UK news

Annie Lennox: I was wrong about Israel

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

Singer Annie Lennox has stepped back from comments she made about the Gaza conflict, to conclude that "both sides are right and both sides are wrong".

The Eurythmics star was speaking at the annual Names Not Numbers symposium at Portmeirion, north Wales, organised by media company Editorial Intelligence.

Although she remained critical of Cast Lead, saying "a million people in a confined space in a crowded area pounded from the air was not a good idea", she condemned Hamas rocket attacks on Sderot. She added that was not interested in taking sides and simply wanted to promote peace.


Hate war on campus to be "stamped out"

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

There is now a "virus of extremism" on Britain's university campuses that is at risk of turning into a pandemic, according to the Board of Deputies.

Growing parental concern at the safety of Jewish students at UK universities has led the community leadership to take the unprecedented step of developing an official strategy for combating extremism on campus.

The strategy draws on recent experience of campaigning against extremist Muslim speakers at Manchester and London universities who are known to hold views deeply hostile to Israel.


Gordon Brown: CPS to control war crimes law

By Jessica Elgot, March 4, 2010

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced an imminent change in universal jurisdiction law, as predicted exclusively by the JC last week.


Michael Foot: 'I owe a great debt to Jews'

By Jessica Elgot, March 3, 2010

The former Labour Party leader Michael Foot, who has died aged 96, had a turbulent relationship with British Jews and with Zionism.

Mr Foot told the JC in 1997 that he was “introduced to true Socialism by a wonderful old Jewish landlady in Liverpool.

"She could not quite teach me Yiddish," he confided, "but I learned a great many other things. I owe a great debt to the Jewish people.”


Galloway anger at Gaza protest sentences

By Jessica Elgot and Marcus Dysch, March 3, 2010

Supporters of the Gaza protesters jailed for violence outside the Israeli embassy held a meeting at Parliament last night calling for their release.

Supporters claimed that the protesters, who threw bottles at police and vandalised a local branch of Starbucks, were victims of a “direct attack on the Muslim community” by the government and police.

At least 22 protesters have now been jailed for between eight months and two-and-a-half years, almost all for public order offences.


Two held over Purim ‘havoc’

By Marcus Dysch, March 1, 2010

Police arrested two Jewish revellers as a group of 300 people caused "havoc" during rowdy Purim celebrations.

The men were arrested on suspicion of affray in north west London on Saturday night after residents called for officers to disperse the crowds.

Barnet Police said there had been "fighting, throwing of fireworks and general havoc" in Brent Street, Hendon, and Golders Green Road, Golders Green, between 10pm and 12.30am on Sunday morning.


Ex-Leo Baeck chair is honorary QC

By Marcus Dysch, March 1, 2010

The former chairman of Leo Baeck College has been appointed an honorary Queen’s Counsel.

Professor Graham Zellick will make the declaration and receive the letters patent of appointment from the Lord Chancellor at a ceremony at Westminster Hall on March 22.

The rare award of Honorary Silk is made by the Queen and recognises lawyers who have “made a major contribution to the law of England and Wales outside practice courts”.

Prof Zellick said: “You do not get notice of it and you cannot apply so it comes as a great surprise. I’m very proud.


More jailed for Gaza protest violence

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

More protesters have been jailed for offences during the January 2009 violent protest in London against Israel’s operation in Gaza.

At Isleworth Crown Court, one of the protesters was sentenced to 12 months in prison. One will serve ten months in a Young Offenders Institute. Another was given 12 months conditional discharge and one given an 18 month supervision order.

All had pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

More than 5,000 people attended the demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in January and protests occurred across the capital during December 2008 and January 2009.


Jewish Book Week talk by anti-Israel author

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

The director of Jewish Book Week has rejected criticism that it should not have given a platform to two leading critics of Israel.

On Sunday afternoon Tariq Ali, left-wing student leader of the 60s and now a writer and broadcaster, will be interviewing Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor and founder of the London Review of Books, whose anti-Israel views have been well-documented.


Miliband to attend Israeli Embassy reception

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband will be the guest of honour at a housewarming reception given by the Israeli Embassy, just weeks after the diplomatic spat between the two countries over the Dubai assassination.

Mr Miliband has accepted the invitation from Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor, despite tensions between Israel and the UK.

Mr Prosor was invited to the Foreign Office to explain Israel’s alleged role in the killing of a Hamas militant in Dubai, where British and other EU passports were used by the assassins.