UK news

Anti-Israel daubings found near Belfast

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

Anti-Israel graffiti was daubed on a centre used by a messianic Jewish community in response to the Gaza conflict.

“Zionist killers of Palestinian children” and other offensive phrases were painted on the council-run building in Donaghadee, County Down, east of Belfast, where the Shalom Messianic Congregation meets twice a month.

The community was set up in May 2007 and has not previously been the target of an attack.


Twinning the war

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

An online property listings company claims it is preparing to advertise holiday homes — in Gaza. swung into action after councillors in Worcester backed plans to twin the city with the war-ravaged area.

Lee Bramzell said his company would soon be offering “desirable properties in the Israeli city” and expected “plenty of interest in the alternative destination”.


Developer loses appeal over four metres of land

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

A property developer and his son have lost their appeal in an action that centred on a piece of land less than four metres wide.

Lord Justice Mummery told the Court of Appeal that the legal costs of the dispute between two London Sephardi families — Freddy Ezekiel and his son Mark, and brothers David and Haim Kohali — had “probably topped” the price of the original land deal.

In September 1999, the Ezekiels agreed to buy two plots of land from the Kohalis in Hendon, North-West London, for £300,000.


Nazi-joke councillor suspended

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

A councillor who dressed as a Nazi officer at a fancy dress party and claimed it was evidence of his “great sense of humour” has been suspended by his party.

Sean Aspey, a member of Porthcawl Council in South Wales, near Bridgend, is now the subject of a local Liberal Democrat party inquiry.

Pictures of Mr Aspey wearing the stormtrooper outfit were brought to the attention of fellow councillors last week.


Poles take Coren fight to European Court

By Jan Shure, March 5, 2009

A complaint against The Times and its columnist Giles Coren has been lodged at the European Court of Human Rights by the Federation of Poles in Great Britain.

It is the latest bid by the FPGB to censure the newspaper over a column written by Mr Coren on July 26, headlined: “Two waves of immigration, Poles apart.” The Press Complaints Commission rejected a complaint by the organisation lodged shortly after the article appeared.


Book week sells out

March 5, 2009

The organisers of Jewish Book Week are celebrating the festival’s highest-ever ticket sales.

Around 14,000 seats were sold during the nine-day event, which ended on Sunday with sell-out sessions by authors Alain De Botton and A B Yehoshua.

Book Week director Geraldine D’Amico said: “Every event was well-attended and lots of sessions sold out. There was a real buzz about the place and everyone was on a high. We were blessed with many great speakers.

“We are very pleased because we have obviously not felt the credit crunch, despite the difficult times.”


Row over messianic CCJ link

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

The former director of the London branch of Jews for Jesus has advised the Council of Christians and Jews on an educational pack about Passover.

Richard Harvey, who lectures at All Nations, an independent evangelical college in Hertfordshire, is described on the CCJ website as “a leading Torah scholar and expert in the Jewish roots of the early Christian church”.

But Rabbi Shmuel Arkush, director of the anti-missionary Operation Judaism, was surprised at the choice of adviser.


Student outrage as crucial debate on Gaza is tabled for Shabbat eve

By Simon Friend, March 5, 2009

Jewish students at University College London have threatened to resign from the union after a stormy AGM last Friday afternoon in which a motion was passed attacking Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

The motion declared that UCL had “a responsibility to condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza”, and was passed by a majority of 34 votes.

The AGM was due to have been held three weeks ago but was delayed because of snow. Instead, it was rescheduled for Friday afternoon.


US pulls out of Durban II but UK still going

By Leon Symons, March 5, 2009

America has pulled out of the United Nations Durban review conference on combating racism to be held in Geneva next month — but Britain will still participate.

The US State Department announced its decision last Friday after several days locked in talks about the draft final document, but ultimately admitted defeat, saying it had gone “from bad to worse”.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said: “The current text of the draft outcome document is not salvageable.”


SOAS marks Israeli ‘apartheid’

By Simon Friend, March 5, 2009

SOAS Union marked its support for the fifth annual Israeli Apartheid week (IAW) with two motions strongly critical of Israel.

The first, entitled “Make Apartheid History”, declared that “Zionism promotes racism and xenophobia through acts of parliament, supported by a set of racist laws.”