UK news

Tearful Katie Waissel clings on to X Factor spot

By Katie Taylor, November 8, 2010

Katie Waissel was voted into the bottom two acts of X Factor for a third time this series.

After her rendition of No Doubt’s Don’t Speak on Saturday’s American themed show failed to impress the audience, she sang for survival for the second week in a row.

Judge Danni Minogue told the Jewish singer: “For some reason I just didn’t connect, I think you were thinking about the performance and where you were moving.”

Simon Cowell added: “It kind of fell apart in the middle.

“The vocals fell off and it looked like you were struggling.”


Woolas facing new vote for Islamic extremism smears

By Marcus Dysch and Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010

A Labour MP who claimed his Liberal Democrat opponent was involved with Islamic extremists is facing a by-election after a judge found that he knowingly made false accusations.

During the 2010 campaign, shadow immigration minister Phil Woolas, fighting for reelection to his Oldham East seat, accused his opponent of wooing extremist Muslims.

Mr Woolas won the seat with 103 more votes than Elwyn Watkins for the Liberal Democrats.

But a special election court has now ruled that the MP breached election regulations by making false claims and there must now be another poll.


Apology for academic barred for Israel views

By Jessica Elgot, November 5, 2010

The Belfast university which snubbed JC columnist Professor Geoffrey Alderman by withdrawing his invitation to a panel discussion on the Middle East has sent a written apology.

Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Professor Peter Gregson said he offered a “full and unreserved apology” to the University of Buckingham professor who could not speak at the Belfast Festival.

Professor Alderman, known for his outspoken pro-Israel views, is a guest professor at Ariel College in the West Bank.


Venezuelan Embassy criticised for Intifada celebration

By Jennifer Lipman, November 5, 2010

Anti-extremism campaigners have called for police to intervene in an event organised by the Venezuelan Embassy in London marking the 10th anniversary of the start of the second intifada.

The event, to be staged on Saturday at Bolivar Hall in central London, has been titled “The Outbreak of the Intifada: Turning Back the Empire.”

It is described as part of “a series of events which commemorates 10 years since the eruption of the defining struggle of our generation.

“It is also a salute to that struggle…against the Zionist-apartheid state.”


Student rage at union chief’s views

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2010

The Union of Jewish Students has called for a student union president to resign after making apparently antisemitic remarks.

Clare Solomon, a religion student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, claimed that the persecution of Jews had been fabricated to justify attacks on Palestinians.

She was elected as president of the University of London student union earlier this year.


Christian Zionists expelled for Israel support

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 4, 2010

A Zionist Christian group says it will take legal action to fight eviction from its premises because it supports Israel.

Father's House, a small church group of 40 people based in the Welsh village of Gwernymynydd, near Mold, says this is the first case of a Christian church being evicted from a public village building because of its beliefs.


Analysis: Islamist threats: this time, the real thing

By Martin Bright, November 4, 2010

It should be the conspiracy theorist's dream scenario. Just as the coalition is being held to its promises to dismantle the Labour government's security state, a parcel bomb is found on board a cargo plane at a British airport. There was a time, before the attacks of July 7 2005, when some of us still gave credence to the idea that the British state was overhyping the terror threat in order to scare us into accepting infringements of civil liberties. How interesting that no one is suggesting that the Yemeni parcel bombs are anything other than very real.


Israel's Meridor feared UK arrrest

By Marcus Dysch, November 4, 2010

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor cancelled an appearance at a London fundraising dinner this week over fears he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

The Israeli Justice Ministry warned Mr Meridor that a warrant for his arrest might be issued if he entered Britain.

He had been due to speak at the Bicom dinner on Monday evening, to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled last week citing the delicate state of the peace negotiations.


Harry Potter star and the 'Israeli Holocaust'

By Leon Symons, November 4, 2010

Actress Miriam Margolyes was accused this week of "ignorance and moral imbalance" for remarks she made on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Ms Margolyes, who appears in the Harry Potter films, was asked to speak about her recent visit to West Bank refugee camps with the Action Aid charity. The programme ran a short film clip, supplied by Action Aid, showing her visiting the ramshackle home of a Palestinian family.


Gove wins plaudits for defence of Israel

By Martin Bright, November 4, 2010

Education Secretary Michael Gove told British supporters of Israel this week that human rights activists and politicians were wrong to use the word "disproportionate" when talking about Israel's military response to threats to its security.

His comments will raise eyebrows among his colleagues, not least Foreign Secretary William Hague, who described Israel's assault on Lebanon in 2006 in precisely those terms.

Advocacy organisations in Britain, including Conservative Friends of Israel, have subsequently worked hard to persuade Tory politicians not to use such incendiary language.