Marcus Dysch

Student rage at union chief’s views

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2010

The Union of Jewish Students has called for a student union president to resign after making apparently antisemitic remarks.

Clare Solomon, a religion student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, claimed that the persecution of Jews had been fabricated to justify attacks on Palestinians.

She was elected as president of the University of London student union earlier this year.

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Israel's Meridor feared UK arrrest

By Marcus Dysch, November 4, 2010

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor cancelled an appearance at a London fundraising dinner this week over fears he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

The Israeli Justice Ministry warned Mr Meridor that a warrant for his arrest might be issued if he entered Britain.

He had been due to speak at the Bicom dinner on Monday evening, to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled last week citing the delicate state of the peace negotiations.

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When will university chiefs finally act?

By Marcus Dysch, November 3, 2010

Roshonara Choudhry has been jailed for life for the attempted murder of MP Stephen Timms.

Inspired by al-Qaeda and Jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki she knifed Mr Timms during a constituency surgery in May.

Thankfully, and no doubt rather luckily, he escaped serious injury or worse.

As Choudhry was jailed, her supporters (yes really) protested in the public gallery, screaming “Allahu akbar”, “British go to hell” and “Curse the judge”. A demonstration was also taking place outside the court.

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Meridor cancels Bicom appearance over arrest fears

By Marcus Dysch, November 1, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor has cancelled an appearance at a London fundraising dinner over fears he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

It is believed the Israeli Justice Ministry warned Mr Meridor that a warrant for his arrest may be issued if he entered Britain.

He was due to speak at the Bicom dinner tonight. He was a replacement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled last week due to the delicate state of the peace negotiations.

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Trust backs Baroness Warsi on bigotry

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

The Coexistence Trust has backed Tory peeress Sayeeda Warsi's comments on Islamophobia and antisemitism.

Baroness Warsi, chairman of the Conservative Party, told the New Statesman that anti-Islamic sentiment was the "last acceptable form of bigotry in Britain today," comparable to the portrayal of Jews a century ago.

Rokhsana Fiaz, director of the Coexistence Trust, which works with Jewish and Muslim students, said: "Baroness Warsi is absolutely right…both Islamophobia and antisemitism are scourges on our society and an affront to every decent-minded citizen.

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Racial abuse pair spared jail sentences

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Two men have avoided jail after racially abusing yeshivah students during a drunken rampage.

Mark Padgett and Karl Bowman taunted the students at Gateshead Talmudical College and tried to provoke them into fighting in the street.

The pair had been drinking at a house party before the incident in May.

Padgett, 19, of Saltwell Road, Gateshead, caused more than £1,000 of damage to the yeshivah by battering the front door with a plank of wood. He also smashed a car windscreen.

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Ahava: anti-Israel duo will face trial

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Two people face trial after denying charges that they chained themselves inside a branch of an Israeli cosmetics store.

Gwendolen Wilkinson, 20, from Newport, and Matthew Richardson, 24, from Sheffield, were charged with aggravated trespass at Ahava in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, following a protest on October 2.

The pair appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court, north London, on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.

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UCL Detroit bomber report a 'whitewash'

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Critics have attacked a report into a university's approach to tackling campus extremism as "complacent" and a "whitewash".

An investigation was launched at University College London following former student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's arrest last December after he allegedly attempted to blow up
a plane flying from Europe to Detroit. Abdulmutallab studied at UCL between 2005 and 2008 and was president of its Islamic Society. He is currently detained in the United States awaiting trial.

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Jewish centre gets £3m to curb Israel tensions

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Manchester University is to give £3 million to its Centre for Jewish Studies in an attempt to help the centre ease interfaith tension.

The centre, which has previously relied mainly on external grants, said the money would bolster research and undergraduate courses on Muslim, Jewish and Christian relations and Middle Eastern history.

Centre co-director Professor Philip Alexander said the move was a positive response to the attack on former Israeli deputy ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher by pro-Palestinian activists during her visit to the university in April.

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The English Defence League and the surfing rabbi

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

An American rabbi will join an extreme right-wing anti-Islamic-fundamentalist group in a protest outside the Israeli Embassy in London next week.

Rabbi Nachum Shifren, from California, said he was supporting the English Defence League because he opposed multiculturalism, and promised to act with "full force" against shariah law.

But his plans have been roundly criticised by Jewish community organisations. The Community Security Trust said that Jews who believed they could shape the EDL, or find shelter in the group, were "utterly deluded".

