UK news

Full extent of LSE Atwan fury is finally revealed on video

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2010

The journalist Abdel Bari Atwan has been accused of "cowardly, bullying tactics" and breaching policy on antisemitism after a recording of his speech to students at the London School of Economics was made public.

The lecture, held by the student union's Palestine Society at LSE last week, descended into chaos after 30 Jewish students walked out in protest.

The visual and audio quality of the recording, taken by the Palestine Society, is poor and repeatedly skips sections. It was only made publicly available on Sunday, six days after the lecture.


Universities show signs of taking issue seriously

By Marcus Dysch, December 16, 2010

Campaigners believe there is "light at the end of the tunnel" in the ongoing effort to restrict hate speakers' appearances on university campuses.

Jewish community representatives working with vice-chancellors say that despite an initially "slow and poor response", higher education bodies have now accepted action must be taken against campus extremism.

At Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, David Cameron said: "We have not done enough to deal with the promotion of extremist Islamism in our country… to deradicalise our universities we have to take a range of further steps."


Holocaust game is cancelled

By Jessica Elgot, December 16, 2010

An Israeli who devised a video game based on a Jewish uprising at Auschwitz has cancelled its launch, saying he is distraught by the negative reaction.

Sonderkommando Revolt, developed by Maxim Genis, is loosely based on the Jewish uprising against the camp guards in October 1944. Its protagonist is a concentration camp prisoner who takes revenge on the guards.

The aim was for the character to assassinate a high-ranking Nazi official who would have supervised the building of a new crematorium.


Glee trousers: the next step

By Katie Taylor, December 16, 2010

One of Britain's leading spinal injury units is poised to buy an Israeli device designed to help paraplegics .

The ReWalk - essentially motorised trousers - was created by Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer, who became paralysed after a car crash in 1997.

Mr Goffer, who has a PhD in electrical and computer engineering, decided to build his own device and later set up a company, Argo Medical Technologies in Yokneam, to sell them.


Foreign Office says no to MIA report

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 16, 2010

The British government is refusing to release documents which could shed light on the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982 because it says sensitive information could harm diplomatic relations with Syria.

On June 11 1982, three Israeli soldiers went missing after a battle with Syrian and Palestinian forces near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub in the last moments of the Lebanon war. Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, all in their 20s at the time, are still officially MIA - missing in action.


Board: Claims group should think again

By Marcus Dysch, December 16, 2010

An investigation into concerns about the Claims Conference, the New York-based body which distributes restitution funds to Holocaust survivors, has recommended that the conference's Goodwill Fund should be reopened for new claims.

An independent report, carried out for the Board of Deputies by barrister Jeffrey Gruder QC, found that the approach of the Conference "increases the sense of grievance felt by heirs and might make claims more, rather than less, probable".


Chief Rabbi: Who will throw their hat into the ring?

December 16, 2010

United Synagogue president Simon Hochhauser's announcement this week that the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, would be retiring after his 65th birthday in September 2013, has set off fevered speculation across the rabbinical world as to who may succeed him.


Shoah teaching will stay

By Jessica Elgot, December 16, 2010

The Holocaust still has a firm place in the national curriculum, according to a report by the UK's envoy on post-Holocaust issues.

Sir Andrew Burns, a former UK ambassador to Israel, has submitted the report on Holocaust education in Britain to the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, which encompasses 27 member states.

He said the report would dispel misconceptions about teaching the Holocaust and presented key challenges and opportunities to improve teaching the period.


Postcode ban by health insurer

By Jessica Elgot, December 16, 2010

One of the country's leading health insurers is refusing to accept new customers who live in some areas with large Jewish populations, for "commercial reasons".

Last week, James Green, 29, a commercial property manager from Hendon, north London, attempted to buy health cover from Simply Health but had both a Golders Green and a Hendon address turned down.

The father of three said: "My family and I are all ill with some kind of flu virus. So I decided to get a quote for private medical insurance. A private broker wanted £120 a month for my family, so I called Simply Health.


The Apprentice: Jamie Lester fired by Lord Sugar

By Jennifer Lipman, December 15, 2010

The final Jewish candidate on this year’s Apprentice has been fired by Lord Sugar with one week to go.

Property developer Jamie Lester became the latest casualty of the boardroom after faltering at the interview stage of the contest.

Lord Sugar told him: “I think you’ve come to the end of the road."

The former Ilford Jewish Primary School pupil was the last of the three candidates fired in the episode but could not save his place despite revealing to Margaret Mountford the “interesting fact” that he has a third nipple.