UK news

Abduction father gets jail sentence

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2010

An "arrogant" Jewish father who abducted his daughter and fled to Israel has been sentenced to four months in prison for refusing to return her to England.

A warrant will now be issued for the arrest of the man, who still lives in Israel, although his daughter has been returned to the UK.

The man and his wife divorced in 1996, when their daughter was seven, and have been in almost constant litigation over her future. The girl is now in her 20s, but lacks legal capacity to decide where she should live.

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Red Cross: Shalit case top priority

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2010

The head of international law at the British Red Cross, Michael Meyer, has said kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit has received more media attention than any other prisoner during his 28 years at the organisation.

Mr Meyer suggested that visiting the 24-year-old soldier, who has been held by Hamas terrorists for more than four years, was complicated by the fact he was not being held by a sovereign state.

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BNP claims victory over constitution

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2010

Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right British National Party, has claimed a "David and Goliath victory" after the High Court threw out claims that he did not comply with a court order to remove "discriminatory" clauses in the party's constitution.

The decision appears to be the end of an 18-month battle between the BNP and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In June 2009 the commission contacted the BNP claiming that its constitution, which restricted membership to a particular "ethnic group" and those whose skin colour was white, was against the1976 Race Relations Act.

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Galloway barred from USA

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2010

George Galloway was denied entry into America last week. The former Respect MP and notorious pro-Palestinian activist was due to speak in five US cities, but was barred from flying in from London by US authorities.

The Muslim Legal Fund of America, which organised the tour, said the ban was because of "visa problems".

Mr Galloway reportedly said that the decision to ban him was not political, but down to a "technical glitch at Heathrow Airport".

He added: "My office is now in touch with the embassy in London to fix it."

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BBC Nativity says 'no room at shul'

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

A leading rabbi has protested to the BBC that a scene in its dramatisation of The Nativity this week was an anti-Jewish libel.

Rabbi Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue, a member of a panel that advises the BBC on religion, took issue with the third of the four-part series which was due to have been broadcast on BBC1 on Wednesday night. It was written by EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan.

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Board urged to invite PA envoy to talk

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

A senior officer of the Board of Deputies has urged president Vivian Wineman to issue a "historic" invitation to the Palestinian Authority's UK Ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, to address British Jewry's main representative body.

Board treasurer Laurence Brass, in a letter to Mr Wineman, said it would be right to open dialogue with the Palestinian envoy even if it incurred criticism from right-wingers "who have tended to dominate" its Middle East agenda.

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Tillman calls for delay to VAT rise

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2010

Harold Tillman, the chairman of the British Fashion Council, has urged the Government to delay VAT rises.

Mr Tillman, a member of St John’s Wood Synagogue, is calling for January’s planned VAT rise to 20 per cent to be postponed for 30 days to help consumers who have been prevented from shopping because of this month’s snow.

Mr Tillman, who owns clothing brands Jaeger and Aquascutum and was appointed a CBE for his services to fashion earlier this year, told Sky News: “I think that would allow people that were going to shop, that want to shop, to do so in January.

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Shipman bill could lead to burial delays

By Stephanie Brickman, December 21, 2010

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) has asked the Scottish Parliament to make adjustments to a bill that could lead to distressing delays to burials.

The Certification of Death Bill is intended to tighten up existing procedures to ensure that crimes like those of Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered 15 elderly patients, are spotted sooner.

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Julian Assange: I'm in the same position as the Jews

By Jennifer Lipman, December 21, 2010

The founder of WikiLeaks has compared his treatment by the Swedish authorities seeking his extradition over sexual assault allegations to the persecution of the Jewish people in the last century.

Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian behind the extraordinary leaks of US diplomatic cables and documents, told The Times that he believed the allegations and the publicity surrounding them were unfounded and motivated by “a mixture of revenge, money, and police pressure.”

He said: “All sorts of abusive statements were made against the Jewish people in the 1950s and before.

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Prince Harry meets Holocaust survivor in Germany

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

Prince Harry has visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.

Only five years ago the then 21-year-old prince was forced to issue apologies after a furore when he dressed as a Nazi, complete with swastika armband, at a London fancy-dress party.

But this week, during a visit to Germany for a charity gala at which he was honoured for his humanitarian work, Prince Harry was able directly to pay his respects to victims of the Holocaust.

He spent time with a Holocaust survivor who works at the Berlin museum, and spent at least an hour viewing the exhibits.

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