UK news

Buycott combats Morrisons and Waitrose Israel boycott

By Marcus Dysch, November 12, 2009

Shoppers across the country have been buying as many Israeli products as possible this week to thwart an anti-Israel boycott of two major supermarket chains.

The “buycott” initiative was drawn up by the Board of Deputies and the Fair Play Campaign Group in response to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s action against Waitrose and Morrisons.

Pro-Israel groups hailed the community’s response, with a number of stores selling out of almost their entire stocks of kosher products, including wine, fruit and herbs.

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'Hug a Jew Day' launched

By Robyn Rosen, November 12, 2009

More than 100,000 people have joined a Facebook group urging viewers to take part in “Hug a Jew Day” today.

Ben Plaut of Pittsburgh created the group, asking followers: “Please aspire to hug as many Jews as possible.”

People from Israel, Australia, Britain and America are among those that have joined the group.

So, who would you hug and why?

TV vet Marc Abraham: “I would love to hug Larry David for giving us the comedic masterpiece that is Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

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Sex education gets a cautious welcome

By Leon Symons, November 12, 2009

Jewish education leaders have given a guarded welcome to the government’s announcement of its plans for sex education in schools.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, unveiled plans to make personal, social, health and economic education compulsory in schools from 2011.

Faith schools will have to teach the new curriculum, but “within the tenets of their faith”, said Mr Balls.

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Melanie Phillips and Ed Husain fall out over Israel

By Martin Bright, November 12, 2009

On the one side stands a courageous former Muslim extremist who abandoned the path of violent jihad to preach tolerance; on the other, a bold and controversial Jewish columnist who has built a reputation as the scourge of the liberal left. Between them they have written two of the most powerful books on radical Islam in Britain.

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Whitehall in turmoil over Muslim advisers

By Martin Bright, November 12, 2009

An ideological battle has broken out in Whitehall over the advice given to ministers on Islamic radicalism.

A series of recent changes of personnel and promotions at key departments has led to concerns that the government is moving away from a policy of dialogue with moderates towards a policy of engagement with more radical groups.

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Bankrupt Levene is sued in Tel Aviv courts

By Simon Griver, November 12, 2009

The Tel Aviv District Court has seized the assets of Nicholas Levene at the request of Maccabi Netanya owner Daniel Jammer, who is suing the bankrupt British financier for £6.5 million.

The court is also considering a request by UK accountant Louise Brittain of Deloitte, appointed in October by the English courts as the trustee of Mr Levene’s assets, to enforce the bankruptcy order against him. He owes creditors £200 million.

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British rabbi hits out at Israeli 'xenophobia' after BNP's backing

By Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

A senior United Synagogue rabbi will use his sermon tomorrow to condemn comments made by Israel’s Interior Minister, which were cited approvingly by the BNP.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, of Mill Hill Synagogue, who is chair of the Rabbinical Council of the US, hits out at the “extreme xenophobic” remarks made by Eli Yishai, who said that foreign workers would bring diseases to Israel and threaten Israel’s Jewish identity.

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Gordon Brown's bid to fix rift with UK Jews

By Martin Bright and Simon Rocker, November 12, 2009

The government is to launch a charm offensive to rebuild the trust of the Jewish community in response to the anger unleashed by the Goldstone Report on Gaza.

Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis met senior representatives of the community on Tuesday to reassure them about last week’s decision to abstain in the UN General Assembly on a resolution endorsing the findings of the controversial report. Judge Richard Goldstone found that Israel and Hamas should be investigated for war crimes during the conflict.

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Palestinian unions say Israel boycott would harm them

By Leon Symons, November 12, 2009

The leader of Palestine’s equivalent of the TUC has told a delegation of British trade unionists that they are not interested in general boycotts of Israel.

Shaher Saeed, general secretary of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), told representatives of seven unions that the organisation had so little interest in the subject it had never discussed boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and therefore had no policy on the subject.

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Labour MP pulls out of pro-Palestine event

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2009

Labour MP Neil Gerrard has pulled out of a pro-Hamas rally, which will be attended by Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Jenny Tonge, after an anti-racism group asked him to withdraw.

Mr Gerrard told the anti-fascist group Nothing British About the BNP that he would not attend the event organised by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC).

He claimed this was because of “substantial evidence” that far-right Hungarian MP Kristina Morvai would be attending.

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