UK news

PM: ‘Happy Chanucah’

December 10, 2009

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has marked the start of Chanucah by offering his warm wishes to Britain’s Jews.

In a message released on the Downing Street website, Mr Brown wrote: “As Britain’s Jewish community joins Jews all over the world in celebrating Chanucah I wanted to pass on my own warm wishes for this festival of lights.

“As you gather round the menorah, may you draw strength from the Chanucah story of how light and faith can endure the toughest of times.”


Campaign builds against Harrow mosque demo

By Martin Bright, December 10, 2009

Home Secretary Alan Johnson, local politicians and religious leaders of all denominations have joined the Jewish community in urging people to stay away from a demonstration against the building of Harrow mosque planned for this Sunday.

Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), the organisation behind the demo, said it would press ahead with its protest against the building of the mosque and attacked Jewish leaders for opposing the demonstration.

A previous demonstration on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks ended in violence as Muslim youths chased SIOE demonstrators from the area.


Rabbi's lavish embassy welcome signals new dawn in Polish ties

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

The Polish Embassy held a kosher reception on Tuesday to welcome the first rabbi born in Poland to serve in the country for 40 years.

Remarkably, Rabbi Maciej Pawlak did not even find out he was Jewish until he was 15.

Now, aged 32, he is the living embodiment of the revival of Jewish life in Poland as principal of the Lauder-Morasha Jewish day school with 200 children in Warsaw.

Hosted by the embassy, his visit to the UK was due to include an address at yesterday’s annual Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies conference at the embassy.


Ed Miliband: Climate change can unite religions

By Martin Bright, December 10, 2009

The issue of global warming has the capacity to unite faith communities in a common cause and challenge sectarianism, according to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband.

Speaking to the JC on the eve of the UN talks on climate change in Copenhagen, Mr Miliband said it was reassuring to him that leaders from religious groups, including the Jewish community, had embraced the cause.


Jewish funeral for Beckham's grandfather

By Jessica Elgot, December 10, 2009

David Beckham has paid his respects to his Jewish grandfather Joseph West, at the funeral held in Golders Green cemetery.

Wearing a blue kippah and his grandfather’s blue Tottenham Hotspur tie, Mr Beckham and his wife Victoria joined a large gathering of friends and family at the cemetery.

Mr West, who was 83 and 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.


Expel this race-row union, says Board

By Leon Symons, December 10, 2009

The union that sits on the official Government Group on Antisemitism and Higher Education is facing calls for its expulsion because it hosted a man who made an antisemitic speech.

The University and College Union (UCU) invited Bongani Masuku, international secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), to tour UK universities this week and to speak at an invitation-only conference last Saturday, arguing for a boycott of Israel.


Salita: hate chants floored me

By Danny Caro, Faga Speker and Jonathan Kalmus, December 10, 2009

Dmitriy Salita, the previously unbeaten Jewish boxer who was floored by Muslim fighter Amir Khan in just 76 seconds on Saturday night, said this week that antisemitic chanting may have cost him the fight.

Speaking exclusively to the JC, Salita, who won his previous 31 bouts, said: “It was over before it started. I was in great shape and well prepared but the antisemitic chanting left me completely overwhelmed.”


First talks for JLC and the Board

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

The executives of the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council held a joint meeting on Monday for the first time since the JLC’s formation six years ago.

A Board spokesman said: “I am sure this will be the first of many more. We work together on a day-to-day basis, so this is a natural progression of events.”

The meeting was planned six months ago after the election of Vivian Wineman as president of the Board and head of the council.


Meet the comic chef making a meal out of being an Israeli

By Simon Rocker, December 9, 2009

The first episode of a comedy series about an ex-Israeli army cook who comes to make it in London is due to launch online today.

But before the eponymous Pini can fulfil his dream of becoming a famous chef like Gordon Ramsay, he has to negotiate the vagaries of English language and culture.

“It’s about an Israeli who speaks English but thinks in Hebrew,” says his Israeli creator Tomer Barzide, 26, who came to

London a year ago to complete his film studies.

“He acts as if everyone is his friend and understands him — and that creates the awkward situations.”


Leeds United ex- director in blackmail charge

By Jessica Elgot, December 9, 2009

Former property magnate and director of Leeds United Simon Morris has been charged with conspiracy to blackmail.

Mr Morris, 32, was declared bankrupt a year after his business empire SRM Holdings Group collapsed with debts of around £50 million.

The charges come after a long investigation by West Yorkshire police into the demise of the business.

He will appear before magistrates in Leeds next week, jointly charged with an unnamed 49-year-old man from Hyde, Cheshire.

His co-accused is also charged with possession of a firearm and possession of an offensive weapon.