UK news

Poles take Coren fight to European Court

By Jan Shure, March 5, 2009

A complaint against The Times and its columnist Giles Coren has been lodged at the European Court of Human Rights by the Federation of Poles in Great Britain.

It is the latest bid by the FPGB to censure the newspaper over a column written by Mr Coren on July 26, headlined: “Two waves of immigration, Poles apart.” The Press Complaints Commission rejected a complaint by the organisation lodged shortly after the article appeared.


Book week sells out

March 5, 2009

The organisers of Jewish Book Week are celebrating the festival’s highest-ever ticket sales.

Around 14,000 seats were sold during the nine-day event, which ended on Sunday with sell-out sessions by authors Alain De Botton and A B Yehoshua.

Book Week director Geraldine D’Amico said: “Every event was well-attended and lots of sessions sold out. There was a real buzz about the place and everyone was on a high. We were blessed with many great speakers.

“We are very pleased because we have obviously not felt the credit crunch, despite the difficult times.”


Row over messianic CCJ link

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

The former director of the London branch of Jews for Jesus has advised the Council of Christians and Jews on an educational pack about Passover.

Richard Harvey, who lectures at All Nations, an independent evangelical college in Hertfordshire, is described on the CCJ website as “a leading Torah scholar and expert in the Jewish roots of the early Christian church”.

But Rabbi Shmuel Arkush, director of the anti-missionary Operation Judaism, was surprised at the choice of adviser.


Student outrage as crucial debate on Gaza is tabled for Shabbat eve

By Simon Friend, March 5, 2009

Jewish students at University College London have threatened to resign from the union after a stormy AGM last Friday afternoon in which a motion was passed attacking Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

The motion declared that UCL had “a responsibility to condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza”, and was passed by a majority of 34 votes.

The AGM was due to have been held three weeks ago but was delayed because of snow. Instead, it was rescheduled for Friday afternoon.


US pulls out of Durban II but UK still going

By Leon Symons, March 5, 2009

America has pulled out of the United Nations Durban review conference on combating racism to be held in Geneva next month — but Britain will still participate.

The US State Department announced its decision last Friday after several days locked in talks about the draft final document, but ultimately admitted defeat, saying it had gone “from bad to worse”.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said: “The current text of the draft outcome document is not salvageable.”


SOAS marks Israeli ‘apartheid’

By Simon Friend, March 5, 2009

SOAS Union marked its support for the fifth annual Israeli Apartheid week (IAW) with two motions strongly critical of Israel.

The first, entitled “Make Apartheid History”, declared that “Zionism promotes racism and xenophobia through acts of parliament, supported by a set of racist laws.”


The secret of a successful house sale: a mezuzah

By Simon Round, March 5, 2009

With property prices in freefall, many home-owners who need to sell are desperately looking for way of maximising the price of their properties.

But according to a survey due to be released on Monday, the answer could be under their noses.

North London-based property website,, has revealed that houses and flats with a mezuzah on the front door are selling for approximately £10,000 more than those without the small cylinder containing Hebrew parchment.


Gym targeted by Israel boycotters

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

A gym which offers free membership to Maccabi GB athletes as they prepare for the Maccabiah Games has been targeted by anti-Israel campaigners.

Stickers proclaiming “Boycott Israeli Goods”, and displaying the Palestinian flag, were placed in changing room lockers at the Village Hotel in Elstree, Hertfordshire.

The company agreed a £250,000 sponsorship package with Maccabi GB in December.

As part of the deal, every member of the British team due to take part in the games in Israel in July was given free access to Village gyms around Britain.


Rabbis warn against 'unsuitable' teacher training on child abuse

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

Strictly Orthodox rabbis have warned schools to beware of unsuitable teacher training material on child abuse.

A letter from the rabbinical council of the London-based Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, alerted Charedi school and kindergarten heads to new government regulations said to be “a difficult and bitter decree against Torah education”.

It also warned of a “danger” posed to teachers by NVQ training material and said teachers should avoid visiting “institutions which are not Charedi” without rabbinical permission.


Top thinkers blast plan to block Israeli scientists

By Leon Symons, March 5, 2009

Dozens of academics have hit back at an attempt to stop top Israeli scientists giving lectures about Israel’s achievements to non-Jewish sixth form students.

A campaign to cancel lectures which took place at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry on Tuesday and London’s Science Museum on Thursday was started two months ago by the anti-Israel British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP).

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign joined in and stories appeared this week in a number of national newspapers.