Marcus Dysch

UJS: Our students will be resolute

By Marcus Dysch, September 10, 2009

The Union of Jewish Students chair says the organisation will approach the new academic year with optimism, despite a potential wave of anti-Israel action on campuses.

Adam Pike said UJS would stand up to the threat of boycott motions, antisemitism and attacks and pledged to not “cower in the corner”.

Last year was one of the most challenging UJS has faced. Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last December and January sparked furious demonstrations on Britain’s campuses.

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Chief Rabbi makes New Year podcast

By Marcus Dysch, September 10, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has wished students Shana Tova in a podcast for the new Union of Jewish Students website.

In the three-minute message he said society was suffering from “mission drift”.

He said: “We are affluent beyond the dreams of any previous generation since man first walked on earth, yet rates of stress-related syndromes, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, depressive illnesses have been rising with each successive generation since the 1950s.”

He advised students to instead celebrate life in a “wonderful university environment”.

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CST publishes booklet on campus race hate

By Marcus Dysch, September 10, 2009

Five thousand brochures giving practical and legal advice on tackling antisemitism on campus will be distributed to thousands of students and university officers when the new academic year begins later this month.

A 68-page guide, compiled by the Union of Jewish Students and Community Security Trust, will be sent to every student union equalities and diversity officer in the UK.

It explains how to identify antisemitism, who to turn to for help, and how to tackle it through education and fostering better relations.

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BNP must accept non-whites after legal battle

By Marcus Dysch, September 10, 2009

The British National Party is poised to accept non-white members and candidates of different ethnicities following a legal challenge which accused it of racial discrimination.

BNP leader Nick Griffin indicated that the party will make changes to its constitution after the Equality and Human Rights Commission sought an injunction, claiming the party’s membership rules breach the Race Relations Act.

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War on Want is cleared by charity watchdog

By Marcus Dysch, September 10, 2009

The Charity Commission has cleared War on Want of wrongdoing after the anti-poverty charity hosted an event which accused Israel of human rights abuses and called for a worldwide boycott of the Jewish state.

Zionist Federation president Eric Moonman, who had complained to the commission about WoW’s actions, will now put together a panel of academics to scrutinise the commission’s work.

The commission said this week it was satisfied that the anti-poverty group had worked within the rules and not breached charitable guidelines by hosting the event.

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So, Boris, fasting for Yom Kippur?

By Marcus Dysch, September 10, 2009

When Mayor of London Boris Johnson last week urged non-Muslims to fast for a day during Ramadan to learn more about Islam, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would enquire as to his views on the benefits of non-Jews fasting on Yom Kippur.

Perhaps it was equally inevitable that Mr Johnson’s response would come in his trademark garbled fashion.

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Steven Cohen and Justice for the 96

By Marcus Dysch, September 7, 2009

In his Times column today, Gabriele Marcotti has picked up on the bitter row in America over “shock jock” Steven Cohen, a former football radio show presenter in the US.

Earlier this year Cohen sparked outrage when, days before the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, he aired his view that Liverpool fans were, essentially, to blame for the deaths of 96 fellow supporters at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between their side and Nottingham Forest.

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Yes, the BNP should be allowed on Question Time

By Marcus Dysch, September 7, 2009

So the BBC is going to let Nick Griffin on Question Time. Quite right too.

The decision was met first with shock and a flat ‘we won’t appear alongside him’ from the three main political parties, but then with a more realistic approach.

And that is the right one to take. The response should be: let Griffin on, and show him up for what he is.

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Rail evacuees retrace their Shoah escape

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Dozens of Holocaust survivors this week retraced the journey that saved their lives 70 years ago.

They travelled by train from the Czech Republic to London, remembering the efforts of Sir Nicholas Winton, who in 1939 arranged eight Kindertransport trains, saving 669 Czech children.

Among the 170 people who left Prague’s main station on Tuesday morning were 22 of “Winton’s children” and 64 descendants of those saved by him. He was knighted for his rescue mission.

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Google now translates Yiddish

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Do you find yourself sitting in front of the computer desperately trying to remember whether you mean khaver or khazer in the email you are sending your bubbeh?

Well, platz no more. Google has launched a tool which translates English words and phrases into Yiddish, and vice versa, in seconds, eliminating unfortunate misunderstandings and leaving you ongeshtopt with new phrases.

