UK news

Gove wins plaudits for defence of Israel

By Martin Bright, November 4, 2010

Education Secretary Michael Gove told British supporters of Israel this week that human rights activists and politicians were wrong to use the word "disproportionate" when talking about Israel's military response to threats to its security.

His comments will raise eyebrows among his colleagues, not least Foreign Secretary William Hague, who described Israel's assault on Lebanon in 2006 in precisely those terms.

Advocacy organisations in Britain, including Conservative Friends of Israel, have subsequently worked hard to persuade Tory politicians not to use such incendiary language.


The new Jewish leaders

November 4, 2010

The Jewish Leadership Council has elected new trustees this week, including several fresh faces at its top table.

Taking their seats are Bicom chairman Poju Zabludowicz, Masorti co-chair Bill Benjamin - whose organisation only joined
the JLC recently - and Stephen Lewis and James Libson, who jointly represent the New Leadership Network,
a group fostered by the JLC to groom leaders for British Jewry.


Cruise company: choose Haifa or Tripoli

By Leon Symons, November 4, 2010

The online description is mouthwatering: "…an enticing mix of architectural and cultural wonders, this 14-night cruise on board Adonia takes in the magnificent cities of Haifa and Cairo, as well as a fascinating collection of other destinations…"

The only problem is any passenger who visits Haifa - despite forking out anything from £1,600 to more than £6,000 per head - will be "confined to ship" at another port: Tripoli, the capital of Libya.


Even with shrapnel, Israeli kids are freer

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 4, 2010

Israeli schoolchildren, even those on the war-blighted Lebanese border, have greater freedom to learn through exploration and play than their "over risk-assessed" British counterparts, according to a Jewish primary school headteacher.

Leeds Brodetsky Primary School head Jeremy Dunford, returning from his first visit to Israel, said he had found that Israeli pupils were able to use school equipment with far less adult supervision, and greater success, while British children were less likely to learn how to cope with risk as a result of strict UK health and safety laws.


Ed Miliband: my door is open

By Martin Bright, November 4, 2010

Ed Miliband has said his door is always open to the Jewish community and urged people not to see his critical comments about Gaza and the Turkish flotilla as hostile to Israel. The first Jewish leader of the Labour Party told the JC that he recognised he has some work to do to reassure some in the community: "There is a task for me to get to know the Jewish community better as the leader of the Labour Party... and there's a task for the community to get to know me."


Hague offers Israel hand of friendship

November 4, 2010

William Hague's first visit to Israel as Foreign Secretary was hailed this week by both Israeli and British officials as a resounding success.

In the run-up to the visit there had been trepidation on both sides that it would set back relations. But both Israeli and British officials said that they had worked hard over the past two months to make Mr Hague's visit warm and positive, an ambition mirrored in the full turnout of Israel's political elite to welcome him.


Cambridge debater barred

November 4, 2010

A Jewish Cambridge University student has been banned from its Union debating society after an encounter with Lauren Booth - the notorious presenter on Iranian Press TV and ardent pro-Palestinian campaigner.

Gabriel Latner, a second-year lawyer, joined her as a fellow proposer of the motion that Israel is a rogue state - which he subverted by tackling it from a pro-Israel point of view.

(Students who apply to speak in debates are randomly selected by the union organisers.)


Ed Miliband: Hamas, Ken Livingstone and Jewish values

By Martin Bright, November 4, 2010

Ed Miliband’s Jewish intellectual heritage could not be more impeccable. His father, Ralph Miliband remains a colossus of the British left, who lies buried in Highgate cemetery within sight of Karl Marx himself.

His mother Marion Kozak, is a feminist thinker and human rights activist of considerable renown. Both parents were Polish Jews who came to Britain as refugees from fascism.


Lord Sugar gives Apprentice's Alex Epstein 'another chance'

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

Jewish Apprentice contestant Alex Epstein has lived to fight another day - just.

Despite disagreements with Apollo team leader Paloma, the former King David pupil escaped being fired by Lord Sugar.

In a task which involved selling designer clothing to shoppers in Manchester’s Trafford Centre, he was put in charge of choosing the location for a promotional area. He chose an area some distance from the shop, causing friction with the rest of his team.

Karren Brady told him: “Unfortunately it wasn’t the best location.”


EDL men charged with Israel demo offences

By Jessica Elgot, November 3, 2010

Three EDL members charged with affray and public order offences during a “Tea Party” rabbi’s speech at Speakers Corner have had their case sent to Crown Court.

Shortly after their demonstration on Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, EDL supporters made their way to Hyde Park where Rabbi Nachum Shifren, the so-called "surfing rabbi" from California, gave a short speech.

The rabbi had earlier called Muslims “dogs” and told the EDL “We will never surrender to the sword of Islam."