UK news

Education charity cleared of Hizb-ut-Tahrir link

By Simon Rocker, June 8, 2010

An educational charity which was at the centre of controversy last year has been cleared by the Charity Commission of promoting a militant Islamic ideology.

The charity watchdog investigated the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation – which runs two independent primary schools in Haringey and Slough – following a Sunday Telegraph article in October.

According to the commission, the article raised concerns that the charity was being run by activists from the radical group Hizb-ut-Tahrir and teaching its beliefs in the schools.

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Britain gives Gaza £19m aid

By Jennifer Lipman, June 7, 2010

The British government has pledged to give £19 million in aid to Gaza and called on Israel to end the blockade.

Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, said the money is to go towards services including education and healthcare.

The donation is part of a £100 million financial deal with the UN Relief and Works Agency, which the Labour government arranged in 2006.

The announcement follows a second attempt by pro-Palestinian activists to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which has been in place since Hamas gained control of the area in 2007.

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Bafta for Jewish actress Rebecca Front

By Jennifer Lipman, June 7, 2010

A Jewish actress has triumphed at the Bafta awards.

Rebecca Front won Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme for her role in political satire "The Thick of It".

In the programme, which also won two other awards, she plays ambitious but inept government minister Nicola Murray.

She received cheers and applause when she confided that her parents still helped her learn her lines for the notoriously foul-mouthed comedy - particularly that her mother took the part of Malcolm Tucker, whose language is almost entirely blue.

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Thousands march against Israel

By Marcus Dysch, June 7, 2010

Thousands of anti-Israel demonstrators marched from Downing Street to the Israeli Embassy in west London on Saturday.

They were protesting against Israel’s action against the Gaza flotilla last week, when IDF commandos boarded the lead ship.

The “emergency national demonstration” was organised by groups including the Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, CND, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Viva Palestina and Palestinian Forum of Britain.

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Unite votes to boycott Israel

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2010

Britain's largest union, Unite, has unanimously passed a motion to boycott Israeli companies at its first policy conference in Manchester on Wednesday.

The motion, which passed unanimously, called the union "to vigorously promote a policy of divestment from Israeli companies", while a boycott of Israeli goods and services will be "similar to the boycott of South African goods during the era of apartheid".

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Israeli ambassador cancelled Hay Festival talk

By Jessica Elgot, June 3, 2010

Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, cancelled his appearance at the Hay Festival this week, hours before his intended talk.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy said: “Obviously because of developing events and other pressing demands on the ambassador’s time, we had many other obligations to fulfil. Sadly that meant we had no choice but to cancel the talk at the Hay Festival.”

Many of the speakers at the literary festival in Hay-on-Wye used their talks to address concerns over Israel and the Gaza flotilla.

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MPs criticise Gaza blockade

By Robyn Rosen, June 3, 2010

More than 60 MPs, including Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson, have signed an early day motion, criticising Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

The EDM, tabled by Birmingham Northfield MP, Richard Burden, chair of the Britain Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group, demands a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation” of the flotilla incident and claims that the blockade has “destroyed the economy of Gaza and deepened poverty”.

It also claims that Israel imposes “collective punishment” on the people of Gaza and states its actions are illegal.

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Letters to media urge lifting Gaza blockade

By Robyn Rosen, June 3, 2010

Adverts urging the government to act in lifting Israel’s blockade of Gaza have been published in several national newspapers.

One appeared in today’s Times asking the government to call an emergency international conference following Israel’s actions in the Gaza flotilla incident.

The advert was published by six pro-Palestinian organisations including Oxfam and Medical Aid for Palestinians.
It states: “With the eyes of the world on Gaza, the government has its first opportunity to make a difference on the international stage ".

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CST and police to step up protection

By Robyn Rosen, June 3, 2010

Police in Barnet have stepped up patrols to respond to concerns there will be a surge in antisemitic attacks following Israel’s actions in the Gaza flotilla incident.

Meetings have been held between the Community Security Trust (CST) and police to increase awareness.

CST reported 288 antisemitic incidents in January last year, following Operation Cast Lead.

A police spokesman said: “As a reassurance to members of the Jewish community we have been liaising closely with the CST to see if there has been any increase in antisemitic crime, and act on it .

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Disabled child to get care after court battle

By Robyn Rosen, June 3, 2010

A judge has ordered Hackney Council to provide care for a severely disabled toddler from a strictly Orthodox family.

The case, heard at the Royal Courts of Justice last week, involves one of eight families from the Charedi community in Stamford Hill who are pursing legal action against the Disabled Children's Team at Hackney Social Services.

The two-year-old, known as Child V, cannot breathe unassisted and has been in hospital since birth. She is due to be discharged later this month.

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