UK news

I went from YouTube to Vegas… via Tom Jones

August 12, 2010

Singer Sophie Hiller's career hit the big time this week, as she performed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as Sir Tom Jones's warm-up act.

The 20-year-old, from East Barnet, north London, was invited to audition for the job after a producer of the Welsh singer's show saw a clip of her on YouTube.

She describes her style as "jazzy, souly and funky with a modern twist".

But Sophie's two-week stint in the entertainment capital is not all hard work.

On Monday she wrote on Twitter: "Just laying by the pool bronzing myself. All in a day's work, eh?"


Tributes pour in after death of Tony Judt

By Jessica Elgot, August 12, 2010

Tributes have been paid to the British historian Tony Judt who has died aged 62.

The academic and outspoken critic of Israel suffered from motor neurone disease, which left him paralysed from the neck down.

Rabbi David Goldberg, former Rabbi of the Liberal Jewish synagogue, said: "Tony was a charming man, he could seduce with words. We had many disagreements, but he had a brilliant mind. He had so much more to give."

Guardian and JC columnist Jonathan Freedland wrote: "He was a formidable intellect and shrewd observer. His severe illness did not dim his warmth or generosity."


Bid to ban Gaza kids tour from schools

By Leon Symons, August 12, 2010

Community leaders are battling to stop an exhibition of paintings by children from Gaza being shown in schools in the North of England.

Campaigners say they have no objection to the paintings, but have reacted with anger at a series of talks given to accompany them.

Property developer Rod Cox, 62, masterminded the exhibition after visiting Gaza where children gave him paintings depicting their view of life there. Some show scenes of devastation.


£7m debt but Wrapit boss 'not responsible'

By Marcus Dysch, August 12, 2010

The former boss of an online wedding gift company which went into administration with debts of £7 million maintains she was not responsible for the firm's collapse, despite being disqualified from acting as a company director.

Wrapit retail director Pepita Diamand said "hand on Torah" she had acted with the best intentions. Hundreds of Jewish couples were left without presents and their guests without refunds after Wrapit folded two years ago.


JNF chaos as chief departs

By Simon Rocker, August 12, 2010

JNF UK has parted company with its new chief executive after just a few months in office, the second head to go in two years.

Elliot Conway, who joined after a lengthy search by the charity for a chief executive following the acrimonious departure of his predecessor, left on Wednesday.

The JC has also learned that a senior employee, Hilary Cane, who runs JNF's multi-million pound charity voucher scheme, has been suspended.


Charges dropped on Ahava anti-Israel activists

By Robyn Rosen, August 12, 2010

A group of activists who chained themselves inside the London branch of Israeli cosmetics shop Ahava have been acquitted after the prosecution’s key witness did not show up to court.

Bruce Levy, 46, from Greenwich, Jo Crouch, 29, from Haringey, Tom Ellis, 30, and Taherali Gulamhussein, 24, both from Hackney, were charged with aggravated trespass and failing to comply with a police officer’s orders to leave the shop after they locked themselves to concrete-filled oil drums inside the Monmouth Street store on two separate occasions last year.


BNP legal officer quits over 'conscience'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 11, 2010

The BNP’s senior legal advisor, has resigned because he said the far right party “cannot be trusted with political power”.

Lee Barnes, who has described the JC as "a front group for the Zionist Nazis", was once considered a close ally of party leader Nick Griffin.


Sacha Baron Cohen did not steal 'Bruno' joke

By Jennifer Lipman, August 10, 2010

A judge has dismissed a copyright case against British Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.

In March, a writer called John Musero sued Mr Baron Cohen over a scene in the 2009 fashion spoof Bruno, featuring a Velcro-suited man.

Mr Musero claimed the idea for the outfit appeared in a script entitled “Himbos” that he had unsuccessfully pitched to the Bruno producers before Mr Baron Cohen’s film was released.

But a California federal judge decided that there was no evidence of plagiarism.


Tony Judt dies at 62

By Jennifer Lipman, August 9, 2010

The British Jewish historian Tony Judt has died at the age of 62.

Known for his controversial views on Israel and Zionism, the academic was a sufferer of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of motor neurone disease which left him wheelchair-bound, paralysed from the neck down.


Galloway wants film to show real Ahmadinejad

By Jennifer Lipman, August 6, 2010

Former Respect MP George Galloway has interviewed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to show the “moderate” side of the Iranian president.

Mr Galloway, who visited Iran this week for a conference, has filmed the piece for Iran’s state-backed news channel Press TV.

The veteran pro-Palestinian campaigner, who failed in a re-election bid in Poplar and Limehouse in May, previously spoke of his intention to become the “Michael Moore” of anti-Israel filmmaking.

He said he was planning to make a film about the Palestinian conflict.