Marcus Dysch

Hendon: Election 2010

By Marcus Dysch, April 8, 2010

In recent weeks voters in Hendon have been preoccupied more with matzah prices than turnout forecasts and swing percentages.

But they are now likely to find themselves at the forefront of fevered election activity.

Labour's Andrew Dismore, who has held the seat since 1997, faces a critical challenge from Tory Matthew Offord and the Liberal Democrats' Matthew Harris, who is Jewish.

Although the constituency is ranked 73rd on the Tories' list of targets, analysts put it in the top four of the essential 80 seats the party must win to topple Gordon Brown.

More..

Antisemitic comic Dieudonné London gig cancelled

By Marcus Dysch, April 8, 2010

A planned London performance by a controversial French far-right comedian has been cancelled following complaints from the Jewish community.

Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, who was last year fined by a French court for performing an antisemitic stunt, was due to perform in Kensington on Saturday evening.

The Cameroon-born performer has previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party, which he formed with Alain Soral, a former member of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s extreme-right National Front.

More..

Church apologises to rabbi for 'ambush'

By Marcus Dysch, April 1, 2010

A rabbi has received an apology from a church group after the controversial play Seven Jewish Children was performed at the end of a conference discussing Israel and the Palestinians.

Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok was a speaker alongside Palestinian colleague Dawoud El-Alami (they are co-authors of a book on the conflict) at the lecture series The Holy Land: Whose Land Is It? in Ludlow, Shropshire.

More..

Club nights 'cashing in' on Jewish charities

By Marcus Dysch, April 1, 2010

Charity executives have expressed serious concerns over the actions of promotions companies which organise events aimed at young Jewish party-goers.

Club nights run by commercial enterprises, which donate a percentage of their proceeds to charity, are now regular fixtures on the Jewish social scene.

But the JC has been told of concerns that the charities are receiving smaller shares of the profits than expected, and anxiety that potential donors are being drawn away from traditional fundraising ventures.

More..

UJS: Most dedicated student awards

By Marcus Dysch, March 25, 2010

The UK's most dedicated students have been recognised at the annual Union of Jewish Students awards.

Prizes included a trip to an international conference in Washington DC, a place on a UJIA project in northern Israel and a visit to the former Soviet Union with World Jewish Relief.

Durham University's students won the Developing JSoc of the Year title. Co-presidents Emily Black and Susie Sandle said Durham's new kosher kitchen had boosted membership by 300 per cent in the past 12 months.

More..

Anne Frank exhibition 'too expensive' says council

By Marcus Dysch, March 25, 2010

The proposed hosting of an Anne Frank exhibition has sparked a war of words between relatives of Holocaust survivors and anti-Israel campaigners.

Councillors in Aberystwyth rejected the possibility of accommodating a month-long exhibition, following a request from the Anne Frank Trust.

One council member questioned the "pertinence" of hosting the project which he felt was "not appropriate".

But the council confirmed this week that it had turned down the request for cost alone. The Trust charges at least £16,000 to cover transport, setting up and insurance of the exhibits.

More..

Ken Livingstone: Board of Deputies lost me election

By Marcus Dysch, March 25, 2010

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone claims the Board of Deputies carried out "a hatchet job" to force him from power.

He believes the organisation collaborated with the Evening Standard newspaper ahead of the 2008 election campaign in order to "get rid" of him.

Mr Livingstone made the comments during an interview on JNET Radio on Sunday.

When asked what he believes the Jewish community's perception of him is, Mr Livingstone immediately replied: "It was a real hatchet job by the Board of Deputies and the Evening Standard who had a common interest in getting rid of me.

More..

British leaders at Aipac

By Marcus Dysch, March 25, 2010

A delegation of Britain's Jewish community leaders travelled to the United States this week to take part in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) convention.

Jewish Leadership Council chief executive Jeremy Newmark, Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman and Bicom chief executive Lorna Fitzsimons led the British group.

Other representatives from the JLC, the Board, the Community Security Trust and Union of Jewish Students joined the trip.

More..



Students: Awards and arrogance

By Marcus Dysch, March 23, 2010

I’ve spent the last couple of evenings at the Union of Jewish Students’ two blue ribbon events of the year.

Sunday’s Student Awards ceremony celebrated the very best work carried out by Jewish Society members on campuses.

There were some mightily impressive tales – stories of tens of thousands raised for charities, JSocs in obscure corners of Britain putting on weekly Shabbat dinners, events attracting 1,000 students or more.

The award winners fully deserved their honours and seemed truly humbled to receive them.

More..

It's take two for the JSoc Oscars

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

The achievements of the country's most dedicated and enterprising Jewish students will be recognised at a special awards ceremony this week.

Around 150 students from across the country are expected to attend the UJS Student Awards in Camden, north London, on Sunday night.

It will be the second time the awards have taken place. More than 50 students have been nominated for their efforts.

