UK news

Ex-trustee turns on Friends of Hebrew U

By Simon Rocker, May 30, 2008

A disaffected former trustee of the British Friends of the Hebrew University is calling for the Charity Commission to investigate its handling of millions of pounds worth of donor funds.

Geoffrey Simmonds, who resigned three years ago amid disagreements over the way the Friends was run, claims that the charity has been deducting money for management costs which should be going directly to the Jerusalem-based university.

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Battle begins as Nazis drop in for a beer

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

Manchester Jewish leaders have accused a local organisation of breaking a promise by allowing participants in a 1940s weekend to wear Nazi uniforms.

Bolton Street station in Bury, an area with a large Jewish community, was turned by the East Lancashire Railway society into a re-creation of a 1940s war zone at the weekend, with British “Tommies” rubbing shoulders with “Yanks” and “Germans”.

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Union gets legal threat over boycott

By Simon Rocker, May 23, 2008

The University and College Union has been warned of legal repercussions if it passes a motion calling on members to review links with Israel at its congress in Manchester next week.

Lawyers advising the Stop the Boycott Campaign say that the resolution — backed by the union’s own executive — is tantamount to support for boycott action already deemed unlawful.

But Sally Hunt, the union’s general secretary, denied that there was any call for a boycott.

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Baby girl dies in sleep

May 23, 2008

A baby girl from South Tottenham died in her sleep last weekend. The 18-month-old, who had four elder siblings, was the daughter of Volvi Kupferstein, a member of the Belz community, who runs the local Grodzinski bakery. The funeral took place in Enfield on Tuesday.

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BA checked in my bag and gave it back with Nazi graffiti

By Candice Krieger, May 23, 2008

British Airways this week apologised to a passenger whose luggage was daubed with Nazi graffiti apparently while in transit.

Emma Pelta, 29, a member of Loughton Synagogue in Essex, flew from London Gatwick to Orlando, Florida, last December.

But it was not until she arrived at her boyfriend’s home in Florida, she says, that she realised her bags were marked with a large swastika and the initials NF (assumed to stand for National Front).

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Israel parade gets bigger with Miri Ben-Ari

May 23, 2008

Israeli hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ari has been named one of the guest performers at next month’s Salute to Israel Parade in central London.  The event, which will culminate in a rally in Trafalgar Square, has attracted more than 40 participating groups with 19 floats.

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Flight abandoned as passengers see sparks

May 23, 2008

A planeload of passengers flying to Israel from Manchester’s Ringway airport on Tuesday had a lucky escape after sparks were seen coming from one of the Thomsonfly aircraft’s engines.

The incident happened as the jet was making its way to the runway for take-off.

Passengers spotted the sparks and alerted the crew. The captain decided to return the plane to the departure stand and the airport called the fire brigade, whose engines surrounded the plane while passengers were disembarked.

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Meitar may pull £2m gift

May 23, 2008

A UK-based Israeli lawyer, Zvi Meitar, is reportedly considering cancelling £2m worth of donations to Oxford University after it rejected his initial offer of a £1m sculpture he bought from Sir Elton John. Mr Meitar appeared in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List.

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How Fleet Street saw the 60th

May 23, 2008

A new survey of newspaper and radio coverage of Israel’s 60th anniversary of independence has found that The Guardian and The Independent ran the highest number of stories with “negative” comment, while the Daily Telegraph’s comment stories were “half positive and half neutral” towards Israel.

Media-monitoring body Just Journalism analysed 874 editions of 20 publications from January to March this year. It also examined 284 BBC radio broadcasts from the same period.

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Ofcom rejects anti-Zionist's TV complaint

By Simon Rocker, May 23, 2008

Ofcom, the media regulator, has rejected a complaint of unfair treatment against Channel Four by Tony Greenstein, the veteran anti-Zionist campaigner.

Mr Greenstein appeared in a programme made by Richard Littlejohn, the Daily Mail columnist, about rising antisemitism in the UK which was shown last July.

He complained that viewers might have gained the impression that he agreed with the idea that antisemitism was on the increase.

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