UK news

Two held over Purim ‘havoc’

By Marcus Dysch, March 1, 2010

Police arrested two Jewish revellers as a group of 300 people caused "havoc" during rowdy Purim celebrations.

The men were arrested on suspicion of affray in north west London on Saturday night after residents called for officers to disperse the crowds.

Barnet Police said there had been "fighting, throwing of fireworks and general havoc" in Brent Street, Hendon, and Golders Green Road, Golders Green, between 10pm and 12.30am on Sunday morning.


Ex-Leo Baeck chair is honorary QC

By Marcus Dysch, March 1, 2010

The former chairman of Leo Baeck College has been appointed an honorary Queen’s Counsel.

Professor Graham Zellick will make the declaration and receive the letters patent of appointment from the Lord Chancellor at a ceremony at Westminster Hall on March 22.

The rare award of Honorary Silk is made by the Queen and recognises lawyers who have “made a major contribution to the law of England and Wales outside practice courts”.

Prof Zellick said: “You do not get notice of it and you cannot apply so it comes as a great surprise. I’m very proud.


More jailed for Gaza protest violence

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

More protesters have been jailed for offences during the January 2009 violent protest in London against Israel’s operation in Gaza.

At Isleworth Crown Court, one of the protesters was sentenced to 12 months in prison. One will serve ten months in a Young Offenders Institute. Another was given 12 months conditional discharge and one given an 18 month supervision order.

All had pleaded guilty to violent disorder.

More than 5,000 people attended the demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in January and protests occurred across the capital during December 2008 and January 2009.


Jewish Book Week talk by anti-Israel author

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

The director of Jewish Book Week has rejected criticism that it should not have given a platform to two leading critics of Israel.

On Sunday afternoon Tariq Ali, left-wing student leader of the 60s and now a writer and broadcaster, will be interviewing Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor and founder of the London Review of Books, whose anti-Israel views have been well-documented.


Miliband to attend Israeli Embassy reception

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband will be the guest of honour at a housewarming reception given by the Israeli Embassy, just weeks after the diplomatic spat between the two countries over the Dubai assassination.

Mr Miliband has accepted the invitation from Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor, despite tensions between Israel and the UK.

Mr Prosor was invited to the Foreign Office to explain Israel’s alleged role in the killing of a Hamas militant in Dubai, where British and other EU passports were used by the assassins.


Orthodox anger at plans to change GMT

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has opposed plans to replace Greenwich Mean Time with all-year summertime, believing it will cause “tremendous hardship” for those observing religiously prescribed prayer times.

Joe Lobenstein, vice president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, has written to Gordon Brown objecting to proposals to shift Britain’s whole time system forward by an hour, known as Single Double Saving Time (SDST).

Campaigners for the change believe that it will boost the tourist trade and reduce traffic accidents.


Conman receives suspended sentence for fraud

By Alex Hill, February 25, 2010

A once respected businessman who lied to suppliers and investigators in a desperate bid to keep his ailing clothing company afloat has received a suspended prison sentence.

Stuart Schlomo Hirt, 56, pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception, making a false statement and forgery, having previously denied the allegations.

St Albans Crown Court heard today (Thursday) that Hirt, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, had built up a successful business after settling in the UK from Israel in 1977.


Man refuses to pay licence in protest of BBC Israel bias

By Leon Symons, February 25, 2010

Jeremy Flashman makes no bones about it: "I hope they send me to prison."

The reason that 45-year-old father of three Mr Flashman is so keen to end up behind bars can be summed up in three letters: BBC.

The telecoms engineer, from Woodford Green in Essex, has become so angered by the BBC and the way it reports Israel that he has refused to pay his television licence.

So when an enforcement officer arrived at his door, Mr Flashman did not hesitate: "I told him I have a television, and I admitted watching it without a licence. He said I would receive a summons within 21 days.


Million Jews aid Mossad says writer on Radio 4

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

The BBC has been criticised after the writer Gordon Thomas claimed on Radio 4 that up to a million Jews around the world are on hold to assist Mossad.

Mr Thomas, author of Gideon's Spies, a widely-challenged book about the Mossad, was interviewed by presenter Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4's PM programme last week about the Dubai assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last month.

Media reports have claimed that the Israeli intelligence service was behind the hit.


Academic 'copied my thesis' claims student

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

A senior academic is under investigation for allegedly plagiarising the dissertation of one of his students.

Dr Remco Polman, a 'practitioner psychologist', is facing a conduct and competence hearing at the Health Professionals Council (HPC) next week, over allegations that he plagiarised a dissertation by Jeannette Cohen. He denies the allegations.