UK news

LSE to twin with Gaza University

By Robyn Rosen, December 1, 2009

The London School of Economics (LSE) will be twinning its union with the Islamic University of Gaza, despite protests from students.

A motion which called for the twinning was carried after 155 students voted in favour and 135 against in a debate organised by the university’s Palestine Society last week.

The decision was made after an appeal by Ben Grabiner, chairman of the LSE Israel Society, to recount the votes following allegations of fraud was rejected.


CST warns Jews against joining anti-Muslim demo

By Jessica Elgot, November 30, 2009

The Community Security Trust has urged the Jewish community not to lend their support to the group “Stop the Islamisation of Europe”.

SIOE have been canvassing support from British Jews to attend their forthcoming demonstration at Harrow mosque.

Emails have been circulated by SIOE, including one sent to the Jewish Chronicle, asking for support.

SIOE have urged Jews to bring Israeli flags to the demonstration on December 13, and have said their aim is to recruit 1,000 Jews to join the protest.


Internet hate duo 'may have been wrongly convicted'

By Leon Symons, November 27, 2009

The first convictions in Britain for publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet were wrong because the publications were outside the jurisdiction of British courts, the Court of Appeal has been told.


Chief Rabbi's maiden speech in House of Lords

By Jessica Elgot, November 27, 2009

The Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has made his maiden speech in the House of Lords.

The Chief Rabbi told the House how Judaism values education, and suggested that secular schools could learn from the value Jews have always placed on learning.

He said: “If there is one insight above all others to be gained from Jewish history it is that freedom depends on education. To defend a country you need an army but to defend a civilisation you need schools. Abraham was chosen, says the Bible, so that he would teach his children to practise righteousness and justice.


The Chief Rabbi's maiden speech to the House of Lords: In full

By Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, November 27, 2009

My lords, when I entered this chamber for the first time I did so from the Moses Room, and I thank my lordships for the lengths they went to make a rabbi feel at home.

Today I feel the other side of that occasion, for it was Moses at the burning bush who felt so overwhelmed by emotion that he told God he could not speak; he was “not a man of words.”

Mind you, that did not stop him speaking a great deal thereafter. In fact on one occasion, when pleading with God to forgive the people for making the Golden Calf, he spoke for forty days and forty nights.


UCL bans Muslim hate preacher

By Leon Symons, November 26, 2009

A lecture due to be given on Monday by an Islamist preacher with extreme views on homosexuals and women has been cancelled.

University College London’s Islamic Society had invited Abu Usamah to give the first lecture in its “Pearls of Wisdom” week. The title of his talk was “In pursuit of knowledge”.

Mr Usamah’s views became widely known after he appeared two years ago in a Channel 4 documentary Undercover Mosque.


Minister: how my father escaped Nazis

By Leon Symons, November 26, 2009

Justice Minister Michael Wills has revealed how his father fled Nazi-occupied Vienna and its impact on his role in the government’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

Mr Wills, who this week launched a report composed of Jewish groups’ responses to the bill, said: “Human beings don’t always learn from the past and that’s why this debate and this Jewish contribution is so important.”


UK Jewish film festival ’09: it’s a wrap

By Jessica Elgot, November 26, 2009

It took 10,000 audience members, 65 films, 14 venues and two very talented Jewish brothers, but after a jam-packed 13 days, the UK Jewish Film Festival drew to a close last week.

The festival, which screened a record-breaking 31 UK film premieres, closed in London on Thursday night with the screening of Hello Goodbye and the presentation of the Shoresh Charitable Prize.

Israeli comedy A Matter of Size and documentary film Praying with Lior won the awards after voting by the festival audiences.


Attorney-General's Jewish connections

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2009

Baroness Scotland, the Attorney-General, revealed some unexpected Jewish connections last week.

Born in Dominica as the 10th of 12 siblings, she grew up in Walthamstow in north-east London — next door to Waltham Forest Hebrew Congregation or, in her words, “Boundary Rd shul”.

“You see before you the Shabbes goy,” she told guests at the British Friends of the Hebrew University’s annual legal dinner at the Middle Temple.

To cheers and laughter, she added: “I bet I went to synagogue more than most of you.”


Women back protest over Congo atrocities

By Simon Rocker, November 26, 2009

A Progressive rabbi was among the participants in a high-profile event to call for an end to the atrocities in the one of the world’s worst conflict zones, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk of Westminster Synagogue joined a multi-faith rally last Thursday at London’s Albert Hall to highlight the rape and torture of women and girls in the eastern part of the country, in particular.

The event marked 100 years since the Great Congo Demonstration, held at the same venue, to protest against murder and slavery at that time.