Marcus Dysch

Analysis: Her love for us is sadly unrequited

By Marcus Dysch, July 15, 2010

With two years to go before Londoners elect their mayor, Jewish voters in the capital are facing a mini-dilemma. Who should we support?

The three leading contestants in the race for City Hall are certainly sufficiently well-known to pass one test - Ken, Oona and Boris are in a select group of politicians recognisable by their first names alone.

But deciding among the trio poses a challenge for the Jewish community.

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I'll unite London, says Oona King

By Marcus Dysch, July 15, 2010

Oona King has urged Jewish Londoners to back her attempt to become Labour's mayoral candidate in the capital and deny Ken Livingstone a return to power.

Five years after she was acrimoniously ousted from her Bethnal Green and Bow parliamentary seat by George Galloway, Ms King said she was eager to move beyond sectarian divides.

Daughter of a Jewish mother and a black father, 42-year-old Ms King
said racism and antisemitism had "no place in our religious and ethnically diverse city".

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Anger over Gaza flotilla forum

By Marcus Dysch, July 15, 2010

An interfaith forum which will debate the Gaza flotilla incident and assess its impact on religious groups has sparked an angry response from a Jewish community.

The Building the Bridge (BtB ) initiative in Bristol will assess the flotilla's impact and use discussion groups for people to "share their views and experiences".

The initiative works with the government's Prevent counter-terrorism strategy and is funded by Bristol City Council.

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Call for re-trial after 'shocking' summing-up

By Marcus Dysch, July 15, 2010

The full transcript has been revealed for the first time of a judge's summing-up in the trial of seven anti-Israel activists acquitted of damaging an arms factory.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman had told the jury at Lewes Crown Court that the group's leader should be awarded the George Cross for his campaign.

The group were cleared last month of causing £180,000 of damage to the EDO MBM factory in Brighton after they claimed they had acted "to prevent Israeli war crimes".

The company denied ever supplying Israel with arms equipment.

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Barnet councillors should be ashamed

By Marcus Dysch, July 14, 2010

The news that Barnet Council cabinet members have voted through a bumper new pay structure is surely one of the most disgraceful episodes in the proud history of the borough with the largest number of Jewish households in the country.

The deal agreed at last night’s council meeting, reported here by my old paper the Hendon Times, will prove a sickening blow to hard working Barnet residents who are currently scrimping and saving to make ends meet.

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The World Cup - Chabad style

By Marcus Dysch, July 9, 2010

As the World Cup reaches its conclusion this weekend, newspapers, TV channels and websites will mourn the end of their largely mind-numbing, octopus-laden coverage. (The fans won’t).

But just when you thought you had seen it all, every possible milking of the tournament and every gimmick, when you thought nothing could be more bizarre than Alan Shearer going to Soweto and asking a South African man: “Apartheid – how was it for you?”…

..along comes this beauty from Chabad:

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Sex abuse complaint rejected

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The Charity Commission has rejected a complaint against Christian Aid for publishing claims that Israeli settlers had sexually abused Palestinian children in Hebron.

Christian Aid apologised "unreservedly" after sending out a press release which mistakenly made the false claim and said it should have described the alleged incidents as having involved "verbal sexual abuse".

The episode came after social worker Miranda Pinch travelled to the West Bank town to "monitor human rights abuses" as part of an accompaniment programme part-funded by the
charity.

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Manchester University agrees to boost security

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The new vice-chancellor of Manchester University has met representatives of the Jewish community to discuss security concerns on campus.

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, who took up her role at the university only last week, held a meeting with representatives from the Board of Deputies, Manchester Jewish Representative Council and the Community Security Trust on Monday.

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Board of Deputies cuts links with Methodists

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The Board of Deputies has broken off all contact with the leadership of the Methodist Church following its endorsement of a report deeply critical of Israel.

A spokesperson for the Board said: "There cannot be any engagement with the leadership of the Methodist Church until such a time that we see signs of a change in their stance."

But both sides vowed to continue interfaith work at a local level, encouraging members of Methodist and Jewish communities to maintain regular dialogue.

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Veterans attack comments on Jewish war record

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

The association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women reacted angrily this week to comments by an Irish newspaper columnist on the war record of British Jews.

Kevin Myers, claiming in the Irish Independent that Hitler had had no intention of invading Britain, remarked: "Jews - before the creation of Israel - were a very non-martial people. During the war, more British Cohens died as civilians than as soldiers."

