UK news

The biggest Limmud ever

December 30, 2009

At the biggest Limmud ever, a panel chaired by the Three Faiths Forum’s Stephen Shashoua examined the effects of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza on Muslim-Jewish relations in Britain and how the two minorities could work together to improve relations.

There were also two sessions looking at aspects of the Supreme Court decision on JFS, the second of which was a panel comprising Orthodox and non-Orthodox representatives.


How Jimmy Carter put the wire around Begin

By Leon Symons, December 30, 2009

After Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem to address the Knesset, peace talks between Israel and Egypt became bogged down. President Jimmy Carter stepped in and invited the two leaders to Camp David.

They arrived on September 5, 1978, and, according the National Archive papers, remained behind the barbed wire fences that Mr Begin described later as “a concentration camp de luxe” with no news from outside and, more importantly, no leaks from within.


Revealed: how the Iron Lady barred Whitehall PLO link

By Leon Symons, December 30, 2009

The Palestine Liberation Organisation provoked a spat between newly-elected prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington, according to papers just released by the National Archive.

The papers also show her unswerving commitment to Israel and recognition of its position as the West’s

primary ally in the region, even at such an early stage in her leadership.


Pianist Kissin protests against BBC anti-Israel bias

By Stephen Pollard and Robyn Rosen, December 30, 2009

The Russian-born pianist Evgeny Kissin, who became a British citizen in 2002, has accused the BBC of “slander and bias” against Israel, broadcasting material he describes as “painfully reminiscent of the old Soviet anti-Zionist propaganda”.

Mr Kissin, 38, who until now has not generally been known as politically engaged, has written to the director-general of the BBC, Mark Thompson. According to a close friend of the pianist, he has decided to become “actively involved in exposing and countering the evil propaganda of certain British media and especially the BBC.”


London protests for Gaza bombings anniversary

By Robyn Rosen, December 29, 2009

More than 600 protesters gathered outside the Israeli embassy to mark the year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.

Representatives from 25 organisations, including Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), the Green Party and Neturei Karta demonstrated in High Street Kensington on Sunday.

Politicians, Jeremy Corbyn, Martin Linton and Baroness Jenny Tonge were joined by Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Territories' diplomatic representative to the UK.


Galloway compares Israel to Nazi doctor Mengele

By Jessica Elgot, December 29, 2009

The MP George Galloway has compared Israel to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele who experimented on prisoners and with body parts of concentration camp victims.

In an article in the Scottish Daily Record entitled “Dark Echoes of the Holocaust”, the outspoken Respect MP criticised the lack of press attention given to Israel’s admission of taking unauthorised organs from both Israelis and Palestinians.

He said Israel was “playing mini-Mengele on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”


Mosque defends Saudi invitations

By Simon Rocker, December 24, 2009

Birmingham’s Green Lane Mosque has defended its invitations to two Saudi-based invitations condemned as “antisemitic and anti-sectarian” by another Muslim organisation.

British Muslims for Secular Democracy had called on the mosque to cancel scheduled appearances this weekend by Faisal al-Jassim and Abdul Aziz Al-Sadhan.

The anti-extremist think-tank had also denounced the invitations to the two preachers, publishing extracts from their sermons.


Conservative MP blasts Channel 4

By Robyn Rosen, December 24, 2009

Daniel Kawczynski MP, the chair of the Conservative Arab Network, has complained to Ofcom about Channel 4’s Dispatches programme on the “Israel lobby”, calling it “antisemitic” and “disgraceful”.

The programme, aired last month, caused outrage after it claimed to expose an “Israel lobby” working to buy influence with UK politicians and journalists.

Mr Kawczynski called the programme a “witch hunt” and said it “failed to demonstrate any evidence or facts of substance, relying instead on implication, association and prejudice”.


Amy Winehouse held after panto incident

By Robyn Rosen, December 23, 2009

Amy Winehouse has been arrested in connection with an assault following an incident at a pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre on Saturday.

The 26-year-old Rehab singer was charged today under the name Amy Civil – her ex-husband’s name – with a Section 5 public order offence and common assault.

She attended Milton Keynes police station voluntarily with her legal advisor at 1.15pm this afternoon.

She was formally arrested by officers from Thames Valley Police on suspicion of assault and public order.


Thalidomide victims win cash payout

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

Two Jewish Thalidomide victims have welcomed the success of a long-running campaign which will see the government paying sufferers £20 million in compensation.

Guy Tweedy and Nick Dobrick had called for greater recognition for sufferers for seven years.

The Department of Health has now agreed to spread the payment to the Thalidomide Trust over a three-year period. The charity will share the money between Britain’s 463 surviving Thalidomide victims.