Interview: Sadiq Khan

Labour’s London Mayoral candidate told me how he’ll repair the relationship with the capital’s Jewish community:

London’s mayoral elections have been some of the most personal in British political history. So prominent, and indeed notorious, have the past two holders of the role been, that only first names were needed: Ken and Boris.

Enter stage left, Sadiq. Labour’s former Communities Minister, Sadiq Khan, won the race to fight to reclaim City Hall from the Conservatives earlier this month.

One of the toughest tasks the 44-year-old former lawyer faces is to convince the capital’s Jewish community to give his party another chance.

At a café … Continue Reading

Exclusive: Revealed – the secret identity of the CST’s former director of security

After a number of weeks of discussion and secret meetings, I was able to reveal the identity of the former head of security at the Community Security Trust.

Carol Laser had spent 25 years working in the shadows, co-ordinating with Scotland Yard, foreign intelligence services, and working to keep the Jewish community safe from attack.

She agreed to be interviewed at length at her home, and told me how she had done it. Read the interview here, or below:

In a small room in the headquarters of a Jewish charity, a crowd of senior figures gathered for a leaving do like no … Continue Reading

Interview: Ed Miliband

On the eve of the UK general election, I interviewed Labour leader Ed Miliband for the Jewish Chronicle.

We discussed his approach to Israel and the Palestinians, antisemitism in Britain, and his views on personalities including British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, and American comedian Larry David.

You can read the interview here, on the JC website, or below:

Ed Miliband’s relationship with the Jewish community has been sorely tested in the year since the Labour leader claimed he felt closer to British Jews than ever before.

But as the election campaign reaches its climax, the man fighting to be Prime Minister this week … Continue Reading

The General Election

During the course of the past three months I have been covering the run-up to the general election in Britain, due to take place on May 7.

I’ve interviewed a series of leading politicians, candidates and others involved in key seats and constituencies for what is likely to be a remarkable election.

The leading piece from my coverage was this interview with Labour leader Ed Miliband.

We discussed his approach to Israel and the Palestinians, antisemitism in Britain, and his views on personalities including British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, and American comedian Larry David.

I also looked at the chances of … Continue Reading

Yvette Cooper: ‘It’s nonsense to say Labour is anti-Israel’

My interview with Labour’s shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper:

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has hit back at claims that Britain’s relationship with Israel would be weakened if Ed Miliband became prime minister.

Ms Cooper said it was “utter nonsense” to claim this country’s role as a key ally of Israel would be seriously diminished if Labour won the general election in May.

She also insisted that Labour’s relationship with the Jewish community was “as strong as ever” and that differences of opinion on Israel should not detract from the ongoing work between Labour politicians and communal organisations.

Ms Cooper was responding to comments … Continue Reading

Interview: Lynne Featherstone

My interview with Liberal Democrat minister Lynne Featherstone:

Controversial Liberal Democrat MP David Ward could be stripped of the party whip for his offensive tweets about Jews and Israel, according to the party’s most senior Jewish minister.

Crime Prevention Minister Lynne Featherstone said the Bradford East MP was treading a thin line with his regular attacks on social media.

He briefly lost the party whip following disciplinary action in 2013 after posts targeting Jews and Zionists.

“He might lose it again if he’s not careful. There’s a thin line between free speech and hate speech and incitement,” Ms Featherstone told the JC.

“Obviously, the party … Continue Reading

Labour government would weaken Israel-UK relationship, says cabinet minister

My interview with Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers:

The impact of a Labour government on Britain’s relationship with Israel could be “chilling”, the Northern Ireland Secretary has claimed.

Theresa Villiers told the JC that this country’s role as a key ally of Israel would be seriously diminished if Ed Miliband were to become prime minister in May.

The senior Conservative minister has more Jewish constituents than any other member of the cabinet. As MP for the north London seat of Chipping Barnet, she represents in Parliament large sections of the Jewish community in Whetstone, Totteridge and Woodside Park.

She has used meetings at Barnet … Continue Reading

Curious Kippers are unpalatable

My analysis of Ukip’s Friends of Israel event in Westminster:

When people discuss Ukip’s “odd bedfellows” they are usually referring to the party’s questionable partners in the European Parliament. But there is another uneasy alliance fighting for air – Ukip’s relationship with British Jewry and Israel supporters.
Tuesday’s Ukip Friends of Israel meeting in Westminster was a peculiar event, attended by around 50 party supporters and interested onlookers.
Nigel Farage’s “people’s army” appeared on this occasion to consist largely of Anglo-Saxon men in their sixties, clad in purple trousers and Ukip-branded ties. There was, admittedly, a smattering of kippot and noticeably Orthodox Jews … Continue Reading

MP promises no move to ban religious slaughter

EXCLUSIVE

Animal welfare campaigners in the House of Commons will not seek a vote to ban shechita in Britain, a leading MP has promised.

There is no intention of following the example of anti-Israel backbenchers who forced through a ballot on Palestinian statehood, Neil Parish, chair of a group investigating kosher and halal slaughter, confirmed.

He said colleagues would instead focus on cross-party discussions with religious groups in the hope of improving animal welfare. They will lobby for labelling to show consumers whether meat has been stunned or not.

Under the shechita process, animals are not stunned before slaughter, a practice animal rights … Continue Reading

Neo-Nazi gave out internet abuse tips in campaign against Luciana Berger

A neo-Nazi website based in the US is behind a co-ordinated campaign of antisemitic abuse targeting Britain’s youngest Jewish MP, the JC can reveal.

The site provides a user guide to harassing Luciana Berger and has created offensive images to be shared by internet trolls and sent to her via social media sites.

It carries a series of “dos and don’ts” for those who intend to abuse Ms Berger. The site advises trolls not to “call for violence, threaten the Jew b—h in any way. Seriously, don’t do that”.

But it goes on to encourage calling her “a Jew, call her a Jew … Continue Reading