UK news

Food writer Joanna Blythman calls for Israel boycott

By Keren David, August 20, 2009

A call for food retailers to boycott all Israeli goods has been condemned by the Israeli ambassador and anti-boycott campaigners.

In an article for trade magazine The Grocer this week, prominent food writer Joanna Blythman calls on retailers and importers “actively to look for alternatives to so-called Israeli produce”.

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Ivan Lewis on Israel visit calls for Gilad Shalit release

By Robyn Rosen, August 20, 2009

Ivan Lewis, the Middle East minister, has asked the Palestinian leadership for help in securing the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Making his first visit to Israel and the territories since taking up his Foreign Office post in June, Mr Lewis spent four days in the region. The trip followed a visit to Syria and Lebanon earlier this month.

Mr Lewis, MP for Bury South, a former vice-chairman of Labour Friends of Israel and chief executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation, said his aim was to help realise the goal of a two-state solution.

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Lockerbie bomber released

By Marcus Dysch, August 20, 2009

Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is to be released from jail on compassionate grounds.

The decision comes 24 hours after the parents of Jewish victim Marc Tager said such a move would be “ridiculous”.

Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill today rejected a prisoner transfer request which would have seen al-Megrahi serve the rest of his sentence in his home country.

But he agreed to the release on grounds of al-Megrahi suffering from terminal prostate cancer.

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Bevis Marks Rabbi’s hearing delayed

By Simon Rocker, August 20, 2009

The executive of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation has postponed a disciplinary hearing for the rabbi of Bevis Marks Synagogue in the East End of London because he is understood to be on sick leave.

Rabbi Natan Asmoucha received a final warning after a first hearing two weeks ago when the mahamad (executive) said he had taken part without authorisation in an interfaith demonstration against high bank interest rates last month.

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Family's trauma over neighbours 'from hell'

By Marcus Dysch, August 20, 2009

A Jewish family say they are being tormented by antisemitic abuse and harassment from a family of nine travellers living next door at taxpayers’ expense.

Jeremy and Hannah Kaye, an administrator for the Hanoar Hatzioni youth group, and their sons Jamie and Charlie, say they have been taunted with shouts of “Yids, Yids” and had glass jars and sacks of rubbish thrown at their home.

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Suicide-bomb sitcom attacked by Board

By Robyn Rosen, August 20, 2009

An online comedy about a group of Muslim suicide bombers in Britain could cause “gratuitous offence”, the chief executive of the Board of Deputies has warned.

Living with the Infidels, a sitcom which was launched on the web on Thursday, centres on a Bradford-based terror cell who are “set on a path to martyrdom” but are tempted by football, the pub and busty women.

The production company, The System Predicts, led by film-maker Aasaf Ainapore, claim the series has been made with the support of a senior, though unnamed, member of the Muslim Council of Britain.

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MPs 'regret' use of UK arms by Israel in Gaza

By Simon Rocker, August 20, 2009

A committee of MPs has said it was regrettable that arms components made in the UK were “almost certainly” used by Israel in the conflict in Gaza earlier this year.

In a report published on Wednesday, the arms export controls committee recommended that the government "continue to do everything possible to ensure that this does not happen in future".

It also backed the refusal to licence the sale of certain components to Israel since the Lebanon war of 2006.

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Supremacist Wiginton banned from Britain

By Marcus Dysch, August 20, 2009

An American white supremacist was barred from entering Britain to attend the BNP’s annual summer festival over fears that his presence would stir up racial tension.

Preston Wiginton, 44, was turned away from the UK border after arriving at Heathrow from New York for last weekend’s Red, White and Blue festival.

He has close links to BNP leader Nick Griffin and helped to organise a university speaking tour for him in the US.

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Where to find ‘Jew Tongo’? In biggest-ever thesaurus

By Keren David, August 20, 2009

The brainchild of a Jewish professor 45 years ago reaches fruition this autumn with the publication of the world’s biggest thesaurus.

The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary contains almost every word that has ever existed in English, nearly 800,000 words in total, organised into more than 236,000 sub-categories.

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Clegg ‘lied’ on pledge to silence hate peer

By Keren David, August 20, 2009

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has been accused of lying over his pledge to take action if Baroness Jenny Tonge made antisemitic remarks “on my watch”.

In June, Mr Clegg was challenged over his tolerance of Baroness Tonge after he pledged his opposition to antisemitism in an address to the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

Douglas Murray, of the Centre for Social Cohesion, asked when the LibDem leader would root out antisemitism in his own party.

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