Martin Bright

Cameron criticised for Europe nationalist links

By Martin Bright, April 15, 2010

Conservative leader David Cameron has come under fire from a senior European politician over his alliance with "exotic" ultra-nationalist parties in the European Parliament.

The Spanish secretary-general of the European People's Party (EPP), Antonio López-Istúriz, has predicted that the European Conservative and Reformists (ERC), the recently-formed Eurosceptic group, could collapse, allowing Tory MEPs to rejoin the mainstream EPP.

More..



Devon, a Tank Collection and a Grim Memento of the Camps

By Martin Bright, April 15, 2010

Deep in the North Devon countryside, just outside Barnstaple, you can find a very eccentric collection of military vehicles. The Cobbaton Combat Collection is one man's obsession: tanks and armoured vehicles from various wars, uniforms, weaponry. All very Boy's Own.
I visited last weekend out of curiosity and stumbled upon a corner of the collection dedicated to Holocaust memorabilia - respectfully done I hasten to add. There were some of the famous photographs of the liberation of Belsen, a yellow star, but the star exhibit was a hand-carved wooden head of a camp guard.

More..

How the Jewish vote could swing it

By Martin Bright, April 8, 2010

Such is the peculiar nature of our electoral system that if you happen to live in one of the UK's marginal constituencies, the fate of the nation lies in your hands.

With the 6th May ballot predicted to be one of the closest in living memory, small shifts in the voting pattern in a number of key seats will mean the difference between a workable majority for the two main parties - or a hung Parliament.

More..

Muslims vow to unseat Zionists

By Martin Bright, April 8, 2010

The Muslim organisation that claimed responsibility for unseating "pro-war, pro-Israel" Labour MP Lorna Fitzsimons from her Rochdale constituency at the last election has launched its campaign for the 2010 election.

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which has an openly anti-Zionist agenda, has said it will target MPs and candidates known to support Israel and those they have identified as "Islamophobic". It claims that 82 constituencies now have a Muslim population larger than the incumbent's majority.

More..

Labour asked to withdraw anti-Zionist MPs

By Martin Bright, April 8, 2010

The Board of Deputies has asked the Labour Party to consider whether two anti-Zionist MPs should be withdrawn as candidates following comments warning voters about the alleged influence of the "Israel lobby" on the UK election.

The unprecedented intervention from the Board follows comments from Martin Linton and Sir Gerald Kaufman last month at a meeting in Parliament held by Friends of Al-Aqsa to discuss Israeli house demolitions.

More..

Linton apologises for ' Israel's tentacles' speech

By Martin Bright, April 2, 2010

One of the Labour Party’s most prominent pro-Palestinian
campaigners has apologised for comments he made in Parliament last month
warning voters of the “long tentacles of Israel” seeking to influence the
forthcoming UK election.

Martin Linton, Labour MP for Battersea, founded Labour
Friends of Palestine and serves as its chair. He said he was sorry for any
offence caused, but was not aware of the anti-Semitic precedents of the image
of a Jewish octopus.

More..

MP: Israel's tentacles will steal the election

By Martin Bright and Robyn Rosen, March 29, 2010

The election campaign took a distinctly unpleasant turn last week as pro-Palestinian MPs suggested the “Israel lobby” would play a behind-the-scenes role in key constituencies.

Martin Linton, chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, told a meeting at the House of Commons held by the Palestine Solidarity

Campaign and Friends of al-Aqsa: “There are long tentacles of Israel in this country who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British political system for their own ends.

More..

Jewish charities publish social action manifesto

By Martin Bright, March 25, 2010

A group of prominent Jewish charities committed to social justice and climate change has published a joint manifesto for the forthcoming election.

The Jewish Social Action Forum document urges whichever party wins the election to act on poverty, global conflict and refugee issues as well as the environment.

The manifesto begins with a strong commitment to green issues. "The Jewish religion strongly believes in the notion of stewardship - that the world does not belong to us but that it is our responsibility to protect it for future generations."

More..

Analysis: Israel left UK and US with no choice

By Martin Bright, March 25, 2010

On Tuesday evening, David Miliband made a point of honouring an invitation to attend a fundraiser for two prominent Jewish parliamentary candidates who make no secret of their support for Israel.
On the very day he had made a statement in Parliament condemning the cloning of British passports, he could have been forgiven for excusing himself from an event for Luciana Berger, the former director of Labour Friends of Israel, and Ruth Smeeth from the CST.

Earlier in the day, Mr Miliband had failed to attend an event to celebrate the renovation of the Israeli Embassy.

More..

