Labour calls for Hezbollah to be placed on EU’s terror list

Alexander, who visited Israel last December, reaffirmed his party’s commitment to a two-state solution and expressed “our absolute solidarity” with Israel in the wake of the bombing of a bus carrying tourists in Bulgaria in July. Israel blamed Hezbollah for the attack.

And weeks after William Hague said he would like to see the EU “designate and sanction the military wing”, Alexander told the gathering: “When in government, we proscribed the military wing of Hezbollah here in the UK. It is time that the military wing of Hezbollah is proscribed in the EU as well. We will support the government in that initiative.”
Alexander earlier used his keynote speech to conference delegates to reiterate Labour’s support for the upgrading of the Palestinians’ status at the UN, a year after his call for the British government to support a bid for recognition as a full member state provoked condemnation from Jewish community leaders. Britain said last year that it would abstain from any vote. While not mentioning any future bid for full statehood, Alexander added: “If I was foreign secretary, I would not sit on the fence. I would break that silence. I would use my voice and upgrade the representation of the Palestinians at the UN.”
Speaking to LFI, Miliband – who warned that the current impasse in the peace process is “bleak” – sought to explain the party’s stance on UN statehood, saying: “We have got to try and find a way of encouraging moderate voices that exist in the Palestinian community, to show that some progress can be made.” Saying people should have “no illusions about my commitment to the state of Israel”, he added: “We have deep, deep concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And that’s why we have taken the position we have about tough sanctions on Iran. We must find a peaceful way forward in relation to Iran’s nuclear ambitions but are under no illusions about the challenge.”
In an address described as “incredibly warm” by observers, he also said: “One of the pleasures of this job over the last two years has been getting to know [the Jewish] community better.”Addressing the same event, attended by MPs, peers and community figures including the Jewish Leadership Council, which is attending all three party conferences, Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub thanked the party for its “wholehearted” support for sanctions on Iran. He also had praise for Miliband’s personal main speech, during which he said he would “not be standing here today” if not for the “tolerance of this great country” where his parents found refuge after fleeing the Nazis.

Learn more »
Comments Off

The Summer’s Big Draw

Rather than tennis rackets, oars, bikes and boxing gloves, participants will require pencils, crayons and felt tips as they put their creative skills to the test for the chance to win the gold medal in our art contest.

For the Jewish News initiative – held in association with the International Board of Trustees of the Israeli Olympic Committee and the Jewish Committee for the London Games (JCLG) – youngsters aged seven to 15 are invited to produce pictures celebrating both London’s hosting of the Games and the participation of Israel’s finest sportsmen and women. The creations of our winners and runners-up will take pride of place in the Israeli accommodation at the athletes’ village.

The top artists in two age categories, 7-10 and 11-15 (age on 10 July) – picked by a panel including Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub, Israeli Olympic Committee chief Ephraim Zinger, Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer and representatives of our partner organisations – will each also receive their choice of either a new iPad 3 or vouchers to the value of £400.

Taub said: “This competition is a wonderful way for young people to express their connection to Israel and their support for Israel’s athletes. I hope their splendid drawings will encourage our Olympians to produce some outstanding results.”

Ynon Kreiz, founder of the Board of Trustees of the Israeli Olympic Committee, said: “From the Olympic stadium in Stratford to the sailing venue at Weymouth, Israel’s athletes can look forward to plenty of vocal support in London. This competition is another fantastic way for young members of the community to express their support for the delegation, both the sporting stars and those coaches and other staff who play such a vital role behind the scenes.”

Expressing JCLG’s support for the initiative – which it is hoped will attract hundreds of entries from schools and cheders as well as individuals – was Maccabi GB chief executive Martin Berliner, a founder of the umbrella group.
He said the competition “engages young people in positive activity that highlights all in one event Israel, sport and the 2012 Olympics. The opportunity for the winners to have their pictures displayed in the Israeli accommodation at the athletes’ village is a unique and inspiring prize. We would like to see every school, shul and community centre encourage their young people to take part and we will be contacting them shortly.”

• Entries should be on one sheet of A4 paper. Participants may use any medium but winning entries will be laminated so please avoid materials that would make this difficult. Entrants are welcome to include in their pictures brief messages of support for the Israelis but entries will be judged within the framework of an art competition. Closing date: 13 July. Finalists’ work will be published in the Jewish News of 19 July and the winners will be announced on 26 July. Send your entries to: Art Competition, Jewish News, PO Box 34296, London NW5 1YW. Entries are limited to one per person.

