UK news

Students join Blair interfaith project

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

Two Jewish students have been selected to take part in a Tony Blair Faith Foundation leadership programme tackling malaria.

Natasha Steele, from Edgware, and Stanmore-based Zac Newman will join eight other Faiths Act Fellows from Britain on the 10-month scheme.

They will undergo training in Africa and the United States with fellows from Canada and the US, before returning to the UK where they will work in interfaith pairs educating religious communities about the dangers of the disease.

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Cohen of the Cotswolds

April 22, 2009

There are only about 1100 people in the idyllic town of Burford, the “gateway to the Cotswolds.” The influential Forbes magazine counts Burford, a mediaeval centre, as the sixth most perfect place in Europe, only slightly trailing Tuscany, Cephalonia and Rome.

So no-one should be surprised that its mayor could be described as the only Jew in the village. He is David Cohen.

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SNP candidate accused of Islamist agenda

By James Martin, April 22, 2009

A close adviser to Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, has been accused of being an Islamist in a report by the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based counter-extremism think tank.

Osama Saeed was unveiled last Friday as the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) candidate for Glasgow Central at the party’s spring conference.

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Web racists are refused asylum in US

By Leon Symons, April 22, 2009

Two men convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet have been refused asylum in America and will be returned to Britain to serve their sentences.

Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle fled to the United States during a trial at Leeds Crown Court last year. The jury had returned 11 verdicts of guilty out of 18 counts when the men jumped bail, travelled to Ireland and then flew to Los Angeles, where they claimed political asylum. It was the first prosecution of race hate on the internet.

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Woman awarded £64k over Kabbalah pest

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

A female company director who was pestered by her boss to take part in Kabbalah sessions has been awarded more than £64,000 compensation.

Nadine Nassar, 36, was bombarded with suggestive late-night text messages and phone calls by Kabbalah devotee Guy Oppenheim, 55, chief executive of Notz Stucki, one of Europe’s largest asset management firms.

London Central Employment Tribunal heard how the married Mr Oppenheim encouraged her to take part in the classes. She was sacked in April 2008 after dropping out of the sessions and making a formal complaint about his behaviour.

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MRIs for ‘Orthodox post mortems’

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 22, 2009

A major step to enshrine non-invasive post mortems in English law was revealed by Justice Minister Bridget Prentice on Tuesday.

The move could dramatically reduce hundreds of surgical post-mortems carried out annually on Jewish people against their families’ wishes and halachah (Jewish law).

It is understood that an amendment to recommend the use of non-invasive methods may be made to the Coroners and Justice Bill when it is debated in the House of Lords.

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Israel attacks ‘hide antisemitism’

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

The majority of people believe criticism of Israel is often used as a cover for antisemitism, a survey looking at attitudes towards the Holocaust has revealed.

Commissioned by the Holocaust Centre to coincide with Yom Ha’Shoah on Tuesday, the questionnaire investigated how Shoah education influences public perceptions of Jews compared to the effect of media coverage of Israel.

It found that 54 per cent of British residents think that although criticising Israeli government actions is sometimes legitimate, such criticisms are often based in antisemitic beliefs.

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Miliband should boycott Durban, says Grunwald

April 20, 2009

The President of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald, has asked Foreign Secretary David Miliband to pull out of the Durban Review Conference after it was announced that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address the United Nations conference against racism, which began today in Geneva.

Speaking at the end of Sunday’s Yom HaShoah ceremony in Euston, under the auspices of the Board and Yad Vashem UK, he said he had spoken to Mr Miliband on Friday and asked that he refuse to attend:

“As yet I’ve heard no decision,” said Mr Grunwald.

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Scottish TUC set to call for boycott and divestment

By Marcus Dysch, April 17, 2009

The Scottish Trades Union Conference is expected next week to rubber-stamp plans for a boycott of Israel.

Delegates at its annual congress will vote on whether to implement recommendations from a two-year investigation by its general council into alleged Israeli violations of human rights.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) has warned that the proposal for boycott, divestment and sanctions would expose Jews to attack, and has requested an urgent meeting with the organisation.

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BBC upholds bias charge against Bowen

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2009

The BBC has partially upheld complaints of inaccuracy and bias against its Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen in an online article about the Six-Day War. Another complaint over a radio broadcast about an Israeli settlement made by Mr Bowen in January 2008 was also partially upheld.

In respect of the article published on the BBC website in June 2007, the BBC found that the author “should have done more to explain that there were alternative views on the subject which had some weight”.

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