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Finchley school fire investigated

By Marcus Dysch, July 8, 2010

Police are investigating the cause of a fire at Pardes House Grammar School in Finchley on Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the Hendon Lane premises after staff smelled smoke.

The blaze caused around £1,000 worth of damage in a store room, setting alight old desks and chairs.

Some boys were seen running away from the school. It is not known whether they were Pardes House pupils. CCTV footage is being studied in an attempt to identify the group. Barnet Police say there is nothing to suggest the fire was motivated by antisemitism.

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How to fix Jewish-Methodist relations - Panini football stickers

By Marcus Dysch, July 6, 2010

As the fallout rumbles on from the Methodist Church's endorsement last week of an anti-Israel report, I bring news of my own (albeit initially unintended) work to repair interfaith relations.

I am collecting stickers for the Panini World Cup album (yes I am 27, laugh if you like) and in an increasingly desperate attempt to fill the book and find those pesky last few Beckhams or Ronaldos I resorted to Twitter for help.

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Turkey 'ready to ban all Israel flights'

By Marcus Dysch, July 2, 2010

Turkey will ban commercial flights to and from Israel unless the families of Gaza flotilla victims receive an apology and compensation, according to Turkish media reports.

Israel's Industry Minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, is said to have told Turkey's Foreign Minister at a secret meeting in Brussels that the Jewish state was rethinking its initial refusal to pay compensation.

It was claimed that the Foreign Minister warned that Turkey would ban flights between the countries unless its demands were met.

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Israel ready to release 1,000 prisoners for Shalit

By Marcus Dysch, July 2, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has said he is prepared to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

In a live address on Israeli television, Mr Netanyahu said he was ready "to pay the price" of releasing the prisoners, but would not allow them to return to the West Bank and would not set free "arch-terrorists".

He has come under increasing pressure from Shalit's family. More than 10,000 supporters of the family marched in Netanya on Friday morning as part of a 12-day protest march to Jerusalem.

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Crucifixion show at Jewish gallery praised

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

The co-chairman of the London Jewish Museum of Art says he is "buoyed" by a wave of support for the gallery's decision to host an exhibition addressing the Crucifixion.

David Glasser said criticism last week of the launch of Cross Purposes – Shock and Contemplation in Images of the Crucifixion had been followed by an "exceptionally busy" weekend and around 200 supportive emails.

The exhibition at the St John's Wood gallery includes depictions of Christ on the cross by Tracey Emin, Graham Sutherland and Duncan Grant.

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Government pledge to tackle campus extremists

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

The government has pledged to reassess its Prevent counter-terrorism strategy to investigate whether it has done enough to challenge extremists.

Universities Minister David Willetts admitted there might still be cases where extreme speakers have fostered hatred or violence.

Millions of pounds have already been spent on the project in an attempt to prevent Muslim radicalisation.

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Hull celebrates first Pidyon HaBen in 23 years

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

Hull Hebrew Congregation has celebrated a rare simchah - the city's first Pidyon HaBen for 23 years.

Kimberley and Avi Schwartz from Jerusalem decided to hold the biblical redemption ceremony in east Yorkshire after bringing their one-month-old son Akiva Menachem to visit family in Mrs Schwartz's home community.

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Ovens ban after kosher bakery leak

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

A Hendon kosher bakery and café has been banned from using its gas ovens following a carbon monoxide leak on Sunday morning.

More than 20 people were evacuated and a large section of Brent Street was sealed off following the incident at Mr Baker.

It took five fire engines and specialist appliances, four rapid response ambulance cars and a team of police officers over four hours to deal with the leak.

The London Ambulance Service said that as a precaution, it had assessed 10 people at the scene but none had required hospital treatment.

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Abu Hamza's son jailed for riot

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

The son of hate preacher Abu Hamza has been jailed for his role in rioting outside the Israeli Embassy in London.

Yasser Kamel, 20, wielded a stolen police riot shield and threw sticks at officers while demonstrating against Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza last year.

He was sentenced to 12 months in youth detention after admitting one count of violent disorder at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday.

Kamel, of Shepherd’s Bush, west London, had arrived at the protest at around 4.45pm on January 10, 2009, and was caught on camera confronting officers with the riot shield.

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Fury as Methodists vote to boycott Israel

By Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, July 1, 2010

The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council said the Methodists’ annual conference should “hang its head in shame” for passing a policy which calls for a boycott of goods from “illegal” Israeli West Bank settlements and blames Israeli occupation as the “key hindrance” to Middle East peace.

Lord Sacks said the implications of the decision would “reverberate across the hitherto harmonious relationship between the faith communities in the UK”.

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