UK news

Lithuania to look at its wartime record

By Simon Rocker, January 20, 2011

The Lithuanian Embassy in London is jointly sponsoring a conference next month which will address "sensitive" questions about the country's wartime record.

Daiva Parulskiene, the embassy's cultural attaché, said it was the first time it had been involved with such an event, to be held at University College London on February 6-7.

Ms Parulskiene said: "Its main purpose is to gather academicians and specialists to try to understand the reason behind extreme violence on the part of Lithuanians in 1941 and who was involved in pogroms.


Girl 'groped' in Shabbat sex game

January 20, 2011

An Orthodox student sexually assaulted a 17-year-old Austrian tourist during a heated game of spin the bottle.

Israeli-born Menachem Chaim Unger, 21, groped the girl at his friend's flat after being dared to go into a room alone with her during the game, Hendon Magistrates heard.

After a Shabbat dinner at the Golders Green Hillel House, Unger went to the house of a friend, Leonie Ettinger, to meet two Austrian girls. He had arranged for them to stay with Ms Ettinger in Golders Green.


We will block arrest change: PSC pledge

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has pledged to do everything possible to block the government's proposed change to universal jurisdiction legislation.

Speaking at a rally to mark the second anniversary of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, PSC campaigns director Sarah Colborne urged supporters to pressure their MPs and recruit friends to the campaign.

She said: "We want to send a very clear message. Don't fête war criminals. We will find other routes to bring you to justice. We will not stop until we bring those responsible for war crimes to justice."


Fears over who runs Middle East Centre

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

A research group which aims to "strengthen" academic relations with the Middle East is managed by active supporters of the academic boycott.

LSE's Middle East Centre - a multidisciplinary research centre focusing on modern Middle Eastern cultures, societies, economies and international relations - opened in October.

Among its listed aims are strengthening relations between LSE and Middle East universities and increasing LSE's capability to engage with countries in the Middle East.


LSE 'vote' strikes a blow at the boycotters

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

A motion calling for an academic boycott of Israel has been overwhelmingly rejected at a debate at the London School of Economics (LSE).

The motion, "This house believes in an academic boycott of Israel", was debated on Thursday in front of a packed audience.

Consultant oncologist Professor Daniel Hochhauser argued against the motion and Dr John Chalcraft, Reader in history and politics, argued in favour.


ITV could make you all stars

January 20, 2011

ITV is searching for Jewish families in Manchester to star in a television documentary about levels of religious observance in the community.

Although filming is not due to start until February or March, on Thursday some preliminary footage was shot at Manchester Jewish Museum, following Holocaust survivor Jack Aisenberg.

But producer Chris Malone said the focus would be more on a "celebration" of Jewish families and their events.

He said: "We are hoping to find three families from a broad spectrum of religious observance.


Kidnap father won't return to face jail

By Jessica Elgot, January 20, 2011

The father sentenced to four months in prison for abducting his daughter and fleeing with her to Israel says he has no intention of returning to serve his sentence.

Speaking from Israel, the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said a warrant had been issued for his arrest but that he had no plans to return to the UK. His daughter, who is 22 but lacks legal capacity to make decisions, is in a care home and has no contact with him.

Divorced in 1996, the father has been in constant litigation over his daughter's future.


Jailed for Jew hate - now he's the victim?

January 20, 2011

A convicted white supremacist who wrote that he wanted to "destroy the Jews" has complained to prison authorities - that he has become the victim of religious discrimination.

Michael Heaton, 43, from Wigan, was jailed in June for 30 months for posting over 3,000 racist messages on fascist websites. He also founded the militant group Aryan Strike Force whose members boasted about plotting attacks on synagogues and mosques.


Hotel denounced for Islamist hate speakers

By Jessica Elgot, January 20, 2011

A major hotel group has drawn criticism for hosting a conference featuring several Islamist hate preachers.

Speakers at the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) at the Ibis Hotel in Earl's Court on Sunday included Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick, who has previously called all Jews and homosexuals "filth".

Other speakers included Abdur-Raheem Green, an Islamic convert from Catholicism. He has been outspoken on Israel in the past, claiming the Jewish homeland is a "myth" and "brainwashing."


Sky drones claims not true, say defence chiefs

January 20, 2011

Both the Ministry of Defence and the Israeli Embassy in London have hit back at claims that British troops were trained by the IDF to fly unmanned aerial drones.

The allegations were made by Sky News defence correspondent Niall Paterson last week and picked up by organisations including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want and Amnesty International.

It was claimed that the British government had been criticised for purchasing technology "field-tested on Palestinians".