UK news

Ken Livingstone: Board of Deputies lost me election

By Marcus Dysch, March 25, 2010

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone claims the Board of Deputies carried out "a hatchet job" to force him from power.

He believes the organisation collaborated with the Evening Standard newspaper ahead of the 2008 election campaign in order to "get rid" of him.

Mr Livingstone made the comments during an interview on JNET Radio on Sunday.

When asked what he believes the Jewish community's perception of him is, Mr Livingstone immediately replied: "It was a real hatchet job by the Board of Deputies and the Evening Standard who had a common interest in getting rid of me.


Community farms proposed for Jews

By Keren David, March 25, 2010

Community farms, dining and hiking clubs, ways of bringing Jewish neighbours together, a Jewish archive - just some of the notions that came out of a day of brainstorming new ideas for the Jewish community.

The NuMa event, held in King's Cross, London on Sunday, was, according to organiser Kevin Sefton, "the opposite of Dragons' Den. There, all the attention is on the dragons who judge the ideas. This was all about creating and developing ideas."


Jewish charities publish social action manifesto

By Martin Bright, March 25, 2010

A group of prominent Jewish charities committed to social justice and climate change has published a joint manifesto for the forthcoming election.

The Jewish Social Action Forum document urges whichever party wins the election to act on poverty, global conflict and refugee issues as well as the environment.

The manifesto begins with a strong commitment to green issues. "The Jewish religion strongly believes in the notion of stewardship - that the world does not belong to us but that it is our responsibility to protect it for future generations."


Liberal Judaism criticised for boycotter talk

March 25, 2010

The Board of Deputies this week criticised Liberal Judaism for having allowed a meeting at its headquarters featuring a supporter of the boycott against Israel.

Jeff Halper, the director of the Israel Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), spoke at a meeting organised by Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) at the Montagu Centre, Liberal Judaism's central London HQ, on Sunday.


MPs attack Israel over Jerusalem

By Robyn Rosen, March 25, 2010

MPs attacked Israeli settlement policy during an emergency meeting held by Palestinian groups in Parliament.

Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, a veteran foe of Israel, told the meeting, held by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Friends of Al Aqsa: "The Jews running Israel are the most stupid Jews because they do not see the population equation will mean that unless there is a settlement granting Palestinians their own state, Palestinians will wait it out.

"When they outnumber the Israelis there will... be a one-state solution and that will not be Israel."


British leaders at Aipac

By Marcus Dysch, March 25, 2010

A delegation of Britain's Jewish community leaders travelled to the United States this week to take part in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) convention.

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark, Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman and Bicom chief executive Lorna Fitzsimons led the British group.

Other representatives from the JLC, the Board, the Community Security Trust and Union of Jewish Students joined the trip.


Miliband: War crimes law failure is Tories' fault

By Simon Rocker, March 25, 2010

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has blamed the Conservatives for preventing an early change in the law in order to make it more difficult to arrest visiting Israelis.

Although the government published its proposal to amend the law last week, there is no prospect of it being passed before the next election.


Israel must pledge 'never misuse British passports'

By Jessica Elgot, March 25, 2010

Britain has laid down strict conditions for any potential replacement of the Israeli official expelled from London, believed to be the Mossad representative in London.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband accused Israel of forging the British passports used by a hit squad which assassinated Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a luxury hotel in Dubai.

The official sent back to Israel is believed by the Foreign Office to be directly linked to the forgeries.

An Israeli government official confirmed that the expelled diplomat would be replaced in due time.


Foreign Office man wins appeal against race abuse claim

By Leon Symons, March 25, 2010

A senior Foreign Office diplomat has won his appeal against a conviction for racially aggravated harassment.

Rowan Laxton, 48, was exercising in a gymnasium last year when he saw a TV report about Israel’s action in Gaza.

Two men elsewhere in the gym claimed that they heard him shout “f------ Israelis, f------ Jews” at news of the death of a farmer.

They complained to staff and Mr Laxton, who was then head of the Foreign Office's South Asia desk, was arrested and then charged. He was also suspended from his post.


Gordon Brown: Pesach Sameach!

By Jessica Elgot, March 24, 2010

Britain’s expulsion of an Israeli diplomat this week did not prevent Prime Minister Gordon Brown sending the Jewish community a cheerful message of goodwill for Pesach.

Mr Brown sent a personal letter to wish the community “best wishes for a Pesach Sameach”, signed in his trademark black felt tip.

The letter reads: “This Pesach families will gather, just as they have for centuries, to eat around seder tables and read the Haggadah. The story they will tell is of course unique to the Jewish community – but it is one with lessons for us all.