UK news

Europe's biggest Jewish primary school speak to Astronaut in space

By Leon Symons, October 3, 2008

Ten-year-old Claudia Cowen stood nervously in front of the microphone. A disembodied woman's voice filled the room: "This is WH6PN Honolulu calling for a scheduled contact. Do you copy?"

The message was repeated three times more as a packed Michael Sobell Sinai School hall hung on every word. Then, suddenly, through noisy static, came the voice they were waiting to hear - and a bit of history was made.


Tory conference sketch:Two-day Boris steals the show

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

The warmest applause at the Conservative Friends of Israel lunch was reserved for the two members of the Christian Friends of Israel who remained behind to man the stand - while the Jews rushed home to spend Rosh Hashanah with their families.


Gove attacks faith schools ‘persecution’

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

A Shadow Minister has attacked the government's interventions over faith-schools admissions policies, saying that he is "incensed by the way the government's actions have put Jewish schools in the dock".

Michael Gove told the JC at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham that the long experience of Jewish faiths schools should act as a model for schools of other faiths.


Revisionist faces extradition hearing after airport arrest

By Candice Krieger, October 3, 2008

A convicted Holocaust-denier faces a London hearing today to decide whether he will be extradited to Germany to face further allegations of Holocaust denial.

German-born Frederick Toben, 64, was arrested at Heathrow Airport on Wednesday morning after flying in from the United States en route to Dubai. He was detained by the Metropolitan Police's extradition unit under an EU warrant issued by German authorities.


Row over sheikh’s £2.5m LSE donation

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 3, 2008

The Students' Union of the London School of Economics has attacked the LSE's acceptance of a £2.5 million donation which will entail the naming of a new lecture theatre after the late ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Harvard University refused a similar donation in 2004 due to the alleged ties of the Sheikh Zayed Centre to antisemitism and Holocaust denial.

The Centre is understood to have sponsored lectures and publications on Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories.


Miliband issues a New Year message

September 29, 2008

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has issued a special message for the High Holy Days. The wording is unusual: he speaks of "us" in his greeting, giving the clearest indication yet that he identifies with the Jewish community.

"These days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the most sacred in the Jewish calendar. The entire Jewish people takes an honest look at the previous year, tries to make amends for any harm done, and reinforces the bonds of family and community that sit at the heart of its identity.


Foreign office memorial 'omits key names'

By Simon Rocker, September 26, 2008

The Association of Jewish Refugees has decided not to sponsor a Foreign Office memorial to diplomats who saved people from the Nazis - because there is no mention of Jews.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, is due to unveil the plaque at the Foreign Office in a ceremony in November. It will read: "To commemorate those British diplomats who by their personal endeavours helped to rescue victims of Nazi oppression."


Call for minorities to unite

September 26, 2008

An Egyptian political scientist has called for a new coalition of national and religious minorities from the Middle East during a lecture he delivered in London.

Masri Feki, who lives in France, wants to see a new regional framework in the Middle East which recognises national diversity and religious rights.

At a talk at the London Middle Eastern Institute of the School of Oriental and African Studies last week, he rejected "exclusivist" ideologies such as pan-Arabism and pan-Islamism.


Dead mother’s family traced via Pentagon

By Marcus Dysch, September 26, 2008

The children of a pensioner who died with no known next-of-kin have spoken of their surprise after they were traced in the United States - with the help of the Pentagon.

Sylvia Kamen was found dead at her flat in Stamford Hill earlier this month, but with the whereabouts of her family unknown, it was left to the Adath Yisroel Burial Society to give her an Orthodox funeral.


Hostility to Jews and Muslims ‘on rise’ in EU

By Leon Symons, September 26, 2008

Negative views and opinions of Jews and Muslims in several European countries have risen significantly, according to a new report published last week by an independent American think-tank.

The survey, carried out in 24 countries, found that unfavourable views of Jews in Spain had more than doubled in percentage terms in two years, had increased by a third in Russia and Poland, and by a quarter in Germany and France.

The only countries where antisemitic views remained virtually unchanged were Britain and America.