UK news

Kidnap father won't return to face jail

By Jessica Elgot, January 20, 2011

The father sentenced to four months in prison for abducting his daughter and fleeing with her to Israel says he has no intention of returning to serve his sentence.

Speaking from Israel, the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said a warrant had been issued for his arrest but that he had no plans to return to the UK. His daughter, who is 22 but lacks legal capacity to make decisions, is in a care home and has no contact with him.

Divorced in 1996, the father has been in constant litigation over his daughter's future.


Jailed for Jew hate - now he's the victim?

January 20, 2011

A convicted white supremacist who wrote that he wanted to "destroy the Jews" has complained to prison authorities - that he has become the victim of religious discrimination.

Michael Heaton, 43, from Wigan, was jailed in June for 30 months for posting over 3,000 racist messages on fascist websites. He also founded the militant group Aryan Strike Force whose members boasted about plotting attacks on synagogues and mosques.


Hotel denounced for Islamist hate speakers

By Jessica Elgot, January 20, 2011

A major hotel group has drawn criticism for hosting a conference featuring several Islamist hate preachers.

Speakers at the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) at the Ibis Hotel in Earl's Court on Sunday included Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick, who has previously called all Jews and homosexuals "filth".

Other speakers included Abdur-Raheem Green, an Islamic convert from Catholicism. He has been outspoken on Israel in the past, claiming the Jewish homeland is a "myth" and "brainwashing."


Sky drones claims not true, say defence chiefs

January 20, 2011

Both the Ministry of Defence and the Israeli Embassy in London have hit back at claims that British troops were trained by the IDF to fly unmanned aerial drones.

The allegations were made by Sky News defence correspondent Niall Paterson last week and picked up by organisations including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, War on Want and Amnesty International.

It was claimed that the British government had been criticised for purchasing technology "field-tested on Palestinians".


Anthony Julius to chair JC board

January 20, 2011

The lawyer and writer Anthony Julius has been appointed chairman of the Jewish Chronicle.

Mr Julius, deputy chairman of solicitors Mishcon de Reya, is also a noted author who has written extensively on law, literature, art, culture and antisemitism.

His book, Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England was published last year.

He said of his appointment: "I am honoured. The JC is the most respected Jewish publication, not just in the UK, but in Europe.

"I am looking forward to making my contribution to ensure its continued success."


John Lewis store rounds on Israel boycott campaigners

By Robyn Rosen, January 20, 2011

The department store John Lewis has accused an anti-Israel campaign group of sending "false and misleading" information after it published a triumphant press release linking the company's withdrawal of an Israeli cosmetics brand with the boycott campaign.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) sent an email to its mailing list on Friday claiming John Lewis was "now refusing to stock" Ahava products.


Brits out in force at Herzliya Conference

By Martin Bright, January 20, 2011

The Herzliya Conference, Israel's annual summit on global strategy and the Middle East, will have a prominent British presence this year.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox will speak on the defence ministers' panel on the opening day of the conference, which begins on February 6. He will speak alongside Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and his Czech opposite number Alexandr Vondra. With the possible exception of Michael Gove, Mr Fox is seen as Israel's most vocal champion in the coalition cabinet.


Alistair Burt: Building 'not helpful'

By Martin Bright, January 20, 2011

Middle East minister Alistair Burt used a visit to Israel this week to condemn new settlement building in East Jerusalem. He said the construction of 1400 new apartments in Gilo would damage future prospects of peace.

"We have always been clear that settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace. Pushing ahead with this plan would be a deeply unhelpful move and hinder efforts to resume talks between the two parties leading to a two-state solution to this conflict, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states living side by side in peace and security."


JLC forced to scrap first West Bank visit

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

The Jewish Leadership Council has postponed a trip to meet Palestinian leaders in the West Bank following an angry reaction from community representatives.

Chairman Vivian Wineman had been due to travel to Ramallah next month with other council members including Sir Trevor Chinn and Rosalind Preston. They would have met Palestinian Authority officials and members of non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam and War on Want.

The JLC had also proposed that a representative of the Office of the Chief Rabbi join the touring group.


Deputies two-state solution Middle East row

By Simon Rocker, January 20, 2011

Board of Deputies leaders were left trying to salvage its Israel policy this week after members threw out a resolution that declared support for a two-state solution in the Middle East.

Despite the convincing rejection of the motion, Board president Vivian Wineman insisted that most deputies still remained in favour of the concept of a two-state peace between Israel and the Palestinians.