UK news

King's College opens faiths programme

December 29, 2011

One of Britain's largest university theology departments is to launch a new programme on the three Abrahamic faiths with a Jewish scholar of Islam at its head.

Adam Silverstein, who lectured for six years in Muslim-Jewish relations at Oxford University, has joined King's College, London, as its first director of Abrahamic religions to promote the joint study of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


Faulty towers and building bridges: the year in politics

By Martin Bright, December 29, 2011

The political year ended with the miserable spectacle of two members of Parliament being forced to apologise to the Jewish community for their actions: one for peddling the ancient antisemitic libel of the "dual loyalty" of Jews; the other for attending a Nazi-themed stag party.

There was much discussion in Westminster circles about who was worse: Labour's Paul Flynn for accusing the UK's first


Boom-time Limmud beats the gloom

December 29, 2011

The grim economic conditions failed to dent the numbers at this year's Limmud conference, with an attendance of 2,300-plus making it one of the largest ever.

Organisers of British Jewry's annual five-day festival of Jewish culture and learning at Warwick University doubled the bursary pot for hard-pressed families as well as having to cope with a massive cut in funding from a major donor - the


Masorti: JC 'waging jihad on Jews'

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2011

Members of synagogues involved in the social action group London Citizens hit back at JC criticism in a session entitled "Is the JC waging jihad on the Jews who engage?"

Matt Plen, director of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues and a trustee of London Citizens, said that the depth of opposition had taken him by surprise.

Controversy has flared up because one of the founding organisations of


Anti-Zionist Warwick professor faces investigation

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2011

The conduct of an anti-Israel professor is to be investigated by the agency that reviews the performance of universities.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) will consider whether Warwick University's Nicola Pratt breached guidelines on impartiality when marking Israeli student Smadar Bakovic's dissertation.

QAA chief executive Anthony McClaran received a complaint about


How UK feared and fawned over Mubarak

By Bernard Josephs, December 29, 2011

A frank Foreign Office assessment of Hosni Mubarak appears in a 1980 document just released by the National Archive.

Mr Mubarak, then Egypt's vice president, is described as a "friendly and cheerful" personality but the Foreign Office warned that his "affable exterior concealed a degree of ruthlessness".

Mr Mubarak was considered by British officials to be the most likely successor to Presi


Debate over teaching the Holocaust in UK schools

By Jennifer Lipman, December 29, 2011

One of the leading figures in Holocaust education has challenged a former education minister after he called for an end to teaching about the Nazis in British classrooms.

Lord Baker of Dorking, who developed the National Curriculum during his three-year stint as Margaret Thatcher's education secretary, told the Telegraph that the study of Nazism should be banned from the curriculum.


Catholic head criticises Israel at midnight mass

By Jennifer Lipman, December 27, 2011

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster used his Christmas sermon to mount an attack on Israel's policy in the West Bank.

Vincent Nichols, who is the head of the Catholic church of England and Wales, said during his midnight mass sermon that he was praying for families in Bethlehem.


Sephardi leaders dismay over rabbi split

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2011

Sephardi leaders have reacted with “dismay” to attempts to block the appointment of Rabbi David Bassous as their next rabbinic head.


MP Goldsmith's anger at 'grotesque' Mail quote

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2011

MP Zac Goldsmith has spoken of his anger after the Daily Mail quoted his late father as saying Holocaust victims “lacked initiative.”

The Mail's Ephraim Hardcastle column claimed Referendum Party leader and businessman, Sir James Goldsmith said concentration camp victims “lacked the initiative to get out.”