Politics

Technology chief Jonathan Kestenbaum set for Lords

By Jennifer Lipman, November 19, 2010

The former manager of Great Britain’s Maccabiah Team is expected to be named as a Labour peer later today.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, chief executive of the endowment fund for science and technology (NESTA), has been tipped to be included on a list of as many as 50 new working peers to be announced by Downing Street.

Jewish academic Dr Maurice Glasman and former Labour MP Oona King are also expected to be given peerages, as are Andrew Feldman, the joint chairman of the Conservative party, and the party’s treasurer Stanley Fink.

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African rabbi in bid to become first Ugandan Jewish MP

By Jennifer Lipman, November 18, 2010

A Ugandan Jew who grew up under the Idi Amin regime is hoping to become the first rabbi serving in a national parliament outside of Israel or Europe.

If Gershom Sizomu is elected he will also be the first Ugandan Jew elected to national office.

The African country goes to the polls in February 2011 and this week Rabbi Sizomu will find out if his application to stand for the parliamentary seat of Bungonkho North, in the city of Mbale, has been accepted by the electoral commission.

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Nick Clegg: we got it wrong on Israel

By Martin Bright, November 11, 2010

Deputy prime Minister Nick Clegg attempted to open a new chapter in the relationship between the Liberal Democrats and British Jews this week when he emphasised his party’s support for Israel and reiterated the coalition’s pledge to change the law on universal jurisdiction.

He told a lunch held by Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel that he was aware of past tensions, and was engaged in “an operation to clarify misunderstandings”.

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Woolas facing new vote for Islamic extremism smears

By Marcus Dysch and Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010

A Labour MP who claimed his Liberal Democrat opponent was involved with Islamic extremists is facing a by-election after a judge found that he knowingly made false accusations.

During the 2010 campaign, shadow immigration minister Phil Woolas, fighting for reelection to his Oldham East seat, accused his opponent of wooing extremist Muslims.

Mr Woolas won the seat with 103 more votes than Elwyn Watkins for the Liberal Democrats.

But a special election court has now ruled that the MP breached election regulations by making false claims and there must now be another poll.

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Jewish Republican Cantor set for majority leader role

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

The only Jewish Republican in Congress is set to become the new majority leader of the United States House of Representatives after the party made massive gains at the mid-term elections.

Eric Cantor, who won the Virginia seat he has held since 2000, has been the minority whip since 2008. The Republican landslide means he is expected to step into a more influential role.

The role is the second most powerful in the House leadership. Mr Cantor will take over from Democrat Steny Hoyer.

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On this day: Harold Wilson’s Labour wins a majority

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010

October 1974 saw a record 45 Jewish MPs elected to parliament. Of those, 35 were “Jewish socialists” while ten were Conservatives. In total, 91 Jewish candidates stood for election, less than at the February vote.

However The JC reported that “at his own request, MP Clement Freud…is no longer included in the list of Jewish parliamentarians.”

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Happy new year from David Cameron

By Jennifer Lipman, September 7, 2010

The prime minister has wished British Jewry a Shana Tova and expressed his gratitude for the community’s role in making Britain “a healthy society”.

David Cameron said: “At the heart of the Jewish way of life is an approach to building community and a moral compulsion to play your part in changing the world for the better, from which we can all learn.”

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Harriet Harman's Rosh Hashanah greetings

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

Harriet Harman has wished Britain’s Jewish community a very happy and peaceful new year.

The acting leader of the Labour Party and MP for Camberwell and Peckham, said: As we draw close to Rosh Hashanah I would like to wish the Jewish community in the UK and around the world a very happy and peaceful New Year.

“I know many Jews will use this opportunity to pray for peace and to reflect on what we can all do to help our communities thrive and flourish in the days and year ahead.

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Comment: Peace talks? Don't get your hopes up

By Gerald M Steinberg, August 26, 2010

Six decades of failed peace efforts have left most Israelis (and Palestinians) deeply skeptical about the prospects for success.

The pattern is familiar - a new American president, faced with major difficulties at home and abroad, hopes that a Middle East peace breakthrough will help solve many of these problems. He squeezes the leaders of both sides, and as neither wants the label of "spoiler", they go along with the charade.

But the efforts fail, as core differences over history, religion (particularly in Jerusalem), borders and sovereignty remain insurmountable.

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Jonathan Safran Foer boosts Jerusalem culture

August 19, 2010

Two of America's leading young Jewish novelists, husband and wife Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, have spearheaded a cultural initiative in Jerusalem: the revival of the Jerusalem Fellows at Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

Mishkenot, a cultural hub in the shadow of Yemin Moshe, the capital's famous windmill, used regularly to host artists, writers and musicians when the late Teddy Kollek was mayor of Jerusalem.

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