UK news

Kops wins honour from Queen

April 2, 2009

The playwright, poet and novelist Bernard Kops has been awarded a Civil List pension.

Two weeks ago Mr Kops received a letter from the Prime Minister with the news that the Queen had conferred the rare honour on him.

Awarded for life, it puts him in the company of poets such as Lord Byron, William Wordsworth and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

Mr Kops, 83, believes he may be the first Jewish writer to receive the award, which has been made on the recommendation of Downing Street for his services to literature.

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Israelis run late, but love duty free shops

April 2, 2009

Israeli travellers pack at the last minute, but will do anything to secure a duty-free airport bargain and so are more likely to arrive early at the airport.

And, extraordinarily enough, despite their legendary short tempers, Israelis are apparently more tolerant than their European counterparts.

The unusual findings appear in a survey commissioned by British Airways to identify passenger travel habits in Israel and Europe.

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Ethnic communities vow to ease interfaith tensions

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

A new interfaith group has been launched to try to prevent foreign conflicts causing tensions between religious communities in London.

Called United London Stands, it has emerged out of contacts between the London Jewish Forum and the City Circle, an independent group of young British Muslims.

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Media ‘boost bogus Shoah tales’

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

A world expert on false Holocaust testimonies is concerned that media interest in Shoah accounts is encouraging people to fabricate stories.

Professor Sue Vice, of Sheffield University, has suggested that the current popularity of “misery memoirs”, or mis-lit, has created a situation where “accounts of suffering are very marketable”.

Giving the annual Holocaust lecture at Royal Holloway University’s Holocaust Research Centre, Professor Vice argued that the media, “intrigued by the Holocaust, may be a factor behind false accounts”.

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Chief rabbi backs G20 prayer

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has joined other faith leaders in expressing hope that the G20 meeting in London this week would be “blessed with wisdom”.

The Chief Rabbi signed a religious leaders’ communiqué addressed to heads of the world’s largest economies, which stated: “Our prayers are with the world’s leaders that they be blessed with the wisdom and courage to begin the journey from recession to recovery, and from the old world of national pride to a new age of global responsibility.”

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Lib Dems are ‘little better than the BNP’

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

The Liberal Democrats have acted “little better than the BNP” in promoting anti-Israel views to win votes in Muslim areas, according to the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Launching a scathing attack on Lib-Dem election campaigning, James Arbuthnot MP, CFI parliamentary chairman, said the party was “attempting to incite hatred and fear for its own electoral advantage”.

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Shechitah protection

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

The Chief Rabbis of France and the UK met in London on Monday to discuss the protection of shechitah in the wake of proposed changes to European law.

Sir Jonathan Sacks, after his meeting with his French counterpart, Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, said: “Shechitah has long been accepted as a fundamental right for Europe’s Jewish citizens.

“The acceptance of religious practices by minority cultures in society is one of the pillars upon which Europe preserves its liberal and democratic character.”

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Tony Blair urges faiths to make difference

April 2, 2009

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken passionately about the importance of all faiths uniting to make a difference to global poverty and conflict.

He made his comments at a central London fundraising breakfast in which the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) joined with World Jewish Relief for the first time to raise awareness of and funds for both organisations’ vital work in Africa.

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Charity scammers strike fear in elderly

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

Confidence tricksters are targeting Jewish community members and claiming to be collecting donations for Israeli charities.

One man, wearing a long beard and black hat and using the name “Yuval”, has contacted retired, wealthy pensioners in south London and the Midlands.

He quotes legitimate charities, including UJIA and KKL, and knows personal details about his victims, including their marital status, home addresses and telephone numbers.

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Web racists await possible extradition

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The fate of two racists who were the first people in Britain to be convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet still hangs in the balance.

Simon Sheppard and Steve Whittle fled to America in the middle of their trial at Leeds Crown Court. They will know within the next three weeks whether or not an asylum court judge will return them to Britain. However, the pair have already said they will appeal if the decision goes against them. That process could involve appeals to two higher American courts and could take months before a final decision is reached.

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