UK news

Cameron criticises Israel’s “unacceptable” behaviour

By Jennifer Lipman, June 2, 2010

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the events in Gaza this week as “completely unacceptable” but stressed that he remains a “friend of Israel”.

He made the comments in his first session of Prime Minister’s Questions in response to a question from Harriet Harman.

The acting Labour Party leader had asked the Prime Minister what was the status of the British nationals who had been caught up in the Gaza flotilla operation.

She added: “I’m sure he agrees this is a tragic loss of life which has angered Palestinians and dismayed friends of Israel too.

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Pro-Palestinians protest at Israeli embassy

By Jessica Elgot, June 2, 2010

Around 250 protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy last night with anti-Israeli banners and waving Palestinian flags.

The Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK organised the protest, which took place across the road from the embassy amid heavy police presence.

Although the protest was mostly peaceful, protesters chanted “Khyber al-Yahud” – an Islamic battle cry which celebrates the death and defeat of Jews in the battle of Khyber. The also chanted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – a chant which calls for the destruction of Israel.

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Gaza protester charged

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

A man has been charged with a racially aggravated public order offence following a protest over the deaths on the Gaza flotilla.

Stephen Andrew, a 19-year-old from Bolton, who had been demonstrating outside the BBC’s building in Manchester, will appear in court in July 1.

He was among up to 1,000 protesters who marched through Manchester and smashed the doors of the BBC offices.

Two officers suffered minor injuries during the incident. Another woman was arrested and has been bailed until June 16.

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Former Finchley and Golders Green MP dies

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

The former MP for Finchley and Golders Green has died of cancer at the age of 69.

Rudi Vis, who served the constituency, once Margaret Thatcher's seat, as Labour MP from 1997 until 2010, stood down at the last election because of ill health.

Before entering parliament Mr Vis worked as an economics lecturer, then stood as a councillor three times.

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Peerage for New Israel Fund board member

By Jennifer Lipman, June 1, 2010

A board member of the New Israel Fund has been appointed to the House of Lords in the Dissolution Honours list.

Sir Jeremy Beecham, the former chairman of the Local Government Association, will be joined on the red benches by another new Jewish peer, Conservative donor Simon Wolfson.

A prominent figure in both the national and local Labour Party, Sir Jeremy will join as a Labour peer. Once the chairman of the Labour Party National Executive Committee, he also serves as a councillor and spent 17 years as the leader of Newcastle City Council.

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Finchley MP gets antisemitism committee role

By Jessica Elgot, May 28, 2010

Newly-elected MP Mike Freer is the new vice president of the Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism.

Mr Freer, Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, will be the number two to MP John Mann, who has been re-elected to head the committee.

Mr Freer’s constituency has the highest number of Jewish voters in the country. He is a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel and was chair of the Barnet multi-faith forum

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Hague: We will change universal jurisdiction

By Jessica Elgot, May 28, 2010

Foreign Secretary William Hague says he is committed to changing the law on universal jurisdiction, and that the government was planning a timetable to be announced soon.

Mr Hague had pledged during the election campaign that his party would change the law, which allows arrest warrants to be granted against war criminals, even if they are not British.

The law has meant an arrest warrant was briefly issued against Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni when she came to speak at a JNF conference in London last December.

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1922 Committee success for Halfon

By Leon Symons, May 27, 2010

Robert Halfon, the new Tory MP for Harlow in Essex, has been elected to the executive of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.

Mr Halfon, former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel, defeated former Labour minister Bill Rammell with a majority of 4,925.

Now, even though he has been in Parliament for only a couple of weeks, he has been elected by fellow MPs to the c ommittee, which acts as a conduit for backbenchers to formulate their views independently of the front bench. It also plays a key part in the election of a new party leader.

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Kosher Meat: In Depth

By Leon Symons, May 27, 2010

THE CONSUMER
Many kosher meat-eaters are not only aware of wider trends towards organic produce, but feel excluded from the improvement in quality and choice that they perceive in non-kosher meat.

Gaby Brown, a mother-of-three from Stamford Hill, said: "Keeping kosher is fine but I find that I don't have as much choice about sourcing origins and we don't get meat or poultry from special or historic breeds, which can be particularly good. It feels to me like we're looking on from the sidelines; the non-kosher trade has all this variety while we can only sit and gaze from afar.

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Schools ready for academy revolution

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2010

Some of the top Jewish schools will be among the first in the country able to take advantage of the government's flagship programme of educational reform.

New Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote to all schools on Wednesday to invite them to opt out of local authority control and enjoy greater independence by accepting academy status. But schools rated outstanding in Ofsted inspections will be able to go to the head of queue and become academies as early as this September.

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