UK news

UCU hold 'boycott' meeting

By Leon Symons, December 3, 2009

The spectre of a wide-ranging boycott of Israel has been raised again by the University and College Union.

The UCU is holding a conference tomorrow (Saturday) in London in which it will debate whether or not to hold a boycott. But the conference, its location and full agenda has been shrouded in secrecy, with no publicity and inquiries about it going unanswered.

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LSE union twins with Gaza despite protests

By Robyn Rosen, December 3, 2009

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

A motion which called for the twinning was carried after 161 students voted in favour and 131 against in a debate organised by LSE Palestine Society.

Students from the Israel Society protested outside with banners saying “Say yes to hummus, no to Hamas”.

The decision was made after Ben Grabiner, chairman of the LSE Israel Society, demanded a recount of the votes after allegations of fraud.

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Church holds anti-Israel Christmas carol service

By Robyn Rosen, December 3, 2009

Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside a Baptist church which held a carol concert organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

The service, entitled Voices of Bethlehem, was held at the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church on Monday.

Protesters waved Israel flags and handed out flyers as more than 200 people attended the service, which included readings from playwright Caryl Churchill, whose play, Seven Jewish Children, caused controversy earlier this year.

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Gilead Amit, the student storming University Challenge

By Candice Krieger, December 3, 2009

Fingers on buzzers: Which Israeli-born student captained his team to a thrashing victory on University Challenge this week? Answer: 20-year old Gilead Amit.

A physics undergraduate at Imperial College, London, Gilead astonished viewers as he led his team almost singlehandedly to a second-round victory over St Hugh’s College, Oxford, to land a place in the quarter-finals.

Gilead, who speaks four languages was the top points scorer in the 280-80 trouncing, shown on BBC Two on Monday.

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Community urges Jews against mosque demo

By Martin Bright, December 3, 2009

Leading Jewish organisations have called on members of the community not to attend a demonstration against the building of a new mosque in west London. The demonstration is intended to highlight the growing influence of Islam in Europe.

The Board of Deputies and the Community Security Trust issued strongly-worded statements after the organisers, Stop the Islamisation of Europe, urged Jews to bring Israeli flags to the demonstration and march at Harrow Mosque on December 13.

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Celtic reject 'disgraceful' protest at Tel Aviv match

By Robyn Rosen in Glasgow, December 3, 2009

The Scottish Trades Union Congress has been widely condemned for “politicising football” after it handed out thousands of Palestinians flags at the Hapoel Tel Aviv/Celtic match at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

Campaigners from the STUC and the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign took 10,000 Palestinian flags to distribute to fans entering Celtic’s ground as an “act of solidarity” with Palestinians, almost one year after Israel’s operation in Gaza, Cast Lead.

Dave Moxham, STUC deputy general secretary, insisted that a demonstration at the game was justified.

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David Beckham's Jewish grandfather dies

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

David Beckham’s Jewish grandfather Joseph West has died aged 83.

Beckham, who is currently in South Africa promoting England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup, was informed of the news by family members as he got off the plane.

Mr West, the father of Beckham’s mother Sandra, was described by Beckham as his “footballing inspiration” and the two were extremely close.

When Beckham received his OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2003, Joe and Sandra accompanied him to meet the Queen.

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Celtic fans anger at STUC Palestinian campaign

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

Celtic fans have reacted with outrage at the Scottish Trade Union Congress’ attempts to use the Hapoel Tel Aviv Europa League match as a political rally against Israel.

The STUC, backed by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, plans to hand out 10,000 Palestinian flags to fans entering the Celtic Park stadium as an “act of solidarity”, almost one year after Operation Cast Lead.

Writing on blogs, comments and message boards, Celtic fans have railed against the mixing of football and Middle East politics.

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Celtic: No Palestinian campaign at football match

By Robyn Rosen, December 1, 2009

Celtic Football Club has opposed calls from the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) for fans to wave Palestinian flags at the Hapoel Tel Aviv match.

The STUC plans to hand out 10,000 Palestinian flags to fans entering the Celtic Park stadium as an “act of solidarity”, almost one year after Operation Cast Lead.

A spokesman from Celtic FC said that the club was “extremely concerned” about the plans and questioned their compliance with UEFA regulations.

He said: “We believe Celtic Park is no place for a political demonstration.

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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.

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