Marcus Dysch

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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