Robyn Rosen

London university to host imam who called Jews 'enemy'

By Robyn Rosen, January 18, 2011

Queen Mary University’s Islamic Society is to host controversial speaker Abu Usamah, who has called Jewish people the “enemy”.

Abu Usamah, who is an Imam at Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham, will address students on Wednesday in a lecture entitled: “Wives of the Prophet.”

In 2007, footage of him was used in a Channel 4 documentary called Undercover Mosques. He was filmed saying Osama bin Laden is “better than a thousand Tony Blairs” and that non-Muslims are “liars”


John Lewis criticises pro-Palestinian group's Ahava boycott claim

By Robyn Rosen, January 17, 2011

John Lewis has accused an anti-Israel campaign group of sending “false and misleading” information after it published a press release wrongly linking the department store’s withdrawal of an Israeli cosmetics brand with its boycott campaign.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) sent an email to its mailing list on Friday claiming John Lewis was “now refusing to stock” Ahava products.


What was different at LSE this time?

By Robyn Rosen, January 14, 2011

Last night’s debate at LSE could be considered, in more ways that one, a success.

For one, the motion: “This house believes in an academic boycott of Israel” was overwhelmingly defeated after a thorough argument against it by consultant medical oncologist Professor Daniel Hochhauser.

But, after comparing it to the last event held by the student union’s Palestine Society, there are a number of other successes.


One's Jewish, the other isn't - but it works for them

By Robyn Rosen, January 14, 2011

Alexandra Domingue & Adam Payne, married for two years

Since ALexandra Domingue met her husband, Adam Payne, eight years ago, she has studied Judaism, learnt Hebrew, and attended synagogue in an effort to understand his Jewish roots and share his religion. But, as a church-going Presbyterian, there is a line she will not cross.

"Conversion," she says, "it's not for me."


Jewish leader threatened at LSE Israel debate

By Robyn Rosen, January 14, 2011

A senior LSE professor allegedly threatened to “slap” the senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, Jonathan Arkush, following a debate at the university.

The incident occurred after the LSE student union’s Israel Society and Palestine Society held a joint debate last night entitled: “This house believes in an academic boycott of Israel”.


Chris Huhne helps with green push

By Robyn Rosen, January 13, 2011

A campaign to motivate the community into becoming more environmentally conscious is being launched with the backing of Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne.

The Big Green Jewish Campaign is an initiative of the Jewish Social Action Forum, a body of organisations including the Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC) and human rights group RenéCassin.

Organisers have set different themes for the first four years of the campaign, beginning with the Year of the Bagel, focusing on food packaging.


Hackney parking scheme driving residents crazy

By Robyn Rosen, January 13, 2011

The strictly Orthodox Stamford Hill community is warning that suggested parking restrictions will "destroy the social structure of the area".

Hackney Council is consulting residents about a proposed local controlled parking zone (CPZ). During its operational hours, visitors would need to purchase a pay-and-display ticket or face a fine. Residents or employees in the area would have to buy a residential permit, costing £92 for a year, or a £380 business permit.


Charity burial for St John's Wood recluse

By Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

A Jewish funeral has been held for a German refugee whose mysterious story was uncovered by Jewish education charity, British ORT.

The charity was contacted last month by the missing persons' department at Marylebone police station, which was searching for information about Franz Joseph Nebel. His body was found by police in his St John's Wood home in October.

Police had discovered an article in his flat from a German newspaper about a group, known as the Old Boys, who had visited Berlin in 1989.


Channel 4 attacked over 'biased' Mid-East film

By Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

Channel 4 has been criticised for featuring a series of "one-sided" and "distorted" television programmes about Jewish and Muslim relations.

Last week, seven 90-second films entitled Can Jews and Muslims ever find peace? aired as part of the 4Thought series. It is broadcast every day on Channel 4 in the evening and is also covered on the Channel 4's website.

The episodes included clips from Christian student and "friend of Israel" Sam Hailes, Muslim musician Kareem Dennis, and Roberta Moore, head of the English Defence League's Jewish division.


Kelly Brook, Rachel Stevens and Isla Fisher support JCC

By Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

Kelly Brook, Rachel Stevens and Isla Fisher are among more than 40 celebrities who have decorated bras for an online charity auction for the Jewish Community Centre for London and breast cancer charity Cancerkin.

Other contributors include Joanna Lumley, Arlene Phillips, Dannii Minogue, Jo Brand and Esther Rantzen.The bras, donated by Triumph, will also be displayed at an event at London's Comedy Store next month featuring Tracy-Ann Oberman and Ivor Baddiel.


Charities count cost of VAT increase

By Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

Communal leaders have warned that this week's rise in VAT will cost the Jewish charitable sector "hundreds of thousands of pounds".

