UK news

Goldstone to attend grandson's barmitzvah

By Moira Schneider and Jessica Elgot, April 26, 2010

Judge Richard Goldstone will attend his grandson’s barmitzvah after all, after previously agreeing not to attend the event in South Africa so as not to cause distress or disturbance.

He has agreed to a meeting with the South African Jewish community leaders where they could air their grievances.

Judge Goldstone authored the controversial UN report into Operation Cast Lead, finding both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes. He had agreed not to attend his grandson’s barmitzvah because of possible protests.


Rabbis call for action on Congo

By Simon Rocker, April 23, 2010

More than 50 rabbis including Reform head Rabbi Tony Bayfield and Liberal chief executive Rabbi Danny Rich have called on political leaders to make it an “absolute priority” for the next parliament to act to save war-ravaged Congo.

In a letter published in today’s Guardian, they say that the loss of life had reached nearly five and half million people by 2007 – with 45,000 still dying every month.

“What these shocking figures cannot convey is the scale of ongoing rape, torture and humiliation,” they write.


Tonge quits Palestine Telegraph 'over KKK video'

By Jessica Elgot, April 22, 2010

Baroness Jenny Tonge has withdrawn her patronage of the Palestine Telegraph after the paper posted a video of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke claiming that Israel is a terrorist threat to America.

The LibDem peer has often been attacked for her patronage of the Palestine Telegraph, which has previously linked IDF doctors to organ theft in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.


Jewish organisations team up to fight political racism

By Jessica Elgot, April 22, 2010

More than 50 religious organisations have lent their support to a pledge which asks UK citizens to use their votes to help fight racism and discrimination in politics.

Although the pledge does not specifically name the British National Party as the target, it urges voters to be “aware of the political forces who would seek to divide our country by promoting ideology of racism and prejudice.”

The initiative, organised by the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality and the Three Faiths Forum, has signed up 56 organisations to the pledge.


Lib Dem Lord Wallace: His controversial Q&A in full

April 22, 2010

Q: Melvyn Benjamin, Hendon United Synagogue:


Hackney North and Stoke Newington: Election 2010

By Bernard Josephs, April 22, 2010

Only in Stamford Hill would you see a posse of bearded Hasidim adorned with party political rosettes, their pockets stuffed with election leaflets.

With the general election on the horizon the strictly Orthodox community — the biggest in Europe — is playing a major role.

Part of the Labour-dominated Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency, the “Hill” is reckoned by local figures to be one place where both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats might improve their performances.


Maritime honour for £65m donor

By Robyn Rosen, April 22, 2010

An 84-year-old philanthropist who has donated more than £65million to schools, clubs and projects, including the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade, has celebrated the 10th anniversary of his youth charity in a training vessel named for him.

The TS Jack Petchey made its maiden voyage down the Thames on Thursday, with members of the JLGB and Mr Petchey on board.

The ship takes its name in recognition of the £1million grant donated to the Sea Cadets from the Jack Petchey Foundation, set up by the East End entrepreneur in 1999.


Douglas Murray blasts 'foolish' UJS, who uninvited him

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2010

An anti-extremism campaigner has attacked the Union of Jewish Students and claimed that it bowed to pressure from Islamic students by withdrawing an invitation to him to appear in a panel debate.

Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion think tank, was expected to take part in a UJS-organised discussion on hate speech at the National Union of Students conference in Gateshead last week.

But UJS dropped him after the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) refused to share a platform with him.


Blunkett: Change needed to oust Islamic extremists

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 22, 2010

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has called for a radical change of strategy to oust extremist Islamic groups, and suggested the government's current strategy may have inadvertently supported them.

Speaking at the Board of Deputies on Sunday, Mr Blunkett openly criticised Prevent, the UK's anti-radicalisation strategy, which has spent much of £140m to fund activities of moderate Muslim groups.


Pears Insistute appoints director

By Leon Symons, April 22, 2010

Professor David Feldman has been appointed director of Britain's first academic institute dealing solely with antisemitism.

Prof Feldman, 53, lectures in the School of Social Sciences at Birkbeck College, where the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, set up with a £1.5 million grant from the Pears Foundation, will be based.

Prof Feldman, a Londoner, joined Birkbeck in 1993 as a history lecturer and became a reader in 2000. He has also taught at the University of Michigan, Christ's College, Cambridge and at Bristol University.