UK news

The Chief Rabbi on his new book and his new title

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

By the time his long-awaited peerage was announced, the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, had already gone into seclusion. Around this period of year, he closes his public diary and turns his mind to writing a new book.

The latest of his 18 books, Future Tense, appeared only last month and he has called it the “most important” he has written, an attempt to produce a “satellite navigation system” for Jews and Judaism in the years ahead.

While the book warns of the rise of “the new antisemitism”, its message is that the Jewish agenda should not be defined by external threat.

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Northern Ireland Parades chief is Jewish woman

By Leon Symons, July 16, 2009

he new chair of Northern Ireland’s Parades Commission has been greeted with a baptism of fire — almost literally.

Rena Shepherd has claimed a double first — she is the first Jew and the first woman to head the body, which maps out the routes for Ulster’s marching season. The season reached its climax this week with the annual Twelfth of July Orange Order and Apprentice Boys’ marches.

The Parades Commission was created as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

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Calling Jews 'Nazis' may be criminalised

By Leon Symons, July 16, 2009

Parliament will be asked to consider whether the use of Nazi symbols and terms in reference to Jews, Israel and Zionism is breaking the law on incitement to racial hatred.

A new report by the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA) has highlighted the increasing use of what it terms the “Nazi card” in antisemitic discourse and has called for a number of measures to try to combat its spread.

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Anti-Israel lobby wins arms ban from UK government

By Bernard Josephs and Anshel Pfeffer, July 16, 2009

The Foreign Office this week denied imposing a partial arms embargo on Israel, despite its decision to ban spare parts for Israeli naval vessels used during its winter operation in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

The news broke as 26 Israeli soldiers claimed that the IDF had committed war crimes during the Gaza operation.

On Monday, the government, in response to a sustained campaign from pro-Palestinian groups and parliamentarians, announced the cancellation of five export licences for equipment to upgrade weaponry on 4.5 Saar Corvettes.

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Web racists to appeal 'unsafe' sentence

By James Brewster, July 15, 2009

Two race hate criminals who, in a bid to win political asylum in the USA, fled the country after being convicted, have both won the first round of a legal battle to clear their names.

Simon Sheppard, 52, and Stephen Whittle, 43, were the first Britons to be convicted of inciting racial hatred online.

They were found guilty last year, but fled to the US before they could be sentenced and attempted to use America's free speech laws to stay there.

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Israel Tourism Ministry slammed over 'misleading' ad

By Jessica Elgot, July 14, 2009

An Israeli tourism poster displayed in London tube stations has been rapped in a ruling by the Advertising Standards Agency because a map showed the Occupied Territories merged into Israel.

The poster, which drew complaints from the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, was part of a £40,000 Israeli Government Tourist Office “Think Israel” campaign.

In its ruling the ASA concluded that the poster was misleading, as it implied that the West Bank and Gaza and the Golan Heights were part of Israel.

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University apologises to ZF for cancelled event...

By Jessica Elgot, July 14, 2009

University College London has apologised to the Zionist Federation for cancelling an Israeli Independence Day celebration at the Bloomsbury theatre because the poster featured members of the IDF in uniform.

The Bloomsbury Theatre, owned by UCL, cancelled one of the ZF's two Israel independence day events in April this year because publicity pictures included performers from the IDF entertainment troupe in uniform.

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Chief Rabbi given life peerage

By James Martin and Jessica Elgot, July 13, 2009

Tributes have flowed in from all sections of the community at the elevation of the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, to the peerage.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission announced that he is to be a life peer and will sit as a cross-bencher.

Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies, said: “I send warm congratulations to the Chief Rabbi on this richly deserved honour.

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Internet racists are jailed

By Leon Symons, July 10, 2009

Two racists have become the first in Britain to be jailed for inciting racial hatred on the internet.

Simon Sheppard, 51, from Selby in north Yorkshire, was sent to prison at Leeds Crown Court for four years and 10 months, while 42-year-old Stephen Whittle, of Preston was sentenced to two years and four months.

The pair fled to America and sought political asylum last year while the jury were returning verdicts during a trial at Leeds Crown Court. But their plea was thrown out by a judge in California and they were sent back to Britain last month.

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JFS boy must be 'reconsidered'

By Simon Rocker, July 10, 2009

JFS has been told it must reconsider admitting the boy at the centre of the recent court case.

The Court of Appeal ordered the school to think again about offering a place to the boy, known as M, who was originally refused entry two years because his mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

Two weeks ago the court ruled that the school’s entry policy as unlawful, because allowing entry on the basis of whether a parent is Jewish contravenes the Race Relations Act.

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