UK news

Israel’s UK voice: worst job in world?

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

The hostility of the British media is hampering the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s attempts to appoint a new press spokesman to its London embassy, the JC understands.

Lior Ben Dor left his role last week, but a replacement is yet to be found.

At least one non-diplomat is known to have been approached to take on the job, but turned it down.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “It is not a case of London being a job that nobody wants, but everyone knows it is a tough job. That does not mean no one wants to do it.”


‘Rambo’ John Bercow, JSoc and his far-right links

By Jenni Frazer, June 25, 2009

Half a lifetime ago, two furious Jewish students wrote to the JC to complain about John Bercow, now the new Speaker of the House of Commons.

In 1986, Mr Bercow, then 23, was the ambitious new chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students, sporting a Rambo T-shirt and pursuing, the JC said, “a hard-line aggressive policy with the accent on machismo”.


Stop boycotting, Miliband tells unions

By Leon Symons, June 25, 2009

The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has expressed dismay that Israel boycotts are being discussed by trade union congresses and conferences.

He said this week: “Ivan Lewis, minister of state responsible for the Middle East, is meeting representatives of leading British unions in order to make clear the government’s firm belief that calls for boycotts of Israel cannot and do not contribute to peace.


Picture special: an unorthodox view of Stamford Hill

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2009

The strictly Orthodox community of London’s Stamford Hill generally prefers to guard its privacy. But now a unique window into this thriving society has been opened by a gifted photographer — and the internet.

Over the past few months, hundreds of David Braun’s pictures have appeared on the photo-sharing website Flickr. He has been able to gain unique access to the community because he lives there, the scion of a Satmar Chasidic family and one of eight siblings.


UK-Hizbollah talks spark Israeli ire

By Leon Symons, June 25, 2009

The first official meeting between a senior British diplomat and a representative of Hizbollah has taken place in Lebanon, drawing a sharp rebuke from Israel.

Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy, met Lebanese MP Mohammed Raad in Beirut last Thursday.

British foreign policy allows cautious contact with people Britain considers to be in the political wing of the organisation and not involved in violence.


Jewish school entry policies are unlawful, court rules

By Simon Rocker, June 25, 2009

Many Jewish schools in the UK will be forced to tear up their entry rules after the admissions policy of the largest school, JFS, was today ruled racially discriminatory.

In a landmark judgment, the Court of Appeal said that it was illegal for Jewish schools to admit pupils on the basis of whether their mother was Jewish or not.


Cameron: I’ll defend you from hatred

By Marcus Dysch and Leon Symons, June 25, 2009

Conservative leader David Cameron wooed the Jewish community in four separate encounters this week.

He spoke at a lunch and a dinner, held private talks with the Jewish Leadership Council executive and yesterday was due to open a centre for autistic adults at the Norwood Ravenswood home in Berkshire.

At the Conservative Friends of Israel annual business lunch last Thursday, attended by dozens of MPs and peers, he told supporters that his belief in the Jewish state was “indestructible”.


'Strangler' cleared of attacking Nicole Farhi

By Keren David, June 24, 2009

A 27-year-old man has been cleared of attacking the fashion designer Nicole Farhi, but found guilty of seven "strangulation" robberies.

Matthew Mykoo, of Brent, north-west London, was convicted of the attacks at Wood Green crown court today. He was found not guilty of of robbing Farhi, 62 on her doorstep in Highgate last year, a crime that his brother Daniel Mykoo, 28 admitted.

The French-born designer lost consciousness in the attack. She told the court she came round to discover the men stealing her diamond ring, along with a Rolex watch that had belonged to her father.


Sir Philip in TV deal with Cowell

June 24, 2009

Sir Philip Green has joined forces with Simon Cowell to form a global entertainment company to create TV programmes on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is understood this will involve the creation of a holding company for all of the X-Factor star’s entertainment interests and provide a springboard for new programmes devised or produced by Mr Cowell, with Sir Philip providing business advice.

The new company, as yet unnamed, will provide a potentially lucrative merchandising opportunity, for Sir Philip, according to the Financial Times.


Hunt angry at Sugar's Apprentice role

June 19, 2009

Shadow Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has made a formal complaint to the BBC over its decision to allow Sir Alan Sugar to continue to present The Apprentice despite being a government adviser.

He had earlier said that the businessman could not combine his roles of BBC presenter and government adviser and questioned “the strength of the BBC’s rules on political impartiality”.