UK news

Howard Jacobson wins Man Booker prize for 'The Finkler Question'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2010

Howard Jacobson has won the Man Booker prize for the first time.

His novel The Finkler Question was chosen by judges above the five other books nominated, including the favourite, C by Tom McCarthy.

Mr Jacobson has been nominated twice before for the prestigious literary award, which comes with a £50,000 prize as well as the likelihood of increased book sales. This year was the first he made the shortlist.


Claire Rayner: Nursing for Jewish girls

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2010

When I tell people that I am a nurse the usual response I get is: “How come a nice Yiddisher girl should be a nurse?” When I reply that I am a nurse because I enjoy nursing, they might say: “But it’s such hard work! And anyway, you don’t meet nice Jewish boys…”


Agony aunt Claire Rayner dies at age 79

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2010

The agony aunt, broadcaster and medical campaigner Claire Rayner has died at the age of 79.

Mrs Rayner, who died in hospital near her home in Harrow, north London, had been suffering from cancer and underwent surgery earlier this year.

A pioneering voice in discussions about safe sex, she spent years as a journalist and wrote several novels. In 1996 she was given an OBE for services to women's and health issues.


X Factor judges save Katie Waissel

By Katie Taylor, October 11, 2010

Jewish X Factor hopeful Katie Waissel has survived another week of the competition.

It was a near miss for the 24-year-old from Pinner, after she was placed in the bottom three during the first live show of the series. The singer failed to attract voters with her version of Queen’s We are the Champions.

The theme of this week’s competition was number one chart hits.

Dressed in a Lady Gaga style outfit, with a colourful warrior helmet X Factor judge Louis Walsh told her: “You are all style and no substance.”


Shadow cabinet role for Jewish Labour MP

By Jennifer Lipman, October 8, 2010

The former vice-chairman of Labour Friends of Israel has been elected as the shadow minister for Culture Media and Sport.

Bury South MP Ivan Lewis received 104 votes, making him one of the 19 Labour MPs selected.

The Jewish politician, who in May was re-elected with a 3,292 majority, was a Foreign Office minister under Gordon Brown.

First elected in 1997, Mr Lewis has served as the chief executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation and is a trustee of the Holocaust Education Trust.


Activists arrested at Israeli cosmetics store

By Robyn Rosen, October 7, 2010

Two people have been arrested after allegedly chaining themselves inside the London branch of an Israeli cosmetics store.

Gwendolen Wilkinson, 20, from Newport and Matthew Richardson, 24, from Sheffield have been charged with aggravated trespass at Ahava in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.

They will appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court later this month.

Protesters demonstrate outside Ahava every other weekend, claiming it mislabels its products “Made in Israel” when they are made in Mitzpe Shalem, an Israeli settlement on the West Bank.


Oscar-winning director's royal commission

By Jenni Frazer, October 7, 2010

As Arnold Schwartzman acknowledges, it has taken more than half a century for his career to come full circle.

Appointed OBE in 2002 in recognition of his design and film work, Mr Schwartzman, 73, an Oscar-winning documentary film director, has now achieved the ultimate royal commission.

He has designed two enormous murals for the new ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth, which will be officially named by the Queen on October 11.


Pink Floyd's Waters insists critics misread symbols

By Jennifer Lipman, October 7, 2010

British rock singer Roger Waters has dismissed the claim by American Jewry's main defence organisation that parts of his current concert tour "cross the line into antisemitism".

The former Pink Floyd bass player and vocalist was attacked by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for using a projection which shows Israel dropping bombs in the shape of stars of David, followed by the dollar symbol.


Holocaust denial in decline, says historian

October 7, 2010

Holocaust denial is slowly becoming a thing of the past, according to a leading authority who claims there are only three or four "pure denial experts".

Dr Nicholas Terry, founder of the anti-denial blog Holocaust Controversies, told a Leicester University conference that denial these days has "great brand recognition, but almost zero customers".

Dr Terry, a historian at Exeter University, said: "My assessment is that there have been around 100 authors since the 1940s who have written what can be considered pure denial books or pamphlets.


Church is sued over Israel boycott

October 7, 2010

A Methodist preacher is planning to sue his own church over its decision to boycott Israeli goods.

Birmingham-based David Hallam has accused the Methodist Church of being "discriminatory" after its conference passed a report in July calling for a boycott of products from "illegal" West Bank settlements.

Mr Hallam, a former Labour MEP, said: "I tried to handle this internally and wrote to the Church to say I'm not certain we have the power to use donations from the collection to run a discriminatory campaign against Israeli Jews.

"I object to the one-sided and bigoted approach.