UK news

Antisemitism institute to be opened at Birkbeck

By Leon Symons, November 19, 2009

The first academic institute in Britain to deal solely with antisemitism — only the second in Europe — is to be set up in London, funded by £1.5 million from the Pears Foundation.

The new institute will occupy a building on the campus at Birkbeck College, part of the University of London, and will be next to the proposed new home of the Wiener Library, the world’s oldest Holocaust memorial institution, which will offer its resources to the project.


Boris Johnson backs Jewish festival

By Leon Symons, November 19, 2009

A major new showcase for Anglo-Jewish culture, based loosely on the Edinburgh Festival, is to be launched next spring with the backing of London’s City Hall.

The month-long Open Jewish Cultural Festival will provide a platform for Jewish performance from Britain and abroad, and will include some established events.

One option being considered by festival organisers is to open with Jewish Book Week and close with the formal opening of the new Jewish Museum at its new home in Camden.


Simon Cowell loves Stacey Solomon: official

By Robyn Rosen, November 19, 2009

Simon Cowell has revealed he is a secret fan of Stacey Solomon and thinks she will make it the finals of X Factor.

The music mogul and X Factor judge made the comments exclusively to the JC at the Norwood annual dinner this week.

Mr Cowell, 50, said: “I like Stacey. She’s a sweetheart. She’s a nice girl with a good voice and she’s getting better. She’s going to be in the final.

“She’s my favourite act after my own acts.”

Former King Solomon pupil Stacey, 20, will be surprised at the comments fromMr Cowell who has criticised her performances in the past.


British ambassador: Israeli rights are in the bible

By Leon Symons, November 19, 2009

The deep mistrust that exists between Israel and the Palestinians will only be exacerbated by the announcement this week of 900 new homes in occupied territory, according to Britain’s ambassador in Tel Aviv.

Tom Phillips, in Britain this week, said: “I don’t know why the Israelis are doing this. There’s clearly a negotiation with the US over the nature of more building, a moratorium on settlements which it is hoped will be enough to get peace talks going again.


Row over Yasmin Alibhai-Brown synagogue invite

By Marcus Dysch, November 19, 2009

A leading Reform synagogue has been attacked by the Zionist Federation for hosting one of Britain’s most outspoken critics of Israel.

Columnist and author Yasmin Alibhai-Brown appeared at North Western Reform Synagogue (Alyth Gardens), in north west London, on Wednesday.

At the event, jointly hosted by the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCore), Ms Alibhai-Brown spoke about her life in Britain after leaving her native Uganda.

The one-woman show is described as “the impassioned and poignant story of how Shakespeare and the theatre” changed her life.


Boycotter blames the Board for antisemitism in Britain

By Marcus Dysch, November 19, 2009

The Board of Deputies is to blame for rising antisemitism in Britain, according to a leading member of a Jewish anti-Israel group.

Tony Greenstein, of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG), was speaking on the BBC1 debate show, The Big Questions, on Sunday morning.

During the wide-ranging discussion, Mr Greenstein said: “Of course there’s no justification for antisemitism, but there’s also no justification for the Board of Deputies calling rallies in support of the invasion of Lebanon and Gaza in the name of the British Jewish community. That causes antisemitism.


Jewish war heroes get final salute at Rememberance Day

By Jenni Frazer, November 19, 2009

A swirl of scarlet and a skirl of the trumpet; a forest of military standards and a virtual garden of poppied wreaths, laid with great tenderness and solemnity at the Cenotaph. Pin-sharp creases in the uniforms, pin-sharp precision in the marching.


Rabbi ‘offered girls cocaine for sex’

By Lauren Veervers, November 19, 2009

A rabbi caught with more than £15,000 in cash and 100g of cocaine was dealing to girls in exchange for “sexual services” a court heard.

Baruch Chalomish, 54, and his friend Nasir Abbas, were caught in possession of cocaine with a purity of up to 80 per cent by police who searched a serviced apartment in January this year.

Police later searched the rabbi’s home on Upper Park Road, in Salford, and discovered a further 50g of cocaine scattered around the house in different containers.


Analysis: It’s not worth taking Dispatches seriously

By Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, November 19, 2009

Peter Oborne is one of the UK’s best investigative journalists. What is striking about his Channel 4 programme Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby, is how little he has found to reveal as the result of an inquiry lasting months.

He claims that donations to the Tory Party and its candidates, from all Conservative Friends of Israel members and their businesses, “add up to well over £10m over the past eight years”. According to the Electoral Commission, the pro-Conservative group with some 2,000 members donated barely £30,000 before the 2005 general election and nothing since then.


Dispatches Israel lobby film: The reaction

By Martin Bright, November 19, 2009

Jewish organisations have reacted angrily to a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary claiming to expose an “Israel lobby” working to buy influence with UK politicians and journalists. The Board of Deputies has raised concerns that the programme has already sparked a slew of antisemitism.