UK news

Snow defends Channel Four’s Israel coverage

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

Broadcaster Jon Snow this week defended Channel 4’s coverage of the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza, arguing that “both sides of the conflict have been let down by the political classes and it’s left to the media to pick up the can”.


Amy says no, no, no

March 19, 2009

The singer Amy Winehouse pleaded not guilty this week to a charge of common assault after an incident at a charity ball last summer. The case, which opened on Tuesday, has been adjourned until July 23.


Heaney wins prize

March 19, 2009

Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet and Nobel laureate, has won this year’s David Cohen Prize for Literature. The prize,worth £40,000, is presented to a living writer from the British Isles for a lifetime’s achievement in literature.


Movie man is missing

March 19, 2009

A formerly homeless man whose life was transformed after making a film has been reported missing. Raymond Emanuel, 56, was spotted in Manchester and asked to be in Guy Ritchie’s new Sherlock Holmes film.


Lib Dems urge ban on arms to Israel

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

The Liberal Democrats have called for a suspension of British arms sales to Israel following the Gaza conflict.

In a wide-ranging motion proposed by MP Edward Davey, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman, at its spring conference in Harrogate, delegates also voted for the suspension of the update to Israel’s association agreement with the EU, which provides the basis for the country’s dealings in Europe.

Lib Dem Friends of Israel chairman Monroe Palmer said: “Restrictions on trade with Israel will not resolve any problems in the region whatsoever.


Deputies launch anti-BNP campaign

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009

The Board of Deputies has launched a nationwide campaign to stop the British National Party from winning seats in June’s European elections.

The growing threat posed by the far-right party was highlighted by the Board’s anti-racism co-ordinator Ruth Smeeth, who told a plenary meeting in Oxford on Sunday: “BNP leader Nick Griffin could be representing the Manchester Jewish community in Europe.”


Muslims offer to help shul

By Stephanie Brickman, March 19, 2009

The Scottish-Islamic Foundation has offered to protect a synagogue which was damaged in an attack.

Its chairman Ken Imrie wrote to Rabbi David Rose of Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation to say the Foundation “would wish to physically guard the synagogue ourselves” if the Jewish community was unable to arrange suitable security.

The synagogue suffered £1,000 of damage, including smashed windows, last Thursday.


UCL's Jewish studies faculty gets top rating

By Simon Rocker, March 19, 2009

The UK’s only Jewish studies and Hebrew department, at University College London, has been officially rated as one of the country’s top research centres in the field of religion.

UCL was ranked third with Oxford and Cambridge out of the UK’s theology and religion departments after the latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), the system used by government to evaluate universities for funding.

The top institution in the country was Durham.

Dr Ada Rapoport-Albert, head of UCL’s Hebrew and Jewish studies department, said the result was particularly notable.


Salute to Israel protest case is dropped by the CPS

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

A criminal charge has been dropped against the founder member of an anti-Israel campaign who protested with fake blood on her hands at a rally for Israel.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, was one of eight people arrested during the Salute to Israel parade through central London last June.

As a UJIA float passed her in Haymarket, Ms Wimborne-Idrissi held up her hands, covered in red food dye, and shouted: “Palestinian blood on Israeli hands.”

She was arrested and charged with a public order offence for “causing harassment, alarm and distress”.


Moussawi is out - but could reapply

By Marcus Dysch, March 19, 2009

An intense lobbying campaign by Jewish organisations has succeeded with the Home Office rejecting a visa application from Hizbollah media relations officer Ibrahim Moussawi.

Under increasing pressure from the Board of Deputies, the Community Security Trust and the JC, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith turned down his request to attend a seminar at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies next week.

Jon Benjamin, Board chief executive, said the result was being treated as a substantial victory.