UK news

Press TV loses key guests

By Leon Symons, July 9, 2009

Award-winning radio presenter Nick Ferrari has admitted that his decision to join the Iranian state-backed 24-hour television station Press TV “was one of the dimmest career decisions of my life”.

Mr Ferrari was one of a number of British journalists who presented programmes on the channel — until last week, when he quit in protest at the Iranian government’s response to demonstrations against its general election result.

The LBC morning show presenter compered last year’s 60th anniversary tribute to Israel in Trafalgar Square.


Arab peace activist’s play gets UK reading

By Keren David, July 9, 2009

A play about a Palestinian peace campaigner whose daughter was allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers will be performed in London this weekend.

The play reading is being held at the Theatro Technis in Camden, north London, on Sunday, to raise money to bring activist Bassam Aramin and his family to Bradford for a year so that he can study for an MA in Peace Studies.

The Israeli playwright Idan Meir was inspired to write about Mr Aramin when his tutor at university told his class to “search for the voices we don’t want to hear”.


Scottish TUC in ‘Zionist lobby’ row

By Leon Symons, July 9, 2009

A senior figure in the Scottish Trades Union Congress has sparked a row with an attack on a new group that brings together Israeli and Palestinian trade unionists.

STUC assistant general secretary Mary Senior told a meeting of the International Solidarity Movement in Paris that Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (Tulip) “appears to be the creation of the British-led organisation Trade Union Friends of Israel. We must never underestimate the Zionist lobby. And we must be prepared to stand up to their accusations of antisemitism.”


Ecclestone: The week of controversy

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has called off a visit to Germany to talk about the country’s forthcoming Grand Prix, despite having apologised for apparently praising Hitler’s leadership skills in a recent newspaper interview.

However, a Jewish friend of Mr Ecclestone spoke up for him this week. Gordon Hausmann, a solicitor involved with several Jewish charities, said that although Mr Ecclestone’s comments had been “foolish”, there was “no question of him being a supporter of Hitler”.


Fears over closure of Bevis Marks

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

Members of Britain’s oldest synagogue, Bevis Marks in East London, have protested over plans which they fear could be a prelude to its closure as an active place of worship.

Around 70 congregants and supporters attended a meeting on Tuesday to voice concern over Sephardi leaders’ reported plan to remove its rabbi.

A letter from the Mahamad (executive) of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, denying any move to close the 300-year old synagogue, failed to reassure them.


Who is a Jew? The debate rages

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

Angry parents whose children are ineligible for Orthodox schools have spoken out, reigniting the debate over who is a Jew.

David Gryn, son of the late Reform leader, Rabbi Hugo Gryn, described the exclusion of children of Progressive converts from schools as an “evil”.

Another parent, who wished to be known as Karen, said that she was the daughter of a Reform convert and had attended JFS herself, but her son has been denied the chance. She said that such children were being treated “like someone with an infectious disease that no-one wants to go near”.


JFS ruling leaves schools in 'chaos'

By Simon Rocker, July 9, 2009

The Court of Appeal’s ruling that it is unlawful to admit children on the basis of a parent’s Jewish status “has thrown our admissions policy into chaos”, according to Jonathan Arkush, senior Vice-President of the Board of Deputies.

He told a meeting for Jewish schools on Wednesday night that there will be a “flood of admissions appeals”.

With the court order on how the judgment will apply not due out until today, schools have been left in the dark over when they will have to introduce new rules and how those places already allocated for this September will be affected.


Jewish MP claimed £13,000 for 'nanny'

By Jessica Elgot, July 9, 2009

The Shadow Solicitor General, MP Jonathan Djanogly has allegedly claimed more than £13,000 to pay a Polish au pair to look after his children.

Mr Djanogly, the Tory MP for Huntingdon, who is a member of New London Synagogue, claimed the £640 a month to pay the woman, identified only as Miss G, to clean his second home, but later admitted it had been her only source of income and that she did sometimes look after his children, the Daily Telegraph said today.


Soccer boss wins in ‘shyster’ libel

By James Brewster, July 9, 2009

Former Leeds UNITED FC director Mevyn Levi has been awarded £50,000 in libel damages against Ken Bates at London’s High Court. Mr Bates, who has been refused leave to appeal, was also ordered to pay the costs of the nine-day libel case, estimated to be just over £1 million.

Mr Levi, 65, sued Mr Bates, 77, over three articles written by the Leeds United chairman in the club’s match-day programme in 2006 and 2007, and a letter sent to fans in 2007.


Ecclestone cancels Germany trip

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2009

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has called off a visit to Germany this week, after a ‘conversation’ with event organisers, just weeks before the German Grand Prix.

Mr Ecclestone, 78, caused widespread outrage when he praised Hitler’s ability to “get things done” in a weekend interview with The Times, and was forced to apologise publicly.