Learn more »
Comments Off

Gove pledges to UJIA: ‘I’ll always be a Zionist’

At the dinner, Education Secretary Michael Gove received a standing ovation when he pronounced himself a “Zionist until the last breath has left my body”.

UJIA president Mick Davis – whose “vision” was praised by incoming Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub – in his appeal speech, said the organisation’s “horizons are now constrained because our fundraising campaign has suffered these past two years”.

He added: “Many of our donors have remained steadfast, but some have given less and others have not given at all. At the same time the pound pays for less. In this time of precariousness, when our children face the onslaught of anti-Semites and deligitimisers, when Israel is separated from its friends, and when we cannot take our Jewish future for granted, UJIA and the work we do is even more important – it is crucial.”

Asked for clarification, a source told the Jewish News that the UJIA had lost “15 percent of its donations year-on-year. Where we could rely on about £18 million income each year, now it’s down to about £13-14 million. It’s all about the economy and the fact that our legacies are drying up”.

But any gloom was more than mitigated by Gove’s passionate speech. The Education Secretary was introduced by Matthew Gould, the UK ambassador to Israel, who described Israel as “everything we hoped it would be. People queued up to tell me I wouldn’t be bored. How I long for a single boring day.”

Gould also praised Taub – who was making his first appearance at a major communal dinner – as an “excellent choice to represent the country of his nationality to the country of his birth”.

He described Gove as a “true and enduring friend of Israel and a poster-boy for the Jewish community when he wrote for The Times” – and the Education Secretary did not disappoint.

Gove said to tumultuous applause: “I am proud to be on this platform and I am proud to say to anyone who wants to hear it that I am proud to be a friend of Israel.

“I have made some mistakes in my life. At the age of 13, I stood as a Labour candidate for my school council. Subsequently, I went on to work for the BBC Today programme. But there are some things that never change. When I was a teenager, I was a socialist. In my 20s, I was a journalist. But I was born and I live, and will die, proudly a Zionist.”

He praised Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, who was also among the 700 guests, as “one of the single most important moral voices of this country…I don’t think there has ever been anything the Chief Rabbi has said with which I have disagreed… but maybe that’s because I’m not Jewish!”

Gove had warm words, too, for the UJIA-supported “many outstanding Jewish state schools. Rather than asking how to bring Jewish state schools into line with other state schools, I want to ensure that other state schools learn from the amazing achievements of our Jewish state schools.”

As voices of Shoah survivors were “growing faint”, the Education Secretary said that the best memorial “we can give to the Holocaust is a Jewish state for the Jewish people.

“The fate of the Jews and the Jewish state is a touchstone, a moral test, of our times.”

Learn more »
Comments Off

Prince Charles To Join Kinder Celebration

Three years after hosting a Clarence House reception for some of the refugees who fled to Britain before the outbreak of the Second World War, the heir to the throne will be among a host of dignitaries at the 23 November gathering – probably the last major event bringing together so many Kinder from around the world.

Guests will hear from among others Lord Attenborough, Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and keynote speaker. Sir Martin Gilbert, who will recall a recent conversation with Lady Thatcher about the Jewish girl to whom she and her family gave a home in 1939.

Representing the government, Tony McNulty MP will also be among those descending on JFS, which was instrumental in helping to evacuate many of the Kinder from London where they arrived to Ely.

A Clarence House spokesman told the Jewish News: “The Prince of Wales is delighted to be invited to meet the remaining kinder and their families. The event recognises an important and noble point in British history.”

Part of a four-day reunion of Kindertransport evacuees, Sunday’s event will also feature a service of Remembrance, a Klezmer concert and a panel discussion chaired by Edwina Currie and featuring among others Lady Jakobovits and Reunion of the Kindertransport founder Bertha Leverton.

Erich Reich, chairman of the Association of Jewish Refugee’s Kindertransport committee, said: “We are celebrating one of the single most important decisions ever taken by the British government. Thanks to its intervention some 10,000 children, myself included, were saved from certain death.

“We believe this occasion will prove to be an exceptional celebration in the company of some of those young children who arrived on these shores so many years ago.”

The reunion – which follows previous such gatherings in 1988 and 1999 – will also include several visits in the lead-up to the centrepiece celebration including to the Imperial War Museum and the Kindertransport monument at Liverpool Street Station.

- If you are interested in attending the event, call the AJR for more information on 020 8385 3070.

The celebrity group are booking agents who provide speakers for a variety of functions. For more information visit http://www.celebrity.co.uk.

Learn more »
Comments Off