UK news

Amy Winehouse held after panto incident

By Robyn Rosen, December 23, 2009

Amy Winehouse has been arrested in connection with an assault following an incident at a pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Rehab singer was charged today under the name Amy Civil – her ex-husband’s name – with a Section 5 public order offence and common assault.

She attended Milton Keynes police station voluntarily with her legal advisor at 1.15pm this afternoon.

She was formally arrested by officers from Thames Valley Police on suspicion of assault and public order.


Thalidomide victims win cash payout

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

Two Jewish Thalidomide victims have welcomed the success of a long-running campaign which will see the government paying sufferers £20 million in compensation.

Guy Tweedy and Nick Dobrick had called for greater recognition for sufferers for seven years.

The Department of Health has now agreed to spread the payment to the Thalidomide Trust over a three-year period. The charity will share the money between Britain’s 463 surviving Thalidomide victims.


BBC monitor: Bowen is 'biased'

By Leon Symons, December 23, 2009

A press monitoring group has claimed in a new report that much of BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen’s reporting during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza was biased against Israel.

BBC Watch, which produced the report, has made an official complaint to the BBC on the back of its findings.

Run by Jerusalem-based lawyer Trevor Asserson, BBC Watch monitored the corporation’s output on the operation from December 28 last year, one day after it started, until January 30, three days after the ceasefire.


Ofcom raps radio station for antisemitic 'joke'

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom has upheld a complaint against an Asian community radio station which broadcast an antisemitic joke sent in by a listener.

A volunteer presenter on Radio Faza, a Nottingham-based channel aimed at women in the city’s south Asian community, read out the text message on September 25, during the daily News Today show.

He introduced the message as a “joke”, and said: “Jewish kid next door just asked me for a water fight…thought I would text while the kettle is boiling.”


Miliband attacked by Muslim leaders over Livni

By Leon Symons, December 23, 2009

The Muslim Council of Britain has attacked Foreign Secretary David Miliband for saying he would change the law of universal jurisdiction in the wake of the Tzipi Livni arrest warrant row.

In a long letter to Mr Miliband, MCB general secretary Mohammad Abdul Bari said: “We regret to have to say that the process that the government appears to have chosen to follow on this issue is fundamentally flawed.”


Convert challenge to Chief after JFS

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2009

The Board of Deputies faces an uphill battle to secure non-Orthodox support for a change in the law in order to override last week’s Supreme Court judgment on Jewish school admissions.

The Liberal, Masorti and Reform movements have all indicated that their support for any change to the Equality Bill, currently going through Parliament, will be conditional on their converts being accepted into mainstream Orthodox schools.


UCU's 'fig-leaf' Shoah talks

By Leon Symons, December 23, 2009

Anger has greeted the news that the University and College Union, at the forefront of the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel, is holding three seminars on antisemitism next month.

The last of the seminars is set to be held at UCU headquarters on January 27 — Holocaust Memorial Day. All three will be chaired by Tom Hickey, the leading proponent of UCU’s boycott push.


Cocaine rabbi avoids prison term

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 23, 2009

A rabbi convicted of cocaine possession has been ordered to attend narcotics rehabilitation within the Jewish community, avoiding a jail term.

At his trial in November, Rabbi Baruch Chalomish pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of high-quality cocaine after falling into heavy addiction. Last January police raided a city centre apartment in which Rabbi Chalomish was found after what was said to be a five-day long drug binge.


Zionist hit by abuse at SOAS debate

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

The co-vice chairman of the Zionist Federation was subjected to antisemitic abuse after revealing his identity at a university debate on Israel and the Palestinians.

Jonathan Hoffman was asking a question at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) in London. When asked to state his name, there was loud jeering and screams of “Jew”, “not welcome here” and “he’s Jewish”.

He had been raising concerns about the presence of Bongani Masuku at the debate, titled: “Israel, the Palestinians and apartheid: The case for sanctions and boycott”.


Baroness Neuberger defends expenses

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger has defended her expenses claims after it was revealed she had received more than £78,000 for overnight accommodation allowances over five years.

The president of Liberal Judaism lists her main home as a flat in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire; her husband, Anthony, is a professor at Warwick Business School in nearby Coventry.

But Baroness Neuberger has claimed £78,106 over the past five years, at a rate of £174 per night, to cover the cost of staying in a townhouse she owns in Primrose Hill, north London.