UK news

SOAS marks Israeli ‘apartheid’

By Simon Friend, March 5, 2009

SOAS Union marked its support for the fifth annual Israeli Apartheid week (IAW) with two motions strongly critical of Israel.

The first, entitled “Make Apartheid History”, declared that “Zionism promotes racism and xenophobia through acts of parliament, supported by a set of racist laws.”

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The secret of a successful house sale: a mezuzah

By Simon Round, March 5, 2009

With property prices in freefall, many home-owners who need to sell are desperately looking for way of maximising the price of their properties.

But according to a survey due to be released on Monday, the answer could be under their noses.

North London-based property website, www.sellyourhouse4more.com, has revealed that houses and flats with a mezuzah on the front door are selling for approximately £10,000 more than those without the small cylinder containing Hebrew parchment.

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Gym targeted by Israel boycotters

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

A gym which offers free membership to Maccabi GB athletes as they prepare for the Maccabiah Games has been targeted by anti-Israel campaigners.

Stickers proclaiming “Boycott Israeli Goods”, and displaying the Palestinian flag, were placed in changing room lockers at the Village Hotel in Elstree, Hertfordshire.

The company agreed a £250,000 sponsorship package with Maccabi GB in December.

As part of the deal, every member of the British team due to take part in the games in Israel in July was given free access to Village gyms around Britain.

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Rabbis warn against 'unsuitable' teacher training on child abuse

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

Strictly Orthodox rabbis have warned schools to beware of unsuitable teacher training material on child abuse.

A letter from the rabbinical council of the London-based Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, alerted Charedi school and kindergarten heads to new government regulations said to be “a difficult and bitter decree against Torah education”.

It also warned of a “danger” posed to teachers by NVQ training material and said teachers should avoid visiting “institutions which are not Charedi” without rabbinical permission.

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Top thinkers blast plan to block Israeli scientists

By Leon Symons, March 5, 2009

Dozens of academics have hit back at an attempt to stop top Israeli scientists giving lectures about Israel’s achievements to non-Jewish sixth form students.

A campaign to cancel lectures which took place at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry on Tuesday and London’s Science Museum on Thursday was started two months ago by the anti-Israel British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP).

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign joined in and stories appeared this week in a number of national newspapers.

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UK prof cancels lecture

March 5, 2009

British academic Shalom Lappin has cancelled a lecture at Toronto's York University in protest at a near-riot in which Jewish students were locked in the Hillel offices by pro-Palestinian protesters.

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Antisemitism key to UK exclusion policy

By Jenni Frazer, March 5, 2009

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said this week that the government is still considering evidence relating to the possible exclusion from Britain of Ibrahim Mousawi, the Hizbollah-linked journalist.

He has been invited to take part in a conference on Islam at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies on March 25.

If admitted from his home base of Beirut, it would be the fourth time that Mr Mousawi, formerly with the Shi’ite TV station Al-Manar, has entered Britain, having previously been invited by the Stop the War Coalition.

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FCO stumbles on Hizbollah policy

By Daniella Peled - Foreign Editor, March 5, 2009

There appeared to be confusion in the Foreign Office this week after Middle East minister Bill Rammell announced a ‘new’ policy regarding Hizbollah — despite the policy having been in place since July 2008.

Mr Rammell told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that the government had “reconsidered” its position towards the Shia group.

“Our over-riding objective is to pressure Hizbollah to play a more constructive role and move away from violence,” he told the committee on Wednesday.

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West Bank link halts embassy relocation

By James Martin and Anshel Pfeffer, March 5, 2009

Britain's embassy in Tel Aviv has abandoned plans to move to new premises over concerns that the building’s owners are involved in unlawful construction on the West Bank.

It is said the embassy pulled out of the £90,000-a-year deal to relocate from Hayarkon Street to a floor on Africa-Israel’s Kirya Tower after British ambassador Tom Phillips became aware of Africa-Israel’s involvement in West Bank construction projects.

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Charity watchdog attacks Interpal

By Simon Rocker, February 27, 2009

The Charity Commission has criticised the charity Interpal and ordered it to cut ties with an organisation headed by the radical cleric Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi.

After a two-year inquiry, the commission said that Interpal’s trustees had “not adequately fulfilled their duties and responsibilities” in monitoring where their money was spent, in a report published today.

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