Marcus Dysch

Dell customer told: Sorry, we're boycotting Israel

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

Computer manufacturer Dell has launched an investigation after a call centre worker told a customer the company "would not deal with Israel".

The male staff member was asked whether a laptop charger could be sent to Israel but responded by falsely claiming the company was boycotting the Jewish state.

A company spokesman said an internal review of the incident had begun and reassured customers that products remained on sale in Israel and to Israeli shoppers online.

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Israeli's chance for Iraq election vote scuppered

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

An Iraqi-born Jewish pensioner was left disappointed after he was unable to vote as an expatriate in the country's general election last weekend.

David Sasson wanted to cast his vote in Wembley, north west London, but his hopes were dashed despite twice queuing for more than five hours.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi expats took part in the election, voting over three days at polling stations in 60 cities worldwide.

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Jewish Book Week breaks records once again

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

The organisers of Jewish Book Week are celebrating a successful festival, despite the challenges posed by the economy.

The nine-day event ended on Sunday with a sell-out debate on the relationship between Israel and the diaspora.

Guardian and JC writer Jonathan Freedland chaired the lively session with panellists Daniel Levy, an adviser to American advocacy group J Street; human rights specialist Francesca Klug; and Professor David Newman of Ben-Gurion University.

Ticket sales for the festival remained at a similar level to last year's record-breaking 13,000 seats.

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Palestine group gets student union ban

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

A pro-Palestinian group which launched an angry protest against an Israeli speaker has been banned from using a student union's facilities.

Leeds University Union took action against the student Palestine Solidarity Group after protesters interrupted a talk given by Ishmael Khaldi, Israel's deputy consul.

They chanted and banged on the doors of the lecture theatre as Mr Khaldi spoke at the Jewish Society event.

The union's activities executive has stopped PSG booking rooms in the union building until the start of the next semester in April.

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Chief: let's all exploit YouTube

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks spoke to students about the importance of leadership during an event organised by UJC's Scotland and North East chaplain Garry Wayland.

During Sunday's event at Giffnock and Newlands Hebrew Congregation synagogue in Glasgow, around 40 students discussed the role of teamwork with Rabbi Sacks.

He explained how he uses a YouTube channel to reach out to students and said people must "think outside the box" to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia.

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JSoc arrives in Cheltenham

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

A new JSoc has been set up at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham.

Reverend Malcolm Weisman and UJS central development officer Josh Colman met students last week.

Rev Weisman said: "We are planning some activities with the Cheltenham Jewish community, where members have already offered the students hospitality. We think there could be between 10 and 20 Jewish students there."

Students wishing to join the JSoc or get more information should email Josh at josh@ujs.org.uk.

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Apartheid activist slams 'Israel Apartheid Week'

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

A renowned anti-apartheid activist has defended Israel against comparisons with racially segregated South Africa.

South African-born Benjamin Pogrund, former deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg, visited Britain this week as pro-Palestinian groups marked the sixth annual Israeli Apartheid Week.

He said: "I say flatly: Israel within its 1948 borders is not an apartheid state. That is nonsense. Anyone who says it is has either forgotten or does not know what apartheid was."

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Labour MP Diane Abbott vows to save Yemeni Jews

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

A Labour MP has accused the government of putting the lives of Yemeni Jews at risk by not doing enough to save them from al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists.

A year ago, London's strictly Orthodox community worked with Immigration Minister Phil Woolas in the hope that 120 Yemenis could move to Stamford Hill, north London.

The Home Office was expected to agree to allow them to settle in Britain, but the move never happened. Now Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, has stepped in and demanded that they reconsider.

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Lib Dems under fire over Gaza leaflets

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

Parliamentary candidates across the country have clashed over pre-election attacks on Israel.

Labour's Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas has written to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, questioning his party's views on arms sales to the Jewish state.

Mr Woolas acted after the Lib Dem candidate in the constituency, Elwyn Watkins, wrote to Muslim supporters condemning Israel's "disproportionate use of force" during last year's Gaza conflict and calling for an end to arms sales to Israel.

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Gaza activists claim ‘state racism’

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, March 4, 2010

Supporters of pro-Palestinian demonstrators jailed for their roles in violent protests outside the Israeli Embassy say the sentences are a result of "state racism" against Muslims.

At least 22 people have so far been handed jail terms ranging from eight months to two and a half years. More are awaiting sentencing.

