UK news

Muslims condemn attacks on Jews

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2009

A group of Muslim activists has issued an open letter condemning antisemitic attacks in response to the Gaza crisis.

Addressed to “fellow Muslims”, the group of 18, including imams, businessmen and scholars, wrote that they were “deeply saddened” to hear of assaults on British Jews.

“We unreservedly condemn attacks on innocent British citizens and the desecration of all places of worship.”

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Worst wave of hate for quarter of a century

By Leon Symons Simon Rocker and Jonny Paul, January 15, 2009

Anglo-Jewry is in the middle of the worst outbreak of antisemitism in Britain since the Community Security Trust started keeping records a quarter of a century ago.

Since the start of the Israeli offensive into Gaza on December 27, more than 150 incidents across the country have been recorded.

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Rally message is 'Yes to peace'

January 15, 2009

The slogan, “Yes to peace” rang out over Trafalgar Square on Sunday as thousands of people, Jewish and non-Jewish, supported the call of the Chief Rabbi and other speakers for an end to the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel.

Similar scenes were enacted in Manchester where some 4,000 people gathered in Albert Square in the city centre to hear a half-dozen top speakers, including Deputy Israeli Ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher, MPs Ivan Lewis and Louise Ellman and Bicom head and former MP Lorna Fitzsimons.

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Email hoaxers fail to disrupt

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

A hoax email which threatened to wreck Sunday’s Trafalgar Square rally is being investigated by police.

The email was sent out on Friday, shortly after Shabbat had started. Communal figures, who became aware of the email, believe it was timed so that Orthodox supporters who were planning to go would not see it until after Shabbat ended, and would not turn up.

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Charedi housing scheme launched

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

The dire housing problems of Britain’s Charedi community could be solved by an innovative scheme that is being studied closely by both national and local government.

A small steering committee in Stamford Hill, north London, which includes members of the Agudas Israel Housing Association, has been working on the creation of a community land trust (CLT).

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Survivors and Holocaust projects get cash injection

By Jonny Paul, January 15, 2009

Just two weeks before Holocaust Memorial Day, survivors and educational projects in Britain have received a new financial boost from the Claims Conference.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust, has allocated more than $2.6m for Nazi victim services in the UK for 2009, an increase of more than $100,000 from 2008.

The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), which distributes the money to UK survivors, has welcomed the increase.

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More space for worship advised

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

New housing developments should have a specific area set aside to create facilities for faith communities, according to a newly-published report.

Construction companies should be told that they must set aside half a hectare (1.23 acres) of empty land in developments to enable faith communities to erect their own buildings, said Cambridgeshire Horizons, the organisation which produced the report “Building for Faith in the Future” and which is responsible for identifying new communities in the East Anglian county.

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Miliband puts faith in democracy

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has called on Israel “as a beacon of democracy” to help find a political solution to its conflict with Hamas.

He told MPs that Israel argued against accepting UN resolutions which saw equivalence between a democratic state and a terrorist organisation.

“There is and can be no equivalence,” said Mr Miliband. Hamas had shown itself over a number of years “ready to be murderous in word and deed”.

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Rabbis' letter shows agony over conflict

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2009

A newspaper letter signed by leaders of the UK’s two Progressive movements and the leading Jewish interfaith activist, revealed growing unease within the community over Israel’s military campaign.

Published in the Observer, it voiced concern that Israel’s actions could “strengthen extremists” while civilian casualties threatened to “undermine international support for Israel”.

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Students resolve to fight campus antisemitism

January 15, 2009

The National Executive of the National Union of Students has passed a complex resolution on the Gaza conflict which has been warmly welcomed by the leadership of the Union of Jewish Students.

As students all over Britain began the new winter term with the fighting in Gaza still heading the news, the NUS was well aware that its membership covers both sides of the divide.

The NUS President, Wes Streeting, made it clear that “we shouldn’t pretend that NUS can speak with one voice on the complexities of this conflict.”

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