UK news

Muslim Council rep will attend Holocaust Memorial

By Martin Bright, January 26, 2010

The Muslim Council of Britain has voted to send a junior representative to the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration on Wednesday.

After attending for the first time in 2008, the MCB resumed its boycott of the event last year.

The Secretary General of the MCB, Dr Mohamed Abdul Bari will not be attending due, according to the organization, to a diary clash. He is at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Nor will his controversial deputy Duad Abdullah or any of the organisation's Assistant Secretary Generals.


David Abraham is new Chief Executive of Channel 4

By Robyn Rosen, January 22, 2010

David Abraham, the chief executive of UKTV, has been appointed as chief executive of Channel 4.

Mr Abraham, 46, replaces Andy Duncan who stepped down in November.

He was a co-founder of ad agency, St Luke’s and previously worked at Discovery Networks USA and UK.

Mr Abraham said: “This is an extremely exciting, if challenging, time to be working in the media. Innovation has been part of Channel 4’s history and it will be at the heart of its future.


Kosher firms face fine after UK Border raid

January 22, 2010

Two kosher food firms could be fined up to £70,000 after the UK Border Agency raided their factory.

Officers arrived at the premises of The Great Food Company and Gilbert Kosher Foods - in Bletchley.

Inside, Agency staff interrogated a total of 56 employees and spent two hours separating those who were legally entitled to work in the UK from those without correct permits.

Seven men were suspected of working illegally, five from The Great Food Company - three of whom were arrested at the scene, and two from Gilbert Kosher Foods.


Brown signs Holocaust memorial book

By Robyn Rosen, January 22, 2010

Gordon Brown has praised the “brave and courageous” 91-year-old Denis Avey, who swapped places with a Jewish prisoner at Auschwitz, as he marked Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Avey, along with Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott and members of the Holocaust Educational Trust, visited Downing Street today as part of the lead-up to HMD on Wednesday.

Mr Brown, watched by his wife Sarah, signed the Holocaust memorial book and spoke to the group, which also included two non-Jewish sixth-form pupils who visited Auschwitz last year, for 45 minutes.


New inquest for Duggan death

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, has given her backing to a new inquest into the suspicious death of Jewish student Jeremiah Duggan after years of campaigning by his family.

Mr Duggan, 22, was found dead on a highway near Wiesbaden, Germany in March 2003, while attending a youth event organised by the far-right LaRouche group.

The German police ruled his death a suicide but a British coroner rejected the verdict in November 2003 after the London Metropolitan Police testified that the LaRouche movement was a “political cult with sinister and dangerous connections”.


Liddle defends his Auschwitz ‘humour’

By Marcus Dysch, January 21, 2010

Journalist Rod Liddle has defended comments he made about Auschwitz in an online forum which contains virulently antisemitic jokes.

Mr Liddle, the former editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, said his remarks needed to be viewed in context and that he had been attempting to show the Nazi death camp has been “rendered politically correct…something much less than it should be”.


'Sorry' for victims of Thalidomide

By Marcus Dysch, January 21, 2010

Two Jewish Thalidomide victims visited Parliament last week to witness the government’s long-awaited apology to those who suffered the consequences of the drug’s use 50 years ago.

Guy Tweedy and Nick Dobrick heard Health Minister Mike O’Brien express “sincere regret and deep sympathy” and confirm a £20 million package, worth around £40,000 each for more than 460 survivors and their families.

Mr O’Brien told the House of Commons the money, to be distributed by the Thalidomide Trust, would be used to meet the health needs of survivors.


Art critic Charles Spencer dies

By Dina Rickman, January 21, 2010

Charles Spencer, the longtime art critic for the JC, has died, aged 89.

Born in London’s East End to Russian and Polish parents, he specialised in Romanian art and edited the journal Art and Artists. Among his books was Memoirs of an Art Critic in Greece.

Mr Spencer also lectured on art at Spiro Ark, the organisation for Jewish cultural education. He spent the last years of his life at Nightingale House, the Jewish home in south London.

Harvey Kaye, Mr Spencer’s nephew, said: “He carried on lecturing and putting on art exhibitions until the end of his life.”


Cash for Israel-UK research

By Leon Symons, January 21, 2010

The government is to increase financial aid for a scheme that has enhanced links between British and Israeli academics.

Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis said that an extra £29,000 will be given to the British Israel Research and Academic Exchange partnership (BIRAX), which was set up as a bulwark against a threatened academic boycott of Israel.

The partnership, now in its second year, has given support to 15 innovative scientific research projects ranging from galaxy clusters to motor neuron degeneration and involving 17 different universities in Britain and Israel.


BBC denies organ blood libel to Evgeny Kissin

By Robyn Rosen, January 21, 2010

The director-general of the BBC has defended its coverage of the conflict in the Middle East after internationally renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin complained about its “bias against Israel”.

Mr Kissin, who was a child prodigy in his native Russia and is now widely recognised as one of the greatest living pianists, accused the BBC’s Persian Service of a “blood libel, concerning Israel’s alleged harvesting of Palestinian organs and blood for future transplant”.