UK news

Boycott is now over say Oxford academics

December 11, 2008

Two Oxford academics who have mounted a legal challenge the University and College Union (UCU), said this week that the union had dropped its proposed boycott of Israeli academics.

But in a statement, the union said “There was never a boycott motion passed at its Congress”. Its general secretary, Sally Hunt, insisted: “We have passed a motion to provide solidarity with the Palestinians, not to boycott Israel or any other country’s academic institutions.” Implementation of the motion “within the law”, she said, “will now fall to the national executive committee (NEC)”.


Queen at Norwood Centre

December 11, 2008

The Pamela Barnett Centre, a new home for adults with profound and multiple disabilities at Norwood’s Ravenswood Village in Berkshire, was due to be opened by the Queen, who is patron of the leading Anglo-Jewish children and family charity, yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.

The Queen was to unveil a plaque in the new building and meet some of the children and adults with disabilities who use Norwood’s services.


Prosor slams carols

December 11, 2008

Ron Prosor, Israeli Ambassador to Britain, has called a carol concert hosted by a central London church “antisemitic”.

Last month’s service at St James’s, Piccadilly, was organised by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG) and featured re-written Christmas songs with anti-Israeli lyrics.

Mr Prosor said he was “appalled” that the church had been “hijacked by hatred” and that the event had undermined Christian-Jewish relations.


Trekkers raise £100k

December 11, 2008

Sixty British walkers have returned from a 120km, five-day Negev trek in which they raised over £100,000 for a charity which runs projects across Israel.

The project director of the charity, One to One, which assists disadvantaged and deprived children, said: “Without the generosity of so many new and seasoned trekkers, we would not be able to continue the work with our children that is so close to my heart.”


Director clashes with Board over ‘censorship’ of Irving film

By Leon Symons, December 11, 2008

Award-winning film-maker Rex Bloomstein has become embroiled in a censorship row with the Board of Deputies over a television documentary featuring convicted Holocaust denier David Irving.

Mr Bloomstein, 66, made the film, An Independent Mind, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was shown on the Channel 4 digital subsidiary More4 on Tuesday night.


Israeli envoy in Guardian row

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

The Guardian has refused to publish a letter from the press counsellor of the Israeli Embassy complaining that the writer of a comment article had not been properly identified as Hamas’ de facto London representative. The newspaper called the Israeli diplomat’s description “highly defamatory”.

On November 21, the Guardian ran a comment piece entitled “End the Siege of Gaza” by the Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi, arguing that Israel, and not Hamas, was to blame for the recent escalation around the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian conditions within.


‘Holocaust musical’ closes after a month

By John Nathan, December 11, 2008

Imagine This, the controversial West End musical set in the Warsaw Ghetto, will close on December 20, just one month after its official opening at the New London Theatre.

Even before preview performances began on November 4, detractors were describing the £5 million show as a “Holocaust musical”.

The play opened on November 19, amid doubts that a new musical with such dark subject matter as the Nazi persecution of Jews in occupied Poland would attract West End audiences in search of escapism.


UK firms plan to up West Bank imports

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

Representatives of British supermarkets and Palestinian export companies are to meet next week in London for talks aimed at enabling large quantities of produce from the West Bank to be sold on UK high streets.

The plan, which is being supported by the Portland Trust, one of the main bodies promoting PA private sector development, and other British Jewish businessmen, aims to create a “food hub” to improve shipping and distribution and help smooth over security problems that disrupt Palestinian exports.


‘Dress down’ or risk being robbed, police tell women

By Marcus Dysch and Jonathan Kalmus, December 11, 2008

A wave of violent crime is hitting Jewish areas in London and Manchester and police in London are warning that shoppers need a heightened awareness, may need to “dress down” and should avoid wearing expensive jewellery and accessories.

In the latest attack in north-west London, two women were beaten and robbed by a gang as they returned home from a shopping trip.

Hannah Kleinfeld and a friend were mugged by two men on the driveway of Mrs Kleinfeld’s home after they got out of her Lexus car.


Congregants flee after man breaks into shul

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 11, 2008

Congregants of a Satmar Chasidic synagogue fled last week after an intruder, dressed in an over-sized winter coat, mounted the platform in front of the Ark and apparently began shouting in a foreign language.

The incident occurred in the midst of an afternoon prayer service at the Satmar Synagogue on Northumberland Street in North Manchester. Fifty worshippers inside scrambled to exits; police arrived on the scene within minutes after receiving a number of panicked phone calls.