UK news

David Beckham's Jewish grandfather dies

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

David Beckham’s Jewish grandfather Joseph West has died aged 83.

Beckham, who is currently in South Africa promoting England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup, was informed of the news by family members as he got off the plane.

Mr West, the father of Beckham’s mother Sandra, was described by Beckham as his “footballing inspiration” and the two were extremely close.

When Beckham received his OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2003, Joe and Sandra accompanied him to meet the Queen.

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Celtic fans anger at STUC Palestinian campaign

By Jessica Elgot, December 2, 2009

Celtic fans have reacted with outrage at the Scottish Trade Union Congress’ attempts to use the Hapoel Tel Aviv Europa League match as a political rally against Israel.

The STUC, backed by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, plans to hand out 10,000 Palestinian flags to fans entering the Celtic Park stadium as an “act of solidarity”, almost one year after Operation Cast Lead.

Writing on blogs, comments and message boards, Celtic fans have railed against the mixing of football and Middle East politics.

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Celtic: No Palestinian campaign at football match

By Robyn Rosen, December 1, 2009

Celtic Football Club has opposed calls from the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) for fans to wave Palestinian flags at the Hapoel Tel Aviv match.

The STUC plans to hand out 10,000 Palestinian flags to fans entering the Celtic Park stadium as an “act of solidarity”, almost one year after Operation Cast Lead.

A spokesman from Celtic FC said that the club was “extremely concerned” about the plans and questioned their compliance with UEFA regulations.

He said: “We believe Celtic Park is no place for a political demonstration.

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LSE to twin with Gaza University

By Robyn Rosen, December 1, 2009

The London School of Economics (LSE) will be twinning its union with the Islamic University of Gaza, despite protests from students.

A motion which called for the twinning was carried after 155 students voted in favour and 135 against in a debate organised by the university’s Palestine Society last week.

The decision was made after an appeal by Ben Grabiner, chairman of the LSE Israel Society, to recount the votes following allegations of fraud was rejected.

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CST warns Jews against joining anti-Muslim demo

By Jessica Elgot, November 30, 2009

The Community Security Trust has urged the Jewish community not to lend their support to the group “Stop the Islamisation of Europe”.

SIOE have been canvassing support from British Jews to attend their forthcoming demonstration at Harrow mosque.

Emails have been circulated by SIOE, including one sent to the Jewish Chronicle, asking for support.

SIOE have urged Jews to bring Israeli flags to the demonstration on December 13, and have said their aim is to recruit 1,000 Jews to join the protest.

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Internet hate duo 'may have been wrongly convicted'

By Leon Symons, November 27, 2009

The first convictions in Britain for publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet were wrong because the publications were outside the jurisdiction of British courts, the Court of Appeal has been told.

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Chief Rabbi's maiden speech in House of Lords

By Jessica Elgot, November 27, 2009

The Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has made his maiden speech in the House of Lords.

The Chief Rabbi told the House how Judaism values education, and suggested that secular schools could learn from the value Jews have always placed on learning.

He said: “If there is one insight above all others to be gained from Jewish history it is that freedom depends on education. To defend a country you need an army but to defend a civilisation you need schools. Abraham was chosen, says the Bible, so that he would teach his children to practise righteousness and justice.

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The Chief Rabbi's maiden speech to the House of Lords: In full

By Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, November 27, 2009

My lords, when I entered this chamber for the first time I did so from the Moses Room, and I thank my lordships for the lengths they went to make a rabbi feel at home.

Today I feel the other side of that occasion, for it was Moses at the burning bush who felt so overwhelmed by emotion that he told God he could not speak; he was “not a man of words.”

Mind you, that did not stop him speaking a great deal thereafter. In fact on one occasion, when pleading with God to forgive the people for making the Golden Calf, he spoke for forty days and forty nights.

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UCL bans Muslim hate preacher

By Leon Symons, November 26, 2009

A lecture due to be given on Monday by an Islamist preacher with extreme views on homosexuals and women has been cancelled.

University College London’s Islamic Society had invited Abu Usamah to give the first lecture in its “Pearls of Wisdom” week. The title of his talk was “In pursuit of knowledge”.

Mr Usamah’s views became widely known after he appeared two years ago in a Channel 4 documentary Undercover Mosque.

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Minister: how my father escaped Nazis

By Leon Symons, November 26, 2009

Justice Minister Michael Wills has revealed how his father fled Nazi-occupied Vienna and its impact on his role in the government’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

Mr Wills, who this week launched a report composed of Jewish groups’ responses to the bill, said: “Human beings don’t always learn from the past and that’s why this debate and this Jewish contribution is so important.”

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