UK news

Board to investigate Holocaust Claims Conference

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

A leading barrister has been asked by the Board of Deputies to investigate concerns about the Claims Conference, the New York-based body which distributes restitution funds to Holocaust survivors.

Jeffrey Gruder QC, a commercial litigation specialist and a former deputy for Radlett Synagogue, will advise the Board on whether there are any matters that need to be taken up with the Conference.


Jim Murphy: Stop blaming British Jews for what happens in Israel

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

Jim Murphy has had it with the "you people" argument about British Jews and Israel.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel, could not be more clear about his views on people who say they should be held to account for Israeli actions.

He said: "I find it soul-destroying when I hear folk writing to the papers or calling in on the radio to ask what are British Jews doing about this, what are 'you people' doing about that?


Anger at National Front inclusion in government inquiry

By Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

The Board of Deputies has protested over the participation of the National Front in a government inquiry into racism in schools.

In a letter to the inquiry head Maurice Smith, a former Chief Inspector of Schools, chief executive Jon Benjamin said it was "deeply concerned" to hear he had met representatives of the NF.

Mr Benjamin wrote: "We are at a loss to understand what you hoped to gain by dignifying the National Front with your time and your attention.


Charedim demand Hebrew, not Yiddish, census

By James Martin and Simon Rocker, March 4, 2010

Q: Makht a tsetl fun ale nemen, arayn-gerekhnt aykh aleyn un arayngerekhnt kinder, eyfelekh un lokatorn.
Including yourself, list all the names, including children, babies and lodgers.
Q: Vi kern zikh on di bney-bayes do eyner mitn tsveytn?
How are members of this household related to each other?

After a 110-year absence, the appearance of Yiddish in the 2011 Census has provoked controversy among the strictly Orthodox Stamford Hill community - who would prefer it to be Hebrew.


Gaza activists claim ‘state racism’

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, March 4, 2010

Supporters of pro-Palestinian demonstrators jailed for their roles in violent protests outside the Israeli Embassy say the sentences are a result of "state racism" against Muslims.

At least 22 people have so far been handed jail terms ranging from eight months to two and a half years. More are awaiting sentencing.

Thousands attended demonstrations outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington in January last year. More than 60 were later charged, the majority with public order offences.


'Dr Gore' banned from Lubavitch Purim celebration

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

A wheelchair-bound rabbi's son who is a self proclaimed "biker and punk rocker", said he was "crushed" after he was turned away from a megillah reading at Lubavitch House in Stamford Hill on Saturday night.


Annie Lennox: I was wrong about Israel

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

Singer Annie Lennox has stepped back from comments she made about the Gaza conflict, to conclude that "both sides are right and both sides are wrong".

The Eurythmics star was speaking at the annual Names Not Numbers symposium at Portmeirion, north Wales, organised by media company Editorial Intelligence.

Although she remained critical of Cast Lead, saying "a million people in a confined space in a crowded area pounded from the air was not a good idea", she condemned Hamas rocket attacks on Sderot. She added that was not interested in taking sides and simply wanted to promote peace.


Hate war on campus to be "stamped out"

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

There is now a "virus of extremism" on Britain's university campuses that is at risk of turning into a pandemic, according to the Board of Deputies.

Growing parental concern at the safety of Jewish students at UK universities has led the community leadership to take the unprecedented step of developing an official strategy for combating extremism on campus.

The strategy draws on recent experience of campaigning against extremist Muslim speakers at Manchester and London universities who are known to hold views deeply hostile to Israel.


Gordon Brown: CPS to control war crimes law

By Jessica Elgot, March 4, 2010

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced an imminent change in universal jurisdiction law, as predicted exclusively by the JC last week.


Michael Foot: 'I owe a great debt to Jews'

By Jessica Elgot, March 3, 2010

The former Labour Party leader Michael Foot, who has died aged 96, had a turbulent relationship with British Jews and with Zionism.

Mr Foot told the JC in 1997 that he was “introduced to true Socialism by a wonderful old Jewish landlady in Liverpool.

"She could not quite teach me Yiddish," he confided, "but I learned a great many other things. I owe a great debt to the Jewish people.”