UK news

Seven Jewish Children fails to make the grade in girls’ school

By Leon Symons, March 12, 2009

Parents have stopped a north London school from producing two performances of the controversial play Seven Jewish Children.

The play, written by Caryl Churchill and billed as a history of Israel in 10 minutes, was due to be performed on Wednesday and Thursday this week at Palmers Green High School.

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Not a good time to show my face here, says comic

By John Nathan, March 12, 2009

The Israeli comedy actress and writer Iris Bahr has spoken of her fears over bringing her one-woman show Dai to London at a time when antisemitism and anti-Israeli feeling is running high.

“It’s a crappy time to be a Jew going to England,” she wrote in a blog before she left her Los Angeles home. “If you’re an Israeli Jew like me, you’re really screwed.”

Bahr plays three Israeli characters in a Tel Aviv café moments before a suicide bomber enters. It opened this week at the Shaw Theatre.

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Auschwitz: that’s a beer, isn’t it?

By Marcus Dysch, March 12, 2009

Two per cent of secondary school children believe Auschwitz was a brand of bread or beer, a survey has revealed.

Research, conducted on behalf of the London Jewish Cultural Centre and the Miramax film company, shows many pupils aged 11 to 16 have only a “patchy” understanding of the Holocaust, despite its presence on the national curriculum.

One in four youngsters did not know Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp, with one in 10 believing it to be a country bordering Germany.

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Race is on for Board president

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The most hotly contested leadership campaign in the 249-year history of the Board of Deputies is under way with four candidates already in the race to become its president.

And nominations do not close until May 1, with deputies due to vote for their leader on May 17.

This week, senior vice-president Vivian Wineman, vice-president Flo Kaufmann, former vice-president Jerry Lewis and former United Synagogue president Peter Sheldon all confirmed that they are standing for the position.

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Analysis: Converts left in crisis by rabbinical courts

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The annulment of Yossi Fackenheim’s conversion has yet again called into question the conduct of Israel’s rabbinic courts. Not only is the fact that he is the son of one of the 20th century’s leading Jewish theologians bound to produce outrage over his treatment; so, too, is the very idea of retroactively stripping a person of their Jewish status.

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Ministers to welcome the voice of Hizbollah

By Stephen Pollard Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The government is poised to allow Ibrahim Moussawi, media relations officer of Hizbollah, into the UK — despite the opposition of the cabinet minister responsible for social cohesion.

The JC has learned that the Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, is fighting a lone battle within Whitehall to prevent Mr Moussawi’s admission to speak at a conference at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies on March 23.

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is thought to be willing to admit the former head of political programming at the antisemitic Al Manar television station.

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Amnesty U-turn over Gaza weapons

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2009

Amnesty International has admitted it has no proof that British weapons were used by the Israeli army during the Gaza conflict.

The human rights organisation had last month accused the UK government of “aiding Israeli war crimes”, and called for a UN arms embargo.

But on Wednesday, Oliver Sprague, the charity’s arms programme director, appeared in front of a parliamentary select committee session on arms export controls.

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Worcester scraps Gaza twinning plan

By Marcus Dysch, March 10, 2009

Plans to twin the cities of Worcester and Gaza have been scrapped.

Worcester City councillors had approved a sister-city motion last month, saying residents felt strongly about January’s conflict and wanted to send a “personal message” of support.

But at a meeting on Monday, Worcester Twinning Association, an independent body which makes the final decision, rejected the proposal.

Its executive committee said there were insufficient resources to take on the “complex arrangements” needed to set up a “meaningful relationship” or active link.

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Hate-group MP acts to close website

By Leon Symons, March 5, 2009

Swift action by an MP has closed down a website containing virulently antisemitic material.

The website, www.catholicvoice.co.uk, was closed by BT last Friday after Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, told the telecoms company about its offensive content.

Run by a man called Tim Johnson, it contained articles such as “To call Jesus a Jew is blasphemy”, “Jews are followers of Satan” and contained references to the notorious forgery “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.

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Baby inquest date set

March 5, 2009

A new date has been set for an inquest into the death of a baby boy who stopped breathing after his brit milah (circumcision) in February 2007.
A coroner’s inquest into the death of Amitai Moshe, whose parents lived in Golders Green, north west London, will now be held on September 7.
The baby died eight days after the brit milah.

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