Marcus Dysch

We will block arrest change: PSC pledge

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has pledged to do everything possible to block the government's proposed change to universal jurisdiction legislation.

Speaking at a rally to mark the second anniversary of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, PSC campaigns director Sarah Colborne urged supporters to pressure their MPs and recruit friends to the campaign.

She said: "We want to send a very clear message. Don't fête war criminals. We will find other routes to bring you to justice. We will not stop until we bring those responsible for war crimes to justice."

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Deputies hardly covered in glory

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

Two months after Mick Davis's comments rocked the community, the Board of Deputies finally found time to discuss the fallout and landed itself in a pickle entirely of its own making.

With ill-feeling about the role of the JLC and general unease over Vivian Wineman's stewardship, there was always the potential for Sunday's Israel debate to spill over into wider squabbling.

Many deputies are erudite political and business leaders, but too many are out of touch with the modern world and vastly overestimate the Board's influence at home and abroad.

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JLC forced to scrap first West Bank visit

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

The Jewish Leadership Council has postponed a trip to meet Palestinian leaders in the West Bank following an angry reaction from community representatives.

Chairman Vivian Wineman had been due to travel to Ramallah next month with other council members including Sir Trevor Chinn and Rosalind Preston. They would have met Palestinian Authority officials and members of non-governmental organisations such as Oxfam and War on Want.

The JLC had also proposed that a representative of the Office of the Chief Rabbi join the touring group.

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Scots' Israeli records

By Marcus Dysch, January 14, 2011

A project dedicated to charting the lives of Jews who left Scotland to make aliyah has attracted an immediate response.

Scots in Israel, an online collection of historical data, is the brainchild of Michael Diamond, who left Glasgow for Beersheva in 1987.

More than 50 people joined the site in its first week, inundating its message boards with stories of their aliyah experiences, memories of life in Scotland, and attempts to contact old friends.

Mr Diamond is working with the Scottish Jewish Archives, based at Glasgow's Garnethill Synagogue, to record details of olim.

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Will the real Ted Baker step forward

By Marcus Dysch, January 13, 2011

For more than 20 years he has been the fashion company founder who avoided the limelight. But the man who created the iconic Ted Baker label has now been recognised for his services to the industry.

Ray Kelvin, who opened his first men's shirt shop in Glasgow in 1988, shuns publicity, refusing to have his photograph taken and maintaining the pretence that "Ted" is a real person.

But Mr Kelvin, a former JFS pupil, was made CBE in the New Year's Honours list for services to fashion, rewarding his more than 30 years of service.

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Marking the efforts of those at the grass roots

By Marcus Dysch and Robyn Rosen, January 6, 2011

Volunteers and philanthropists from the Jewish community have been recognised in the New Year's Honours List.

Marjorie Ziff is made MBE for services to the community in Leeds.

The 81-year-old has served the city's Jewish community for nearly 60 years alongside her husband, Arnold, who died in 2004.

Their charitable donations have supported dozens of local and international groups, including Leeds Jewish Blind Society, Leeds Metropolitan University and the Royal College of Music.

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Knesset votes for NGO probe

By Marcus Dysch, January 6, 2011

THe Knesset has voted overwhelmingly in favour of establishing a parliamentary committee to probe funding of human rights groups in Israel.

The right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party proposed the bill, calling for an investigation into the actions of NGOs monitoring the activities of the IDF in the West Bank.

The motion claimed a coalition of international organisations was working under the guise of human rights to encourage draft-dodging and label IDF soldiers and commanders as war criminals.

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Israel hails giant energy find

By Marcus Dysch, December 31, 2010

The discovery of a huge natural gas field off the coast of Haifa could secure Israel's long-term energy security, according to experts.

The 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, 80 miles away from the Jewish state under the Mediterranean, represents the world's biggest find in the past decade.

One macroeconomist claimed the fuel could be worth as much as $95 billion and will allow Israel to avoid dependency on other states for their energy.

Dubbed "Leviathan", the field was discovered during drilling earlier in the year. Its size was confirmed this week.

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Man jailed for Auschwitz sign theft

By Marcus Dysch, December 30, 2010

A Swedish man has been jailed for more than two years for plotting the theft of the "Arbeit macht frei" sign at Auschwitz.

Former neo-Nazi leader Anders Hoegstroem, 34, admitted his role in the theft and agreed a plea bargain with the Krakow court last month.

He will be moved to Sweden to serve his sentence of two years and eight months.

The infamous sign was recovered last December, three days after it was stolen. It had been broken into three separate pieces.

The judge also jailed two Polish men, each for up to two-and-a-half years, for their roles in the crime.

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The clashes that divided Thatcher and Israel

By Marcus Dysch, December 30, 2010

Margaret Thatcher believed that Menachem Begin was the "most difficult" man she had to deal with in the early years of her premiership, and thought his West Bank policy "absurd".

The former Prime Minister's views about her Israeli counterpart are unearthed in documents released by the National Archives under the 30-year rule.

