UK news

Race is on for Board president

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The most hotly contested leadership campaign in the 249-year history of the Board of Deputies is under way with four candidates already in the race to become its president.

And nominations do not close until May 1, with deputies due to vote for their leader on May 17.

This week, senior vice-president Vivian Wineman, vice-president Flo Kaufmann, former vice-president Jerry Lewis and former United Synagogue president Peter Sheldon all confirmed that they are standing for the position.


Analysis: Converts left in crisis by rabbinical courts

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The annulment of Yossi Fackenheim’s conversion has yet again called into question the conduct of Israel’s rabbinic courts. Not only is the fact that he is the son of one of the 20th century’s leading Jewish theologians bound to produce outrage over his treatment; so, too, is the very idea of retroactively stripping a person of their Jewish status.


Ministers to welcome the voice of Hizbollah

By Stephen Pollard Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The government is poised to allow Ibrahim Moussawi, media relations officer of Hizbollah, into the UK — despite the opposition of the cabinet minister responsible for social cohesion.

The JC has learned that the Communities Secretary, Hazel Blears, is fighting a lone battle within Whitehall to prevent Mr Moussawi’s admission to speak at a conference at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies on March 23.

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, is thought to be willing to admit the former head of political programming at the antisemitic Al Manar television station.


Amnesty U-turn over Gaza weapons

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2009

Amnesty International has admitted it has no proof that British weapons were used by the Israeli army during the Gaza conflict.

The human rights organisation had last month accused the UK government of “aiding Israeli war crimes”, and called for a UN arms embargo.

But on Wednesday, Oliver Sprague, the charity’s arms programme director, appeared in front of a parliamentary select committee session on arms export controls.


Worcester scraps Gaza twinning plan

By Marcus Dysch, March 10, 2009

Plans to twin the cities of Worcester and Gaza have been scrapped.

Worcester City councillors had approved a sister-city motion last month, saying residents felt strongly about January’s conflict and wanted to send a “personal message” of support.

But at a meeting on Monday, Worcester Twinning Association, an independent body which makes the final decision, rejected the proposal.

Its executive committee said there were insufficient resources to take on the “complex arrangements” needed to set up a “meaningful relationship” or active link.


Hate-group MP acts to close website

By Leon Symons, March 5, 2009

Swift action by an MP has closed down a website containing virulently antisemitic material.

The website,, was closed by BT last Friday after Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, told the telecoms company about its offensive content.

Run by a man called Tim Johnson, it contained articles such as “To call Jesus a Jew is blasphemy”, “Jews are followers of Satan” and contained references to the notorious forgery “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.


Baby inquest date set

March 5, 2009

A new date has been set for an inquest into the death of a baby boy who stopped breathing after his brit milah (circumcision) in February 2007.
A coroner’s inquest into the death of Amitai Moshe, whose parents lived in Golders Green, north west London, will now be held on September 7.
The baby died eight days after the brit milah.


Labour party ejects jailed peer

March 5, 2009

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, jailed last week for dangerous driving, has been expelled from the Labour Party. A party spokesman said: “Under the party’s rules, any member who receives a custodial sentence is subject to automatic exclusion”. He is able to reapply to the party after a fixed period of time. Last month he claimed British Jewish students had been recruited to join the Israeli army and should be prosecuted for war crimes.


FO man suspended

March 5, 2009

Rowan laxton, who allegedly made antisemitic remarks after watching TV reports of Israel’s operation in Gaza has been suspended by the Foreign Office, a spokesman confirmed this week. Laxton was arrested after the incident.


BBC miss out World at War genocide episode

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

The BBC dropped from its schedule this week an episode of classic documentary series The World at War which focuses on the Holocaust and concentration camps.

The 1970s series, produced by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, is currently being repeated on weekday afternoons on BBC Two.

On Monday, the 19th of 26 episodes was shown, featuring the Battle of the Bulge and Arnhem.

But Tuesday’s episode was number 21, focusing on the final invasion of Germany.

The missing episode, Genocide, looks at Nazi policy between 1941 and the end of the war.