UK news

Stephen Fry apologises to Poland

By Robyn Rosen, October 19, 2009

Comic actor Stephen Fry has apologised for comments he made which implied Poles were to blame for the atrocities at Auschwitz.

Earlier this month, Mr Fry appeared on Channel 4 News to speak about his objection to the Conservative party’s ties with Poland’s Law and Justice party.

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Liveblogging the BNP on Question Time

By Jessica Elgot, October 19, 2009

For the first time in the programme’s history BNP leader Nick Griffin will appear on the BBC’s flagship political programme, Question Time on Thursday night.

He will appear alongside playwright Bonnie Greer, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne and Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

The JC’s editor Stephen Pollard and Political Editor Martin Bright will be providing expert commentary and analysis, as it happens, on the JC.com by liveblogging Mr Griffin’s appearances on the programme.

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Miliband's dinner date with Jewish leaders

By Simon Rocker, October 19, 2009

Foreign Secretary David Miliband is due to attend a dinner tonight to honour Henry Grunwald, who retired as president of the Board of Deputies and chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council in the spring.

Leading figures in British Jewry will gather at the event at a top London hotel.

It will be Mr Miliband’s first appearance at a Jewish function since he sparked controversy with his attack earlier this month on some of the Conservative party’s East European allies for alleged far-right links.

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Bevis Marks Rabbi resigns

By Jessica Elgot, October 19, 2009

The rabbi of Bevis Marks has resigned amid continuing tensions at Britain’s oldest synagogue.

Rabbi Nathan Asmoucha was suspended by leaders of the Spanish and Portugese Jews' Congregation nearly three months ago.

The rabbi, who came from Zimbabwe to the City of London synagogue two years ago, was due to face a disciplinary hearing following his participation in an interfaith demonstration against high bank interest rates, organised by the charity London Citizens.

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I feel guilty' says Polish Holocaust artist

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

A non-Jewish Polish artist who has built the latest installation in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, has spoken of the “guilt” he feels for Poland’s past.

How It Is, by Miroslaw Balka, is a huge steel sculpture, standing 13m high, 10m wide and 30m long.

Reminiscent of a giant shipping container and mounted on supports so that visitors can walk underneath, some have suggested it is similar to a gas chamber.

Mr Balka was born in Warsaw in 1958. Much of his work explores his personal history and the history of Poland, including a focus on the Holocaust.

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Bevis Marks chiefs to face down rebels

By Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

Supporters of the suspended rabbi of Bevis Marks Synagogue in east London are set for a showdown with Sephardi leaders at a special meeting next Thursday.

More than 40 members of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation have backed a motion of no confidence in the mahamad, the executive committee of the congregation.

But the mahamad has tabled its own motion, calling for support among the wider membership, and saying that any embarrassment to the congregation is because of “irresponsible comments” to the media from some Bevis Marks members.

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Shechita is 'painful' way to kill

By Robyn Rosen, October 15, 2009

A professor has won an award for a study which claims that animals do feel pain when slaughtered under the laws of shechita.

Dr Craig Johnson was honoured by the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) last week.

During the awards in London, Dr Johnson, of New Zealand’s Massey University, discussed his study, published in the New Zealand Veterinary Journal, which claimed that cattle, slaughtered without stunning, experienced pain.

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New fund for Israeli and Palestinian trade unions

October 15, 2009

A new fund to support Israeli and Palestinian trade unions will be set up in the wake of the TUC decision to agree a “consumer-led” boycott of Israeli goods.

The solidarity fund was started by the global body Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (Tulip) at its inaugural meeting in London.

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No sun on the South Bank? Try West Bank

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

As Israeli officials worked hard this week to promote easyJet’s new London to Tel Aviv service, British tourism experts were advocating an alternative holiday venue — the West Bank.

EasyJet’s five-day charm offensive, run jointly with the Israeli Embassy, came ahead of its first low-cost flight to Israel, which takes off on November 2.

The campaign saw a London bus travel around the capital’s attractions, including Leicester Square and Spitalfields Market, offering a taste of what tourists could expect in Tel Aviv.

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Arab-Israeli duo to sing in London for the ZF

October 15, 2009

Israel’s ex-Eurovision Song Contest performers Mira Awad (above left) and Achinoam (Noa) Nini (above right) will perform at the Zionist Federation’s Yom Ha’atzmaut show next year.

The pair, who finished 16th in May’s Eurovision competition with their song There Must Be Another Way, will sing in London in April.

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