UK news

Toy gun pest handed 12-month curfew order

By Marcus Dysch, May 14, 2009

A man who shot an Orthodox Jew with a pellet gun has been sentenced to a curfew order.

Kris Cherry, 20, must not leave his home in Gateshead between 8pm and 7am for the next three months after admitting he carried out the attack because he “didn’t like Jews”.

His victim, who has not been named, was not injured in the March 14 shooting despite being hit on the arm.

Unemployed Cherry fired the gun from a car “for a laugh” while travelling through Bensham, home to the North East’s largest Jewish community.

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Blears praises shuls for interfaith work

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

More than three-quarters of mainstream synagogues do some kind of interfaith work, according to a survey to be published next week by the Board of Deputies.

The results “show what some may think of as a surprising degree of engagement in interfaith activity by the broad swathe of our community,” said Board chief executive Jon Benjamin. “But this confirms what many of us already know — that the Jewish community is keen to play its part in wider society and to share its experience of successfully integrating into British society.”

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Pro-Palestine threat to picket film festival

By Keren David, May 14, 2009

Pro-Palestinian campaigners have threatened to picket the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June unless it hands back sponsorship money from Israeli sources.

A letter from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign accuses the festival directors of accepting money from the Israeli Embassy “while people in Gaza are still living in the rubble of their homes, and Gaza victims of Israel’s white phosphorous attacks are still in critical care.”

It calls on supporters to lobby the festival directors to refuse “Israel’s tainted money”.

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Minister warns of Euro-poll hate

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

A government minister has warned that a lasting legacy of racial hatred could result from campaigning by far-right candidates in next month’s European elections.

Communities Minister Sadiq Khan said that the effect of literature produced by far-right parties, including the British National Party, could continue after the elections on June 4.

“The Jewish community will need to keep a very close eye on literature that could be antisemitic because it will be written in a very clever and cunning way,” said Mr Khan.

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Lieberman welcome to visit, say Deputies

By Simon Rocker, May 14, 2009

Israel’s controversial Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman would be welcome at the Board of Deputies, the four contenders for its presidency agreed this week.

The electoral success of his nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party in February provoked disquiet among UK Jews, with several prominent rabbis condemning his attitude towards Arabs.

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Coach blasts Tribe over ‘ridiculous’ reasons for sacking

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

A table tennis coach sacked by Tribe, the United Synagogue’s youth branch, has complained to education watchdog Ofsted.

Father-of-two Steve Cohen, 52, worked with Tribe for five years until the end of last month, when he was called to a meeting and dismissed after a complaint had been made against him. Subsequently, he was sent a letter in which two further complaints were made.

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Expense-row MP 'flipped homes'

By Leon Symons, May 14, 2009

Leeds North East MP Fabian Hamilton has been caught up in the continuing controversy over Parliamentary expenses.

He had declared his mother’s house as his main residence while his family home’s mortgage, where his wife and children lived, was paid by the taxpayer, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Later, after spending considerable sums decorating the family home, Mr Hamilton “flipped” his designated home to a new flat in Maida Vale, London, which was also then decorated at the taxpayer’s expense.

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Tesco denies labels shift but ‘will meet’ Palestine group

By Paul Gallagher, May 14, 2009

Tesco executives have agreed to meet members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to discuss labelling on produce from West Bank settlements, despite insisting that there will be no change in their policy.

The long-challenged voluntary labelling guidelines, whereby supermarkets are encouraged by the government to state explicitly on packaging whether the produce comes from Jewish settlements or not, may be in place by the end of the month.

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Nun back on Shoah hero list

By Simon Caldwell, May 14, 2009

A Catholic nun who saved a family of French Jews from the Nazis has been added to a list of British heroes proposed for an honour by the government after initially being forgotten.

Sister Agnes Walsh is one of just 13 Britons already honoured as Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem.

But she was left out of a list of the rescuers, put together by the Holocaust Education Trust, who may be posthumously honoured by the government for their actions in saving Jewish lives.

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Archbishop restrains anti-Israel Anglicans

By Keren David, May 14, 2009

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has intervened to prevent a resolution highly critical of Israel being passed by an advisory committee of the Anglican Church.

The Archbishop’s contribution to the debate succeeded in softening the language of the resolution passed, although it still links Israel to an “apartheid” policy in the West Bank and makes no mention of Hamas.

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