UK news

Jewish charities publish social action manifesto

By Martin Bright, March 25, 2010

A group of prominent Jewish charities committed to social justice and climate change has published a joint manifesto for the forthcoming election.

The Jewish Social Action Forum document urges whichever party wins the election to act on poverty, global conflict and refugee issues as well as the environment.

The manifesto begins with a strong commitment to green issues. "The Jewish religion strongly believes in the notion of stewardship - that the world does not belong to us but that it is our responsibility to protect it for future generations."


Liberal Judaism criticised for boycotter talk

March 25, 2010

The Board of Deputies this week criticised Liberal Judaism for having allowed a meeting at its headquarters featuring a supporter of the boycott against Israel.

Jeff Halper, the director of the Israel Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), spoke at a meeting organised by Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) at the Montagu Centre, Liberal Judaism's central London HQ, on Sunday.


MPs attack Israel over Jerusalem

By Robyn Rosen, March 25, 2010

MPs attacked Israeli settlement policy during an emergency meeting held by Palestinian groups in Parliament.

Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, a veteran foe of Israel, told the meeting, held by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Friends of Al Aqsa: "The Jews running Israel are the most stupid Jews because they do not see the population equation will mean that unless there is a settlement granting Palestinians their own state, Palestinians will wait it out.

"When they outnumber the Israelis there will... be a one-state solution and that will not be Israel."


British leaders at Aipac

By Marcus Dysch, March 25, 2010

A delegation of Britain's Jewish community leaders travelled to the United States this week to take part in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) convention.

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark, Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman and Bicom chief executive Lorna Fitzsimons led the British group.

Other representatives from the JLC, the Board, the Community Security Trust and Union of Jewish Students joined the trip.


Miliband: War crimes law failure is Tories' fault

By Simon Rocker, March 25, 2010

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has blamed the Conservatives for preventing an early change in the law in order to make it more difficult to arrest visiting Israelis.

Although the government published its proposal to amend the law last week, there is no prospect of it being passed before the next election.


Israel must pledge 'never misuse British passports'

By Jessica Elgot, March 25, 2010

Britain has laid down strict conditions for any potential replacement of the Israeli official expelled from London, believed to be the Mossad representative in London.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband accused Israel of forging the British passports used by a hit squad which assassinated Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a luxury hotel in Dubai.

The official sent back to Israel is believed by the Foreign Office to be directly linked to the forgeries.

An Israeli government official confirmed that the expelled diplomat would be replaced in due time.


Foreign Office man wins appeal against race abuse claim

By Leon Symons, March 25, 2010

A senior Foreign Office diplomat has won his appeal against a conviction for racially aggravated harassment.

Rowan Laxton, 48, was exercising in a gymnasium last year when he saw a TV report about Israel’s action in Gaza.

Two men elsewhere in the gym claimed that they heard him shout “f------ Israelis, f------ Jews” at news of the death of a farmer.

They complained to staff and Mr Laxton, who was then head of the Foreign Office's South Asia desk, was arrested and then charged. He was also suspended from his post.


Gordon Brown: Pesach Sameach!

By Jessica Elgot, March 24, 2010

Britain’s expulsion of an Israeli diplomat this week did not prevent Prime Minister Gordon Brown sending the Jewish community a cheerful message of goodwill for Pesach.

Mr Brown sent a personal letter to wish the community “best wishes for a Pesach Sameach”, signed in his trademark black felt tip.

The letter reads: “This Pesach families will gather, just as they have for centuries, to eat around seder tables and read the Haggadah. The story they will tell is of course unique to the Jewish community – but it is one with lessons for us all.


Lieberman: UK- Israel ties of 'great importance'

By Jessica Elgot, March 24, 2010

Foreign Secretary David Miliband informed Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of his decision to remove an Israeli diplomat at a meeting on Monday in Brussels.

Mr Lieberman said he regretted Britain’s decision but said there was still no proof Mossad had been involved in the assassination of a Hamas terrorist, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Dubai, where many of the hit squad used forged British passports.


Miliband: Diplomat expelled and travel advice to Israel changed

By Jessica Elgot, March 23, 2010

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband has declared his disappointment with Israel in a statement to the House of Commons in which he accused Israel of faking British passports and confirmed he had expelled an Israeli diplomat.

Based on the sophistication of the technique used to clone the passports, Mr Miliband said: “The government judges it is highly likely that the forgeries were made by a state intelligence service.”

He said that the fact that the UK considers Israel a close ally “was adding insult to injury”.