Marcus Dysch

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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Middle East peace process is charade, argue experts

By Marcus Dysch, September 28, 2010

A panel of politicians, foreign affairs analysts and historians has convinced an audience of more than 1,000 people that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a "charade".

An Intelligence Squared debate in central London last week discussed the impact of settlements, Iran and the international community on the talks.

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami led the argument in favour of the motion "the Middle East peace process is a charade", with former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk defending the process.

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Oona 'united as Team Labour' with Ken

By Marcus Dysch, September 26, 2010

Former MP Oona King has backed Ken Livingstone to regain the London mayoralty after he beat her for the Labour candidacy to take on Boris Johnson.

Mr Livingstone, whose two previous terms as mayor saw him open a rift with the Jewish community, will take on the current Tory incumbent in 2012.

Ms King polled 31 per cent of the vote on her return to the political spotlight. She lost her Bethnal Green and Bow parliamentary seat to George Galloway following an acrimonious campaign in 2005.

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Knickers in a twist

By Marcus Dysch, September 22, 2010

You do sometimes have to wonder what country people such as Na’ama Heller and Brian Gordon think they are living in – Israel? Saudi Arabia? Taliban-ruled Afghanistan?

The revelation – if you’ll pardon the pun – that Marks & Spencer had been urged to remove a lingerie advert from an advertising board next to a Sukkah shop in north west London shocked me.

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Your guide to Jewish campus life

By Marcus Dysch, September 21, 2010

Welcome back to the section which brings you the most comprehensive coverage of Jewish student life – JC On Campus.

As the Jewish calendar turns to 5771, JC On Campus enters its second year in a new home, as part of the Community section.

We will be bringing you the latest news and issues affecting our student community from campuses across the country.

The section is dedicated to representing Jewish students' views on topics from Israel to interfaith and social action to socialising.

Every campus has a unique identity and every Jewish Society offers something different.

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JCC begins demolition

By Marcus Dysch, September 21, 2010

Demolition of a former car showroom to make way for the £50 million Jewish Community Centre for London - British Jewry's biggest ever capital project - is due to begin this month.

Demolition experts will erect hoardings around the old Mercedes showroom on London's Finchley Road before starting the lengthy deconstruction process.

The new 80,000 sq ft JCC will cater for Jews across the religious and political spectrum and is due to open in 2013.

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Hague will be guest at UJIA

By Marcus Dysch, September 21, 2010

Foreign Secretary William Hague has been confirmed as the guest speaker at UJIA's annual fundraising dinner.

Mr Hague will join around 700 people at dinner at the London Hilton hotel in Park Lane, central London, on November 8.

He is also expected to visit Israel that month on his delayed first official visit to the region as Foreign Secretary.

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Operation Embarrass? You bet: Britain's secret war on the Jews

By Marcus Dysch, September 21, 2010

British spies staged covert operations to sabotage Holocaust survivors' attempts to reach Palestine between 1946 and early 1948.

Among the tactics used by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in Operation Embarrass were the bombing of five ships used by potential immigrants, intimidation and the creation of a fake Palestinian defence group.

The British government gave the go-ahead to the campaign to slow illegal immigration into Palestine, provided there was "no risk of casualties being incurred" and no link could be traced back to the government.

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TUC votes to keep up West Bank boycott

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2010

The Trades Union Congress has voted to continue its boycott of Israeli goods from West Bank settlements and strengthen its links with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

A motion passed at the TUC congress in Manchester on Tuesday stopped short of agreeing to a full boycott of Israel.

The TUC had been expected to extend its boycotts policy and encourage further disinvestment.

The Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies said the rejection of a boycott of all Israeli goods represented a "serious setback for the pro-boycott movement".

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Jonathan Djanogly apologises for spying

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2010

A Conservative Justice Minister has apologised and admitted he "over-reacted" by hiring a firm of private investigators to spy on local party members who, he believed, were conspiring against him.

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, a member of New London Synagogue, paid detectives more than £5,000 for a covert operation after he was caught up in last year's expenses scandal.

Mr Djanogly, son of businessman and philanthropist Sir Harry Djanogly, a member of Nottingham Hebrew Congregation, denied any wrongdoing.

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Ex-Islamist Ed Husain attacks hate speaker

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2010

University vice-chancellors must do more to protect Jewish students from hatred on campuses, according to the director of a counter-extremism think tank.

Ed Husain, co-founder of the Quilliam organisation, was speaking at the Union of Jewish Students' annual campaigns summit.

He attacked appearances on campuses of speakers such as Palestinian academic Azzam Tamimi.

Dr Tamimi is a regular speaker at universities and has told students that he "longs to be a martyr" and believes Israel "must come to an end".

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Bicom scoops Benjamin Netanyahu for annual dinner

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to visit Britain in November, the JC has learned.

Mr Netanyahu will be the keynote speaker at the annual dinner of Bicom, the Israel lobbying organisation, in London on November 1.

But senior Israeli sources refused to confirm that Mr Netanyahu would visit Britain and said any possible plans were not finalised.

A full schedule has not been agreed, but it is thought he is likely to meet his counterpart David Cameron.

No plans have yet been made for Mr Netanyahu to hold other communal meetings.

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US adviser: Israeli-Palestinian talks are a charade

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2010

A senior military strategist and former US government adviser has launched a blistering attack on the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, deriding the process as a "charade".

Edward Luttwak, a senior associate at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington DC, said the "interference of frivolous people" would not bring about peace in the Middle East.

The process was, he said, "a perverse, deeply perverted mechanism that masquerades in humanitarian clothes".

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Locked out of the library

By Marcus Dysch, September 16, 2010

Larry David would struggle to make this up.

You may recall the rather unfortunate story I reported on a few weeks ago regarding the case of Mr Eugene Linder.

This was the gentleman in Switzerland battling against the interminable delaying tactics of the Finnish authorities in an attempt to have his late mother re-interred in Basel.

It seems Mr Linder has now found himself in a subsequent spot of bother closer to home – he has been banned from using his local library in Aarau, between Basel and Zurich.

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