UK news

John Lewis quashes false boycott claim

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

Department store John Lewis has moved to quash an allegation in a Jewish freesheet claiming that it was considering a boycott of Israel goods.

The false claim was made in an article in the Jewish News by Mill Hill rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, who called for a boycott of the store, and which John Lewis says has cost it thousands of pounds in cancelled sales.

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New JC MD

February 12, 2009

The JC Board has announced the appointment of Alan Rubenstein as
managing director.

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UKIP backs israel

February 12, 2009

Members of the United Kingdom Independence Party are making a fresh attempt to relaunch a Friends of Israel group. Michael Zuckerman, secretary, said: “There is tremendous support for Israel within UKIP.” The planned group had the backing of party leader Nigel Farage and others among their nine MEPs, he said. Mr Zuckerman, a solicitor, said that although attempts to set up a Friends group started a couple of years ago, it had been stillborn.

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Questions over claims

February 12, 2009

Paul Edlin, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, has expressed concern about the “transparency and democratic accountability” of the Claims Conference, which distributes restitution to Holocaust survivors. Deputies met on Monday to discuss the issue.

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Oxford students defeat anti-Israel campaign

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

An anti-Israel motion has been rejected by Oxford University Student Union after Jewish students persuaded members of every college to vote against it.

The motion called for the university to condemn Israel’s action in Gaza and the “hideous toll” on Palestinians.

The vote had been delayed to give students extra time to debate its contents. Last Friday, the union rejected the motion by 40 votes to 21.

Jewish academics at the university had earlier expressed concern over last month’s library sit-in by anti-Israel protestors.

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Lords shown Sderot bomb part at debate

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

The Israeli army’s tactics and the aftermath of the Gaza conflict have been discussed at length during a special House of Lords debate.

An additional session of the Upper House was convened last Friday, with 34 peers taking the opportunity to give their views on Operation Cast Lead and the subsequent humanitarian crisis.

Many recalled their personal experiences of visits to both sides of the border.

Lord Janner brought to the chamber pieces of a shattered car tail light and a bomb fragment which he had collected in the aftermath of a rocket attack on Sderot last month.

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National Jewish studies curriculum in pipeline

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

“You are leading the Crime Scene Investigation Team to investigate the first murder in the history of humanity,” the students are told.

A class for trainee detectives, perhaps? Not quite. It’s the opening of a pilot programme about Cain and Abel for secondary schools — part of a project intended to transform Jewish studies teaching in the UK.

The United Jewish Israel Appeal and the United Synagogue’s Agency for Jewish Education are hoping to create a national Jewish studies curriculum in mainstream Orthodox schools for children from five to 18.

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Stamp sale raises £500k for charities

By Simon Rocker, February 12, 2009

A renowned international philatelist who died in London last year has left his entire stamp collection to two Israeli charities.

Sotheby’s is to auction the collection, worth around £500,000, bequeathed by David Barton to the Weizmann Institute and Shaare Zedek Medical Centre.

Mr Barton, who died aged 67 in March, was a scientist at Westminster University and a member of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood. He left his entire estate, of which the stamp collection is the centrepiece, to the two charities. The auction is on March 6.

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Shechitah threat is challenged

By Leon Symons, February 12, 2009

Shechitah UK, the organisation set up to protect Jewish religious slaughter, has accused the MP sponsoring a Commons early day motion which threatens shechitah of “interfering with the fundamental freedom of a religious community”.

In a letter to North West Leicestershire Labour MP David Taylor, Shechitah UK’s chairman Henry Grunwald said that the British Jewish community viewed “with great concern” his attempt to change the law which exempts religious slaughter from the practice of pre-stunning animals.

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Live: House of Lords debate on Gaza

February 6, 2009

The House of Lords is today holding a debate on developments in Gaza.

Around 35 peers are listed to speak, with each allotted 10 minutes to give their views on last month’s conflict, and the possibilities for peace in the region.