UK news

Sect tries to buy a church

By Simon Rocker, March 26, 2009

The Manchester Jewish Representative Council has protested against the proposed sale of a local church to the breakaway Catholic sect to which Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson belongs.

Council president Barbara Goldstone said allowing the Society for Saint Pius X (SSPX) to buy St George’s, a disused Anglican church in Gorton, would “only destroy the religious harmony in the city of which we are very proud”.

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MSPs seek envoy’s expulsion

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, should be expelled from Britain until Israel “shows it is not above international law”, according to members of the Scottish Parliament.

A session of Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee has urged the UK government to have Mr Prosor removed, following pressure from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

But foreign policy matters remain under Westminster’s jurisdiction, and the Scottish government said it was “not minded” to support the call for Mr Prosor’s expulsion.

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George Galloway to defy Canada ban

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Controversial British MP George Galloway has vowed to do whatever is possible to enter Canada after its government banned him over fears he could threaten national security.

The decision to stop him entering for a speaking tour was taken after the Jewish Defence League of Canada wrote to the government highlighting Mr Galloway’s support for Hamas.

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Storm over latest Hizbollah UK visit

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

The Board of Deputies will ask the Home Office to exclude a former Hizbollah fighter and leader of a radical Muslim group in Belgium who has been invited to speak in Britain.

Dyab Abou Jahjah has been invited to speak at a meeting of the Stop The War Coalition on Monday evening in central London. It is thought that he will also be present on Tuesday at the launch of a British branch of International Union for Parliamentarians for Palestine, of which he was made operational director in May last year.

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Back-door boycott fears over labelling

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

Jewish groups fear a government-backed meeting about the labelling of products from the West Bank may lead to a new “back-door” boycott of Israeli exports to Britain.

The meeting is scheduled to be held in the Cabinet Office on Tuesday and invitations have gone out to major retailers, consumer groups and a small number of NGOs. Oxfam is the only group believed to have confirmed that it will attend.

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Ministers’ ‘U-turn on war-crime law’

By Anshel Pfeffer and Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Senior Israeli officials have attacked the British government for reneging on its promise to change a law that allows private citizens to bring war crimes charges against Israeli officers.

The failure to alter the legislation effectively bars Israeli top brass from entering Britain for fear they would be arrested on arrival.

“Both the Blair and Brown governments promised us that they would bring the necessary legislation to Parliament,” said a senior Israeli diplomat. “But it is clear now that they never really meant to fulfil that promise.”

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El Al plan Luton-Tel Aviv flights

By Candice Krieger, March 25, 2009

EL AL is launching a daily flight from Luton to Tel Aviv. The service will start from May, the JC has learned.

Uri Danor, CEO, UK, acknowledged that the additional six-times-a-week service will suit travelers who live in north London and have access to train service First Capital Connect, which runs directly from the City to Luton Airport Parkway station.

He said: “Luton will be much more convenient for these people. It’s easier than getting to Stansted We think it will be very well-received.” EL AL will no longer be flying from London Stansted once the Luton service starts.

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LSE students win antisemitism vote

March 19, 2009

Jewish students at the London School of Economics (LSE) celebrated a victory in their fight against antisemitism.

Around 350 students voted in favour of the motion ‘Stop Anti-Semitism Now’ at a student union general meeting.

The motion will now be implemented by the LSE Students’ Union.

Ben Grabiner, who proposed the motion on behalf of the university’s Jewish students said:

“It’s a great relief to have finally got this through. Over half the people who voted were from the Jewish Society or Israel Society.

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Play performed by Jews and Muslims is celebrated in Lords

By Simon Rocker, March 19, 2009

On Sunday night, London’s Tricycle Theatre staged a play with a difference about the recent Gaza war — it was performed by a group of young local Muslims and Jews.

Homecoming was the latest project of Muju, the Muslim-Jewish arts group founded four years ago.

“People had warned us against doing it because it’s such an emotive issue,” said Georgina Bednar, who co-chairs Muju with Salman Siddiqui. “But we wanted to face the elephant in the room — which we did to a sell-out audience.”

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Ken Loach accuses Israel of ‘great crimes’

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

The maverick film director Ken Loach has attacked Israel’s action in Gaza, calling it “one of the great crimes of the last decades” and arguing that the rise in antisemitism is a direct consequence.

Speaking during a Belgian press conference at the launch of an international independent tribunal on the conflict, Mr Loach said individuals and organisations behind Operation Cast Lead would “have to pay” for their actions.

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