UK government

Hebron claims attacked UK envoys were on an ‘antisemitic’ mission

By Marcus Dysch, August 15, 2008

A fact-finding visit last week by British diplomats to Hebron, during which their car was attacked by settlers, was "antisemitic", according to a representative of the city's Jewish community.

The settlers blocked the route of the armoured vehicle before kicking and shaking it during the incident in the West Bank last Thursday.

The three middle-ranking diplomats were on a tour organised by human-rights group Breaking the Silence. Their guide, Mikhael Manekin, said the incident had proved "a bit nerve-wracking" for the unnamed officials.


Commons committees urge UK to talk to Hamas

By Bernard Josephs, August 1, 2008

The government is under pressure from two influential House of Commons select committees to drop the boycott of contacts with Hamas which it shares with members of the international Middle East Quartet.

The chairman of one of the committees, Labour MP Mike Gapes, last week held private talks on the issue with Tony Blair, Middle East envoy of the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.


MPs fly to Poland to learn legacy of hate

By Marcus Dysch, August 1, 2008

A group of nine MPs visited Poland last week to discuss combating antisemitism in the country.

The three-day trip was organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) and the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism (PCAA).

It included a visit to the former Nazi death camp at Majdanek and meetings with government officials and Jewish residents.


MP criticises select committee

By Dana Gloger, July 24, 2008

In a highly  unusual move, an MP on a government select committee has spoken out against its report on development in the Palestinian territories.

Stephen Crabb, Conservative MP for Pembrokeshire is one of 11 members of the International Development Committee who published its report The Humanitarian and Development Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on Thursday.

This week he said the report had "a narrative that Israel is the aggressor" and was "over the top".


MPs terrified by ‘close’ Sderot gunfire

By Dana Gloger, July 11, 2008

Conservative MPs have described their horror at experiencing a gunfire exchange in Sderot this week.

The politicians were close to the shoot-out between Israeli soldiers and snipers across the border when they visited the town on Wednesday as part of a five-day trip organised by Conservative Friends of Israel.

Peterborough MP and shadow communities and local government minister Stewart Jackson said: “We couldn’t see the gunfire, but could hear that it was close by. Not being able to see it actually made it more frightening.”


Minister vows strong Israel ties

July 11, 2008

Britain’s business minister has pledged to strengthen the ties between Israel and the UK.

John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, told the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner: “We must continue to actively encourage those people committed to the realisation of an Israel free from terror and at peace for generations to come, alongside a viable, independent and prosperous Palestinian state.


Ambition: to be an MP

By Candice Krieger, June 20, 2008

Political writer Neil Glass is to stand against the former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election and has promised to donate half his MP’s salary to charity should he get elected. The by-election, likely to take place on July 10, has been triggered by Mr Davis’s profound opposition to the government’s insistence that terror suspects should be detained for a minimum of 42 days.


Welsh call to boycott envoy

June 13, 2008

The presiding officer of the Welsh Assembly has urged its members to boycott a meeting with Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador.

Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas emailed Assembly Members stating that he thought they should shun the ambassador. “I am unwilling to accept the invitation to meet the ambassador because of my objection to the failure of the state of Israel to meet its international obligations to the Palestinian people of the Holy Lands,” he wrote. “I would invite other colleagues to do the same.” 


MSPs clash over Auschwitz trips

By Leon Symons, June 13, 2008

Members of the Scottish Parliament have clashed for the second time in a month over funding for school trips to Auschwitz. 

In May, Labour MSPs attacked the ruling Scottish National Party and the Tories for forcing through a decision that individual institutions should decide for themselves how to spend £150,000 given to Scottish schools by Westminster.

The decision meant the money was not ring-fenced for sending pupils on visits to Auschwitz concentration camp, as it has been in England.


Two women mayors start work in Herts

By Jay Grenby, June 13, 2008

Councillor Sandra Parnell (Hertsmere) and Councillor Farida Turner (Elstree and Borehamwood) have respectively been installed as borough and town council mayors.

As Mayor of Hertsmere, Councillor Parnell, 70, represents the major Jewish centres of Borehamwood, Elstree, Bushey and Radlett. Having served as deputy mayor, her plans to make aliyah were scuppered by the death of her husband, Leslie, earlier this year.