Marcus Dysch

Israel to Hague: Come to see Gaza

By Marcus Dysch, August 19, 2010

William Hague will visit Israel within the next month on his first official visit to the region as Foreign Secretary - and has been invited by Israel's own Foreign Minister to visit Gaza.

The exact date of Mr Hague's trip is dependent on the completion of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which are currently being planned.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has suggested that Mr Hague also travels to Gaza as part of a group of European foreign ministers.

That raises the prospect of Hamas asking to meet the ministers during their visit.

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Hillan challenged in Barnet - blog exclusive

By Marcus Dysch, August 13, 2010

Newly-elected Barnet councillor Mark Shooter has taken the brave step of challenging council leader Lynne Hillan for the Conservative group leadership.

He has written to other Tory councillors appealing for support in an attempt to have her removed from the role.

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O2 sorry for sending parcel to 'Jew Face'

By Marcus Dysch, August 12, 2010

Mobile phone company O2 has apologised after a woman received a parcel addressed to "Ms Jew Face".

Joan Jennings, who is not Jewish, was shocked when the package containing a free Sim card and letter arrived with the offensive comment.

The letter, received on Monday, was addressed: "Hi Jew".

The following day Mrs Jennings contacted BBC Three Counties radio and the incident was discussed on air.

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£7m debt but Wrapit boss 'not responsible'

By Marcus Dysch, August 12, 2010

The former boss of an online wedding gift company which went into administration with debts of £7 million maintains she was not responsible for the firm's collapse, despite being disqualified from acting as a company director.

Wrapit retail director Pepita Diamand said "hand on Torah" she had acted with the best intentions. Hundreds of Jewish couples were left without presents and their guests without refunds after Wrapit folded two years ago.

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Oxford keeps up services in summer

By Marcus Dysch, August 12, 2010

Oxford's Jewish community is enjoying a period of renewed success with services taking place daily for the first time in years.

The number of people davening at Oxford Jewish Congregation's Richmond Road synagogue traditionally drops in summer as students return to their home towns.

But the community has continued its daily minyanim with the help of University Jewish Chaplaincy's Rabbi Daniel Braune Friedman, who has co-ordinated an informal rota of male congregants.

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Justin Bieber's 'Baby' - with a Jewish twist

By Marcus Dysch, August 11, 2010
See Video

Sophie Hiller performs a version of the Justin Bieber track Baby.

The singer's career has hit the big time this week, as she performed at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as Sir Tom Jones’ warm-up act.

The 20-year-old, from East Barnet, north London, was invited to audition for the job after a producer of the Welshman’s show saw a clip of her on YouTube.

She describes her style as “jazzy, souly and funky with a modern twist”.

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"Dangerous dalliance with radical Islam"

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2010

Readers of our splash today - Chaos in Whitehall over counter-terrorism plans- may be interested to read more on the rift between ministers and civil servants in Andrew Gilligan’s comment piece in this morning’s Telegraph.

Gilligan claims the split is turning into a “massive Whitehall row” that could become as important to Britain as fixing the deficit.

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How Mrs Cohen is fixing BP’s oil spill

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

The 20 million gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico constitute one of the world’s worst environmental disasters. For Jessica Cohen, however, it might prove to be the high point of her career so far.

Cohen, who is from Stanmore, has been working as a contractor for BP on pipeline projects in the Gulf since May. Her job started just a fortnight after the oil started to leak from BP’s underwater well, costing the company an estimated £21 billion and chief executive Tony Hayward his job.

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Peer bids to block Israelis from EU

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

Crossbench peer Lord Hylton has called on the European Union to bar Israelis from entering Europe without a visa.

He tabled a motion asking for a House of Lords debate shortly before the summer recess, advocating a ban on Israeli goods being sold duty-free.

The motion calls for the Lords "to resolve that the EU should use its powers to prevent access to the EU without a visa by Israeli citizens and to remove duty-free access for Israeli goods if Israeli breaches of international law continue".

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Masorti joins the JLC

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

The Assembly of Masorti Synagogues has become a constituent member of the Jewish Leadership Council.

Masorti communities will be represented by the organisation's co-chair Bill Benjamin.

A former member of the JLC's commission on the future of Jewish schools, Mr Benjamin is also a trustee of JCoSS.

Vivian Wineman, JLC chairman, said: "We are delighted that Masorti has joined the JLC. This will further enhance the council's plurality and expand our organisational membership base."

