UK news

Muslim anger over war-crime law pledge

By Simon Rocker, December 30, 2009

The Muslim Council of Britain has protested to Foreign Secretary David Miliband over plans to change the law to prevent the arrest of Israeli politicians visiting Britain.

MCB general secretary Muhammad Abdul Bari wrote of the council’s “deep disappointment” and “grave concern” at the government’s position following former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s cancellation of a visit to Britain last month.


Thalidomide campaigners win payout

By Marcus Dysch, December 30, 2009

Two Jewish thalidomide victims have welcomed the success of their long-running campaign which will see the government pay sufferers £20 million in compensation.

Guy Tweedy and Nick Dobrick, who were both born with shortened upper limbs as a result of being given the drug, had called for greater recognition for sufferers for the past seven years.

The Department of Health has now agreed to spread payment to the Thalidomide Trust over three years. The charity will share the money among Britain’s 463 surviving thalidomide victims.


Hundreds rally to attack Israel over Gaza operation

By Robyn Rosen, December 30, 2009

More than 600 protesters demonstrated outside the Israeli Embassy on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of Israel’s operation in Gaza.

Representatives from 25 organisations, including Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the Green Party and Neturei Karta gathered in Kensington High Street. Organisers had planned for only 150 protesters and police had to call for backup after demonstrators pushed into the road towards the embassy.

MPs Jeremy Corbyn, Martin Linton and Baroness Jenny Tonge were joined by Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Territories’ ambassador to the UK.


Top surgeon tells Limmud of campaign to have him struck off

By Leon Symons, December 30, 2009

One of Britain’s leading cancer surgeons has told a conference how his support for the Israel Medical Association sparked a campaign to have him struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Professor Michael Baum told a packed session at the annual Limmud conference at Warwick University that colleagues — including Jews — in the medical profession had turned on him after he challenged the accusation made by some that the Israel Medical Association (IMA) was complicit in the torture of Palestinian prisoners.


The biggest Limmud ever

December 30, 2009

At the biggest Limmud ever, a panel chaired by the Three Faiths Forum’s Stephen Shashoua examined the effects of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza on Muslim-Jewish relations in Britain and how the two minorities could work together to improve relations.

There were also two sessions looking at aspects of the Supreme Court decision on JFS, the second of which was a panel comprising Orthodox and non-Orthodox representatives.


How Jimmy Carter put the wire around Begin

By Leon Symons, December 30, 2009

After Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem to address the Knesset, peace talks between Israel and Egypt became bogged down. President Jimmy Carter stepped in and invited the two leaders to Camp David.

They arrived on September 5, 1978, and, according the National Archive papers, remained behind the barbed wire fences that Mr Begin described later as “a concentration camp de luxe” with no news from outside and, more importantly, no leaks from within.


Revealed: how the Iron Lady barred Whitehall PLO link

By Leon Symons, December 30, 2009

The Palestine Liberation Organisation provoked a spat between newly-elected prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, according to papers just released by the National Archive.

The papers also show her unswerving commitment to Israel and recognition of its position as the West’s

primary ally in the region, even at such an early stage in her leadership.


Pianist Kissin protests against BBC anti-Israel bias

By Stephen Pollard and Robyn Rosen, December 30, 2009

The Russian-born pianist Evgeny Kissin, who became a British citizen in 2002, has accused the BBC of “slander and bias” against Israel, broadcasting material he describes as “painfully reminiscent of the old Soviet anti-Zionist propaganda”.

Mr Kissin, 38, who until now has not generally been known as politically engaged, has written to the director-general of the BBC, Mark Thompson. According to a close friend of the pianist, he has decided to become “actively involved in exposing and countering the evil propaganda of certain British media and especially the BBC.”


London protests for Gaza bombings anniversary

By Robyn Rosen, December 29, 2009

More than 600 protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy to mark the year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.

Representatives from 25 organisations, including Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the Green Party and Neturei Karta demonstrated in High Street Kensington on Sunday.

Politicians, Jeremy Corbyn, Martin Linton and Baroness Jenny Tonge were joined by Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Territories' diplomatic representative to the UK.


Galloway compares Israel to Nazi doctor Mengele

By Jessica Elgot, December 29, 2009

The MP George Galloway has compared Israel to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele who experimented on prisoners and with body parts of concentration camp victims.

In an article in the Scottish Daily Record entitled “Dark Echoes of the Holocaust”, the outspoken Respect MP criticised the lack of press attention given to Israel’s admission of taking unauthorised organs from both Israelis and Palestinians.

He said Israel was “playing mini-Mengele on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”