to power.

Jewish leaders have expressed concern that not enough is being done to tackle the threat posed by extremists in Britain.

The Tories are thought to be ideologically split on the issue, with ministers also facing a backlash from civil servants opposed to Conservative policy.

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Methodist set up Friends of Israel group

By Robyn Rosen, July 29, 2010

A Methodist preacher has set up a Methodist Friends of Israel group as a response to her church's call to boycott Israel.

Earlier this month the Methodist conference passed a report calling for a boycott of goods from "illegal" West Bank settlements, and for political lobbying to end Israel's occupation and the "siege of Gaza".

The decision was widely criticised and the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council said the church should "hang its head in shame".

Pam Smith, a preacher in Monmouth, South Wales, created a website and Facebook group to gain support for Israel.

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Anger over Cameron Gaza comments

By Rob Lyons, July 29, 2010

Prime Minister David Cameron's description of Gaza as a "prison camp" prompted anger this week from all quarters.

Mr Cameron, addressing Turkish businessmen in Ankara on Tuesday, declared: "The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable." And in reference to the Israeli blockade, he added: "Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."

The remarks led to consternation that the PM should apparently use criticism of Israel as a vehicle by which to promote closer relations with Turkey.

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Gove: free schools 'can still be totally Jewish'

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

Jewish parents hoping to set up new schools under the coalition government's flagship education proposals may have to take pupils of different faiths - at the expense of Jewish pupils.

Empowering parents to set up free schools was a key pledge in the Conservative election campaign, but those schools must take 50 per cent of pupils without reference to religion.

The 50 per cent ceiling on faith admissions for new academies was introduced under Labour, but the Coalition government has decided not to lift it, so it will apply to new free schools as well.

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Full text of anti-Israel activist acquittal revealed

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

The full transcript has been revealed for the first time of a judge's summing-up in the trial of seven anti-Israel activists acquitted of damaging an arms factory in January 2009.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman had told the jury at Lewes Crown Court that the group's leader should be awarded the George Cross for his campaign.

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Pledge to fight EU shechita ban

By Robyn Rosen, July 22, 2010

The president of Shechita UK has urged the community to lobby MPs to prevent new EU regulations requiring kosher meat to be labelled "meat from slaughter without stunning".

Last month the European Parliament voted in favour of the amendment to the provision of food information to consumers, just two weeks after New Zealand banned kosher slaughter.

Henry Grunwald QC urged the Board of Deputies on Sunday to contact their MPs before the bill comes back for discussion in September.

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Manchester reviews campus extremism rules

By Robyn Rosen, July 22, 2010

Manchester University has reviewed its code of practice following a series of appearances from hate preachers.

Jonathan Arkush, senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, said he hoped the new code would be used as a "template" for other universities.

Earlier this year, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies' (FoSIS) Palestine Conference held talks at the university by Dr Azzam Tamimi, who has told students he "longs to be a martyr"; and Ben White, author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide.

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International Israel support initiative launched

By Leon Symons, July 22, 2010

An unprecedented show of support for Israel has come from a group of almost entirely non-Jewish European and American politicians, statesmen and women and theologians.

Led by former Spanish prime minister José Maria Aznar, they have formed the Friends of Israel Initiative, to oppose the rising tide of criticism and delegitimisation that has questioned Israel's right to exist and act in self-defence.

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