UK news

Mick Green, guitarist for Van Morrison, dies

By Jessica Elgot, January 15, 2010

Rock ‘n’ roll guitarist Mick Green who played with Paul McCartney and Van Morrison has died aged 65.

Mr Green began his career playing with ‘60s band Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. He later played in the band Shanghai, which supported Status Quo on tour in 1976.

During his career he also played with Bryan Ferry, Paul McCartney and Van Morrison on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.

He played guitar on five tracks of Van Morrison’s album Keep it Simple in 2008.


David Hirsh to speak at UCU seminar

By Leon Symons, January 14, 2010

David Hirsh, who runs the Engage anti-academic boycott website, will be speaking at a one-day seminar on antisemitism organised by the University and College Union next Monday.

Elements of UCU have tried unsuccessfully for the past three years to introduce an academic boycott of Israel and Mr Hirsh, a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, has been of the union’s harshest critics.


Synagogue links 'don't guarantee school place'

By Simon Rocker, January 14, 2010

Jewish schools have been warned by the body which scrutinises the admissions policies of state schools that there could be problems in accepting pupils according to synagogue membership.

Elizabeth Passmore, the Schools Adjudicator, said that, because shuls charged fees for membership, schools could be breaking the government’s admissions code which banned offering places according to financial means.


Amnesty apologies for Israel 'war crimes' accusation

By Leon Symons, January 14, 2010

Amnesty International has apologised to the co-chairs of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel after alleging that they had defended “war crimes” committed by Israel.

Steven Jaffe and Terry McCorran had threatened to sue Amnesty’s branch in Northern Ireland unless the allegation was withdrawn. The threat drew a swift and unreserved apology from local director Patrick Corrigan.

In a letter to the Belfast Telegraph last month, Mr Jaffe and Mr McCorran criticised Amnesty’s support of attempts to indict Israeli MKs wanting to visit Britain on war crimes charges.


Tributes for Tribe founder's OBE

By Marcus Dysch and Robyn Rosen, January 14, 2010

The president of the United Synagogue has paid tribute to predecessor Peter Sheldon, who was made OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

Mr Sheldon was recognised for his services to the Jewish community, which include a six-year stint as US president and leading roles in the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce, North West London Eruv Committee and London Beth Din’s Kashrut Division.

He is also chairman of Morasha Jewish Primary School, in Finchley, north west London.


New organisation to tackle race hate on campus

By Marcus Dysch, January 14, 2010

University leaders are to form a group to tackle extremism on campus, four years after the Parliamentary All-Party Inquiry into Antisemitism first recommended such a move.

The Union of Jewish Students and the Community Security Trust welcomed the new working group, but called for higher education institutions to “demonstrate leadership” and drop their previously “sluggish” approach.


Row over definition of Holocaust survivor

By Leon Symons, January 14, 2010

A row has broken out over the meaning of the term Holocaust survivor after an 85-year-old grandmother used it to describe herself when criticising Israeli action against Palestinians.

German-born Hedy Epstein was attacked by a senior figure in the Zionist Federation who dismissed her as a refugee “touted as a trophy survivor” to help vilify Israel.

The row exploded into a heated online exchange and a debate about whether historians had a proper definition of the term.


Saving our lost Jewish communities in the UK

By Leon Symons, January 14, 2010

National communal organisations are facing a desperate plea to do more for small communities.

Ephraim Borowski, chairman of the Board of Deputies’ Regional Council, called on the Board, the Jewish Leadership Council and other bodies to provide more tangible support to the many small outposts of Jewish life around the country.

“The smaller the communities are, the more vulnerable they are likely to be,” he said.


Muslim preachers who glorified suicide bombers are banned

By Marcus Dysch, January 14, 2010

Jewish community leaders have welcomed the banning of a radical Islamist group which has glorified suicide bombers and preached antisemitism.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson proscribed Islam4UK under anti-terror legislation and extended the banning order to the group’s use of other names, including Al-Muhajiroun.

The extremist group, led by Anjem Choudary, had last week announced and then retracted plans to march through Wootton Bassett, the Wiltshire town where crowds gather to honour British soldiers killed in Afghanistan as their coffins are repatriated.


Muslim Council of Britain split over Holocaust Day boycott

By Martin Bright, January 14, 2010

The Muslim Council of Britain has refused to say if it will boycott Holocaust Memorial Day for the second year running.

The umbrella organisation attended the commemoration for the first time in 2008 after it voted to end a longstanding boycott following pressure from government. But the MCB did not attend last year in protest at Israel’s military intervention in Gaza.

However, MCB’s high-profile spokesman Inayat Bunglawala has broken with the organisation to say he will attend in his personal capacity.