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Police caution man over street hate rant

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

A Filipino man has been cautioned by police after shouting antisemitic abuse at a Jewish passerby in a random attack.

The incident happened as the victim was walking to his car in Bell Lane, Hendon, north west London, at around 10pm on Saturday night.

He was approached by a 42-year-old drunk man who shouted antisemitic insults at him before entering a house.

The 29-year-old victim called the police, who searched the property and found the man hiding on the roof.

Officers talked him down, arrested him, and seized three cannabis plants.

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Bobovs win fight to turn pub into a shul

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Plans to convert a pub into a synagogue for a strictly Orthodox community have been approved by councillors after a year-long battle to resolve the building’s future.

The Swan pub in Stamford Hill, north London, closed in January after members of the Bobov community bought it for around £1 million.

Councillors granted change-of-use planning permission at a meeting on Wednesday night, despite a campaign by residents to stop the conversion going ahead.

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Property tycoon under attack over pensioners' rent

By Marcus Dysch, September 3, 2009

Billionaire property tycoon Vincent Tchenguiz has defended his company’s management of private retirement homes amid claims that pensioners are being overcharged for rent and services.

The Iranian-born entrepreneur is chairman of the Consensus Business Group, whose companies dominate the sector, housing around 70,000 elderly people.

Pensioners living at properties in 50 developments claim they are paying unreasonable amounts for property managers and transfer fees if they sell or let their home.

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Rebuilding plan for Golders Green school

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

An Orthodox school in Golders Green school is to be rebuilt to increase its capacity.

The privately run Talmud Torah Tiferes Shlomo in Elmcroft Crescent currently educates 148 boys aged between three and seven but is struggling to accommodate them in its run-down prefabricated buildings.

New classrooms will enable it to cater for 210 pupils. They will be built around an open courtyard with a second courtyard serving as a playground.

Rooftop play areas will also be created, with fencing and vegetation around the premises.

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UK Beth Din settles Sydney rabbi’s row

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

A long-running legal battle between a prominent Sydney rabbi and his cash-strapped congregation has been settled by the London Beth Din.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, of the Orthodox Bondi Mizrachi Synagogue, will receive AUS$952,000 (£484,700) when he leaves the congregation, which he has led for more than 21 years.

The LBD ordered the shul to pay the rabbi a £121,224 lump sum when he departs, either by resignation or dismissal. He will then receive the rest of the money in monthly payments, starting in March 2012.

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5ft 2 woman in court for attacking 'stocky' neighbour

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

A mother of four has spoken of her relief at being cleared of assaulting a neighbour during a row over a lost football.

Petite Susannah Marmot, 42, endured a ten-month ordeal following a scuffle with stocky George Louka outside her home in Edgware, north west London.

She was accused of actual bodily harm after Mr Louka fell and cut his head, requiring ten stitches, as she tried to retrieve her son’s ball.

Dustman Mr Louka was described in court as an “Alf Garnett” figure who regularly shouted abuse at neighbours and called police to make complaints.

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BBC backs Jeremy Bowen in bias probe

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

The BBC has confirmed that a trustee who says he has “complete confidence” in Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen will be allowed to chair an investigation into complaints against the correspondent.

Richard Tait, head of the corporation’s Editorial Standards Committee, will lead the case considering allegations of inaccuracy and bias.

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Cambridge mikveh plans are rejected

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

Plans to build Cambridge’s first mikveh were plunged into further confusion this week after a council rejected a rabbi’s planning application.

Chabad’s Rabbi Reuven Leigh had asked for permission to convert a ground floor garage and kitchen into a ritual bath at his Castle Street home.

But Cambridge Council planning committee turned down his request, despite the council’s own officials advising them to give the project the go-ahead.

Rabbi Leigh, who is also rabbi of Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation, said he would appeal against the “bizarre” decision.

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Minister says UK has crucial MidEast role

By Marcus Dysch, August 27, 2009

Ivan Lewis, the Middle East minister, believes Israel and the Palestinians are facing their “best last chance for peace in a generation”.

Speaking after returning from a tour of the region which took in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Lebanon, Mr Lewis outlined a ten-point plan which he believes will help Britain play an important role in the peace process.

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Netanyahu meets Brown at Downing St

By Marcus Dysch, August 25, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his British counterpart Gordon Brown have held Downing Street talks on the future of the Middle East peace process.

The leaders discussed the future development of West Bank settlements and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme.

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