UK news

Brick Lane 'hijab gates' scrapped

By Robyn Rosen, March 5, 2010

Plans to install giant “headscarf” arches in Brick Lane, the heart of the old East End Jewish community, have been scrapped just hours before councillors were due to make a decision.

The arches, labelled “hijab gates”, attracted wide criticism from local Jews as well as Muslims, heritage organisations and artist, Tracey Emin, who lives near Brick Lane.

They were part of a £1.85million “culture trail” proposed by Tower Hamlets council to “reflect the many cultural backgrounds that have occupied and sought refuge” in and around Brick Lane.

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Jeremiah Duggan 'last hope' for new inquest

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

An application for a new inquest into the death of Jewish student Jeremiah Duggan has been filed, in what his mother called her "last hope" to uncover the truth.

Mr Duggan, 22, was found dead on a highway near Wiesbaden, Germany in March 2003, after he had attended a youth event organised by the far-right LaRouche group.

The German police ruled his death a suicide, but a British coroner rejected the verdict in November 2003 after the Metropolitan Police testified that the LaRouche movement is a "political cult with sinister and dangerous
connections".

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Labour MP Diane Abbott vows to save Yemeni Jews

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

A Labour MP has accused the government of putting the lives of Yemeni Jews at risk by not doing enough to save them from al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists.

A year ago, London's strictly Orthodox community worked with Immigration Minister Phil Woolas in the hope that 120 Yemenis could move to Stamford Hill, north London.

The Home Office was expected to agree to allow them to settle in Britain, but the move never happened. Now Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, has stepped in and demanded that they reconsider.

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Chief Rabbi wins New York prize

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, is to be the first recipient of the Lamm Prize, a new award set up by Yeshiva University in New York.

The prize pays homage to the university's chancellor, Dr Norman Lamm, and his lifetime of scholarly achievement.

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Labour writer warns UK Left about Hamas

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

One of the Labour Party's key intellectuals has warned the Left not to make the mistake of considering Hamas a traditional resistance movement.

Writing in a series of essays, Handling Hamas, published by Labour Friends of Israel, Professor Brian Brivati of Kingston University says: "All too often Hamas is compared, by elements of the British Left in particular, to the IRA, the South African ANC or even the Palestinian Fatah movement and, inevitably, from these comparisons comes a call for diplomatic engagement."

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Lib Dems under fire over Gaza leaflets

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

Parliamentary candidates across the country have clashed over pre-election attacks on Israel.

Labour's Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas has written to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, questioning his party's views on arms sales to the Jewish state.

Mr Woolas acted after the Lib Dem candidate in the constituency, Elwyn Watkins, wrote to Muslim supporters condemning Israel's "disproportionate use of force" during last year's Gaza conflict and calling for an end to arms sales to Israel.

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Why Chagall painted Jesus and the cross

March 4, 2010

Drawings for Marc Chagall's stained-glass windows at All Saints' Church, Tudeley, in Kent, will be shown in the UK for the first time this week as part of the Mascalls Gallery exhibition, Cross Purposes.

The exhibition examines the representation of the crucifixion in 20th-century art and will be at the Ben Uri Gallery in London from June 19 to September 15.

Chagall was commissioned to design the windows - All Saints is the only church in the world to have all its windows decorated by him - by the late Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.

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Board to investigate Holocaust Claims Conference

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

A leading barrister has been asked by the Board of Deputies to investigate concerns about the Claims Conference, the New York-based body which distributes restitution funds to Holocaust survivors.

Jeffrey Gruder QC, a commercial litigation specialist and a former deputy for Radlett Synagogue, will advise the Board on whether there are any matters that need to be taken up with the Conference.

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Jim Murphy: Stop blaming British Jews for what happens in Israel

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

Jim Murphy has had it with the "you people" argument about British Jews and Israel.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel, could not be more clear about his views on people who say they should be held to account for Israeli actions.

He said: "I find it soul-destroying when I hear folk writing to the papers or calling in on the radio to ask what are British Jews doing about this, what are 'you people' doing about that?

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Anger at National Front inclusion in government inquiry

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

The Board of Deputies has protested over the participation of the National Front in a government inquiry into racism in schools.

In a letter to the inquiry head Maurice Smith, a former Chief Inspector of Schools, chief executive Jon Benjamin said it was "deeply concerned" to hear he had met representatives of the NF.

Mr Benjamin wrote: "We are at a loss to understand what you hoped to gain by dignifying the National Front with your time and your attention.

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