The previously secret papers reveal that, during a tête-à-tête with President Giscard of France at Number 10 in November 1979, Mrs Thatcher discussed how she had "never had a more difficult man to deal with" than Mr Begin.

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Tussles at the tills during Tesco boycott

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2010

Shoppers scuffled at a supermarket checkout after anti-Israel protesters loaded a trolley full of products and refused to pay for them.

Young demonstrators, including children, from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), filmed themselves choosing Israeli products at Tescos in Barkingside, Essex.

They are seen filling the trolley with dozens of packets of chicken soup powder, melons, pickled cucumbers and herbs. One girl complains that a packet of Israeli Medjool dates are "kosher" and complains there is no alternative.

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Calls for Solomon to quit

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2010

A university society has called for a student union president to resign over apparently antisemitic remarks.

The Model United Nations Society at the School of Oriental and African Studies said Clare Solomon, president of the University of London Union, had "clearly lost the authority to represent all students equally".

Last month Ms Solomon claimed in a Facebook post that the persecution of Jews had been fabricated to justify attacks on Palestinians. The 37-year-old mature student said her comment had been "badly-worded" and apologised for any "misunderstandings".

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'Israel risks losing the whole world'

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2010

A senior Israeli minister has warned that the "whole world", led by the United States, may back a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood if Israel does not commit to peace talks.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the Trade and Industry Minister and a veteran Labour Party politician, said talks with the Palestinians must resume, even if Israel were forced to renew a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank.

His warning, delivered to cabinet colleagues on Sunday, is the first admission by a senior Israeli official of a potential rift with its key ally.

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Rabbis targeted by 'bomb plot terror suspects'

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2010

Two rabbis were said to be among a group of potential targets for a gang of nine terror suspects, a court has heard.

Other possible targets for the alleged bomb plot included the London Stock Exchange, the US Embassy, Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.

Details of who the two rabbis are, and their synagogues, cannot be reported for legal reasons.

The gang appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday and were remanded in custody. They
will appear at the Old Bailey on January 14.

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MP Luciana Berger's gifts from suspected stalker

By Marcus Dysch, December 24, 2010

Britain’s youngest Jewish MP has complained to the Commons authorities about a suspected serial stalker.

Luciana Berger, 29, received a pair of diamond earrings and inappropriate cards from the man, who has also pestered other female politicians.

Ms Berger, a former director of Labour Friends of Israel, was elected as the party’s MP for Liverpool Wavertree in May.

The man, thought to be American, is also believed to have sent a bracelet to a second female MP, as well as sending other cards with “odd messages”.

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Universities show signs of taking issue seriously

By Marcus Dysch, December 16, 2010

Campaigners believe there is "light at the end of the tunnel" in the ongoing effort to restrict hate speakers' appearances on university campuses.

Jewish community representatives working with vice-chancellors say that despite an initially "slow and poor response", higher education bodies have now accepted action must be taken against campus extremism.

At Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, David Cameron said: "We have not done enough to deal with the promotion of extremist Islamism in our country… to deradicalise our universities we have to take a range of further steps."

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Board: Claims group should think again

By Marcus Dysch, December 16, 2010

An investigation into concerns about the Claims Conference, the New York-based body which distributes restitution funds to Holocaust survivors, has recommended that the conference's Goodwill Fund should be reopened for new claims.

An independent report, carried out for the Board of Deputies by barrister Jeffrey Gruder QC, found that the approach of the Conference "increases the sense of grievance felt by heirs and might make claims more, rather than less, probable".

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School planning scores poorly in assessment of future requirements

By Marcus Dysch, December 16, 2010

A report into the future of Jewish primary schools has queried the way the community co-ordinates new schools.

In the light of concern about a shortage of places in some areas, the Jewish Leadership Council's School Strategy Implementation Group has been looking at ways to satisfy demand.

At secular schools with a high Jewish pupil population, many parents say they would like their children to attend a Jewish school but do not have one in their area.

There are currently 24 initiatives geared towards creating additional Jewish school places for the next academic year.

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Chief Rabbi speaks on campus extremism

By Marcus Dysch, December 14, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has launched a blistering attack on university authorities and warned that they must not “turn a blind eye and deaf ear” to the rise of antisemitism on campuses.

In a passionate defence of Jewish students, he said universities had done “too little, too late” to tackle hate speakers appearing at universities.

The Chief Rabbi was speaking at the Department for Communities and Local Government ahead of the launch of a report into antisemitism in Britain.

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£2m on Jewish schools' security

By Marcus Dysch, December 9, 2010

Education Secretary Michael Gove has pledged £2 million to fund tighter security measures to protect Jewish schools.

Payments will be made to 39 voluntary-aided Jewish schools in England, via the Community Security Trust.

The money will cover the amount previously paid by parents and the CST to provide extra fencing, guards and CCTV.

In previous years the Labour government had encouraged councils to allocate funding and cover the shortfall.

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