UK news

Baroness Neuberger defends expenses

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger has defended her expenses claims after it was revealed she had received more than £78,000 for overnight accommodation allowances over five years.

The president of Liberal Judaism lists her main home as a flat in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire; her husband, Anthony, is a professor at Warwick Business School in nearby Coventry.

But Baroness Neuberger has claimed £78,106 over the past five years, at a rate of £174 per night, to cover the cost of staying in a townhouse she owns in Primrose Hill, north London.

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Antisemitic graffiti at Colchester University

By Marcus Dysch, Campus Editor, December 23, 2009

A university campus laundrette has been daubed with the words “exterminate Jews” in German.

Law student Kate Douglas spotted the graffiti on a wall at the University of Essex’s campus in Colchester.

Juden ausrotten was scrawled in black marker pen, with the German for “you must die” above it in red pen.

The graffiti was quickly painted over by the university last week.

Ms Douglas said: “This was a phrase used by the Nazis and Hitler himself to call for the extermination of all Jews. I was disgusted and deeply saddened to find it.

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Muslims slam hate speakers

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2009

A Muslim campaign group has called for the withdrawal of an invitation to two Saudi-based preachers it denounced as “antisemitic,” who are due to speak at a Birmingham mosque at the weekend.

Faisal al-Jasem and Abdul Az As-Sadhan are scheduled to appear at the winter conference of the Green Lane Mosque.

But in a letter to the mosque, leaders of British Muslims for Secular Democracy said that they had read about the teachings of the two men “with great alarm”.

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Gaza: charities on new offensive

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Sixteen charities, including Oxfam and Amnesty International, have criticised the international community for not doing enough to end the Gaza blockade in a report published a year on from Operation Cast Lead.

The report, Failing Gaza, published this week, claims there has been a “failure” of the international community to do all it can to lift the blockade and calls for “concerted action”.

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Our loss, by Brittany Murphy's family

December 22, 2009

The British mother-in-law of Brittany Murphy, the 32-year-old actress who died earlier this week, has spoken exclusively to the JC about her “shock” at the sudden death.

Ms Murphy, the star of Clueless and 8 Mile, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday morning after reportedly collapsing in the shower at her home.

In May 2007, Ms Murphy, whose mother, Sharon, is Ashkenazi, married British Jewish screenwriter Simon Monjack in a small Jewish ceremony in Los Angeles.

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Boycott union to hold antisemitism seminars

December 21, 2009

UCU, the academic union at the forefront of the campaign to boycott Israel, has announced that it is to hold three seminars on "the dangers of antisemitism." They are to be held in January and are being timed to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.

All the seminars - to be held at the universities of Brighton, Northumbria, and the union's head office - are to be chaired by Tom Hickey, the leading proponent of the boycott campaign.

Leading members of the community have expressed shock at the news and described the move as "outrageously cynical".

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British would ban minarets

December 21, 2009

A new public opinion poll has found that British people would vote to ban minarets, in the wake of the Swiss referendum on the issue.

Last month Swiss citizens voted to ban the construction of minarets in the country's mosques. The move provoked international outrage and, amid allegations of Islamophobia, was attacked by leaders of the Swiss Jewish community.

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Screaming protesters disrupt JNF meeting

By Marcus Dysch, December 17, 2009

Anti-Israel protestors caused severe disruption at a major JNF conference on Sunday, with two Jewish demonstrators carried out of the hall after screaming insults at Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor.

The one-day conference, held at the Hendon Hall Hotel in north west London, considered solutions to overcrowding in Israeli cities and how the Jewish state deals with the severe water crisis in the Negev.

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Full legal opinion sent to government by the JLC

By Lord Pannick QC, Blackstone Chambers, December 17, 2009

1. I am asked to advise the Jewish Leadership Council concerning possible changes to the law to prevent a warrant for arrest alleging war crimes being issued by a Magistrate against Israeli politicians and senior military officials who visit this country.

The background

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Livni crisis deepens as Israel bans UK visits

By Anshel Pfeffer, Marcus Dysch and Martin Bright, December 17, 2009

The Israeli government’s fury at the arrest warrant issued for the former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni has culminated in a threat to end all ministerial visits to Britain. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the UK government that this would apply even to those not at risk of arrest, until the UK government changes the law allowing private citizens to bring charges against senior Israelis for war crimes.

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