UK news

Israel and Palestinian groups clash at LSE

By Robyn Rosen, January 27, 2011

Tensions between the London School of Economics' Israel and Palestine societies have risen after a surge in anti-Israel activity on campus.

The two student union societies were praised earlier this month for a joint debate on an academic boycott of Israel but since then, the Palestine Society has launched a campaign to boycott the Eden Springs water company and invited self-styled rabbi, Ahron Cohen of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta group to speak to students.

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JLC lobbies on the Big Society

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 27, 2011

The Jewish Leadership Council has continued lobbying government ministers over concerns that the Big Society will put financial and bureaucratic pressures on Jewish charities and communal organisations.

JLC chief executive Jeremy Newmark and 10 Manchester Jewish leaders met Communities Minister Andrew Stunell on Monday while he visited North Cheshire Jewish Primary School.

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Leonard Cohen's musical legacy up for grabs

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2011

Rock music history is up for grabs after a lawyer decided to sell his collection of Leonard Cohen films.

Steven Machat is offering for sale 294 reels of film of the singer, a former client of his late father, music manager Marty Machat.

The material, which formed the basis of the iconic 1974 Tony Palmer film, Bird On A Wire, includes shots of Cohen as a child and at concerts in Jerusalem and Paris.

Marty Machat's partnership with Cohen ended badly, but not before he funded Bird on A Wire, recording Cohen on stage and behind the scenes of his 1972 European tour.

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Give terminally-ill right to die, says rabbi

By Simon Rocker, January 27, 2011

People with terminal illnesses should be helped to die if they do not want to go on living, according to the chief executive of Liberal Judaism.

Rabbi Danny Rich made the case when he gave evidence last week to the independent Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by the former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer.

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William Hague lays down the law to Avigdor Lieberman

By Martin Bright, January 27, 2011

Foreign Secretary William Hague outlined a hardening UK position on settlement building when he met his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman in London this week.

In talks which focused on the peace process, he stressed that the current impasse did not serve the interests of Israelis, Palestinians or the region.

A Foreign Office statement said: "The Foreign Secretary made clear again the government's view that the construction of settlements is illegal, an obstacle to peace, and should stop.

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William Hague will not go to Lebanon

By Martin Bright, January 27, 2011

Foreign Secretary William Hague was forced to cancel a planned trip to Lebanon this week after officials decided that the country remained in too much of a state of "flux".

The country's new Hizbollah-backed Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, was still in the process of forming his government as Mr Hague left for a visit to the Middle East on Wednesday. Sunnis opposed to Hezbollah's links to Shia Iran took to the streets this week to demonstrate against Mr Mikati's appointment.

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NatWest freezes Press TV bank account

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2011

One of Britain's biggest clearing banks, NatWest, has confirmed that it has frozen the British account of the Iranian state-backed news channel Press TV.

Launched in 2007, the channel has been the subject of worldwide controversy for its coverage of stories including the stoning sentence of the Iranian Sakineh Ashtiani Mohammed.

Last month Press TV broadcast a re-enactment of the alleged murder of her husband.

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William Hague: UK committed to Holocaust memorial efforts

By Jennifer Lipman, January 27, 2011

William Hague has pledged that the British government will “take an active approach” to Holocaust education.

The Foreign Secretary said he was determined to encourage a “wider public understanding of the history of 1933-1945, and the lessons to be drawn” and called on other countries to do the same.

Mr Hague, who visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum Yad Vashem last November, said: “This will be done through a more co-ordinated effort to bring justice and assistance to Holocaust victims.

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Police not ready for Mumbai-type terror

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 27, 2011

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police told Jewish lawyers on Wednesday that British police were not prepared to deal with a Mumbai-style attack in the UK.

In the attack in 2008, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were murdered with four other hostages and a total of 164 people when terrorists attacked three targets in India’s largest city.

But Peter Fahy told 35 legal professionals at an event held by Manchester’s Organisation of Jewish Lawyers that in the past few months there was “a heightened threat level of this type of attack in the UK”.

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Ian McEwan responds to pro-Palestinian campaigners

By Jennifer Lipman, January 25, 2011

Ian McEwan has told a group of pro-Palestinian writers who criticised him for accepting an Israeli prize celebrating those who promote the "freedom of the individual in society" to respect his decision.

The novelist, who was awarded the 2011 Jerusalem Prize last week, said he disagreed with those who had called on him to boycott the prize.

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