UK news

Oxford blocks Neturei talk

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2009

A lecture by the leader of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect was relocated after Oxford University’s largest graduate college refused to let him speak on campus.

Ahron Cohen was the guest speaker at the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford’s (MECO) monthly forum on Thursday last week.

The event had been due to take place at Wolfson College but was relocated to a private venue after the college cancelled the booking.

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Royal Court in squabble over new Gaza play

By Jenni Frazer, May 7, 2009

A new spat has broken out following the staging of controversial Royal Court play Seven Jewish Children, by Caryl Churchill.

A non-Jewish writer, Richard Stirling, wrote his own response, Seven Other Children, which opened this week at Hampstead’s New End Theatre.

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Islam Channel used to ‘promote intolerance’

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2009

Programmes on a leading Muslim television channel have been hosted by Islamists and members of the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir, a counter-extremist think-tank has claimed.

Islam Channel is the largest satellite station aimed at British and European Muslims. The Quilliam Foundation said it was being used to promote “intolerant and bigoted interpretations of Islam”.

A spokesman for the channel said it would not be responding to the foundation’s claims.

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Jew on banned list to sue for defamation

By Leon Symons, May 7, 2009

A controversial Jewish-American radio host has threatened to sue the government after he appeared on a Home Office list of people banned from entering Britain.

Michael Savage, whose real name is Michael Weiner, was described by the Anti-Defamation League as an “equal-opportunities offender — he offends Jews, blacks, gays and the disabled in equal measure”.

His name was one of 16 that appeared on the first-ever list of people excluded for stirring up extremism or hatred to be published by the Home Office.

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Kosher Big Mac offer for the Olympics

By Leon Symons, May 7, 2009

A mouth-watering prospect has been raised for the London Olympics in three years’ time — and it has nothing to do with sport.

Orthodox Jews who are enthusiastic sports fans usually ensure they have something to eat at such events by taking a packed lunch.

But that might not be necessary if the Jewish Committee for the London Games, part of the London Jewish Forum, gets its way.

It has asked the Games’ organisers to set up kosher food stands provided by the Games’ main food sponsor, McDonald’s.

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'Non-Jew' to re-wed

By James Martin, May 7, 2009

A man who was told last summer by a Jerusalem rabbinical court that he was no longer Jewish will marry his girlfriend in Israel at the end of this month — under Reform auspices.

London-based Yossi Fackenheim, 29, is the son of the renowned Reform theologian Emil Fackenheim, who died in 2003. Because his mother was a convert, as a two-year-old in Canada, he underwent an Orthodox conversion. But last year he was told that his conversion had been rescinded due to his lack of religious observance.

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New boycott threat from UCU

By Simon Rocker, May 7, 2009

Anti-boycott campaigners fear that a fresh attempt could be made to implement sanctions against Israeli universities when higher education lecturers meet at their annual union congress at the end of the month.

The University and College Union refused to comment on whether any debate on Israel would take place, saying that the agenda for the meeting in Bournemouth in three weeks will be published next week.

But the JC has learned that the union’s national executive has approved the submission of three motions on “Palestine”, raising the alarm among anti-boycott activists.

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JNF agrees to go to Beth Din hearing

By Leon Symons, May 7, 2009

The chairman of JNF has spoken publicly for the first time about a five-month-long row over donations.

Samuel Hayek explained why the charity has not passed on more than £250,000 to a Negev-based Israeli non-governmental organisation (NGO), Project Or.

The money was part of more than £600,000 raised at a dinner in London in January 2007 organised by businessman Cyril Stein, who has taken up the cudgels on Or’s behalf.

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Field wide open in hunt for Deputies’ leader

By Simon Rocker, May 7, 2009

The most hotly contested leadership election in the 250-year-old history of the Board of Deputies remains an open race with no front-runner yet emerging for president, after a straw poll by the JC.

When nominations closed last Friday, there were a record four candidates competing to be president of British Jewry’s main representative body for the next three years, with seven for the three vice-presidencies.

More than half of the 27 deputies polled — around 10 per cent of the 268 eligible to vote in Sunday’s week election — have yet to make up their mind.

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Ron Prosor and Gerry Adams: road to peace

By Marcus Dysch in Belfast, May 7, 2009

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has said he “would like to help” advance the Middle East peace process using his experience from Northern Ireland.

His comments came as Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor made a two-day tour of Belfast this week.

When Mr Adams visited the Middle East in March, Israeli officials refused to meet him after he held talks with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza.

But he offered Mr Prosor a warm welcome to Ulster ahead of an hour of private talks on Wednesday afternoon.

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