Marcus Dysch

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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Son fights to move mother from Christian cemetery

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

A bereaved son has described his frustration after an unsuccessful three-year battle to have his mother's body moved from a Christian cemetery to a Jewish resting place.

Eugene Linder's late mother, Biba Skodnik, is buried in Finland. He has pleaded with the country's Prime Minister and President to allow him to reinter her in Switzerland, where his family now lives.

But despite the assistance of London-based Rabbi Aba Dunner of the Conference of European Rabbis, Mr Linder has failed to receive permission from the Finnish authorities to move her.

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Arab MKs blast 'apartheid' Jewish state

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

Israeli Arab Knesset members have launched a blistering attack on the Jewish state and its Parliament, declaring Israel "racist, fascist and worse than apartheid South Africa".

Speaking to supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at the House of Commons on Wednesday, MK Haneen Zoubi said: "Israel is much worse than the apartheid regime in South Africa. There were no ethnic cleansing policies there, but there are those policies in Israel."

Demand for entrance to the event was so great that supporters filled two committee rooms.

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Doubts over universal jurisdiction 'solution'

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2010

Arguments over alterations to the universal jurisdiction legislation have continued this week, despite the government’s announcement of a proposal to change the law.
J
ustice Secretary Ken Clarke said the coalition would table a legislative amendment which will ensure the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is required before an arrest warrant can be issued, in response to a private prosecution for war crimes.

This would close the loophole which saw lawyers representing Palestinians secure such a warrant for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni last December.

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Cameron's chutzpah

By Marcus Dysch, July 27, 2010

Compare the following:

David Cameron, leader of the opposition, speaking at the Conservative Friends of Israel annual lunch, June 2009:

“The belief I have in Israel is indestructible. I will never turn my back on Israel.”

David Cameron, Prime Minister, speaking in Ankara, Turkey, July 2010:

“Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.”

And

"The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable."

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Full text of anti-Israel activist acquittal revealed

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, July 22, 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 in January 2009.

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.

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Jewish WW1 soldiers reburied

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were joined in France this week by 12 veterans from the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, as the Prince dedicated the first new Commonwealth War Graves cemetery for 50 years.

Two thousand people gathered at Fromelles, near Lille, for the reburial of 250 British and Australian soldiers on the 94th anniversary of the battle in which they were killed.

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Top lawyer questioned by police

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

A top Jewish lawyer has been interviewed by police investigating the alleged theft of £158,000 of his former chambers' funds.

David Friesner, who has represented Premier League footballers and was one of Manchester's most highly regarded barristers, was questioned under caution over the missing money. He has not been arrested or charged.

Mr Friesner, of Salford, denies any wrongdoing. His solicitor, Ian Lewis, said he would continue to aid police.

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Israel trip for Jews, Muslims and Christians

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

An interfaith group is encouraging Jews, Christians and Muslims to join a study trip to Israel examining ways to bring peace to the Middle East.

St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace is a Christian-led independent charity in east London.

It will run the eight-day "study and encounter" tour of Israel in November. Participants will be expected to work together to investigate how to create productive dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Anger over Scotland's 'double-decker' burials

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) 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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Holocaust educators honoured

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

The work of three family members who set up Britain's first Holocaust memorial centre has been recognised with a rare triple award.

Marina Smith and her sons James and Stephen received honorary doctorates from Nottingham Trent University this week.

The trio founded the Holocaust Centre, in Laxton, Leicestershire, in 1995, and have since welcomed thousands of visitors to learn about the Shoah.

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