UK news

Jewish philanthropists, scientists and artists honoured on New Year List

By Jessica Elgot, December 31, 2011

A Holocaust survivor, a Nobel physicist, a Hollywood actress, a poet and fundraisers for charities as diverse as CST and Asylum Aid are some of the Jewish names on the 2012 New Years Honours.

Founding chair of the CST Gerald Ronson receives a CBE for his charitable work. His wife, Gail Ronson, also known for her active charity work, especially for Jewish Care, was made a dame in 2004.


Sephardi chief election dispute continues

By Jessica Elgot, December 30, 2011

Sephardi members have hit back at their leaders over their disputed election of Rabbi David Bassous as the community's next spiritual head.

Alan Bekhor, who is leading a group of 20 concerned members of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, said that the resolution passed last week by its board of elders insinuated that Rabbi Bassous had been fairly elected.


Performers deny 'dark art' funding

By Marcus Dysch, December 30, 2011

Israeli officials have attacked boycott campaigners in Ireland, claiming dozens have benefited from government-backed Arts Council funding.

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign repeatedly disrupted the country's biggest ever showcase of Israeli films last month. And more than 150 Irish creative and performing artists launched a cultural boycott campaign against Israel in 2010.


Holocaust survivor siblings runners-up for Sternberg award

By Jennifer Lipman, December 30, 2011

A Holocaust survivor and two-time Olympic competitor has been named as one of five runners-up for the Times/ Sternberg Active Life Award. This year's winner was psychiatrist Colin Murray Parkes.

Ben Helfgott and his sister Mala Tribich were honoured for their contributions to Holocaust education.


Suicide suspected in death of Israel tourism office worker

By Jennifer Lipman, December 30, 2011

A staff member of the Israel Government Tourist Office has been found dead at her home in Maida Vale.

Melissa Ramsden is believed to have committed suicide and police said they were not treating her death as suspicious.

The 37-year-old, who was not Jewish, had worked as the IGTO public relations manager for four years.


Police probe Essex Holocaust memorial metal theft

By Jennifer Lipman, December 29, 2011

Metal thieves in Harlow have stolen a plaque commemorating the victims of the Holocaust.

Police are investigating who was behind the theft of the 18 inch square bronze memorial plaque honouring those who were killed by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945.


Ofcom rejects Islam TV appeal over bias ruling

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2011

Ofcom, the broadcasting standards watchdog, has rejected an appeal by the Islam Channel over its coverage of Israel.

The English-language satellite station had challenged a ruling last year that it breached Ofcom's broadcasting code in two programmes which discussed Israel's conduct in Gaza.

But Ofcom's broadcasting review committee, in a decision published this month, stated that the London


Doctor seeks home for memorial

By Jessica Elgot, December 29, 2011

A London doctor is hoping to save a memorial to a Jewish philanthropist, who donated more than half-a-million pounds to the Royal London Hospital in 1899.

Dr David Gordon, an orthopaedic surgeon who practises at the hospital in Whitechapel, is keen to find a new home for an ornate plaque, currently outside the hospital's operating theatres - dedicated to B W Levy.


Brothel owner's £4.2m appeal win

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 29, 2011

A Jewish man convicted of making millions running a string of brothels in Manchester has had his proceeds-of-crime court confiscation order reduced by £4.2 million after winning an appeal that could affect future prosecutions of people operating in the sex industry.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London upheld a claim that a Manchester judge had wrongly ordered the confiscation of £4.


Professors duel over 'colonialist' line on Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, December 29, 2011

A London-born academic at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has refuted allegations that he compared Israel to the Nazi regime after he cited a well-known poem condemning bystanders during the Holocaust in a piece that was heavily critical of Israel.

Professor David Newman was accused by King's College London Professor Efraim Karsh of being anti-Israel and a "pseudo-academic" following an arti