UK news

Shakespeare 'hid his Jewish roots' - or he would have been Bard

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2012

What's in a name? William Shapiro might be able to tell you – but you probably know him better as Shakespeare.

According to a new book by French academic Ghislain Muller, Shakespeare's grandfather was a Jewish immigrant from Bohemia. He claims Richard Shapiro settled in England sometime after 1515, but hid his religion, assuming the name Shakespeare.


Laura marks her Board card for May polls

By Simon Rocker, February 9, 2012

Laura Marks, head of a commission to encourage more women to lead the Jewish community, will stand for election as vice-president of the Board of Deputies in May.

But controversy was brewing this week over a rule change proposed by a rival candidate, which would effectively scupper her bid.

Ms Marks, founder of Mitzvah Day and head of the commission on women set up by the Jewish Leadership C


Missionary runs Holocaust Memorial Day events

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2012

A "messianic Jewish" leader, actively seeking to convert Jews to Christianity, hosted a Yorkshire town's Holocaust Memorial Day activities last week, a move condemned as a "perversion" by anti-missionary activist Rabbi Shmuel Arkush.

Selby-based Adrian Glasspole, founder of the UK branch of Chosen People Ministries, who said he was halachically Jewish, described himself as "responsible" for the


No 'cure'- you can't 'pray away the gay'

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2012

A Jewish newspaper columnist has robustly defended a controversial piece that she wrote suggesting that homosexuality could be cured.

Doreen Wachmann, who writes for the Jewish Telegraph in Manchester, said last week that she was daring to "put my head above the parapet and write about the forbidden topic" and expressed her "reservations over the contemporary Orthodoxy which dictates that homos


Ask why people are antisemitic, says leading Catholic writer

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2012

Piers Paul Read, the writer of a new book about the 1894 Dreyfus Affair, was criticised this week after saying that the French soldier's treatment could be linked to Jews being a "very powerful influence in finance, in business", and that Jews should ask why people were antisemitic.

English literature Professor Jacqueline Rose, author of Proust among the Nations: From Dreyfus to the Middle East


UK will seek out Auschwitz files

By Martin Bright, February 9, 2012

The Ministry of Defence has agreed to release all files relating to the father of Israeli President Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Persky, who was held captive as a British prisoner of war at Auschwitz.

Officials and archivists are now on the search for details of Mr Persky's time at Camp E715, situated next to the Buna-Monowitz camp, which provided slave labour to the IG Farben chemical factory.


Protests force end to Nazi surgical tools sale

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2012

"Ghoulish" surgical tools belonging to a Nazi war criminal have been withdrawn from auction in Cornwall this weekend, after a furious series of protests to the auctioneers.

The hacksaw and scalpels, engraved with the name Anton Burger - SS commandant of the Theresienstadt ghetto - are set in a velvet-lined wooden box.


Clearer guidelines on campus hatred

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2012

The government has been urged to create a "designated contact point" for universities to work with when extremist external speakers are invited to speak on campus.

The call for clearer government guidance about challenging hate speech on campus came from the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, which carried out a nine-month review of the Prevent strategy.

The report found that the interne


Strictly Soulmates: The BBC's kosher dating show

By Marcus Dysch, February 9, 2012

It was once taboo to admit in public you're struggling to find a date.

But that didn't stop three Jewish twentysomethings taking the dramatic step of looking for love in full view of millions of TV viewers.

Jason Goldstein, Richard Ludwig and Natalie Samuel agreed to take part in a BBC documentary exploring the difficulties faced by singles looking for love within their own religion.


LSE cancels extremist speaker event

By Jennifer Lipman, February 7, 2012

An extremist speaker will no longer address students at the London School of Economics after complaints from Jewish students.

Haitham Al Haddad, who is alleged to have described Jews as "the enemies of God, and the descendants of apes and pigs" and stated that it is necessary to hate Jews and Christians, was due to speak at the university this evening.