UK news

Fury over taxpayer cash for Hizbollah seminar

By Marcus Dysch, April 16, 2009

The government spent more than £20,000 of taxpayers’ money sending civil servants on a course at which Hizbollah’s media relations officer was due to be a keynote speaker. In the event, Ibrahim Moussawi was barred from entering Britain by the Home Office.

Details released to the JC under Freedom of Information legislation reveal that the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development each had five representatives at the Political Islam seminar, held last month at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.


Footballer kicked out in race row

By Danny Caro, April 16, 2009

A Maccabi Premier Division footballer has been kicked out of his club and another player fined following a row over the alleged racial abuse of a player of South American origin.

Montana Boca striker Virgil Levy claims he was called “a Paki” in a row after his side had scored a late winner in their league fixture. He also says he was called “Asian” and was “told that I should not belong in the community or in the league”.

No action was taken by the referee, who has not responded to our requests for an interview.


France honours wartime resistance fighter, 92

By Simon Rocker, April 14, 2009

An Orthodox woman living in Manchester has been awarded one of France’s highest honours for her wartime activities on behalf of the French resistance.

Rose Warfman, 92, a retired nurse and social worker, has become an officer of the Legion of Honour, having previously been made a knight of the order 50 years ago.


Council staff suspended over emails

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

Fourteen council workers have been suspended amid claims that they sent antisemitic emails.

Lancashire County Council took action against the staff on Thursday of last week. An investigation and disciplinary hearings were due to begin on Tuesday. The 14, said to be mostly Muslim, face the sack if found guilty of misconduct.


Muslims back Holocaust website

By Natasha Lehrer, April 14, 2009

A website to educate Muslims about the Shoah has been launched with the aim of countering Holocaust denial in the Arab world.

The Aladdin Project will provide Arabic, Farsi and Turkish speakers with an accurate account of the history of the Holocaust and information on Jewish religion, history and culture.


Board praises medical guidelines

April 14, 2009

The Board of Deputies has “welcomed” draft General Medical Council guidelines clarifying doctors’ responsibilities in respecting patients’ religious beliefs before and after death. Along with the Scottish Council for Jewish Communities, the board’s views are being sought as part of a four-month consultation with minority ethnic and religious groups. A board official said it wanted “to ensure the cultural and halachic concerns of the community are properly understood”.


Wanted: elite youth to train for leadership roles in the diaspora

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

The crème de la crème of young British Jews are being sought for the ultimate leadership programme run by Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry for the communal stars of the future.

Seminars with diplomats and analysts from across the Israeli political spectrum are the backbone of the scheme for those aged between 21 and 36. They will be trained in diplomacy, politics and Jewish organisation leadership skills and spend 12 days in Israel visiting government and judicial institutions.


Therapists' 'Nazi' slur

By James Martin, April 14, 2009

A medical journal has been condemned for publishing an article comparing Israel’s actions in Gaza to Germany under the Nazis.

Therapy Today, the 32,000-circulation house journal of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), ran a 4,000-word article in its March edition titled: “Palestine: to resist is to exist.”

The piece was written by Martin Kemp and Eliana Pinto, two psychotherapists who went on a 10-day trip to the West Bank in November, and gives their views of the effect of the Gaza conflict on the health of the population.


Barclays Bank shareholders’ visa ban revolt

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

Barclays’ sponsorship of a tennis tournament from which Israel’s top woman player was barred will be criticised at the bank’s annual meeting next week.

Some shareholders are angry that the bank continues to lend its name to the Dubai Tennis Championships, following the refusal of the United Arab Emirates to grant a visa to Shahar Peer to compete in the 2009 event in February. The decision prompted the Wall Street Journal Europe to withdraw its sponsorship and the Tennis Channel to cancel coverage.


Sun's out after 28-year wait

By Simon Rocker, April 14, 2009

It threatened to be the dampest of squibs. The gloomy weather forecast had suggested that few British Jews would be able to join in one of Judaism’s rarest rituals — birchat hachamah, the blessing over the sun, which is recited just once every 28 years.

As they contemplated the damp dawn on the eve of Pesach last Wednesday, sun-spotters must have felt like cricketers on the first day of the season, who expect to spend it watching the rain from the pavilion yet hope for a break in the clouds.