UK news

Sex ads banned by ASA

February 19, 2009

Provocative roadside billboards advertising a male impotence aid have been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency. Two of the adverts were removed from Edgware, North-West London, in December after dozens of Jewish residents complained.

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GP under council inquiry

February 19, 2009

A former Israeli army doctor has denied acting inappropriately while working as a GP in England. A General Medical Council disciplinary panel is considering complaints against 50-year-old Paul Hirschowitz, who worked at a Scarborough surgery.

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British MEPs meet Hamas

By Jonathan Kalmus and Marcus Dysch, February 19, 2009

British lawmakers have met Hamas officials during a visit to Gaza.

Members of the European Parliament Palestine delegation travelled to Rafah last Thursday and Friday.

Chris Davies MEP said: “We asked for their reaction to the action last month and discussed their views on Palestinian re-unity and the possibility for a unity government. I can’t say we got very far.”

On Sunday, six MPs from the Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group inspected Gazan sites damaged during the conflict.

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Community backing for Fair Trade

By Simon Rocker, February 19, 2009

The first national campaign launches next week to persuade Jews to buy fair trade goods.

It has been timed to run during Fairtrade Fortnight, the annual promotion by the Fairtrade Foundation, which labels approved products from Third World exporters.

The campaign has the backing of a wide coalition of groups across the religious spectrum, including the United Synagogue, the Reform, Liberal and Masorti movements, the UJIA, the Jewish Community Centre (JCC), the Board of Deputies, Tzedek and the Pears Foundation.

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National's Hytner says no censorship

By Marcus Dysch, February 19, 2009

The director of the National Theatre has defended two plays which have drawn criticism for perceived antisemitic and racist undertones.

Nicholas Hytner said it was not the theatre’s role to censor the views of playwrights, and denied that flyers for one of the plays had accused Israel of “atrocities” during last month’s conflict in Gaza.

Burnt by the Sun is set in 1936 Soviet Russia ahead of Stalin’s great purges and follows a Red Army veteran’s life at his dacha outside Moscow.

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Manchester students lose boycott motion

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 13, 2009

A motion to boycott Israeli goods and condemn Israel’s Gaza operation as an “atrocity” has been passed at Manchester University’s Student Union.

In an emergency general meeting on Wednesday afternoon, 550 students voted for the motion, defeating 200 voting against.

The motion will mean the union now resolves to boycott “all companies that support or benefit from the Israeli occupation” and will lobby the university to take similar action.

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Lieberman's success horrifies UK leaders

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

The electoral success of Avigdor Lieberman’s right-wing party, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel, Our Home) in Tuesday’s Israeli elections has caused consternation among British Jews.

The party emerged as Israel’s third most popular, winning a projected 15 seats. It wants a compulsory oath of loyalty by all Israeli citizens and the transfer of heavily populated Arab areas of Israel to the Palestinian Authority in return for the annexation of West Bank settlements.

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Burglar gets his very own eruv

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 12, 2009

A Manchester eruv may still be under discussion but one local burglar has got his own, all to himself. One catch — he is not allowed to use it.

Cat-burglar Keith Doyle, 25, had such a taste for raiding Jewish houses that he has been banned from entering Manchester’s most Jewish area. The rare criminal antisocial behaviour order, or crasbo, issued by Manchester Crown Court, proclaims an exclusion area which runs along the four main roads surrounding the neighbourhood of Broughton Park. Doyle will be arrested if he is seen inside it.

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Outrage over 'demonising' play for Gaza

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

A 10-minute play about the history of Israel by the playwright Caryl Churchill has been condemned as antisemitic.

The claim has been “categorically” rejected by the Royal Court Theatre, which is staging the play, Seven Jewish Children — a play for Gaza.

Natalie Ibu, the play’s assistant director, sent an email to the Board of Deputies while the play was in rehearsal.

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Solicitor close to forcing release of report on BBC MidEast bias

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

The BBC is under new pressure to publish a five-year-old report into the fairness of its Middle East coverage after a decision this week by the Law Lords.

Steven Sugar, who has been campaigning for four years for the corporation to disclose the Balen Report under the Freedom of Information Act, overturned one of the main obstacles against its release.

After his 3-2 victory in the Lords, Mr Sugar, a commercial solicitor from London, said that there was now a strong case for issuing the report — written by the senior BBC editorial adviser, Malcolm Balen.

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