UK news

'Grossly offensive' website attacked by Jewish leaders

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

A US-based website which lists thousands of Jewish names and aims to “progress” antisemitism has caused outrage among Jewish leaders.

The website, called Uncle Semite, states that its aims are to move the “rhetorical, knee-jerk antisemitism of the past towards a progressive, green ‘uncle-Semitism’, relevant in our time”.


Love graffitti on the JCC wall

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

Messages of love, heartache and abuse have been daubed over a wall in an unusual event held by the Jewish Community Centre for London.

Messages on the Break Up Wall, in West Hampstead, included: “Alan, you remind me of my dad. I couldn’t quite get over it” and “Harri, you ticked every box but you need to get rid of your halitosis.”

Last week, lonely souls gathered at the wall to mark its closing with an evening of singers and storytellers.


Israeli in murder attempt

By Peter Stubley, October 22, 2009

An Israeli live-in carer has been jailed for eight years after she admitted smothering her 87-year-old patient with a plastic bag and a pillow.

Allegra Golan, 51, who moved to the UK from Israel 13 years ago, tried to kill former Iranian Airways managing director Hoshane Tagadad in April.

The Old Bailey heard that she had rung 999 and said she had smothered him, adding: “I hope he’s dead.”


Stacey gives X-friends kosher noshing class

By Robyn Rosen, October 22, 2009

After two heavy nights competing in one of Britain’s most watched television shows, what better way to wind down than enjoying some of Golders Green’s finest products — falafel and shwarma.

X Factor finalists took advice from Jewish contestant Stacey Solomon, 20, and ate at the White House Express in Golders Green Road two nights in a row last weekend.

Ronnie Canzee, whose family owns the White House chain, said: “Stacey was giving them advice on what the best things were to try.


Scandal-hit financier Nicholas Levene in fraud probe

By Leon Symons, October 22, 2009

The firestorm surrounding financier and philanthropist Nicholas Levene intensified this week as allegations emerged concerning business dealings with leading Israeli sports people.

Mr Levene, 45, has been declared bankrupt and had his assets frozen after a number of legal claims against him from investors. He is also being pursued by at least one spread betting firm over gambling debts. It is understood that at the moment around £200 million is missing.


Bevis Marks activists vow to keep fighting

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

Supporters of Rabbi Natan Asmoucha, who has left Bevis Marks Synagogue after nearly three months on suspension, remain determined to take Sephardi leaders to task for their handling of the affair.

A special meeting of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, which had been due yesterday to discuss a motion of no confidence in the mahamad (executive), has been postponed because of the postal strike.


Passenger seriously ill after El Al jet diverts

By Jessica Elgot, October 22, 2009

An El Al flight from Tel Aviv to London had to make an emergency landing in Athens after a passenger suffered a suspected heart attack.

El Al head office confirmed that the 10.15am flight from Tel Aviv to London was diverted to the Greek capital after the passenger became ill.

The passenger was treated onboard the flight by the El Al crew, and was hospitalised in Athens. The passenger is reportedly still in hospital, in a serious condition.

El Al head office denied rumours the passenger had died on board the plane.


Syrian ambassador: 'It's illegal to talk to Israelis'

By Bernard Josephs, October 22, 2009

As a journalist you know you are not going to get anywhere when an ambassador, shepherded by dark-suited aides, refuses to say anything — except that he won’t speak to you.

What seemed to worry Syrian Ambassador to Britain Dr Sami Khiyami was not that I might misquote him, but that I might have Israeli blood coursing through my veins.

Whether he was anxious to follow orders from Damascus is a moot point. But he made it clear that polite, or any sort of conversation, with even the most ordinary of Israeli citizens, was for His Excellency, simply a step too far.


Palestinians barred - but don’t blame Israel

By Leon Symons, October 22, 2009

When two Palestinian academics failed to reach a ground-breaking conference in London on the psychological effects of the Middle East conflict, Israel — for once — was not to blame.

Furious organisers of the conference at Birkbeck College, Sites of Conflict: Psycho-political Resistance in Palestine-Israel, held British consular officials in Jerusalem and Amman responsible for delays spanning six weeks which left the two unable to travel.


BBC uses Charedi picture to illustrate Jews

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

This is the image which the BBC has been using to illustrate how British Jews cope with grief.

The mocked-up picture ran alongside a feature on the corporation’s website giving practical tips on dealing with bereavement and explaining how different religions conduct funerals.

It was used on the page for months, but has now been replaced with a picture of a candle after the JC asked the corporation to explain why the image had been selected.

A BBC spokesman admitted the scale of its website meant mistakes occur but could offer no further explanation of why the image had been used.