UK news

Banned. Do they offend you?

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

A group of young Israeli entertainers are at the centre of an argument which has forced the relocation of an annual Yom Ha’atzmaut show.

The Zionist Federation planned to hold its annual family entertainment night at the Bloomsbury Theatre in central London next Tuesday (April 28), but was forced to move it after the venue refused to host members of the IDF dance troupe.

The decision followed complaints from anti-Israel groups about the performance, which was due to be part of the Israel 61 Family Show.

It will now take place at a secret location in north London.

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Claire Short attacked for Hamas talk

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

Former cabinet minister Clare Short has been criticised for hosting a parliamentary question-and-answer session with Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas’s political bureau.

Mr Mashal was due to appear by satellite link at Wednesday evening’s “A Talk with Hamas” event.

The hardliner has repeatedly ruled out recognition of Israel and advocated suicide attacks. He was the target of a botched Mossad assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997.

Last month Ms Short led a delegation of MPs to meet Mr Mashal in Damascus, where he lives in exile.

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Man in toy gun attack

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

A man has admitted shooting an Orthodox Jew with a pellet from a toy gun.

Kris Cherry told magistrates in Gateshead that he carried out the attack on March 14 because he “didn’t like Jews”.

The victim, who has not been named, was not injured despite being hit on the arm by the pellet. It is thought his overcoat saved him from greater harm.

Unemployed Cherry, 20, was in a car travelling through the centre of the Bensham community and said he had fired the gun “for a laugh”.

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Students join Blair interfaith project

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

Two Jewish students have been selected to take part in a Tony Blair Faith Foundation leadership programme tackling malaria.

Natasha Steele, from Edgware, and Stanmore-based Zac Newman will join eight other Faiths Act Fellows from Britain on the 10-month scheme.

They will undergo training in Africa and the United States with fellows from Canada and the US, before returning to the UK where they will work in interfaith pairs educating religious communities about the dangers of the disease.

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Cohen of the Cotswolds

April 22, 2009

There are only about 1100 people in the idyllic town of Burford, the “gateway to the Cotswolds.” The influential Forbes magazine counts Burford, a mediaeval centre, as the sixth most perfect place in Europe, only slightly trailing Tuscany, Cephalonia and Rome.

So no-one should be surprised that its mayor could be described as the only Jew in the village. He is David Cohen.

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SNP candidate accused of Islamist agenda

By James Martin, April 22, 2009

A close adviser to Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, has been accused of being an Islamist in a report by the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based counter-extremism think tank.

Osama Saeed was unveiled last Friday as the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) candidate for Glasgow Central at the party’s spring conference.

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Web racists are refused asylum in US

By Leon Symons, April 22, 2009

Two men convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet have been refused asylum in America and will be returned to Britain to serve their sentences.

Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle fled to the United States during a trial at Leeds Crown Court last year. The jury had returned 11 verdicts of guilty out of 18 counts when the men jumped bail, travelled to Ireland and then flew to Los Angeles, where they claimed political asylum. It was the first prosecution of race hate on the internet.

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Woman awarded £64k over Kabbalah pest

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

A female company director who was pestered by her boss to take part in Kabbalah sessions has been awarded more than £64,000 compensation.

Nadine Nassar, 36, was bombarded with suggestive late-night text messages and phone calls by Kabbalah devotee Guy Oppenheim, 55, chief executive of Notz Stucki, one of Europe’s largest asset management firms.

London Central Employment Tribunal heard how the married Mr Oppenheim encouraged her to take part in the classes. She was sacked in April 2008 after dropping out of the sessions and making a formal complaint about his behaviour.

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MRIs for ‘Orthodox post mortems’

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 22, 2009

A major step to enshrine non-invasive post mortems in English law was revealed by Justice Minister Bridget Prentice on Tuesday.

The move could dramatically reduce hundreds of surgical post-mortems carried out annually on Jewish people against their families’ wishes and halachah (Jewish law).

It is understood that an amendment to recommend the use of non-invasive methods may be made to the Coroners and Justice Bill when it is debated in the House of Lords.

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Israel attacks ‘hide antisemitism’

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

The majority of people believe criticism of Israel is often used as a cover for antisemitism, a survey looking at attitudes towards the Holocaust has revealed.

Commissioned by the Holocaust Centre to coincide with Yom Ha’Shoah on Tuesday, the questionnaire investigated how Shoah education influences public perceptions of Jews compared to the effect of media coverage of Israel.

It found that 54 per cent of British residents think that although criticising Israeli government actions is sometimes legitimate, such criticisms are often based in antisemitic beliefs.

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