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Columnist unrepentant after 'tight fist' joke

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

A university newspaper has apologised for printing a column featuring jokes about Jews being tight-fisted.

The launch issue of London Student, distributed to universities and colleges which are part of the University of London, included an article titled The Tight Fist – Lessons in frugality from a real Jew.

The Union of Jewish Students complained to the newspaper's editorial board that the column contained antisemitic stereotypes.

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Liberal chaplains arrive on campus

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Liberal Judaism has launched its first team of chaplains to serve Jewish students at the country's major universities.

The scheme will put students in touch with their nearest Liberal rabbi for spiritual and emotional support and to get information about synagogues and services in their area.

Yszi Hawkings, who graduated from Sheffield University this summer, will co-ordinate the project.

She said: "I am delighted that the rabbis of Liberal Judaism are supporting our students in this way. Once again we are bringing our services to those in need, wherever and whoever they may be.

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Campus Notebook

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2010

Rabbi Yitzchok Kaye – the ManUJew – will be providing kosher sandwiches for students on campuses in Manchester this year.

He expects to serve around 1,500 meals each term from his base in Fallowfield. Manchester University has also granted Rabbi Kaye access to campus facilities to provide hot kosher food.
He said: “The university is blazing the way forward and is a terrific example to other universities that kosher food is important and should be supplied.”

UJS has launched a Jewish Student Law Network.

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Gaza activists fly home - on El Al

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2010

The British captain of a boat carrying Jewish pro-Palestinian activists who planned to break the blockade of Gaza has described how Israeli naval forces intercepted and boarded the vessel.

Glyn Secker, 66, a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), said that the voyage had "succeeded beyond expectations" despite failing to reach Gaza and the crew members' immediate deportation from Israel.

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Tony Blair warns on Islamic extremism

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2010

Tony Blair has claimed violent Islamic extremism has "outspent, outmanoeuvred and out-strategised" the West.

He said too many people had accepted extremists' claims that military action was taken against Muslim countries following the 9/11 attacks because the West supported Israel and Jews rather than Palestinians and Muslims.

Speaking in New York, the former Prime Minister warned that extremism could not be defeated "without defeating the narrative that nurtures it". He said moderate Muslims were being undermined by the West's unwillingness to tackle extremists' arguments.

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Benefit cuts could hit Orthodox families

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2010

Labour MP Diane Abbott has warned that the government's proposals to cut child benefits could hit Charedi families harder than others.

Ms Abbott, who represents the Hackney constituency which includes Stamford Hill, said plans to remove the benefit from families where one parent earns more than £44,000 a year were likely to have a "devastating impact".

Chancellor George Osborne announced at the Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham that cuts would apply to higher-rate taxpayers from 2013.

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'Serious concerns' about Ed Miliband

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2010

The election of new Labour leader Ed Miliband has caused serious consternation among leading members of the Jewish community and supporters of Israel.

They fear his comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during his main conference address and fringe event appearances presage a "new reality" in Labour's relations with the Jewish state.

Mr Miliband has rejected the chance to allay those concerns, with a party spokesman this week saying the new leader would not answer questions about his comments on Israel, his approach to foreign policy, or his plans to meet community leaders.

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Hundreds join JSocs as campus life kicks off

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2010

University Jewish societies are enjoying a busy start to the academic year with hundreds of new members taking part in Freshers' Week events across the country.

With the majority of students arriving on their campuses in the weeks clashing with Succot and Simchat Torah, many JSocs ran succah-based introductions to university life. Barbecues and Shabbat dinners led the way as the most popular events.

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Ed Miliband's mum Marion Kozak on Israel

By Marcus Dysch, September 28, 2010

The mother of new Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is a long-standing supporter of left-wing pro-Palestinian organisations.

Marion Kozak, 75, who maintained a low profile as Ed defeated his brother David to become leader of the Opposition, is a signatory of the founding statements of both Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) and Independent Jewish Voices (IJV).

Her sons both described themselves as "critical friends" of Israel during a leadership hustings in June. Ms Kozak is a long-standing human rights campaigner and was an early CND activist.

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Jewish blockade boat finally sets sail

By Marcus Dysch, September 28, 2010

A boat carrying a group of Jewish pro-Palestinian activists finally set sail for Gaza this week with the aim of breaking Israel's naval blockade.

The boat left a port in Cyprus on Sunday morning and was due to arrive on Tuesday, after the JC went to press.

The vessel was named Irene after Irene Bruegel, the late founder-secretary of Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), one of the groups which helped organise the trip.

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