UK news

Outrage over church Israeli 'war crimes' show

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2010

Manchester's Jewish communal leaders have raised serious concerns with the Church of England's senior churchman in the city this week after its principal cathedral hosted an exhibition which its organisers claim is evidence of Israeli war crimes.

Manchester Cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of Manchester, is hosting the Loss of Innocence exhibition, 50 drawings by Palestinian children which include gruesome depictions of Israel's 2009 Gaza operation.

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Hate attacks on rise in Manchester

By Robyn Rosen, July 30, 2010

A rise in antisemitic incidents in Manchester is down to a "shifting, and increasingly visible" Jewish community in north Manchester, according to a new report.

Antisemitic incidents are more than 50 per cent higher in the first six months of this year in Greater Manchester than in the same period in 2008 - and make up almost a third of antisemitic incidents in the UK.

There were 89 antisemitic incidents in Greater Manchester recorded by the Community Security Trust in the first six months of 2010.

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Row over Jacob and Sons church paintings

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2010

An MP is lobbying the Church of England to prevent the sale of historic paintings linked to the emancipation of Jews in Britain.

For more than 250 years, pictures of Jacob and his Twelve Sons, by the Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbaran, have hung at Auckland Castle, the official residence of the Bishop of Durham.

But Helen Goodman, the Labour MP for Bishop Auckland, is worried about their long-term future.

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Blogger forced out of anti-Israel parliament meeting

By Jennifer Lipman, July 29, 2010

A prominent pro-Israel blogger was forcibly removed from a Westminster meeting at which Israeli Arab Knesset members said the Jewish state “is much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa.”

Rich Millett described what happened at the event, chaired by Labour's Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn, as “shameful”. He expressed concern that future anti-Israel meetings “will be by guest list only”, meaning such statements will “go unreported”.

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Amnesty calls for further Gaza probe

By Simon Rocker, July 29, 2010

Amnesty International has called for further action to ensure that the perpetrators of alleged war crimes in last year's Gaza conflict are brought to book.

In February, the United Nations set a five-month deadline for Israel and the Palestinians to mount "credible" investigations into the conflict which expired on Monday.

In an official statement, Amnesty said this week: "A year and a half after the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel ended, the victims have yet to obtain justice, truth or full reparations; the perpetrators on both sides have yet to be held to account."

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Ancient coins conference in London

July 29, 2010

Coin and history specialists in the field of Roman and Jewish coins will gather in London next month for an international conference.

Judea and Rome in Coins, from 65 BCE to 135 CE, will bring together American, British and Israeli numismatic experts, for a two-day conference.

It will take place at the London premises of the coin and medal specialists, Spink and Son, and is co-sponsored by the University College London's Institute of Jewish Studies.

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Glee for Jewish Don't Stop Believing finalists

By Robyn Rosen, July 29, 2010

A north London family have formed a band and beaten 8,000 competitors to reach the final stages of a new television talent show.

Parents Laurence, 57, and Bebe Jacobs, 55, and their three children Alex, 27, Avi, 24, and Shira, 21, will perform in front of a live audience on Channel 5's Don't Stop Believing on Sunday (August 1).

Presented by former Spice Girl Emma Bunton and judged by singers Anastacia and Duncan James from Blue, former EastEnders actress Tamzin Outhwaite, and High School Musical choreographer Charles "Chucky" Klapow, the show is based on the popular US series Glee.

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Methodist set up Friends of Israel group

By Robyn Rosen, July 29, 2010

A Methodist preacher has set up a Methodist Friends of Israel group as a response to her church's call to boycott Israel.

Earlier this month the Methodist conference passed a report calling for a boycott of goods from "illegal" West Bank settlements, and for political lobbying to end Israel's occupation and the "siege of Gaza".

The decision was widely criticised and the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council said the church should "hang its head in shame".

Pam Smith, a preacher in Monmouth, South Wales, created a website and Facebook group to gain support for Israel.

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JFS ruling creates barmitzvah confusion

By Simon Rocker, July 29, 2010

A number of Orthodox Jewish schools are stopping organising bar or batmitzvah ceremonies for pupils because they cannot tell if they are halachically Jewish, according to the head of the United Synagogue's Rabbinic Council.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet explained that the change was being made as a result of last year's court ruling on Jewish school admissions.

Speaking last weekend at an event in north London, he said that a meeting had recently taken place for young people who act as wardens in midweek services that take place at various schools.

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Desmond: Channel Five and Jewish faith

By Rob Lyons, July 29, 2010

Media mogul Richard Desmond, who has just bought Channel Five, said this week that he retained a strong commitment to the Jewish community.

The 59-year-old billionaire owner of the Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! Magazine - who is famously hands-on with his titles and not afraid of giving its editors a dressing-down - told the JC that, despite the huge task ahead in making the broadcaster profitable, it will not affect his dedication to the Jewish charity Norwood, of which he is president.

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