UK news

Rahm to the alter?

By Simon Round, March 19, 2009

Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s chief of staff is no Christian evangelist — his father was born in Jerusalem and Emanuel himself is a member of an Orthodox synagogue.

So Emanuel would have been surprised to see a quotation from himself, with his name attached, printed on the message board outside a church in Manhattan, facing the street for passers-by to contemplate.

“Never waste a crisis,” proclaimed the sign. “It can be turned to joyful transformation

Amen to that, (as his rabbi might have said).


Football arrest

March 19, 2009

A man has been arrested in connection with an alleged antisemitic incident at a Premier League football match.

Lawyer Stefano Lucatello, 47, was questioned by police in Hull, East Yorkshire, on suspicion of causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm and distress. It is alleged he called a fan “Jew boy” during Hull City’s game with West Bromwich Albion at the KC Stadium on January 31. Mr Lucatello was released on police bail until a date in April.


Racist incidents to be logged by schools

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009

Schools are to be consulted by the Government later this year about recording antisemitic and other racist incidents.

Schools Minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry said in a reply to a parliamentary question on the intimidation of Jewish children in schools that such a requirement may be brought in as part of a new legal duty for schools to record every incident of bullying. An informal consultation is due to start in May, with the new anti-bullying measures to be introduced by the end of this year.


BBC rejects plan to broadcast radio version of Seven Jewish Children

By James Martin, March 19, 2009

The BBC has denied that it declined to broadcast a radio version of the controversial play Seven Jewish Children because of concerns about impartiality.

A story in the Guardian reported BBC Radio 4 drama commissioning editor Jeremy Howe as saying that despite regarding the play as “brilliant”, it had been shelved on the grounds that it could compromise editorial impartiality.

The report went on to say that the BBC had refused to broadcast the play by Caryl Churchill because it needed to remain impartial.


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.