Leon Symons

Germany seeks to bring wartime killer to justice

By Leon Symons, April 18, 2008

A dogged German prosecutor has charged an 86-year-old man with three wartime murders of which he was originally convicted almost 60 years ago.

Dortmund prosecutor Ulrich Maass told a news agency that he has charged Heinrich Boere with the murders in 1944 of three Dutch civilians when Boere was a member of a death squad code-named Silbertanne (Silver Pine).

Boere was convicted of the same murders in 1949 in the Netherlands. A death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment but he has managed to stay out of prison ever since.

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Challenge to renewed boycott bid

By Leon Symons, April 18, 2008

The University and College Union’s attempt to launch a new academic boycott of Israel could be scuppered by legal challenges from the anti-boycott movement.

The leaders of the Stop The Boycott campaign have confirmed that they will instruct lawyers to examine the legality of a motion to be put to the UCU’s annual conference next month.

Last year’s motion was halted by the union itself, but only after it had been warned by its own lawyers that it would have been illegal to proceed. The union has refused repeated requests to make public the advice it was given.

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Parents face a further legal battle over son’s ‘avoidable’ murder

By Leon Symons, April 18, 2008

A couple who have fought for five years for justice for their murdered son will have to face the full might of the government at a House of Lords appeal next month.

Irwin and Corinne Van Colle have already won two judgments against Hertfordshire Police in the High Court and the Court of Appeal. On both occasions, judges decided that the police force had failed to protect their son Giles, who was murdered by one of his former employees in November, 2000.

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Knives out over meat payment

By Leon Symons, April 18, 2008

A dispute between Bloom’s restaurant and North London kosher butcher Kelman’s took a new turn this week with each saying they were taking the other to the London Beth Din.

Bloom’s declared that it was taking the butcher to the Beth Din and that it had lodged papers last Friday — exactly what Kelman’s had claimed to the JC that it was doing two weeks ago.

At that time, Bloom’s did not wish to comment. But this week, the owner of the restaurant revealed some of the background to the events of the last two weeks.

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The pecking order: is free-range taster than other chicken?

By Leon Symons, April 18, 2008

Kosher birds raised humanely are now on sale. But do they taste better?

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Food minister sparks row by calling for kosher meat labels

By Leon Symons, April 11, 2008

Comments made in a newspaper interview by a government minister responsible for food and farming have been described as a new attack on shechitah.

In the interview published in Monday’s Independent, Lord Rooker, food and farming minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said he objected to religious slaughter and that all meat killed in that way should be clearly labelled.

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Thomson doesn’t fly — for 48 hours

By Leon Symons, April 11, 2008

A planeload of tourists on their way home suffered a double whammy this week that left them stranded in Israel for an extra 48 hours.

The 179 tourists were due to leave Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday night on a Thomsonfly Boeing 737-800 flight to Luton.

But the plane developed what the company called an “indication fault” on a computer and was grounded. A rescue team sent out with the computer parts was then delayed because the first officer on that aircraft had worked beyond his legal limit. By that time, some of the passengers had found
other flights out of Israel.

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Shekel-scam conman back on the trains

By Leon Symons, April 11, 2008

The shekel scammer has struck again. At least seven more people have fallen prey to the man whose patter has separated Jewish travellers from their money.

However, British Transport Police hinted this week that they were stepping up their efforts to track down the man, who has wormed his way into the confidence of Jewish London Underground passengers.

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Charles and Camilla to open Krakow centre

By Leon Symons, April 11, 2008

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are to open a new Jewish community centre in the Polish town of Krakow that has been funded and built by World Jewish Relief.

The April 29 ceremony will be the culmination of a £700,000 project that started when the Prince visited the town in 2002 and came back determined to help the remnants of its ageing Jewish population.

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Council checks kosher mince

By Leon Symons, April 4, 2008

A leading north London kosher butcher has been investigated by Barnet Council after an anonymous complaint.

The council confirmed this week that it was talking to the Kosher Deli chain but refused to go into detail about the reasons.

However owner, Albert Ben Dahan, said he was working closely with the council to resolve the issue and revealed that the complaint was about the discovery of sulphur dioxide in a portion of minced chuck steak that the council had bought and had taken away for analysis.

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Beth Din to rule on ‘meat war’

By Leon Symons, April 4, 2008

Kelmans, the north-london based kosher butcher, confirmed this week that it is taking Blooms kosher restaurant to the London Beth Din to settle a dispute over bills.

Blooms is arguably Britain’s best-known kosher restaurant. The restaurant in Golders Green, North London, underwent a multi-thousand pound modernisation in March last year. The company then went on to open a new restaurant in Edgware, the first since the original restaurant in Whitechapel closed in 1996.

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New warnings on boycott bids

By Leon Symons, April 4, 2008

A communal activist has warned of a concerted effort to get the Trades Union Congress to overturn its anti-boycott stance towards Israel.

After boycott motions appeared on the conference agendas of a number of smaller unions, and a week after it was revealed that the University and College Union was trying to reactivate its academic boycott, Steve Scott of Trade Union Friends of Israel said he believed this was the start of a bigger campaign.

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Jeweller’s son on run after £3.25m fraud

By Leon Symons, April 4, 2008

The runaway son of a Manchester jewellery company owner has been convicted in his absence of cheating firms out of £3.25 million to fund his playboy lifestyle.

Raymond Nevitt, 43, was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court last week of five charges of fraudulent trading at the end of an 11-week trial.

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Family given hope over art the Nazis stole

By Leon Symons, April 4, 2008

A British family has been given new hope that a work of art stolen by the Nazis from a relative in Austria could be returned.

The heirs of Jenny Steiner have been battling for years for the return of Häuser am Meer, by the 20th-century impressionist Egon Schiele. Estimated to be worth £10m, it was taken after Mrs Steiner and her family fled Vienna in 1938.

Now an apparent change of heart by the Austrian government to re-examine the status of the Leopold Museum in Vienna, which bought the painting, could bring them closer to reclaiming the heirloom.

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Security review as graveyard suffers second race attack

By Leon Symons, April 4, 2008

Plashet Cemetery in East London, scene of the worst-ever desecration at a Jewish burial ground five years ago, has been vandalised again.

Between 30 and 40 stones were pushed over last weekend; some were smashed and decorative figures were removed from other graves. Marble surrounds from some graves were pulled up and railings were damaged. Several tombs were smashed in and a small fire was lit against one wall.

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He gave away £2m, then died in a crash

By Leon Symons, March 28, 2008

The death of Benzion Dunner in a car accident at the weekend has robbed the Jewish community of one of its greatest philanthropists. Only two nights earlier, the man who described himself as “God’s postman” had given away around £2 million to poor and needy Jews who queued at his Golders Green home until four in the morning.

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New academic boycott plan meets swift resistance

By Leon Symons, March 27, 2008

A thinly veiled attempt by the University and College Union national executive to reintroduce an academic boycott of Israel by the back door has brought a swift communal response.

The Stop The Boycott campaign, launched to defeat last year’s proposal — successfully — has been reactivated, and communal leaders have spoken out strongly against the UCU executive.

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