UK news

The Union's resolution in full

By Shelly Paz, May 30, 2008

The Union’s Resolution in full

The UCU motion:

No 25: Palestine and the occupation (composite motion proposed by the University of Brighton, Eastbourne; University of Brighton, Grand Parade; University of East London Docklands; National Executive Committee)



Boycotters win new motion

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

The next time an Israeli academic answers the phone and hears an English voice, there may be a different type of lecture in store.

“What are you doing to help Palestinian academics and universities? What action have you taken to protest about the occupation of Palestinian land? Have you served in the Israel Defence Force?”


Anti-Israel views on the fringe

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 30, 2008

UCU academics called for a boycott of Israel’s universities at an unofficial fringe meeting on Tuesday despite the union’s official rejection of an outright boycott.

The meeting, held by pro-boycott group BRICUP on the eve of the UCU congress, saw Israeli-born academic Professor Haim Bresheeth and Birmingham University’s Kamel Hawwash state the case for cutting ties with Israeli universities whose academics are “complicit in the occupation of Palestinians”.


Press ‘drank Avram’s blood’, claims wife

By Simon Griver, May 30, 2008

Football boss Avram Grant was back in Israel this week contemplating his future as his family claimed a race-hate campaign cost him his job at Chelsea.

His father, Meir Granat, blamed the club’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich for caving in to external pressures to get rid of him. “Abramovich was probably influenced by the antisemites and could not stand the pressure of the negativity against Avram,” he said.


The online yeshivah

By Marcus Freed, May 30, 2008

The Torah is going from out of Zion further and faster than ever via the world’s first fully interactive online yeshivah.

Having just entered its second semester, the Web Yeshiva enables students to join a live online shiur (Torah lesson), interacting with the teacher and fellow pupils through webcams. Advanced conferencing technology allows them to see the study texts on one part of the screen.


MPs slam universities over race-hate

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

Antisemitism on campus and the internet were the main targets during a debate on antisemitism in the main chamber of the House of Commons last week.

MPs from all sides of the House took the chance to express their views and comment on the government’s performance in acting on the recommendations of the Parliamentary All-Party Antisemitism report.

An international conference on antisemitism, supported by the Foreign Office, is to be held in London in February next year.


UK says it is ready to pull out of ‘Durban II’ conference

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

Britain would pull out of the so-called “Durban II” conference on racism if it descends into another round of attacks on Israel and thinly veiled antisemitism.

Europe Minister Jim Murphy told MPs that while Britain would continue to work towards making the conference a success, he promised that a repeat of the blatant bias of the conference in 2001 would not be tolerated.

The first conference — the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Tolerance, to give its official title — was held in Durban in 2001.


Rabbi speaks on abortion

May 23, 2008

The Reform movement’s Rabbi Jonathan Romain spoke against lowering the abortion limit from 24 weeks at a breakfast briefing for MPs ahead of this week’s vote.

Attempts to reduce the limit to 20 or 22 weeks were decisively defeated in the House of Commons on Tuesday night.


Lawyers help student avoid Shabbat exams

By Simon Rocker, May 23, 2008

A student has been allowed to take one of his final exam papers a day early to avoid sitting it on Shabbat, after lawyers intervened with his university.

Hertfordshire University had initially refused Joel Raivid, 21, a BSc psychology student from Edgware, Middlesex, permission to sit the exam on the Friday before its scheduled Saturday slot.

He was told he would have to wait until several weeks later and take it in the re-sit period in late June or early July.


Councils block security funds for schools

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

An MP who has taken a leading role in fighting antisemitism is preparing to confront 14 local authorities which have baulked at committing themselves to fund new security projects at Jewish schools in their areas.

The government gave the councils the go-ahead last October to allocate money to such projects from a £21 billion, three-year education budget.