Marcus Dysch

Election result: Glasgow South

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2010

Labour’s Tom Harris held the Glasgow South seat, home to a large section of Scotland’s Jewish community.

He won with 20,736 votes – the highest number of votes for any candidate in any of the city’s constituencies – and a majority of 12,658.

His nearest challenger was the Scottish National Party's Malcolm Fleming and there was a 1.5 per cent swing from Labour to the SNP.

Mr Harris was first elected in the constituency – then known as Glasgow Cathcart – in 2001.

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Election result: Altrincham and Sale

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2010

Conservative MP Graham Brady has comfortably held on to his Altrincham and Sale West seat on the edge of Manchester Jewry’s most affluent community.

Mr Brady recorded 24,176 votes to remain as the representative of the largest number of Jewish voters outside north Manchester, a constituency which includes Bowdon, Hale and Sale.

He now has a majority of 11,595, despite a small swing of 0.8 per cent from Conservative to Lib Dem.

That left Lib Dem Jane Brophy second with 12,581 votes, just ahead of Labour’s Tom Ross on 11,073.

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Election result: Liverpool Wavertree

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2010

Luciana Berger has won an impressive victory for Labour in the Liverpool Wavertree constituency.

Despite upsetting some voters who believed she had been “parachuted” into the safe seat, the former Labour Friends of Israel director received 20,132 votes.

That was more than half of all votes polled in the seat and represented a five per cent swing from the Liberal Democrats to Labour.

Ms Berger increased the party’s majority by more than 2,000, picking up more votes than outgoing Labour MP Jane Kennedy did in 2005.

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Election result: Ilford South

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2010

Labour’s Mike Gapes has held his Ilford South seat, increasing his majority despite a bitter face-off with anti-Israel extremists who were determined to oust him.

Mr Gapes received 25,311 votes and a slight increase on his share of the vote. The result gave him a majority of 11,297.

Leaflets distributed in the run up to polling day had described him as a “pro-war, pro-Israel and Islamophobic MP”.

Mr Gapes declared the personal attacks, carried out by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), as “poisonous”.

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Election result: Finchley and Golders Green

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2010

Conservative candidate Mike Freer has been elected in the constituency with the highest proportion of Jewish voters, Finchley and Golders Green.

Mr Freer finished with 21,688 votes, giving him a comfortable majority of 5,809.

The former Barnet Council leader had been a heavy favourite with the bookies, who had quoted him at odds as short of 1/20 to win in Margaret Thatcher’s former constituency.

His victory represented a 5.8 per cent swing from Labour to the Conservatives. The seat had been one of the Tory party’s key targets.

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Election result: Hendon

By Marcus Dysch, May 7, 2010

Conservative candidate Matthew Offord has ousted Labour’s Andrew Dismore to win the Hendon constituency in one of the country’s closest election battles.

Mr Offord, a former deputy leader of Barnet Council, won by just 106 votes following a recount.

He received 19,635 votes to Mr Dismore’s 19,529.

The result represented a swing of 5.2 per cent to the Tories from Labour.

The Liberal Democrats’ Matthew Harris, the only Jewish candidate in the ward, trailed in third with 5,734 votes.

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Jewish students lead the way for charitable work

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

Jewish student organisations are leading the way as campuses become a focal point for charity work and volunteering projects.

They are increasingly taking part in social action programmes to give something back to communities in the towns and cities where they study.

The Union of Jewish Students launched its One campaign earlier this year, using Jewish values to encourage social activism and train members for involvement with a range of charitable efforts and apply for grants to help make a difference on their campuses.

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UJS runs fair for student advice

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

The Union of Jewish Students is running a fair for sixth form students who are preparing to go to university.

The JC-sponsored event will give A-level pupils the opportunity to meet members of JSocs from around the country.

Those attending the event will be able to learn about what life is like for Jewish students on campus.

There will be specialist stalls giving advice on safety and security, welfare and financial support, pastoral care, accommodation and gap year programmes.

The fair takes place in Borehamwood on June 20.

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Internship aid on offer

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

Students, graduates and job seekers will have the chance to find work experience and internships with the help of a Jewish charity this summer.

TrainE-TraidE, which provides employment opportunities for Jews, is running a scheme aimed at placing prospective job candidates in companies across a range of industries.

Shraga Zaltzman, managing director of TrainE-TraidE, said: "Finding a job is difficult at the best of times, not to mention now during an economic recession. The summer placement scheme will help to provide candidates with experience."

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Synagogue members list contacted by canvassers

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

Synagogue members have been contacted by canvassers who claimed a Conservative Party candidate was endorsed by the congregation.

Members of South Hampstead Synagogue were called on Tuesday evening by people claiming to be ringing on behalf of the Conservative Party.

The calls raised concerns that the synagogue's membership list may have been leaked or stolen.

