UK news

Lord Ahmed is jailed

February 26, 2009

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, who this month claimed British Jewish students had been recruited to join the Israeli army and should be prosecuted for war crimes, has been jailed for 12 weeks for dangerous driving.

The Muslim peer was sending text messages while driving and then hit and killed another driver on the M1.


BNP activist fined after racial abuse of his neighbour

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

A BNP activist has been fined after racially abusing a neighbour whose grandmother died in the Holocaust.

Roy West told German-born Bernd Kugow to “go back to krautland and kill some more Jews” during an argument outside their homes in Dukinfield, Lancashire.

Unemployed West, 44, had denied a charge of racially aggravated abuse in August last year, but changed his plea moments before appearing at Tameside Magistrates’ Court last week.

He began the tirade after trying to fix a Union Jack flag to his neighbour’s shed.


Teaching Council says it’s not boycotting

By Simon Rocker, February 26, 2009

The General Teaching Council has dissociated itself from calls to boycott two Israel science days for schoolchildren next month.

Two of the 382 signatories of a letter to the Guardian last week calling on the Science Museum and Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry to cancel the events were described as being from the GTC, an independent body for the teaching profession.


Family agony as driver avoids jail

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

The family of a pensioner who was killed after being hit by a van have spoken of their anguish after the driver avoided a jail term.

Jack Reuben died 48 hours after the collision in North London in July 2007. The 78-year-old was vice-president of cricket club London Maccabi Vale for almost 50 years and had served as a football referee in the Maccabi Southern Football League. His wife Anita survived but suffered serious injuries.

Darren Talbot, 34, of Hatfield, was given a one-year driving ban, £750 fine and ordered to pay £250 costs at Wood Green Crown Court last Friday.


Former Israeli army medic is struck off the British medical register

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

A former Israeli army doctor who acted inappropriately while working as a GP in England has been struck off the medical register.

Paul Hirschowitz told one patient she had a “nice ass” and another woman, who was suffering from depression, that “cuddles were better than medicine”.

The 50-year-old was working at a surgery in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, when the incidents took place between 2005 and 2007.


JFS bus-abuse teen will have an Asbo until 2014

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

A teenager who verbally abused a group of Jewish children as they travelled home from school has been given a five-year antisocial behaviour order.

It bans the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from using the north-west London bus route on which the incident took place in November last year.

Last week, Hendon Magistrates’ Court imposed a series of restrictions on the youth’s movements in the London borough of Barnet.


Friedman and Oz set Book Week alight

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

Israel’s best-known novelist, Amos Oz, this week declared himself to be “very angry” with the Israeli government over its Gaza incursion, and insisted that the operation should have been restricted to just 48 hours. It had been, he said, “very cruel”, and had resulted in “unjustified loss of life” among the civilian population.

But Mr Oz, speaking on the opening night of Jewish Book Week to a capacity audience, nevertheless cautioned that criticism of Israel, while legitimate, should be tempered with “solidarity” for the Jewish state.


Klein wins UK prize for book

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

Canadian author and journalist Naomi Klein has won the inaugural Warwick Prize for Writing.

Her book, The Shock Doctrine, charts the exploitation of crises such as the 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina by global corporations. It beat five others to win the £50,000 prize, funded by Warwick University.

Ms Klein said: “At a time when the news out of the publishing industry is usually so bleak it’s thrilling to be part of a bold, new prize supporting writing, especially alongside such an exciting array of other books.”


Nobel Peace laureate blasted for talk ‘demonising’ Israel

By James Martin, February 26, 2009

A Nobel Peace laureate has been heavily criticised by the Northern Irish Jewish community for “demonising” Israel in a lecture last week.

Mairead Maguire, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Belfast, gave this year’s Erskine Childers lecture in London, under the auspices of the UK United Nations Association.

She described Israel as having carried out a “siege” of Gaza and called the Israeli government’s recent incursion a “crime against humanity” and a contravention of the Geneva Conventions.


Harassment officer posts ‘racist’ cartoon

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

Student groups have condemned a university for failing to discipline a harassment officer who posted an antisemitic picture on the internet.

Andrew Collingwood, who works in the University of York’s biology department, added the image to a Palestine Solidarity Campaign group on social networking site Facebook.

The photograph was taken during a protest in the city against Israel’s actions in Gaza last month.

It shows a placard bearing an image of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wearing a witch’s hat and waving a Star of David-topped wand.