UK news

Bevis Marks Rabbi resigns

By Jessica Elgot, October 19, 2009

The rabbi of Bevis Marks has resigned amid continuing tensions at Britain’s oldest synagogue.

Rabbi Nathan Asmoucha was suspended by leaders of the Spanish and Portugese Jews' Congregation nearly three months ago.

The rabbi, who came from Zimbabwe to the City of London synagogue two years ago, was due to face a disciplinary hearing following his participation in an interfaith demonstration against high bank interest rates, organised by the charity London Citizens.


I feel guilty' says Polish Holocaust artist

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

A non-Jewish Polish artist who has built the latest installation in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, has spoken of the “guilt” he feels for Poland’s past.

How It Is, by Miroslaw Balka, is a huge steel sculpture, standing 13m high, 10m wide and 30m long.

Reminiscent of a giant shipping container and mounted on supports so that visitors can walk underneath, some have suggested it is similar to a gas chamber.

Mr Balka was born in Warsaw in 1958. Much of his work explores his personal history and the history of Poland, including a focus on the Holocaust.


Bevis Marks chiefs to face down rebels

By Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

Supporters of the suspended rabbi of Bevis Marks Synagogue in east London are set for a showdown with Sephardi leaders at a special meeting next Thursday.

More than 40 members of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation have backed a motion of no confidence in the mahamad, the executive committee of the congregation.

But the mahamad has tabled its own motion, calling for support among the wider membership, and saying that any embarrassment to the congregation is because of “irresponsible comments” to the media from some Bevis Marks members.


Shechita is 'painful' way to kill

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

A professor has won an award for a study which claims that animals do feel pain when slaughtered under the laws of shechita.

Dr Craig Johnson was honoured by the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) last week.

During the awards in London, Dr Johnson, of New Zealand’s Massey University, discussed his study, published in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal, which claimed that cattle, slaughtered without stunning, experienced pain.


New fund for Israeli and Palestinian trade unions

October 15, 2009

A new fund to support Israeli and Palestinian trade unions will be set up in the wake of the TUC decision to agree a “consumer-led” boycott of Israeli goods.

The solidarity fund was started by the global body Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (Tulip) at its inaugural meeting in London.


No sun on the South Bank? Try West Bank

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

As Israeli officials worked hard this week to promote easyJet’s new London to Tel Aviv service, British tourism experts were advocating an alternative holiday venue — the West Bank.

EasyJet’s five-day charm offensive, run jointly with the Israeli Embassy, came ahead of its first low-cost flight to Israel, which takes off on November 2.

The campaign saw a London bus travel around the capital’s attractions, including Leicester Square and Spitalfields Market, offering a taste of what tourists could expect in Tel Aviv.


Arab-Israeli duo to sing in London for the ZF

October 15, 2009

Israel’s ex-Eurovision Song Contest performers Mira Awad (above left) and Achinoam (Noa) Nini (above right) will perform at the Zionist Federation’s Yom Ha’atzmaut show next year.

The pair, who finished 16th in May’s Eurovision competition with their song There Must Be Another Way, will sing in London in April.


Board blasts Israel’s 'maverick' defender

By Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

Board of Deputies vice-president Jerry Lewis has launched a stinging attack on fellow Board member Jonathan Hoffman over his tactics when defending Israel in public.

Mr Hoffman, who is also vice-chair of the Zionist Federation, has been criticised by War on Want and Amnesty for his vociferous attempts to challenge attacks on the Jewish state.


Manchester's Ivan Lewis calls on opponent to stop Kaminski

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

The row over Michal Kaminski’s alliance with the Conservatives has spread to Manchester, where Labour’s Bury South MP Ivan Lewis has called on his Tory election opponent to condemn the partnership.


Miliband sees red over Tory Euro-alliance

By Martin Bright, Political Editor, October 15, 2009

When David Miliband read the JC last Friday, he blew a gasket.

The cause of his fury was the interview with Michal Kaminski, Polish MEP and leader of the Tories’ new allies in the European Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists.

He had read Mr Kaminski’s frank remarks about his refusal to apologise for the notorious massacre of Jews at Jedwabne in July 1941 and his view that he did not judge this atrocity as being on the same scale as other crimes of the Holocaust.