UK news

Jewish girl's King David place goes to non-Jew

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 11, 2010

A Jewish girl has been denied a place at King David High School in Liverpool because her family could not meet the new admissions criteria to prove her level of religious practice. The place went to a non-Jewish girl.

The Orthodox school was forced to reject a place for Kayleigh Chapple this September, even though her mother, uncle and aunt were former pupils.


Iranian made Press TV 'forced confession'

By Jessica Elgot, June 10, 2010

A journalist who was imprisoned in Iran has accused Press TV of colluding with his captors, in a programme for Channel 4.

Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari spent 118 days in a Tehran jail after being arrested for covering the Iran election protests.


Shechita fears if European law changes

By Robyn Rosen, June 10, 2010

Shechita UK, the lobby organisation which defends religious slaughter, has said a change in European law on labelling food will mean the “end of shechitah” and will “discriminate” against kosher food.

Next week, a plenary session of the European Parliament will vote on the proposal for a regulation on the provision of food information to consumers.

A proposed amendment will mean that meat and meat products derived from animals that have been slaughtered by the laws of shechitah will be labelled “meat from slaughter without stunning”.


Poker player to pay rabbi's spread betting losses

June 10, 2010

A young professional poker player lost £156,000 at the High Court today when a judge ruled he must pay a rabbi who placed spread bets for him on the Dow Jones index.

Simon Nissim said he would give any winnings from his on-line spread betting to Andrew Feldman, 22, who had lost more than £700,000 at cards.

But Mr Feldman agreed to cover any losses, and ended up with a bill for £136,000.

He had asked deputy High Court judge Richard Snowden QC to set aside a statutory demand for the money served on him by the 34-year-old rabbi.


Stormont is lobbied on Israel motion

June 10, 2010

A Northern Ireland Assembly motion, singling out Israel for criticism over its handling of Gaza, was defeated after the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel group lobbied political parties to vote against it.

The unprecedented emergency debate last Friday was supported by Sinn Féin and nationalist members.

It came as Ulster Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire
travelled on the MV Rachel Corrie boat as it approached Gaza.

The motion called on Israel to conform with human rights and international laws.


Hay speeches on flotilla prompt upset

June 10, 2010

Labour peer Lord Winston was at the forefront of a walkout last week from a talk by the leading radical lawyer, Michael Mansfield QC, when Mr Mansfield called Israel a "pariah state."

The talk, at the annual Hay literary festival, sponsored by the Guardian, prompted angry complaints from Jewish audience members. But Mr Mansfield and another speaker, comedian Jeremy Hardy, were defended by Hay Festival organiser Peter Florence.


BBC botches Big Questions Gaza programme

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

The BBC was unable to broadcast a programme in which a Gaza flotilla participant was forced to defend himself against allegations of Holocaust denial because of transmission problems.

Ismail Patel, chairman of the Leicester-based Friends of Al Aqsa group, appeared on Sunday's episode of The Big Questions to discuss the topic "Is Israel acting immorally?".

Among those defending Israel were Jonathan Hoffman of the Zionist Federation, Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet and Shoah survivor Martin Stern.


NIF chair appeals for calm over flotilla

By Jessica Elgot, June 10, 2010

The chairman of the New Israel Fund UK has told supporters to ignore extremist views on both sides of the Middle East debate, and expressed his sadness at the lack of understanding from both sides.

In an email sent to NIF supporters, chair Nicholas Saphir wrote: "We are all stunned and saddened by the tragic deaths and injuries to civilian activists and Israeli soldiers."

He added: "We need to remember that we are blessed to live in comparative safety, whereas Israel is in constant threat from those who are openly committed to its destruction."


Academic 'will sue the UCU'

By Simon Rocker, June 10, 2010

A senior Jewish academic has said he will sue the University and College Union if it boycotts a West Bank college where he is a guest professor.

Professor Geoffrey Alderman, of the University of Buckingham, said he had consulted lawyers over the UCU's vote last month to investigate a possible boycott of Ariel College.


The Olympic kippah for Jewish volunteers

By Marcus Dysch, June 10, 2010

Volunteers at the London 2012 Olympic Games will be offered the chance to wear an "Olympic kippah" as part of their uniform.

The specially-designed yarmulke will form part of the official attire for Jewish members of the 70,000-strong volunteering team.

The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has held discussions with representatives of the Jewish community to discuss provisions, including kosher food, which will be needed for Jewish competitors and visitors to the capital.