UK news

New strategy for Labour Friends of Israel

By Marcus Dysch, September 7, 2010

Labour Friends of Israel has appointed a new director to oversee the parliamentary lobby group's work.

Jennifer Gerber replaces former director Luciana Berger, who was elected as an MP for the Liverpool Wavertree constituency in May.

Ms Gerber, from Finchley, north London, is a former director of Progress, a New Labour pressure group promoting radical and progressive politics.

She edited its magazine, for which she has written articles on Israel and antisemitism.


Ashmolean leaves Judaism out of world faiths show

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

Britain's oldest museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford, has defended the exclusion of Judaism from a panel on world religions.

Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, a Jewish academic who lives in the city, had believed the display would be changed after he questioned the omission.

But the museum, which reopened last November after a major redevelopment, believes it would be "inappropriate" to alter the wording.

It added that a new "Jewish trail" linking items of Jewish interest in the museum was in the pipeline.


BBC 'failed to part with key facts on Israel'

By Robyn Rosen, September 7, 2010

The BBC failed to answer 80 per cent of Freedom of Information requests submitted about Israel and Jews.

The FoI website, What Do They Know, published the 3,701 requests not directly related to journalism, sent to the BBC since the act became law in 2005.

Of these, the broadcaster withheld information in response to 497 queries. Of the 17 requests about Israel or Jews, 14 were not given answers, including one asking for all correspondence between the BBC and the Israeli embassy on the subject of Gaza.


Duncan Smith: children must see Auschwitz

By Leon Symons, September 7, 2010

A trip to Auschwitz earlier this year led the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to present an award to a Holocaust survivor.

Mr Duncan Smith presented one of two certificates to 93-year-old Lithuanian Josef Levinson, who has single-handedly identified and organised memorials for more than 200 mass graves and cemeteries of Jews in the Baltic country over the past 30 years.

In May, Mr Duncan Smith joined a Holocaust Educational Trust one-day trip to the former death camp.


BA crew: I was fired after pro-Nazi row

By Marcus Dysch, September 7, 2010

An air steward has spoken of his anger after being sacked by British Airways after an incident in which a colleague allegedly shouted antisemitic abuse and glorified the Nazis.

Jean-Paul Van der Velde, whose father survived two concentration camps, was dismissed for misconduct after the row with the fellow crew member in a New York bar. He had worked for BA for 23 years.

He said airline staff had been enjoying a drink during a stopover, but tempers frayed when his colleague became "drunk and aggressive".


New media for the Jewish new year

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

It's called 10Q - and it's a novel way of getting into the High Holy Day mood.

Standing for "Ten Questions", it is the initiative of a group of young Americans trying to adapt Jewish ideas for the digital generation.

All you have to do, explains Adam Clyne, from Manchester - who is helping to promote the project in the UK - is to register on a website before Rosh Hashanah.

Over the Ten Days of Repentance, you will be emailed a question each day. "Some will ask you about what you achieved over the past year, some about your hopes for the coming year," Mr Clyne explained.


Girl denied faith school place treks 60 miles

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 7, 2010

The family of Kayleigh Chapple, the Liverpool girl who was denied a place at a Jewish school under the new admissions rules, has decided not to apply for a judicial review. But legal action may still be taken against King David High School Liverpool, which denied her a place.

Eleven-year-old Kayleigh, from Liverpool, began her year at King David in Manchester last week after the school accepted her under its admissions policy. She was the first known halachically Jewish child to fall victim to the JFS Supreme Court ruling and be denied a place in a Jewish school.


Jewish charities should fear new equality law

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

The new Equality Act, which comes into force next month, could expose Jewish charities to a higher risk of discrimination claims, the Jewish Leadership Council has warned.

A paper circulated by the JLC says that the new act could have "unexpected consequences" on community life.

Last year courts applied race relations law in order to prevent Jewish schools from choosing pupils on the basis of their parentage. The use of an established law to challenge Jewish school admissions had been unforeseen by communal authorities.


Israeli at boycott conference: 'it's legitimate'

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2010

Antony Lerman, the former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, has defended his decision to a speak at an event organised by Jews in favour of boycotting Israel.

He said his appearance at the Jews and Palestine conference held by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBig) in London on Saturday did not indicate support for their views.


New year treats for Jewish soldiers

By Marcus Dysch, September 7, 2010

Packs of kosher provisions have been delivered to British Jewish troops serving in the armed forces to help them celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

The parcels include dried fruit and honey, powdered chicken soup, toffees and toiletries, and have been sent to locations including Afghanistan and the Falklands.

The Jewish Committee for HM Forces has also reissued the Soldiers' Siddur, for the first time since 1941.