UK news

Government under pressure to make decision on Durban

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009

Britain will wait until the last minute before making a decision about whether or not it will participate in the Durban Review Conference in Geneva (Durban II) next month.

The prediction came from Board of Deputies’ president Henry Grunwald when he briefed deputies on the latest situation at Sunday’s plenary meeting in Oxford.

“I actually think the UK will withdraw but will wait for a while before doing so, so no-one can say they have scuppered this conference,” said Mr Grunwald.


Oxfam official to be shown Sderot

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Tony Bayfield, is to take a senior representative of Oxfam next week to Sderot, the southern Israeli town that has been the prime target of rocket attacks from Gaza.

“We will be going to a school in Sderot,” he told a meeting of the Reform council on Sunday, “and he can see Israeli children who have been physically and psychologically traumatised by the war to understand a bit better that there are two sides to the story.”


Rallies against Israeli scientists fall flat

By Marcus Dysch, March 12, 2009

Anti-Israel protestors have failed to disrupt a series of lectures by academics and scientists promoting the country’s achievements to British students.

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) had called for Thursday’s event, at the Science Museum, in west London, to be cancelled.

But its members were joined outside the museum by less than 50 demonstrators from other groups, including Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG) and students from the adjacent Imperial College.


Acting? It’s a family affair

By James Martin, March 12, 2009

They may look like members of a typical suburban Jewish family, but the all-singing, all-dancing Brooks children are bursting with creative ambition.

Last week Michaela, 13, was strutting down the red carpet (wearing the dress she wore for her Finchley Reform Synagogue batmitzvah) as she joined the stars of new film The Young Victoria at its London premiere.


Easyjet considers Tel Aviv

By Jan Shure, March 12, 2009

Leading low-cost operator Easyjet is in discussions with Israeli tourism authorities about the launch of flights to Tel Aviv later this year.

The JC can confirm that “at least two” senior members of the airline’s commercial team were in Jerusalem last week for discussions with Israeli Tourism Ministry officials about the opening of a route between London -Luton and Ben-Gurion, probably in September.


Tribute to Englishman who put Eilat on map

By Jan Shure, March 12, 2009

Hundreds of people stood in the sunshine last Friday at a special ceremony held to honour David Lewis, the British Jew who helped transform the formerly sleepy southern town of Eilat into the now thriving Israeli resort.

To mark his contribution, the town chose the 60th annual Eilat Day celebrations to name a new walkway the David Lewis Promenade.


UKIP leader attacks ‘trendy’ Israel-hate in EU Parliament

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

There is a “strong bias” against Israel within the European Union and an emergence of “almost a trendy new form of antisemitism” in politics, the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party believes.

Nigel Farage, head of the party’s delegation of nine Euro-MPs, hit out in an interview with the JC at hostility towards the Jewish state.

“There is within the European institutions a very strong anti-Israel bias,” he said. “I would almost say — and I am bit nervous of saying this — there’s almost a new trendy form of antisemitism creeping in…


Israel envoy rides into farce up north

By Marcus Dysch, March 12, 2009

A visit by Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor to Leeds turned into a “fiasco” after proposed receptions and appointments with civic leaders failed to materialise.

The two-day tour this week was intended to improve interfaith and community relations but was hampered by a series of security concerns and rejected requests for meetings.

On Monday afternoon, the Israeli Embassy issued a press statement outlining the ambassador’s “disappointment” at the cancellation of a meeting with Muslim leaders.


'Hitler's bones' sold online by Irving

By Marcus Dysch, March 12, 2009

Convicted Holocaust denier David Irving is running an online auction of Nazi memorabilia, including what he claims is one of Hitler’s bones.

Irving was declared bankrupt in 2002 after failing to pay any of the £150,000 costs awarded against him in a lost libel case against American academic Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books.

It is thought the items will be targeted at the US market, where Nazi collectibles sell for substantial prices.


Smith widens the battle against net hate crime

By Leon Symons, March 12, 2009

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is to examine how antisemitic and other racist crimes can be reported on the internet.

Asked in an interview with the JC why it was still not possible to report hate crime on-line, Ms Smith said: “That is a sensible suggestion. I will look into it.”

Currently, there are only two methods of reporting hate crime on the internet. One is through a website called Truevision set up by a number of police forces, mainly for the lesbian, gay, bi- and transsexual community. The site is currently undergoing reconstruction.