UK news

Jewish Book Week talk by anti-Israel author

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

The director of Jewish Book Week has rejected criticism that it should not have given a platform to two leading critics of Israel.

On Sunday afternoon Tariq Ali, left-wing student leader of the 60s and now a writer and broadcaster, will be interviewing Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor and founder of the London Review of Books, whose anti-Israel views have been well-documented.


Miliband to attend Israeli Embassy reception

By Jessica Elgot, February 26, 2010

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband will be the guest of honour at a housewarming reception given by the Israeli Embassy, just weeks after the diplomatic spat between the two countries over the Dubai assassination.

Mr Miliband has accepted the invitation from Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor, despite tensions between Israel and the UK.

Mr Prosor was invited to the Foreign Office to explain Israel’s alleged role in the killing of a Hamas militant in Dubai, where British and other EU passports were used by the assassins.


Orthodox anger at plans to change GMT

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has opposed plans to replace Greenwich Mean Time with all-year summertime, believing it will cause “tremendous hardship” for those observing religiously prescribed prayer times.

Joe Lobenstein, vice president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, has written to Gordon Brown objecting to proposals to shift Britain’s whole time system forward by an hour, known as Single Double Saving Time (SDST).

Campaigners for the change believe that it will boost the tourist trade and reduce traffic accidents.


Conman receives suspended sentence for fraud

By Alex Hill, February 25, 2010

A once respected businessman who lied to suppliers and investigators in a desperate bid to keep his ailing clothing company afloat has received a suspended prison sentence.

Stuart Schlomo Hirt, 56, pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception, making a false statement and forgery, having previously denied the allegations.

St Albans Crown Court heard today (Thursday) that Hirt, from Bushey, Hertfordshire, had built up a successful business after settling in the UK from Israel in 1977.


Man refuses to pay licence in protest of BBC Israel bias

By Leon Symons, February 25, 2010

Jeremy Flashman makes no bones about it: "I hope they send me to prison."

The reason that 45-year-old father of three Mr Flashman is so keen to end up behind bars can be summed up in three letters: BBC.

The telecoms engineer, from Woodford Green in Essex, has become so angered by the BBC and the way it reports Israel that he has refused to pay his television licence.

So when an enforcement officer arrived at his door, Mr Flashman did not hesitate: "I told him I have a television, and I admitted watching it without a licence. He said I would receive a summons within 21 days.


Million Jews aid Mossad says writer on Radio 4

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

The BBC has been criticised after the writer Gordon Thomas claimed on Radio 4 that up to a million Jews around the world are on hold to assist Mossad.

Mr Thomas, author of Gideon's Spies, a widely-challenged book about the Mossad, was interviewed by presenter Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4's PM programme last week about the Dubai assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh last month.

Media reports have claimed that the Israeli intelligence service was behind the hit.


Academic 'copied my thesis' claims student

By Robyn Rosen, February 25, 2010

A senior academic is under investigation for allegedly plagiarising the dissertation of one of his students.

Dr Remco Polman, a 'practitioner psychologist', is facing a conduct and competence hearing at the Health Professionals Council (HPC) next week, over allegations that he plagiarised a dissertation by Jeannette Cohen. He denies the allegations.


Is Harry Potter really Willy the Wizard?

By Dan Goldberg, February 25, 2010

The estate of a bankrupt Jewish author who died in London over a decade ago is at the centre of a "billion dollar" copyright case against JK Rowling.

Adrian Jacobs, a lawyer and accountant who made millions on the stock market before going bust, wrote a children's book in 1987 entitled The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No. 1: Livid Land.

Lawyers for his estate last week added the name of the multi-millionaire Harry Potter author to a lawsuit it filed in the High Court last June - 12 years after Mr Jacobs died in Nightingale House, the south London home for elderly Jews.


JNF sues board member for £700k costs

By Simon Rocker, February 25, 2010

JNF UK could be heading for a new High Court case later this year after suing a former board member for nearly £700,000.

The charity claims that Maurice Sherling (known as Charlie), owes the money to cover the JNF's legal fees in its past dispute with its Israeli associate Keren Kayemet LeIsrael (KKL).

Mr Sherling, managing director of Sherling Steel, Ireland's largest independently owned steel supplier, paid £579,095 towards JNF's legal costs in the UK and Israel, according to papers filed by his lawyers in the High Court.


Amnesty critic stands for role on charity's board

February 25, 2010

A trenchant critic of Amnesty International's policy on Israel, Eric Lee, is standing for its section board in the UK - effectively the organisation's board of governors, which makes its policy.

Mr Lee, founder of the LabourStart website and a long-time trade union organiser, is one of ten candidates for four seats on the Amnesty International UK Section Board.

Each candidate is allowed a 100-word election manifesto, which will be sent to more than 250,000 Amnesty members in the next two weeks.