UK news

Minister shares platform with far-right leaders

By Leon Symons, December 17, 2009

A government minister has spoken at the same controversial Palestinian-organised conference which invited an extremist Hungarian far-right leader.

Mike Foster, Minister of State at the Department for International Development, was invited by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) to a conference in London on Wednesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).


Liberal rabbis urge ‘Wear your tallitot’

December 17, 2009

The Liberal Movement is urging Jews to wear their tallitot this
Shabbat in solidarity with Women of the Wall (WOW), following the arrest of a woman who wore a tallit at the kotel.

Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, said: “It is ironic that during the celebration of Chanucah which recalls the example of the few who fought for religious freedom, it is in the very same land — of Israel — that women are forced to fight for their religious rights.


Boycott flyer found in Tesco superstore JCs

By Robyn Rosen, December 17, 2009

A Tesco store has sold copies of the Jewish Chronicle which were tampered with to include a flyer on boycotting Israeli goods.

Copies of the JC at the Tesco Superstore in Colney Hatch earlier this week had a flyer urging readers to take part in a protest outside the Israeli skincare store, Ahava, in Covent Garden.

The boycott has been organised by Boycott Divestment Sanctions’ Boycott Israeli Goods campaign and calls for protesters to meet outside the store on Saturday dressed for a “spa day” in robes and face masks.


University academic refuses apology for threatening emails

By Marcus Dysch, December 17, 2009

A university governor has refused to apologise for sending offensive emails to a leading professor in which he declared “I hope you perish”.

The row between Ben-Gurion University’s British-born donor Michael Gross and Professor David Newman, led 120 BGU academics to write to its chair of governors demanding that Mr Gross should apologise or be sacked.

Mr Gross sent two emails to Prof Newman after the political geography professor, also British-born, appeared on last month’s Channel 4 Dispatches strand, which examined Britain’s pro-Israel lobby.


Travel agent delays payoff for ex-worker

By Leon Symons, December 17, 2009

A north-WEST London travel agency is facing a mounting bill because its owner has not paid a former employee a settlement awarded by an employment tribunal.

Expert Travel in Golders Green, was taken to the tribunal in Watford last year by Karen Darzy, a part-time secretary, for unlawful deduction of earnings and failure to provide written terms of contract. Mrs Darzy worked at Expert from June to December, 2007.

Mrs Darzy, a 37-year-old mother from Hendon, north west London, was awarded £767 by the tribunal. But Expert joint owner Stephanie Lipman did not pay.


Manuscript fragment reveals Jewish 'exorcism'

By Leon Symons, December 17, 2009

A fragment of a manuscript measuring 6in by 5in has lifted the veil over the long-vanished world of Jewish exorcism.

The fragment, containing 150 words of a handwritten Sephardi Hebrew prayer of exorcism from the 18th century, is almost certainly unique, according to the academic who discovered it.

Dr Renate Smithuis is the official cataloguer of Manchester’s John Rylands Library Geniza, a treasure trove of 11,000 manuscript fragments rescued from a 1,000-year-old storeroom at the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Cairo, now held at the University of Manchester.


Anti-Israel attacks spread across web

By Martin Bright, December 17, 2009

Anti-Zionist activists are increasingly turning their attention to a web-based de-legitimisation campaign against Israel rather than high-profile public protests against individual politicians.

The Community Security Trust is particularly concerned about the organisation Redress, which highlights alleged injustice across the Middle East via its website and social networks Facebook and Twitter.


Livni arrest warrant will be last, insists Miliband

By Martin Bright, December 17, 2009

The government has confirmed it will act to prevent Israeli politicians being vulnerable to arrest in Britain.

The move follows a furious reaction from Israel and the British Jewish community at attempts to arrest the Israeli opposition politician Tzipi Livni, who was forced to cancel an appearance at the Jewish National Fund conference she was due to attend last weekend.

Pro-Palestinian lawyers had obtained an arrest warrant for Ms Livni’s involvement in the Israeli war cabinet decision to authorise Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.


Father at centre of JFS row expresses 'relief'

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

The father of the child at the centre of the JFS Supreme Court ruling has spoken of his “relief” at today’s decision.

The father, known as E for legal reasons, appealed to the High Court after his 12-year-old son (Child M) was refused a place at JFS because his mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

Today, JFS lost its appeal over its admissions procedure on the grounds of direct discrimination by a majority of five to four at the Supreme Court.


JFS: Jewish practice test 'lesser of two evils'

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2009

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the movement for Reform Judaism, has hailed today’s Supreme Court decision which ruled that JFS had directly discriminated by refusing a place to a boy whose mother was a non-Orthodox convert.

He said: “We are delighted that the admissions policy of JFS - which actively de-legitimises our converts and our rabbis - has been confirmed as unlawful and unacceptable by the highest court in the land.