UK news

Pinter, a friend who became Israel’s critic

By Bernard Josephs, December 31, 2008

The Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter, whose death at 78 was announced on December 24, was recalled this week as an early friend and supporter of Israel, despite latterly being known as one of the country’s strongest Jewish critics.

The Hackney-born playwright was a founder member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and backed the boycotting of Israeli produce. He was also a sharp critic of George Bush and Tony Blair, branding the Iraq war as a “bandit act” and a war crime.

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Survivors denounce hoax Holocaust book

December 31, 2008

Holocaust survivors have expressed outrage over a book by a former Buchenwald inmate about love and life in the camp which turned out to be more fiction than fact.

One survivor, Ben Helfgott, who spent years in camps with the author, Herman Rosenblat, said the book, Angel At The Fence, provided ammunition to Holocaust deniers.

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Smart move

December 31, 2008

Smarties are kosher once more. They have been off-limits to kosher consumers since the early 1990s when the then makers, Rowntree, informed the Beth Din that red Smarties were coloured with insect-derived cochineal. Now that non-kosher carminic acid has been removed, the London Beth Din says Smarties are now permitted.

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Ahmadinejad Xmas speech has C4 under fire

By Marcus Dysch, December 31, 2008

Channel 4 has defended its invitation to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver its alternative Christmas message.

In his speech, Mr Ahmadinejad claimed society faced a range of moral, political and security crises.

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Can’t pay? Then you will miss Maccabiah

By Marcus Dysch, December 31, 2008

The mother of a 15-year-old girl thrown out of a Maccabi GB basketball team over a financial disagreement, has accused Maccabi of acting “outrageously”. Ofra Azar-Freedman had told Maccabi that she would struggle to meet the £2,750 fee to be paid for each Maccabiah competitor as she is recovering from an emergency operation and has been unable to work.

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Top speakers’ pullout fails to dent Limmud

By Simon Rocker, December 30, 2008

The crisis in Gaza forced the withdrawal of Mark Regev, international media adviser to the Prime Minister of Israel, from the Limmud winter conference which opened at Warwick University near Coventry on Sunday.

Along with Mr Regev, Kadima MK Menachem Ben-Sasson also pulled out at the last minute because of the latest events at home.

Elliott Goldstein, chair of Limmud, said: “Obviously, we are sorry they can’t join us. But we still have nearly 100 presenters at the conference from Israel speaking on a huge range of topics, including the unfolding situation.”

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Bereaved families urge peace at conference

By Simon Rocker, December 30, 2008

A group of Israelis and Palestinians brought their joint call for peace to the Limmud conference.

Ayelet and Zvika Shahak’s daughter Bat-Chen was killed on her 15th birthday on Purim by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv in 1994.

Ali Abu Awwad (also pictured above) and his brother, Khaled, from Beit Ommer in the West Bank, lost their other brother, Yousef, who was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier after an argument broke out at a checkpoint four years ago, leaving two young children.

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Teaching aide loses appeal

December 30, 2008

A former teaching assistant from Salford, convicted of laundering money her husband made from a brothels, has failed in her appeal against conviction. Michelle Barnett of Broughton Park, had insisted she did not know the source of the cash.

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Stevens’ shoes in Shoah show

December 30, 2008

Strictly Come Dancing’s Rachel Stevens has donated a pair of shoes to an exhibition marking Holocaust Memorial Day on January 25.

They will help form a sculpture, reflecting the thousands of shoes abandoned at concentration camps.

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PCC rejects complaint

December 30, 2008

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint that its code of practice was breached by the JC when reporting the conviction of a racist and antisemitic emailer. Maher Khammash targeted the former Chelsea manager Avram Grant, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and the JC.

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