UK government

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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William Hague in Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

William Hague is in Israel on an official government visit. The foreign secretary had a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Liberman, after which he signed a film deal between the two countries.

Mr Hague also visited the parents of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and called for his immediate and unconditional release.

Photos: Mati Milstein / British Embassy

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On this day: the Balfour Declaration

By Jennifer Lipman, November 2, 2010

Hailed as a “Jewish triumph” in that week’s JC, the Balfour Declaration is one of the most significant texts in the history of the Zionist movement.

Following a War cabinet meeting on the subject, it was a formal statement by the British government saying that they “View with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.

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Meridor cancels Bicom appearance over arrest fears

By Marcus Dysch, November 1, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor has cancelled an appearance at a London fundraising dinner over fears he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

It is believed the Israeli Justice Ministry warned Mr Meridor that a warrant for his arrest may be issued if he entered Britain.

He was due to speak at the Bicom dinner tonight. He was a replacement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled last week due to the delicate state of the peace negotiations.

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Fear over Islamist Tower Hamlets mayor

By Martin Bright and Simon Rocker, October 28, 2010

Senior Jewish figures have raised concerns over the election of a controversial Muslim politician as mayor of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Lutfur Rahman was dropped as the Labour Party's official candidate after evidence was produced of irregularities in the nomination process and links to the radical Muslim group Islamic Forum Europe.

He then stood as an independent and last week trounced Labour rival Helal Abbas, although only a quarter of the electorate turned out to vote. He will now preside over the Olympic borough's £1 billion budget.

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Jewish free schools are on schedule

By Jessica Elgot, October 14, 2010

Both new Jewish free schools are on target to open in September 2011, despite fears that up to half of the 16 new free schools will not meet deadlines to open in September.

Peter Kessler, leader of the group of parents who are planning to set up Haringey Jewish Primary School, said the school was making faster progress than nearly all of the other approved schools and pupils would be able to start in September.

The school is preparing a business plan and a public consultation in time for the government’s deadline at the beginning of December.

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Shadow cabinet role for Jewish Labour MP

By Jennifer Lipman, October 8, 2010

The former vice-chairman of Labour Friends of Israel has been elected as the shadow minister for Culture Media and Sport.

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis received 104 votes, making him one of the 19 Labour MPs selected.

The Jewish politician, who in May was re-elected with a 3,292 majority, was a Foreign Office minister under Gordon Brown.

First elected in 1997, Mr Lewis has served as the chief executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation and is a trustee of the Holocaust Education Trust.

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Analysis: Tories mend fences as Labour digs holes

By Martin Bright, October 7, 2010

Change is always unsettling and this season of political conferences has ushered in all the uncertainty that inevitably follows a general election. Fringe meetings at the Conservative Party conference were infused with an atmosphere of near- panic as desperate lobbyists scrambled for the ear of ministers, while trying to second-guess the coalition plans in advance of the comprehensive spending review.

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'Serious concerns' about Ed Miliband

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2010

The election of new Labour leader Ed Miliband has caused serious consternation among leading members of the Jewish community and supporters of Israel.

They fear his comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his main conference address and fringe event appearances presage a "new reality" in Labour's relations with the Jewish state.

Mr Miliband has rejected the chance to allay those concerns, with a party spokesman this week saying the new leader would not answer questions about his comments on Israel, his approach to foreign policy, or his plans to meet community leaders.

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Hague at conference, calls for settlement freeze

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010

William Hague has called for a two state solution “which brings security to both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The Foreign Secretary told the Conservative Party Conference that the coalition government’s “strong support” of the Middle East peace process comes from the need for Britain to pursue foreign policy that reduces the human and financial costs of conflict.

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