Emma Rickman, UJS events officer, said it was an opportunity to recognise the impact students have on their campuses.

More..

Networking day will give job hunters a head start

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

The Union of Jewish Students is holding its first career networking conference.

Students will have the opportunity to meet professionals from industries including law, education, property, marketing and finance.

A speed-dating format will give participants a chance to make useful contacts with high-fliers from the wider Jewish community.

Monday's event will end with a talk by tycoon Gerald Ronson.

UJS chair Adam Pike explains here how his own struggle to find a job helped inspire the event:

More..

Students reject Gaza twin plan

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

More than 1100 students at the University of Warwick have rejected a plan to twin with the Hamas-backed Islamic University of Gaza.

It is thought to be the first time a twinning motion has been defeated at the union.

Warwick's Jewish-Israeli Society was unable actively to oppose the twinning as it is classified as a cultural society by the university and cannot campaign.

But pro-Israel students lobbied their colleagues to vote against the proposal in the four-day online poll last week.

Although 878 voters supported the twinning, 1,155 voted against.

More..

Judaica collector bought fake menorah

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

A British antiques collector bought an 18th century silver menorah only to find it had been "Judaised" with candleholders added 200 years later.

Jerusalem-based Martin Stern, who has worked as a restitution campaigner, found the candlestick at a Tel Aviv auction firm.

The piece is thought to have cost thousands of dollars. Mr Stern had intended to donate it to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, but curators declined his offer after discovering the "menorah" was not a real piece of Judaica.

More..

Jewish Museum opened by Nigella Lawson

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

The new Jewish Museum opened to the public this week following a two-year, £10 million refurbishment project.

Housing one of the world's most impressive Judaica collections, the Camden museum has already received critical acclaim and promises to showcase Jewish life in Britain, cultural diversity and use technology to bring history to life.

It was officially opened on Tuesday by cook and broadcaster Nigella Lawson, and BBC creative director Alan Yentob.

Mr Yentob said it would be a facility "not just for religious Jews, but for people interested in their own past.

More..

Jack Straw publishes draft for war crimes arrest law change

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

The Ministry of Justice has published a draft bill aimed at resolving the issue of universal jurisdiction.

A change in the law would make it more difficult for Israeli politicians to be arrested in Britain for alleged war crimes.

It remains unlikely, however, that there will be time to complete the process before the end of the parliamentary term.

The proposal suggests restricting the right to prosecute to the Crown Prosecution Service as being the "most straightforward solution".

More..

Stag parties at Auschwitz

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

Holocaust survivors and education groups have attacked the promotion of Auschwitz as a tour destination for stag parties.

Trips to the concentration camp are offered by two British companies providing pre-wedding weekends which also include lap dancing, bar crawls and go-karting.

Party-goers can put together their own tailor-made weekends, choosing from different "activities" or pay for a package trip.

Auschwitz survivor Martin Bennett said: "It is terrible. Auschwitz is not a joyride or a holiday camp. It is a solemn place for people to learn about history.

More..



Making aliyah

By Marcus Dysch, March 18, 2010

There is plenty of talk at the moment about the future of Britain’s Jewish community.

Friday night dinner tables are buzzing with debate on why the community’s younger members are leaving in such numbers [aliyah rates were last year at their highest for 25 years].

People keep asking me how British Jews will survive if robbed of a generation of community leaders.

Non-Jews question why youngsters with fantastic degrees and privileges their grandparents could have only ever dreamed of are leaving for a potentially turbulent, troubled new life in Israel.

More..

Paedophile who hid in Stamford Hill jailed

By Marcus Dysch, March 16, 2010

A paedophile who fled to London to escape justice in Israel has been jailed for 13 years for raping a teenage boy.

Nachman Stal lived secretly among the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, north London.

He had left Israel in 2006 after being found guilty of sodomy and indecent assault of a minor.

The father-of-nine was only recaptured by chance in May 2008 when police stopped to help him change a punctured tyre in west London.

More..

I'll be out there, says new UJS chair

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

Taking on the top job in Jewish student politics is a daunting task. But Alex Dwek, chairman-elect of the Union of Jewish Students, cannot wait to start work.

The 22-year-old Londoner is preparing to start his role in mid-July and has revealed his plans in depth for the first time.

Alex, correctly tipped by JC On Campus to win last December's election, is in the final stages of putting his executive team together. Candidates are being chosen to fill roles ranging from campaigns director to regional development officers.

More..

William Hague's kosher Hendon experience

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

It is not every day the Shadow Foreign Secretary tucks in to chicken schnitzel and chips at a kosher restaurant.

The White House in Hendon is a rather different establishment to the South Yorkshire pubs where a teenage William Hague supped pints.

But he made the most of his experience in north London on Monday evening, munching on dishes including cigarim, matbucha, pitta and hummus.

More..