UK news

Chief Rabbi wins New York prize

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, is to be the first recipient of the Lamm Prize, a new award set up by Yeshiva University in New York.

The prize pays homage to the university's chancellor, Dr Norman Lamm, and his lifetime of scholarly achievement.


Labour writer warns UK Left about Hamas

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

One of the Labour Party's key intellectuals has warned the Left not to make the mistake of considering Hamas a traditional resistance movement.

Writing in a series of essays, Handling Hamas, published by Labour Friends of Israel, Professor Brian Brivati of Kingston University says: "All too often Hamas is compared, by elements of the British Left in particular, to the IRA, the South African ANC or even the Palestinian Fatah movement and, inevitably, from these comparisons comes a call for diplomatic engagement."


Lib Dems under fire over Gaza leaflets

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

Parliamentary candidates across the country have clashed over pre-election attacks on Israel.

Labour's Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas has written to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, questioning his party's views on arms sales to the Jewish state.

Mr Woolas acted after the Lib Dem candidate in the constituency, Elwyn Watkins, wrote to Muslim supporters condemning Israel's "disproportionate use of force" during last year's Gaza conflict and calling for an end to arms sales to Israel.


Why Chagall painted Jesus and the cross

March 4, 2010

Drawings for Marc Chagall's stained-glass windows at All Saints' Church, Tudeley, in Kent, will be shown in the UK for the first time this week as part of the Mascalls Gallery exhibition, Cross Purposes.

The exhibition examines the representation of the crucifixion in 20th-century art and will be at the Ben Uri Gallery in London from June 19 to September 15.

Chagall was commissioned to design the windows - All Saints is the only church in the world to have all its windows decorated by him - by the late Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.


Board to investigate Holocaust Claims Conference

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

A leading barrister has been asked by the Board of Deputies to investigate concerns about the Claims Conference, the New York-based body which distributes restitution funds to Holocaust survivors.

Jeffrey Gruder QC, a commercial litigation specialist and a former deputy for Radlett Synagogue, will advise the Board on whether there are any matters that need to be taken up with the Conference.


Jim Murphy: Stop blaming British Jews for what happens in Israel

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

Jim Murphy has had it with the "you people" argument about British Jews and Israel.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel, could not be more clear about his views on people who say they should be held to account for Israeli actions.

He said: "I find it soul-destroying when I hear folk writing to the papers or calling in on the radio to ask what are British Jews doing about this, what are 'you people' doing about that?


Anger at National Front inclusion in government inquiry

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

The Board of Deputies has protested over the participation of the National Front in a government inquiry into racism in schools.

In a letter to the inquiry head Maurice Smith, a former Chief Inspector of Schools, chief executive Jon Benjamin said it was "deeply concerned" to hear he had met representatives of the NF.

Mr Benjamin wrote: "We are at a loss to understand what you hoped to gain by dignifying the National Front with your time and your attention.


Charedim demand Hebrew, not Yiddish, census

By James Martin and Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

Q: Makht a tsetl fun ale nemen, arayn-gerekhnt aykh aleyn un arayngerekhnt kinder, eyfelekh un lokatorn.
Including yourself, list all the names, including children, babies and lodgers.
Q: Vi kern zikh on di bney-bayes do eyner mitn tsveytn?
How are members of this household related to each other?

After a 110-year absence, the appearance of Yiddish in the 2011 Census has provoked controversy among the strictly Orthodox Stamford Hill community - who would prefer it to be Hebrew.


Gaza activists claim ‘state racism’

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, March 4, 2010

Supporters of pro-Palestinian demonstrators jailed for their roles in violent protests outside the Israeli Embassy say the sentences are a result of "state racism" against Muslims.

At least 22 people have so far been handed jail terms ranging from eight months to two and a half years. More are awaiting sentencing.

Thousands attended demonstrations outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington in January last year. More than 60 were later charged, the majority with public order offences.


'Dr Gore' banned from Lubavitch Purim celebration

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

A wheelchair-bound rabbi's son who is a self proclaimed "biker and punk rocker", said he was "crushed" after he was turned away from a megillah reading at Lubavitch House in Stamford Hill on Saturday night.