UK news

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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UK taxes ‘funding terror’

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

British taxpayers are funding anti-Israel and extremist teaching in the Palestinian territories, a new report claims.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) said millions of pounds had been spent on Palestinian Authority-funded TV broadcasts, school textbooks and newspaper articles discouraging a two-state solution.

The TPA report, Palestinian Hate Education since Annapolis, concludes that money from the Department for International Development (DFID), which totalled almost £100 million in the 2007/08 financial year, is being used directly to promote hatred of Israel and the West.

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LSE dialogue breaks down in chaos

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Dialogue between the Israel Society and the Palestine Society at the London School of Economics (LSE) has stopped after a PalestineSoc member suggested that Holocaust denial was wrong but not necessarily antisemitic.

Talks between the two groups were held last Friday over how far to include Holocaust denial in a motion on antisemitism, which the Palestine Society filibustered last Thursday.

But talks broke down after the PalestineSoc claimed their confidentiality had been breached by Israel Society secretary Patrick Jones leaking the details of the meeting.

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New chair for anti-racist thinktank

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009

Former Europe Minister Denis MacShane has been named as the new chairman of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism.

Dr MacShane, Labour MP for Rotherham, was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. Dr Macshane takes over the post from founding chairman Stephen Pollard, now editor of the JC.

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Snow defends Channel Four’s Israel coverage

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Broadcaster Jon Snow this week defended Channel 4’s coverage of the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza, arguing that “both sides of the conflict have been let down by the political classes and it’s left to the media to pick up the can”.

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Amy says no, no, no

March 19, 2009

The singer Amy Winehouse pleaded not guilty this week to a charge of common assault after an incident at a charity ball last summer. The case, which opened on Tuesday, has been adjourned until July 23.

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Heaney wins prize

March 19, 2009

Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet and Nobel laureate, has won this year’s David Cohen Prize for Literature. The prize,worth £40,000, is presented to a living writer from the British Isles for a lifetime’s achievement in literature.

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Movie man is missing

March 19, 2009

A formerly homeless man whose life was transformed after making a film has been reported missing. Raymond Emanuel, 56, was spotted in Manchester and asked to be in Guy Ritchie’s new Sherlock Holmes film.

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Lib Dems urge ban on arms to Israel

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

The Liberal Democrats have called for a suspension of British arms sales to Israel following the Gaza conflict.

In a wide-ranging motion proposed by MP Edward Davey, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman, at its spring conference in Harrogate, delegates also voted for the suspension of the update to Israel’s association agreement with the EU, which provides the basis for the country’s dealings in Europe.

Lib Dem Friends of Israel chairman Monroe Palmer said: “Restrictions on trade with Israel will not resolve any problems in the region whatsoever.

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