UK news

Row over Cambridge University 'hate speaker'

By Robyn Rosen, February 8, 2010

Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi, who has said he would be happy to be a suicide bomber, will address Cambridge University students tonight, despite calls from the Union of Jewish Students to revoke the invitation.

The Cambridge Islamic Society has invited Dr Tamimi, director of Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, to address students this evening.


David Bellamy urged: 'Pull out of Zionist talk'

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2010

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (Bricup) has urged botanist David Bellamy to pull out of a Zionist Federation event at which he is expected to speak about Israel’s environmental achievements.

Mr Bellamy is due to appear at the ZF’s Israel Blue White and Green seminar alongside leading Israeli scientists on Tuesday.

The event, which is primarily aimed at non-Jewish schoolchildren, is a follow-up to last year’s Israel Science Day which Bricup also attempted to disrupt.


Gordon Brown 'troubled' by CST antisemitism report

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2010

The Community Security Trust recorded more antisemitic incidents in 2009 than in any other year since records began 26 years ago.

Releasing its annual figures for last year, the CST confirmed that 924 incidents were reported, including violent assaults, desecration of property and death threats.

The 69 per cent rise on 2008 followed an “unprecedented” number of antisemitic attacks recorded in January and February last year, during and after the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Around a quarter of cases included references to Gaza.


Brittany Murphy's mother-in-law: Judaism saved my son

By Robyn Rosen, February 4, 2010

The Jewish mother-in-law of Brittany Murphy, the 32-year-old actress who died last year, has said that her son’s faith has kept him going, despite the “devastating” rumours surrounding the death.

Ms Murphy, the star of Clueless and 8 Mile, died on December 20 at the Los Angeles home she shared with her British husband, Simon Monjack.

Mr Monjack’s mother, Buckinghamshire-based hypnotherapist Linda, said she had been “devastated” by reports of her son’s questionable past and rumours of drugs, alcohol and eating disorders which followed the actress’s death.


Media monitor says FT blames Israel

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

The Financial Times believes Israel is largely responsible for the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians, according to the media analysis group Just Journalism.

The paper regards Israel’s settlement building as the main obstacle.

At the same time, it downplays other factors such as Palestinian terrorism, disunity between Fatah and Hamas and Palestinian failure to recognise Israel as a Jewish status, Just Journalism says, in a report based on examination of 121 editorials about the Middle East in the FT in 2009.


Avram Grant's wife: He loves massages

By Jessica Elgot, February 4, 2010

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant’s wife has claimed her husband only visited a “massage parlour” because he is “crazy about massages”.

Israeli Mr Grant, 54, was pictured by a Sun photographer leaving a “massage parlour” near Portsmouth’s training ground, on an industrial estate near the village of Horton Heath, where prostitutes allegedly charge £130-an-hour.


The Booker nominees: 40 years late

By Robyn Rosen, February 4, 2010

Authors Elaine Feinstein and the late Muriel Spark have been nominated for a “lost” Booker Prize alongside 20 other authors whose 1970 novels were published in a year the award missed.

In 1971, just two years after it began, the Booker Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became, as it is today, a prize for the best novel in the year of publication.

At the same time, the date on which the award was given moved from April to November.

As a result of these changes, there was a whole year’s gap when a variety of fiction, published in 1970, fell through the net.


Minister calms fears over Equality Bill

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

Mike Foster, the Equalities Minister, moved to reassure the Board of Deputies this week after the Pope attacked Britain’s anti-discrimination laws for threatening religious freedom.

Jon Benjamin, the Board’s chief executive, said that the minister had called him to reiterate the government’s belief that the Equality Bill, currently under debate in the Lords, would do no more than consolidate existing legislation.


RE books often fail Judaism

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

Judaism is inadequately portrayed in religious education materials used in general schools, according to a report prepared for the government.

Textbooks contained inaccuracies and ignored the ethics and philosophy of the rabbinic tradition, the research team from Warwick University found.

“A particular issue was the failure of many of the resources to engage with the long tradition of Jewish thought over the last 2000 years,” the report said.

“Instead, the religion all too often comes across as the Old Testament religion that preceded Christianity.”


Christian Aid slammed for anti-Israel youth magazine

By Robyn Rosen, February 4, 2010

Christian Aid has apologised after its UK-based online youth magazine published an article calling Israel an “apartheid state”.

The article, published on the website Ctrl.Alt.Shift and entitled Young Blood: Peres — War Criminal and Proud, attacked Israeli president Shimon Peres as a “war criminal” and called Zionism a “racist ideology”.

Published on Holocaust Memorial Day last week, the article placed images of dead Jews in concentration camps next to images of dead Palestinians.