UK news

Israel attitudes survey: Most are happy to be Zionists

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

British Jews display a "great attachment" to Israel, with a mere five per cent believing it irrelevant to their Jewish identity, according to the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) report published this week.

The strong place that Israel retains in Anglo-Jewish hearts is evident from the fact that 29 per cent say it is central to their identity; 53 per cent, that it is "important but not central"; and 13 per cent that it plays "a small part".

An overwhelming majority, 95 per cent, have visited Israel at least once, compared to 78 per cent who has done so in 1995.

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Curious case of demonstrators who wanted invisibility

By Lucy Morris, July 15, 2010

It was a demonstration with a curious ambition: to be invisible.

On Tuesday, nearly 500 anti-Zionist strictly Orthodox Jews staged a mass protest outside the Israeli Embassy, complete with loudspeakers and a sea of banners. The "True Torah Jews" had sent two long press releases and phoned the JC to alert us of their intention to demonstrate against plans to build on an ancient burial ground in Israel.

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UK Jewish bond with Israel is strong as ever

By Simon Rocker, July 15, 2010

The vast majority of British Jews remain committed to the state of Israel while divided over its policies on peace and security, according to what is claimed to be the most definitive survey on the subject.

Ninety per cent regard Israel as the "ancestral homeland" of the Jewish people, 87 per cent believe Jews have a "special responsibility" to ensure its survival, and 72 per cent consider themselves Zionists.

But differences become apparent on more detailed political questions: 52 per cent think the Israeli government should negotiate with Hamas, compared with 39 per cent against.

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Call for re-trial after 'shocking' summing-up

By Marcus Dysch, July 15, 2010

The full transcript has been revealed for the first time of a judge's summing-up in the trial of seven anti-Israel activists acquitted of damaging an arms factory.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman had told the jury at Lewes Crown Court that the group's leader should be awarded the George Cross for his campaign.

The group were cleared last month of causing £180,000 of damage to the EDO MBM factory in Brighton after they claimed they had acted "to prevent Israeli war crimes".

The company denied ever supplying Israel with arms equipment.

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Gaza protesters' sentences cut

By Simon Rocker, July 13, 2010

The Court of Appeal has reduced the prison sentences of a number of people who pleaded guilty to violent disorder in protests against Israel’s incursion into Gaza outside the Israeli embassy in London.

The judges cut the prison terms in some instances from two years to 18 months, and from 18 months to 10 in others: in one instance, they quashed a 12-month jail sentence and replaced it with a community order, citing an “inexcusable” delay in bringing the man to court.

Eight appeals for reduced sentences were accepted, two were dismissed.

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Nazi jibe presenter Jon Gaunt loses court case

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

The former TalkSport presenter, Jon Gaunt, has lost his legal battle with Ofcom over calling a councillor a Nazi on air.

The High Court found that the watchdog was justified in upholding complaints against the radio show host and that this "did not constitute a material interference to his freedom of expression".

Mr Gaunt was fired from TalkSport in 2008 after the media regulator found that he had breached the Ofcom code for addressing Michael Stark, a Redbridge councillor, as a "health Nazi" and an "ignorant pig".

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Gaza protesters appeal

By Jennifer Lipman, July 13, 2010

A group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who attacked a coffee shop outside the Israeli embassy are appealing against their sentences.

The ten protesters were among more than 78 people charged following a demonstration against Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

Their lawyers are expected to argue that the “deterrent” sentences, some of up to two and a half years and most for violent disorder, were inappropriate.

Police intervened and arrested more than 100 people after the crowd threw stones and bottles.

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Anti-Israel protesters win payout

By Robyn Rosen, July 12, 2010

Two protesters clubbed by police officers during a Gaza demonstration outside the Israeli embassy have received £25,000 in compensation from the Metropolitan Police.

The men, twin brothers Ashley and Russell Inglis, had been part of the protests against Operation Cast Lead last January when 119 people were arrested and 55 police officers were injured.

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Inquest into alleged Egyptian Mossad man's death

By Jennifer Lipman, July 12, 2010

An inquest into the death of a suspected Egyptian Mossad spy has opened at City of Westminster Coroners ' Court.

Dr Ashraf Marwan, a close aide of Anwar Sadat before the then Egyptian President was assassinated, was found to have fallen from the balcony of his London home in 2007. He was 62.

Before his death he had been named by several sources both as a Mossad spy and as a double agent for Egypt.

An Israeli historian alleged in 2002 that Dr Marwan had alerted Israel of Egypt and Syria’s plans to attack on Yom Kippur of 1973.

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Ed Miliband keeps controversial anti-Israel campaign worker

By Marcus Dysch and Jennifer Lipman, July 12, 2010

Labour leadership candidate Ed Miliband has been criticised for hiring an anti-Israel researcher to work on his campaign, despite the volunteer having previously been sacked by another MP.

Joseph Brown, a former anti-racism officer at London School of Economics’ student union, is working on Mr Miliband’s website during the leadership contest.

While at LSE, Mr Brown allegedly made comments about having “shot down a Zionist” during an anti-Israel lecture theatre occupation in the wake of Operation Cast Lead.

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