At south London residential home Nightingale, executive director Leon Smith estimates the VAT increase from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent will mean an extra £35,000 annual outlay.

"Most people don't realise charities have to pay VAT," he said. "They think we're exempt but it's not the case.


Ahava shop demo lead to arrest

By Robyn Rosen, December 29, 2010

An anti-Israel protester was arrested following a demonstration outside the London branch of Israeli cosmetics shop, Ahava.

The 51-year-old man was arrested for allegedly blocking pro-Israel campaigner Richard Millett from filming, but was released without charge.

Mr Millett had been using a hand-held camera to film a Palestine Solidarity Campaign protest outside the Covent Garden shop last Wednesday evening.


Aliyah figures from UK drop

By Robyn Rosen, December 28, 2010

The number of people moving to Israel from Britain has gone down by 11 per cent.

A total of 756 people made aliyah this year, 11 per cent less than 2009, when 853 people moved from Britain.

A spokesman from the Jewish Agency, which released the figures today, said: "One has to look at the bigger picture. You cannot base a trend on one year. It's still a very large number compared with before the 21st century. I wouldn't read into it."

All together, 19,129 people around the world are estimated to move to Israel in 2010, 16 per cent higher than the previous year.


Christina Patterson has gone and done it again

By Robyn Rosen, December 23, 2010

Christina Patterson has gone and done it again.

Not satisfied with her initial rant in July about how rude her Chassidic neighbours in Stamford Hill are towards her, the Independent columnist has once again decided to defend it.

In a nutshell, she’s upset that she’s been listed on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s worst antisemitic slurs of 2010.


No alcohol sold in this Kingdom

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2010

Kosher Kingdom in Golders Green has been unable to sell alcohol for more than a week after it was revealed its alcohol licence had lapsed.

The supermarket, on Golders Green Road, was granted a premises licence in 2005 which authorised the sale of alcohol.

But last week a sign appeared telling customers that alcohol was temporarily not for sale.

A Barnet council spokesman said: "A recent review of businesses in the borough has highlighted that the premises does not currently hold a valid licence.


YouTube reopens hate expose account after speeches mix-up

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2010

The pro-Israel Palestinian Media Watch, has had its YouTube account reopened after the video-sharing website closed it for four days for allegedly propagating hate speech.

The account, which posts videos of hate preachers and anti-Israel terrorists to expose them, was closed last Thursday for "violating terms of use".

YouTube specified the posting of six videos, including those of Hamas
suicide terrorists.

Itamar Marcus, director of PMW, said: "The material we post on YouTube is to expose the hatred in Palestinian and Hamas media.


BNP claims victory over constitution

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2010

Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right British National Party, has claimed a "David and Goliath victory" after the High Court threw out claims that he did not comply with a court order to remove "discriminatory" clauses in the party's constitution.

The decision appears to be the end of an 18-month battle between the BNP and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In June 2009 the commission contacted the BNP claiming that its constitution, which restricted membership to a particular "ethnic group" and those whose skin colour was white, was against the1976 Race Relations Act.


Tillman calls for delay to VAT rise

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2010

Harold Tillman, the chairman of the British Fashion Council, has urged the Government to delay VAT rises.

Mr Tillman, a member of St John’s Wood Synagogue, is calling for January’s planned VAT rise to 20 per cent to be postponed for 30 days to help consumers who have been prevented from shopping because of this month’s snow.

Mr Tillman, who owns clothing brands Jaeger and Aquascutum and was appointed a CBE for his services to fashion earlier this year, told Sky News: “I think that would allow people that were going to shop, that want to shop, to do so in January.


Full extent of LSE Atwan fury is finally revealed on video

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2010

The journalist Abdel Bari Atwan has been accused of "cowardly, bullying tactics" and breaching policy on antisemitism after a recording of his speech to students at the London School of Economics was made public.

The lecture, held by the student union's Palestine Society at LSE last week, descended into chaos after 30 Jewish students walked out in protest.

The visual and audio quality of the recording, taken by the Palestine Society, is poor and repeatedly skips sections. It was only made publicly available on Sunday, six days after the lecture.


Hale girl bags top award

By Robyn Rosen, December 16, 2010

A Hale 11-year-old has won a Jewish Children of the Year award for collating a celebrity joke book which raised £1,500 for charity.

Amy Jo Brownson took the personal achievement award at Sunday's ceremony in north London, having persuaded 59 personalities to offer jokes to Laugh Your Socks Off. Gordon Brown, Daniel Radcliffe and the Chief Rabbi were among the contributors.

Money raised went to her former school, North Cheshire Jewish Primary, and Sport Relief.