SH chairman Michael Hatchwell was forced to email congregants alerting them to the canvassing. But he said the membership list had not been released.

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Envoy attack sparks fear for Israelis' safety

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

Concerns have been raised for the safety of Israelis speaking to university students in Britain after its deputy ambassador fled to a security office as protesters attempted to attack her on a campus.

Talya Lador-Fresher feared she would be assaulted when demonstrators climbed on the bonnet of her car to try to smash the windscreen.

She had been speaking to members of Manchester University's Politics Society last Wednesday evening. Around 40 demonstrators, not believed to be students, gathered at the venue.

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Leeds Student demands apology for pulled edition

By Marcus Dysch, May 6, 2010

A university newspaper was temporarily pulled from the shelves by the student union after it published an interview with a Palestinian journalist whose comments were interpreted as suggesting Jews control the media.

Leeds Student, the Leeds University newspaper, interviewed Sameh Habeeb, the founder and editor of the online Palestine Telegraph, about his experiences during last year's Gaza conflict.

Mr Habeeb said there was a "media blackout" on reporting life in Gaza and was then asked: "Do you believe mainstream media organisations have a hidden agenda?"

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The Leeds Student fiasco - why these amateurs need a reality check

By Marcus Dysch, May 5, 2010

Once upon a time I worked for the Leeds Student – the once highly acclaimed Leeds University newspaper.

This week I am ashamed to have that stain on my CV.

Admittedly my involvement with the paper was occasional, and mainly limited to reporting on uni football and writing a column on darts, wrestling and rugby league during my three years at the university.

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UJS send exam survival packages to students

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

The Union of Jewish Students is helping its members through the stressful exam period by distributing special survival packs containing chicken soup and cupcakes.

Students can choose to buy rations for themselves or parents can order one for their child complete with a personalised, handwritten card.

The £3.50 packs contain chicken soup, kosher Haribo sweets and a UJS pen.

As part of the "supper in a cuppa" project, UJS staff will also visit JSocs and Hillel houses around Britain to deliver cups of chicken soup and cakes for those in need of revision respite.

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Durham JSoc mission to provide Shabbat dinner

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

The meat is delivered from Manchester, the rabbinical supervision comes from Gateshead, and the chef works for the university.

Preparing a kosher Friday night dinner for Jewish students in Durham is a team effort, but it is one that has brought significant rewards.

Durham University's Jewish Society picked up the Developing JSoc of the Year trophy at the UJS awards ceremony last month in recognition of its achievements over the past 12 months.

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BBC rejects review by US lobby group

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

The BBC presents Israel in a negative light and undermines the Jewish state's image, according to a new study published by Honest Reporting.

The American-based monitoring group analysed articles on the BBC website between January and March and found that while 51 stories reflected negatively on Israel, only two portrayed the Palestinians negatively during the same period.

It said 18 stories on the conflict expressed a Palestinian viewpoint without an equal Israeli response.

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Anti-Israel demos at technology show

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

Anti-Israel demonstrations took place outside the Scottish Parliament for three days this week as an exhibition promoting the Jewish state's technological achievements prompted mass opposition.

The small exhibit, Israel's contribution to medicine, science and technology, was organised by the Scottish Friends of Israel group and sponsored by MSP Ken MacIntosh.

It opened on Tuesday at Holyrood. Protesters from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Scottish Friends of Palestine groups gathered outside the parliament building.

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"Comedy terrorist" takes on David Cameron

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

Two Jewish candidates from rather different sides of the political spectrum are attempting to overturn David Cameron's 14,000 majority.

Self-styled "comedy terrorist" Aaron Barschak - best-known for gate-crashing Prince William's 21st birthday party while dressed as Osama bin Laden - is hoping to become MP for Witney, the Oxford constituency held by the Tory leader.

Fellow candidate Joe Goldberg is less controversial. He is a Labour councillor in Haringey, north London.

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Israel deputy ambassador 'shocked' by Manchester attack

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2010

Israel’s deputy ambassador to Britain was forced to seek refuge in a security office after protesters attempted to attack her following a university lecture.

Talya Lador-Fresher said she feared she would be physically assaulted when demonstrators climbed on the bonnet of her car and attempted to smash the windscreen.

She had been speaking to members of Manchester University’s politics society when the incident occurred on Wednesday evening. Around 40 demonstrators had gathered at the venue.

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Lib Dem warns of 'power of Jewish lobby'

By Marcus Dysch, April 28, 2010

A Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in Yorkshire told a hustings meeting that “the power of the Jewish lobbies in Washington and Britain” are the reason a full arms embargo has not been imposed on Israel.

Madeleine Kirk, standing for the party in the new seat of York Outer, was speaking at the York University event on Wednesday afternoon.

A question was asked about whether the candidates believed arms sales to Israel should be banned.

Ms Kirk, a long-standing local city councillor, replied that an embargo should be in place, but was not, "because of the Jewish lobby”.

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