Special Report: The decline of Scotland's Jews

By Martin Bright, March 18, 2010

The Scottish government has committed itself to investigating the steep decline in numbers within the Jewish community amid growing concerns about antisemitism north of the border.

Although there were 18,000 Jews in Scotland in the 1950s, there are now only around 10,000.

The move follows a meeting this month between the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) and the Scottish government's head of community safety, Richard Foggo.

More..

Analysis: You've betrayed the Jewish community, Jack Straw

By Martin Bright, March 11, 2010

The time has now come to tell the full story of how the government betrayed the Jewish community over "universal jurisdiction". In more than a decade of covering UK politics, I have never known a story quite like this.

It is now three months since David Miliband and Gordon Brown pledged to change the law that allowed an arrest warrant to be issued for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

More..

David Cameron: I will banish extremists from Britain

By Martin Bright, March 11, 2010

A Conservative government would ban extremist Islamist groups, refuse visas to hate preachers and insist that universities identify and root out radicals promoting violence, antisemitism and other racial intolerance on campus.

More..

Labour writer warns UK Left about Hamas

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

One of the Labour Party's key intellectuals has warned the Left not to make the mistake of considering Hamas a traditional resistance movement.

Writing in a series of essays, Handling Hamas, published by Labour Friends of Israel, Professor Brian Brivati of Kingston University says: "All too often Hamas is compared, by elements of the British Left in particular, to the IRA, the South African ANC or even the Palestinian Fatah movement and, inevitably, from these comparisons comes a call for diplomatic engagement."

More..

Jim Murphy: Stop blaming British Jews for what happens in Israel

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

Jim Murphy has had it with the "you people" argument about British Jews and Israel.

The Secretary of State for Scotland, a former chair of Labour Friends of Israel, could not be more clear about his views on people who say they should be held to account for Israeli actions.

He said: "I find it soul-destroying when I hear folk writing to the papers or calling in on the radio to ask what are British Jews doing about this, what are 'you people' doing about that?

More..

Annie Lennox: I was wrong about Israel

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

Singer Annie Lennox has stepped back from comments she made about the Gaza conflict, to conclude that "both sides are right and both sides are wrong".

The Eurythmics star was speaking at the annual Names Not Numbers symposium at Portmeirion, north Wales, organised by media company Editorial Intelligence.

Although she remained critical of Cast Lead, saying "a million people in a confined space in a crowded area pounded from the air was not a good idea", she condemned Hamas rocket attacks on Sderot. She added that was not interested in taking sides and simply wanted to promote peace.

More..

Hate war on campus to be "stamped out"

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

There is now a "virus of extremism" on Britain's university campuses that is at risk of turning into a pandemic, according to the Board of Deputies.

Growing parental concern at the safety of Jewish students at UK universities has led the community leadership to take the unprecedented step of developing an official strategy for combating extremism on campus.

The strategy draws on recent experience of campaigning against extremist Muslim speakers at Manchester and London universities who are known to hold views deeply hostile to Israel.

More..

Britain now nerve centre for Hamas support

By Martin Bright, February 25, 2010

The full extent of the Hamas political and propaganda operation in Britain has been revealed in a shocking new report into the Palestinian terror organisation's supporters in this country.

According to the Israel-based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, Britain has become a hub for Hamas activities in Europe, including virulently antisemitic propaganda aimed at children.

The report identifies Britain as a vital strategic centre for the terror group and names key Hamas activists in this country.

Many of them cannot be named for legal reasons.

More..

Brown: I'll change war crime arrest law

By Martin Bright, February 25, 2010

Gordon Brown has personally intervened to unblock the logjam over a change in the law that allows local magistrates to issue arrest warrants for visiting foreign politicians accused of war crimes.

The JC understands the Prime Minister is determined to press ahead with the law change before the election.

Last December, Foreign Secretary David Miliband promised to amend legislation after a warrant was issued for former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni over her role in planning Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

More..

Dubai: Hit or miss?

By Martin Bright, February 18, 2010

In 1987 the then Conservative Foreign Office Minister Timothy Renton protested "in the strongest possible terms" to the Israeli ambassador about newspaper reports that forged British passports were being used by Mossad hit men targeting opponents abroad.

As the JC reported at the time, an apology was eventually issued by the Israeli government which assured Britain that it would take steps to avoid it happening again.

More..

Tories tell Livni: we’ll change 'arrest' law

By Martin Bright, February 18, 2010

Senior Conservatives have assured opposition leader Tzipi Livni that a Tory government would change the law that allows magistrates to issue arrest warrants for foreign politicians accused of war crimes.

Shadow business secretary Ken Clarke and shadow attorney general Edward Garnier met her in Israel as part of a party charm offensive.

More..