UK news

Oxford names first Israel studies professor

By Simon Rocker, May 26, 2011

Oxford University has appointed its first professor of Israel studies: Derek Penslar (right) professor of Jewish history at Toronto University.

The chair, only the second to be created in the subject in the UK, was made possible through a £3 million endowment from the Stanley and Zea Lewis Foundation.

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We are impartial on Israel, says BBC

By Marcus Dysch, May 26, 2011

The BBC has defended its approach to reporting on the Middle East and the Israel-Palestinian conflict amid claims and allegations from supporters of both sides.

On Monday, a controversial panel discussion organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Middle East Monitor Online media group dealt almost solely with the Corporation's reports from the region.

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British mandate papers for auction

By Jessica Elgot, May 26, 2011

A contemporary account by the man who retrieved the bodies of two British officers executed by the Irgun in 1947, could fetch £1,000 at auction next week.

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Stage aid for deaf audience

By Robyn Rosen, May 26, 2011

A group for Jewish deaf and hard of hearing theatre lovers has been set up. It is organised by charity Stagetext, which promotes the use of electronic captions at cultural venues and is funded by charitable trust, City Bridge Trust.

A Jewish board member of Stagetext, Naomi Hayim, formed the group after interest from Jewish deaf people who attend captioned performances.

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NUS leader attacks union's Hamas link

By Marcus Dysch, May 26, 2011

The National Union of Students president has attacked his union's own executive committee over its backing for a series of anti-Israel measures.

Aaron Porter said he did not agree with proposals to send British students on future flotillas to Gaza, or plans to build links with the Hamas-backed Islamic University of Gaza.

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Jersey boys push right buttons in Israel

By Jenni Frazer, May 26, 2011

A new link between Jersey and Israel was forged this week with a groundbreaking visit by 30 of the island's politicians and business leaders.

Economics Minister, Senator Alan Maclean and Assistant Chief Minister Senator Freddie Cohen, led the delegation, the first of its kind, under the auspices of UK Israel Business, a new group encompassing British and Israeli chambers of commerce.

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Pickles announces funding to preserve Auschwitz

By Marcus Dysch, May 26, 2011

Auschwitz-Birkenau's preservation and restoration project will benefit from a £2.15 million British government contribution.

Announcing the funding on Thursday, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the money would be used to ensure the concentration camp could continue to educate people about the Holocaust.

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London Citizens stand by Islamist hardliner

By Martin Bright, May 26, 2011

A community organising group, feted by politicians across the political spectrum for its grassroots activism, has defended its links to an Islamist hardliner who expressed his support for Hamas terrorist leaders.

London Citizens, currently on a recruitment drive in the Jewish community, models itself on the kind of "community organising" with which Barack Obama made his name in
Chicago.

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Fightback on definition of antisemitism

By Martin Bright, May 26, 2011

The Jewish Leadership Council has written to the equalities watchdog, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, to express its concern at moves within the Universities and Colleges Union to reject the widely-accepted definition of antisemitism.

A motion tabled at the UCU's congress this weekend will propose that the union distances itself from a definition drawn up by the European Union.

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Calls for an elected chief rabbi

By Simon Rocker, May 26, 2011

A prominent United Synagogue rabbi this week put his weight behind calls for publicly electing the next chief rabbi.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, of Mill Hill Synagogue, who chairs the US Rabbinical Council, challenged the prospect of Lord Sacks's successor in two years being chosen "by a small band of merry men sitting behind closed doors".

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