Thousands attended demonstrations outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington in January last year. More than 60 were later charged, the majority with public order offences.

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JSocs building bridges

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

More than 30 students took part in a weekend retreat in Bournemouth organised by the Union of Jewish Students and University Jewish Chaplaincy.

Representatives of 11 small and medium sized Jewish Societies from the central and southern regions braved bad weather to enjoy a barbeque and stroll on the beach.

Topics up for discussion included Jewish views on gambling, creationism and social action.

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Irish minister 'regrets' protest at Israel envoy

By Marcus Dysch, March 2, 2010

Ireland’s foreign minister has said he regrets a town council’s decision to remove a page, signed by the Israeli ambassador, from its visitors’ book.

Zion Evrony, Israel’s envoy to Ireland, visited Carrickmacross at the end of January but was met by a political row and protests from angry Sinn Féin councillors.

They proposed that the council should “remove” the page signed by Dr Evrony from the visitors’ book.

Foreign Minister Micheál Martin said he “regrets” the incident and believes states should treat each other with respect.

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Two held over Purim ‘havoc’

By Marcus Dysch, March 1, 2010

Police arrested two Jewish revellers as a group of 300 people caused "havoc" during rowdy Purim celebrations.

The men were arrested on suspicion of affray in north west London on Saturday night after residents called for officers to disperse the crowds.

Barnet Police said there had been "fighting, throwing of fireworks and general havoc" in Brent Street, Hendon, and Golders Green Road, Golders Green, between 10pm and 12.30am on Sunday morning.

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Ex-Leo Baeck chair is honorary QC

By Marcus Dysch, March 1, 2010

The former chairman of Leo Baeck College has been appointed an honorary Queen’s Counsel.

Professor Graham Zellick will make the declaration and receive the letters patent of appointment from the Lord Chancellor at a ceremony at Westminster Hall on March 22.

The rare award of Honorary Silk is made by the Queen and recognises lawyers who have “made a major contribution to the law of England and Wales outside practice courts”.

Prof Zellick said: “You do not get notice of it and you cannot apply so it comes as a great surprise. I’m very proud.

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Fury at Muslim hate speaker invited to universities

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

Three universities have been slammed for hosting an extremist Muslim who has expressed antisemitic views. Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick has previously denounced Jews and homosexuals as "filth".

He was due to speak at King's College London yesterday after being invited by its Islamic Society.

The Qabeelat Al Shams group, a student section of the Islamic education group Al Maghrib Institute, asked him to appear at the University of East London (UEL) this weekend and at City University last week.

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Charedi father told to demolish family home

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

A Charedi father must demolish his family home after losing a planning dispute with a council.

Jacob Dreyfuss, president of Stamford Hill's Stolin-Karlin synagogue, rebuilt his two-storey home without planning permission, to add a cellar and a loft extension.

Hackney Council issued an enforcement notice and he appealed against it without success.

The government's Planning Inspectorate has now given him a year to "remove the unauthorised house".

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Reform Jews grill Chris Grayling on arrest law

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said this week that he was unsure whether it was necessary to change the law on universal jurisdiction.

He was speaking to two dozen members of the Reform community at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley, north west London, on Monday evening.

Audience members grilled him on how a prospective Tory administration would tackle the issue of universal jurisdiction.

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Moshe Ya'alon's video message to World Ort

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

Israeli vice-premier Moshe Ya'alon took part in a video conference with London activists to discuss the challenges his country faces.

The exchange was hosted by World Ort at its Camden offices, allowing 30 community members to quiz Mr Ya'alon on issues such as Islamist extremism and Iran's nuclear threat.

Speaking from his Jerusalem office, Mr Ya'alon said: "You are the people who can best confront the biggest strategic threat, which is the attempt to delegitimise and dehumanise the state of Israel."

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Hull care facility spreads its net for residents

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

Hull's Jewish care home is hoping to attract new residents from neighbouring communities whose residential facilities are over-subscribed.

The committee at Menorah House is looking further afield to help fill its rooms, while assisting those unable to access kosher homes in other cities.

Ranked excellent at its last key unannounced inspection, the home has 24 flats, all with en-suite facilities and sitting rooms.

Harold Flasher, chairman of Menorah House's building committee, said the move was intended to help the home weather the recession.

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Blow me...finally someone works out how to market Israel

By Marcus Dysch, February 23, 2010
This could possibly be the best marketing effort on Israel's behalf in a generation.

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