UK news

Palestine group gets student union ban

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

A pro-Palestinian group which launched an angry protest against an Israeli speaker has been banned from using a student union's facilities.

Leeds University Union took action against the student Palestine Solidarity Group after protesters interrupted a talk given by Ishmael Khaldi, Israel's deputy consul.

They chanted and banged on the doors of the lecture theatre as Mr Khaldi spoke at the Jewish Society event.

The union's activities executive has stopped PSG booking rooms in the union building until the start of the next semester in April.

More..

Survey: most parents accept non-Jewish pupils

By Simon Rocker, March 11, 2010

The overwhelming majority in a survey of parents of Jewish pupils at Jewish schools say they would accept the admission of non-Jewish children.

Around half of the survey, conducted among parents of the three Jewish schools in Redbridge in Essex, would feel it acceptable for non-Jewish children to make up 10 per cent of the roll - while roughly a quarter of the parents would accept up to 25 per cent non-Jewish pupils.

More..

Analysis: You've betrayed the Jewish community, Jack Straw

By Martin Bright, March 11, 2010

The time has now come to tell the full story of how the government betrayed the Jewish community over "universal jurisdiction". In more than a decade of covering UK politics, I have never known a story quite like this.

It is now three months since David Miliband and Gordon Brown pledged to change the law that allowed an arrest warrant to be issued for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

More..

Israel baffles and angers me, says Archbishop of Canterbury

By Robyn Rosen, March 11, 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that despite believing Israel has a right to defend itself, he is "baffled and angry" at some of its methods.

Dr Rowan Williams spoke in conversation with Times editor James Harding in front of more than 200 people at a JC-sponsored event organised by the Board of Deputies on Wednesday.

Less than 15 minutes into the 90- minute discussion, Mr Harding asked Dr Williams to face the "elephant in the room" and reveal his views on Israel.

More..

David Cameron: I will banish extremists from Britain

By Martin Bright, March 11, 2010

A Conservative government would ban extremist Islamist groups, refuse visas to hate preachers and insist that universities identify and root out radicals promoting violence, antisemitism and other racial intolerance on campus.

More..

Meir Persoff: 'Time for an alternative to Chief Rabbi'

By Simon Rocker, March 11, 2010

The Chief Rabbinate is a cause of division and Lord Sacks should be the last to hold the office, says a new book published next week.

Meir Persoff, the JC's former Judaism editor, in the first book-length study of the policies of Lord Sacks since he took office in 1991, argues that the role has become increasingly contentious in a religiously diverse Jewish community.

He writes in Another Way, Another Time: "The Chief Rabbinate has run its course and an alternative form of leadership is called for which recognises the plurality of the community."

More..

David Cameron: His Jewish roots

March 11, 2010

David Cameron talked warmly of finding his Jewish roots and said he had spoken about them to one of Britain’s leading rabbinical authorities.

Last July, Yaakov Wise of Manchester University’s Centre for Jewish Studies traced Mr Cameron’s family tree to 16th-century Jewish scholar Elijah Levita, author of the Yiddish chivalric verse romance, the Bovo-Bukh.

The Tory leader consulted Dayan Ehrentreu, former head of the London Beth Din, about his roots, a meeting he called “one of the highlights of my year”.

More..

Journalist Paul Martin released from Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

A British journalist held in Gaza by Hamas for ‘violating security’ has been released, Hamas has said.

Freelance journalist Paul Martin, 55, who has reported for the BBC and The Times, is expected to be freed without penalty today and expelled from Gaza to Israel.

Mr Martin’s lawyer Sharhabil Zayim said he would be handed over to the British and South African authorities in Israel. The Foreign Office has not confirmed Mr Martin is to be released.

Mr Martin originally travelled to Gaza to testify for a Palestinian man who was accused of collaborating with Israel.

More..

Police investigate MP Harry Cohen's expenses

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

Labour MP Harry Cohen is under investigation by Scotland Yard for allegedly receiving more than £70,000 in expenses for a second home in Colchester.

Mr Cohen, the MP for Leyton and Wanstead, was strongly criticised by a Commons committee for receiving money for his second home while he rented out the property he had previously claimed was his main home.

The Commons committee recommended that Mr Cohen, who is standing down as an MP at the forthcoming general election, should lose his £65,000 retirement payment.

More..

Ami Ayalon: no arrest in London

By Jessica Elgot, March 10, 2010

The former head of Israel’s secret service, Shin Bet, Ami Ayalon, has returned to Israel after speaking in London, without being arrested.

Israeli lawyers met Mr Ayalon at the airport when he landed in London in case he was arrested but the visit went without a hitch. Pro-Palestinian groups were expected to perhaps seek an arrest warrant for Mr Ayalon under universal jurisdiction.

Mr Ayalon, formerly a government minister and ex-head of the Israeli navy, spoke at the LSE on Monday evening as part of a public discussion entitled “The Goldstone Report and the Peace Process”.

More..