UK news

Election result: Hampstead and Kilburn

By Robyn Rosen, May 7, 2010

Labour’s Glenda Jackson has won in the newly formed Hampstead and Kilburn constituency with a majority of just 42 votes.

Conservative, Chris Philp narrowly came in second with 17,290 votes to Ms Jackson’s 17,332, with Liberal Democrat Ed Fordham receiving 16,491 votes.

A total of 52,822 people voted, more than 10 per cent higher than in the 2005 election.

The Oscar-winning actress, who held the former Hampstead and Highgate seat gained 32.8 per cent of the votes, a 3.5 per cent decrease on the previous election.


Election result: Hendon

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2010

Conservative candidate Matthew Offord has ousted Labour’s Andrew Dismore to win the Hendon constituency in one of the country’s closest election battles.

Mr Offord, a former deputy leader of Barnet Council, won by just 106 votes following a recount.

He received 19,635 votes to Mr Dismore’s 19,529.

The result represented a swing of 5.2 per cent to the Tories from Labour.

The Liberal Democrats’ Matthew Harris, the only Jewish candidate in the ward, trailed in third with 5,734 votes.


Syrian doctor blames "corrupt Jews" for immigration conviction

May 6, 2010

Police feared a Facebook campaign blaming "corrupt Jewish Zionists" for the conviction of a Syrian doctor for immigration offences, would lead to protests outside a court.

Extra police surrounded Kingston Magistrates Court on Friday while Shawkat Spahi-Shoaib attended a sentencing hearing after being found guilty of using deception to remain in the UK.

He had applied for indefinite leave to remain in the UK in May 2005, despite awaiting trial in Manchester for two sexual offences, of which he was later found guilty.


Synagogue members list contacted by canvassers

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

Synagogue members have been contacted by canvassers who claimed a Conservative Party candidate was endorsed by the congregation.

Members of South Hampstead Synagogue were called on Tuesday evening by people claiming to be ringing on behalf of the Conservative Party.

The calls raised concerns that the synagogue's membership list may have been leaked or stolen.

SH chairman Michael Hatchwell was forced to email congregants alerting them to the canvassing. But he said the membership list had not been released.


School may get 40% non-Jewish entry

By Simon Rocker, May 6, 2010

King Solomon High School in Essex is facing an increase in non-Jewish students this autumn in line with the predicted impact of more Jewish school places available elsewhere.

As many as 40 per cent of first year entrants to the state-aided comprehensive could be non-Jewish, according to rumours circulating at a Jewish education conference last week.

Spencer Lewis, King Solomon's head teacher, declined to release figures this week, but suggested that the composition of the intake would be exceptional this year.


Salmond to talk on racism

May 6, 2010

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, will address a public meeting of the Glasgow Jewish community at the end of this month to address anxieties about antisemitism in the country.

Mr Salmond has apparently expressed concern at issues raised recently by the JC's political editor, Martin Bright.


Chief Rabbi backs a reversal of JFS ruling

By Simon Rocker, May 6, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, will back a unilateral move by Orthodox groups to reverse the JFS court ruling if it proves impossible to achieve broader communal agreement.

However, his office stressed in a statement that he still believed the Board of Deputies to be the "most appropriate body" to pursue a change in the law.

Jewish schools were forced to introduce new entry rules last year after the Supreme Court upheld an Appeal Court decision that schools could no longer choose pupils on the basis of whether their mother - or father - was Jewish.


Family banned from Jewish area for racist attacks

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 6, 2010

A mother, her son and his then boyfriend have been banned for five years from Manchester's most Jewish area after carrying out "disgraceful" racist attacks in a three-day spree.

Shameem Parker, 44, and her son Dean, 22, were sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court last Thursday, together with Barry Clark-Millar, 52.

All three, who pleaded guilty to charges of racially aggravated offences, received Asbos banning them from entering the Broughton Park area.

Judge Jonathan Foster QC also jailed the two men for four months each, while Mrs Parker received a 12-month community order.


Envoy attack sparks fear for Israelis' safety

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

Concerns have been raised for the safety of Israelis speaking to university students in Britain after its deputy ambassador fled to a security office as protesters attempted to attack her on a campus.

Talya Lador-Fresher feared she would be assaulted when demonstrators climbed on the bonnet of her car to try to smash the windscreen.

She had been speaking to members of Manchester University's Politics Society last Wednesday evening. Around 40 demonstrators, not believed to be students, gathered at the venue.


Leeds Student demands apology for pulled edition

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

A university newspaper was temporarily pulled from the shelves by the student union after it published an interview with a Palestinian journalist whose comments were interpreted as suggesting Jews control the media.

Leeds Student, the Leeds University newspaper, interviewed Sameh Habeeb, the founder and editor of the online Palestine Telegraph, about his experiences during last year's Gaza conflict.

Mr Habeeb said there was a "media blackout" on reporting life in Gaza and was then asked: "Do you believe mainstream media organisations have a hidden agenda?"