UK news

UCU's 'fig-leaf' Shoah talks

By Leon Symons, December 23, 2009

Anger has greeted the news that the University and College Union, at the forefront of the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel, is holding three seminars on antisemitism next month.

The last of the seminars is set to be held at UCU headquarters on January 27 — Holocaust Memorial Day. All three will be chaired by Tom Hickey, the leading proponent of UCU’s boycott push.


Cocaine rabbi avoids prison term

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 23, 2009

A rabbi convicted of cocaine possession has been ordered to attend narcotics rehabilitation within the Jewish community, avoiding a jail term.

At his trial in November, Rabbi Baruch Chalomish pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of high-quality cocaine after falling into heavy addiction. Last January police raided a city centre apartment in which Rabbi Chalomish was found after what was said to be a five-day long drug binge.


Zionist hit by abuse at SOAS debate

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

The co-vice chairman of the Zionist Federation was subjected to antisemitic abuse after revealing his identity at a university debate on Israel and the Palestinians.

Jonathan Hoffman was asking a question at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) in London. When asked to state his name, there was loud jeering and screams of “Jew”, “not welcome here” and “he’s Jewish”.

He had been raising concerns about the presence of Bongani Masuku at the debate, titled: “Israel, the Palestinians and apartheid: The case for sanctions and boycott”.


Baroness Neuberger defends expenses

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger has defended her expenses claims after it was revealed she had received more than £78,000 for overnight accommodation allowances over five years.

The president of Liberal Judaism lists her main home as a flat in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire; her husband, Anthony, is a professor at Warwick Business School in nearby Coventry.

But Baroness Neuberger has claimed £78,106 over the past five years, at a rate of £174 per night, to cover the cost of staying in a townhouse she owns in Primrose Hill, north London.


Antisemitic graffiti at Colchester University

By Marcus Dysch, Campus Editor, December 23, 2009

A university campus laundrette has been daubed with the words “exterminate Jews” in German.

Law student Kate Douglas spotted the graffiti on a wall at the University of Essex’s campus in Colchester.

Juden ausrotten was scrawled in black marker pen, with the German for “you must die” above it in red pen.

The graffiti was quickly painted over by the university last week.

Ms Douglas said: “This was a phrase used by the Nazis and Hitler himself to call for the extermination of all Jews. I was disgusted and deeply saddened to find it.


Muslims slam hate speakers

By Simon Rocker, December 23, 2009

A Muslim campaign group has called for the withdrawal of an invitation to two Saudi-based preachers it denounced as “antisemitic,” who are due to speak at a Birmingham mosque at the weekend.

Faisal al-Jasem and Abdul Az As-Sadhan are scheduled to appear at the winter conference of the Green Lane Mosque.

But in a letter to the mosque, leaders of British Muslims for Secular Democracy said that they had read about the teachings of the two men “with great alarm”.


Gaza: charities on new offensive

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Sixteen charities, including Oxfam and Amnesty International, have criticised the international community for not doing enough to end the Gaza blockade in a report published a year on from Operation Cast Lead.

The report, Failing Gaza, published this week, claims there has been a “failure” of the international community to do all it can to lift the blockade and calls for “concerted action”.


Our loss, by Brittany Murphy's family

December 22, 2009

The British mother-in-law of Brittany Murphy, the 32-year-old actress who died earlier this week, has spoken exclusively to the JC about her “shock” at the sudden death.

Ms Murphy, the star of Clueless and 8 Mile, was pronounced dead on arrival at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday morning after reportedly collapsing in the shower at her home.

In May 2007, Ms Murphy, whose mother, Sharon, is Ashkenazi, married British Jewish screenwriter Simon Monjack in a small Jewish ceremony in Los Angeles.


Boycott union to hold antisemitism seminars

December 21, 2009

UCU, the academic union at the forefront of the campaign to boycott Israel, has announced that it is to hold three seminars on "the dangers of antisemitism." They are to be held in January and are being timed to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.

All the seminars - to be held at the universities of Brighton, Northumbria, and the union's head office - are to be chaired by Tom Hickey, the leading proponent of the boycott campaign.

Leading members of the community have expressed shock at the news and described the move as "outrageously cynical".


British would ban minarets

December 21, 2009

A new public opinion poll has found that British people would vote to ban minarets, in the wake of the Swiss referendum on the issue.

Last month Swiss citizens voted to ban the construction of minarets in the country's mosques. The move provoked international outrage and, amid allegations of Islamophobia, was attacked by leaders of the Swiss Jewish community.