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Masorti joins the JLC

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

The Assembly of Masorti Synagogues has become a constituent member of the Jewish Leadership Council.

Masorti communities will be represented by the organisation's co-chair Bill Benjamin.

A former member of the JLC's commission on the future of Jewish schools, Mr Benjamin is also a trustee of JCoSS.

Vivian Wineman, JLC chairman, said: "We are delighted that Masorti has joined the JLC. This will further enhance the council's plurality and expand our organisational membership base."

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Press TV rapped for flotilla show

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

Iranian-backed Press TV has been censured by Ofcom, the broadcasting standards body, for its coverage of the Gaza flotilla incident.

A show presented by Tony Blair's sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, breached guidelines on impartiality by including comments relating to Israel "committing a massacre of innocent civilians" and "a barbarous attack".

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TalkSPORT Shimon Peres slip up

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

Listeners to a late-night radio phone-in got a shock when a man introduced as a Zionist Federation spokesman announced he could not discuss Shimon Peres's comments on British antisemitism because he was eating a toasted sandwich.

The imposter, pretending to be former ZF public affairs director Gavin Gross, failed to answer any questions about Mr Peres's remarks, saying he was too busy eating.

TalkSPORT presenter Adrian Goldberg, not realising he had been hoaxed, said the man's comments were "absolutely, utterly disgraceful" during Sunday's show.

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Chaos over government counter-terrorism plans

By Marcus Dysch, August 5, 2010

The government is working to allay fears that its counter-extremism policy is floundering, three months after the coalition came to power.

Jewish leaders have expressed concern that not enough is being done to tackle the threat posed by extremists in Britain.

The Tories are thought to be ideologically split on the issue, with ministers also facing a backlash from civil servants opposed to Conservative policy.

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Double standards

By Marcus Dysch, August 4, 2010

So, the UN confirms that Israeli forces did not provoke yesterday’s attack that left four people dead and the Jewish state and Lebanon once again on the precipice of war.

Milos Strugar, senior political adviser for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), confirmed the IDF was carrying out routine maintenance work "south of the international borderline," although on "the northern side of the border fence”.

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Ofcom raps Press TV

By Marcus Dysch, August 2, 2010

Ofcom, the broadcasting standards body, has ruled that Iranian-backed Press TV’s coverage of the Gaza flotilla incident breached guidelines on impartiality.

The regulator said the station had not shown due impartiality during a broadcast on June 5 which dealt exclusively with the events surrounding the interception by Israeli commandos of the pro-Palestinian convoy off the coast of Gaza.

During an episode of current affairs show Remembering Palestine, presenter Lauren Booth discussed the flotilla with studio guests and participants of the convoy.

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Rocket attack on Ashkelon

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2010

A rocket fired from Gaza has landed in a residential area of Ashkelon, causing damage to cars and buildings.

Around eight people have been treated for shock and minor injuries after the missile landed in the southern Israeli city at around 8.30am local time.

Prior to the explosion the city’s rocket attack alarm was sounded.

The strike smashed windows in local buildings and damaged cars.

Ashkelon mayor Benny Vaknin told Israel Radio that the incident was “no doubt the most serious that has happened since Operation Cast Lead”.

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'Anti-Israel' Gaza flotilla forum cancelled

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2010

An interfaith forum debating the Gaza flotilla incident has been cancelled after Jewish communities expressed concerns that the event was “totally inappropriate” and would be a vehicle for anti-Israel sentiment.

The Building the Bridge (BtB) initiative in Bristol had been due to assess the flotilla’s impact on religious groups in the city on Monday evening.

But it was cancelled after Jewish community leaders questioned the role of an interfaith organisation in debating the flotilla fallout.

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Scottish Jews oppose double-decker burials

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2010

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities has said it "strongly objects" to proposals to allow the re-use of graves.

The Scottish Government is expected to back the deepening of burial sites, effectively giving the go-ahead to "double-deck" graves.

It is due to announce its plans next month following a lengthy consultation into solving the increasing difficulty of securing burial space.

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Seph Brown - rewriting history

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

I was surprised to see a letter in this week’s edition of the JC from Seph Brown, currently a volunteer working on Ed Miliband’s Labour leadership campaign.

Not that there is anything wrong with Mr Brown writing to air his views – he’s very welcome to, but perhaps he should get his facts right first.

He writes following a news story we carried a fortnight ago about his new job in Mr Miliband’s office.

In his letter he states:

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