UK news

Amnesty U-turn over Gaza weapons

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2009

Amnesty International has admitted it has no proof that British weapons were used by the Israeli army during the Gaza conflict.

The human rights organisation had last month accused the UK government of “aiding Israeli war crimes”, and called for a UN arms embargo.

But on Wednesday, Oliver Sprague, the charity’s arms programme director, appeared in front of a parliamentary select committee session on arms export controls.


Worcester scraps Gaza twinning plan

By Marcus Dysch, March 10, 2009

Plans to twin the cities of Worcester and Gaza have been scrapped.

Worcester City councillors had approved a sister-city motion last month, saying residents felt strongly about January’s conflict and wanted to send a “personal message” of support.

But at a meeting on Monday, Worcester Twinning Association, an independent body which makes the final decision, rejected the proposal.

Its executive committee said there were insufficient resources to take on the “complex arrangements” needed to set up a “meaningful relationship” or active link.


Hate-group MP acts to close website

By Leon Symons, March 5, 2009

Swift action by an MP has closed down a website containing virulently antisemitic material.

The website,, was closed by BT last Friday after Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, told the telecoms company about its offensive content.

Run by a man called Tim Johnson, it contained articles such as “To call Jesus a Jew is blasphemy”, “Jews are followers of Satan” and contained references to the notorious forgery “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”.


Baby inquest date set

March 5, 2009

A new date has been set for an inquest into the death of a baby boy who stopped breathing after his brit milah (circumcision) in February 2007.
A coroner’s inquest into the death of Amitai Moshe, whose parents lived in Golders Green, north west London, will now be held on September 7.
The baby died eight days after the brit milah.


Labour party ejects jailed peer

March 5, 2009

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, jailed last week for dangerous driving, has been expelled from the Labour Party. A party spokesman said: “Under the party’s rules, any member who receives a custodial sentence is subject to automatic exclusion”. He is able to reapply to the party after a fixed period of time. Last month he claimed British Jewish students had been recruited to join the Israeli army and should be prosecuted for war crimes.


FO man suspended

March 5, 2009

Rowan laxton, who allegedly made antisemitic remarks after watching TV reports of Israel’s operation in Gaza has been suspended by the Foreign Office, a spokesman confirmed this week. Laxton was arrested after the incident.


BBC miss out World at War genocide episode

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

The BBC dropped from its schedule this week an episode of classic documentary series The World at War which focuses on the Holocaust and concentration camps.

The 1970s series, produced by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, is currently being repeated on weekday afternoons on BBC Two.

On Monday, the 19th of 26 episodes was shown, featuring the Battle of the Bulge and Arnhem.

But Tuesday’s episode was number 21, focusing on the final invasion of Germany.

The missing episode, Genocide, looks at Nazi policy between 1941 and the end of the war.


Anti-Israel daubings found near Belfast

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

Anti-Israel graffiti was daubed on a centre used by a messianic Jewish community in response to the Gaza conflict.

“Zionist killers of Palestinian children” and other offensive phrases were painted on the council-run building in Donaghadee, County Down, east of Belfast, where the Shalom Messianic Congregation meets twice a month.

The community was set up in May 2007 and has not previously been the target of an attack.


Twinning the war

By Marcus Dysch, March 5, 2009

An online property listings company claims it is preparing to advertise holiday homes — in Gaza. swung into action after councillors in Worcester backed plans to twin the city with the war-ravaged area.

Lee Bramzell said his company would soon be offering “desirable properties in the Israeli city” and expected “plenty of interest in the alternative destination”.


Developer loses appeal over four metres of land

By Simon Rocker, March 5, 2009

A property developer and his son have lost their appeal in an action that centred on a piece of land less than four metres wide.

Lord Justice Mummery told the Court of Appeal that the legal costs of the dispute between two London Sephardi families — Freddy Ezekiel and his son Mark, and brothers David and Haim Kohali — had “probably topped” the price of the original land deal.

In September 1999, the Ezekiels agreed to buy two plots of land from the Kohalis in Hendon, North-West London, for £300,000.