UK news

Boycott warning at UCU congress

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2009

Academics heading for their annual congress this week were warned by their leaders that any call for a boycott of Israel would be declared null and void.

Half a dozen motions of varying degrees of hostility towards Israel were tabled for debate on today (Wednesday afternoon) on the first day of the congress of the University and College Union in Bournemouth.

But the union’s executive warned that two of them could bring legal repercussions by targeting Israeli institutions.


Boris queries BNP garden party invitation

By Leon Symons, May 22, 2009

London Mayor Boris Johnson has stepped into the row over British National Party leader Nick Griffin attending one of the Queen’s three Buckingham Palace garden parties in July.

The London Assembly’s 25 members are traditionally invited to one of the parties. Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s London Assembly member, has said he will take Mr Griffin to the party on July 21, the last of the three parties.

Now Mr Johnson has written to LA leader Darren Johnson asking him to persuade Mr Barnbrook to take another or have the invitation taken away.


Max Block helped Iranian Jewish family gain UK asylum

By Keren David, May 21, 2009

Seventy-five years after arriving in England as a refugee from Nazi Germany, Max Block has helped an Iranian Jewish family gain asylum in the UK.

The Sinaei family have been helped by the entire Liverpool Jewish community as they struggled to survive without state aid when their application for asylum was turned down.

They fled Iran after their land was seized, their home demolished and a grandmother’s funeral was disrupted, with security guards destroying the coffin and kicking the corpse.


Board of Deputies: Islam centre arson ‘disgusting’

May 21, 2009

The Board of Deputies has written to leaders of an Islamic centre gutted by fire in a suspected arson attack to express “solidarity and disgust”.

The Islamic Education Centre in Luton was targeted in the early hours of May 5. No one was hurt in the blaze.

It is thought the fire could have been started by far-right activists in revenge for the picketing of troops by Muslim extremists in the town in March.


Andrew Dismore MP a step closer to law on art restitution

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2009

A campaign to change the law which would allow art looted by the Nazis and found in British museums to be returned to the heirs of the original owners has taken a “major step forward”.

Labour’s Hendon MP Andrew Dismore secured an unopposed second reading for his Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill in the House of Commons last Friday.

It will now be considered in detail at committee level and then followed by a report and a final reading.


Board of Deputies: 'Time to link up with Sikhs and Buddhists'

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2009

Jews in Britain should expand interfaith contacts beyond Christians and Muslims to include members of other religions, according to a new report.

While 71 per cent of interfaith events involving Jews included Christians, and 52 per cent Muslims, only 10 per cent involved Hindus and nine per cent Sikhs.

“There is considerable scope to expand the contacts with Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Baha’is and other religions in interfaith activities,” writes Dr Keith Kahn-Harris in Communities in Conversation.


Peace activist Wineman snatches Board presidency in close-run poll

By Simon Rocker, May 21, 2009

A former chairman of British Friends of Peace Now has been elected president of the Board of Deputies for the next three years.

Vivian Wineman, 59, the Board’s senior vice-president, emerged victorious from a record four candidates to succeed Henry Grunwald, who retires at the end of month after a maximum six years in office.


Stabber detained

May 21, 2009

A man who stabbed a Hatzolah ambulance volunteer has been detained indefinitely on mental health grounds. Mohamed Jama Ahmed, 38, attacked Zvi Hammond in Golders Green last April. Mr Hammond suffered life-threatening injuries, including a collapsed lung, but made a full recovery. A second, unidentified, Jewish man was stabbed by unemployed Ahmed on the same evening, and also recovered.


Solly’s fined £17k

May 21, 2009

The owner of leading restaurant Solly’s has been fined almost £17,000 after pleading guilty to fire safety breaches. Linda Sade, of St John’s Wood, London, and her firm, Solly’s Restaurant Limited, admitted nine breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. During a blaze at the Golders Green restaurant in September 2007, firefighters found blocked escape routes and a locked emergency exit.


Wingate award

May 21, 2009

This year's Jewish Quarterly Wingate literary prize for a book of Jewish interest has been awarded to the highly-regarded book The Seventh Well, a Holocaust memoir by Austrian writer Fred Wander, who survived the Auschwitz and Buchenwald camps and who died in 2006. Originally published in Berlin in 1971, the book was translated into English by the poet Michael Hoffman. Publishers Granta collected the £4,000 prize.