Marcus Dysch

Never mind the kugelsack, Brüno has real chutzpah

By Marcus Dysch, July 20, 2009

If you thought the naked fight scene with Azamat Bagatov in Borat was as much as you could bear, it might be best to stay away from Brüno.

Last night I went to see Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest offering. Arriving at the cinema I innocently wondered what could possibly be in the film to have led the classification board to give it an 18 certificate.

An hour and a half later, and after a level of obscenity that shocked even this gritty Northerner, it was pretty obvious.


Father given police warning over church row

By Marcus Dysch, July 16, 2009

An argument over church rent has landed a Jewish father-of-three with a police harassment warning.

Martyn Saunders-Rawlings, a former member of Hastings and Bexhill Jewish Society, had protested against a council decision to lease a building to an evangelical group at a reduced rate and with an annual grant.

He wrote to Cathy and Glenn Khan, who run Hastings’ Sonrise Church, as well as sending letters and emails to other church leaders and his local newspaper during the past year.


Amnesty slams critics of war crimes report

By Marcus Dysch, July 9, 2009

Amnesty International has defended its report of the Gaza conflict in the face of fierce criticism from the IDF and NGO Monitor.
Although the report, Operation Cast Lead: 22 Days of Death and Destruction, says both sides committed war crimes, it focuses overwhelmingly on the actions of the Israeli army.

Amnesty’s Jeremy Croft said the charity “absolutely refuted” NGO Monitor’s attempt to “rubbish” the document, and said that since February, the IDF had refused requests to discuss the findings.


Holy Smoke

By Marcus Dysch, July 3, 2009

Non-smokers like me have benefitted from the many advantages of the smoking ban which began two years ago this week.

For one, you can have a night out at a pub or club and not come home smelling like a chimney sweeper.

Almost three years ago I suffered a lengthy bout of bronchitis. It wasn’t pleasant and during my recovery I was convinced that I felt worse on a Sunday morning, having more-often-than-not been in a smoke-filled club the night before.


Hendon explosion is 'suspicious'

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2009

An explosion which demolished a flat above a shop owned by property tycoon Leo Noé is being treated as suspicious.

Police said the cause of the blast, in Bell Lane, Hendon, was unknown and an investigation has begun.

A 39-year-old man, thought to live in the flat, suffered serious burns and remains in a critical condition in hospital.

An elderly woman, whose house backs onto the premises, suffered shock when her windows were blown out, and was treated at the scene.

A woman, aged 26, and a man, aged 31, also received treatment for minor injuries.


Shul door is draped with bacon

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

Bacon rashers were found wrapped round the door handles of a synagogue as congregants arrived for a Shabbat service last weekend.

Police were called to Sinai Synagogue in Leeds on Saturday morning. They also found meat stuffed through the key hole.

Sinai is the main Reform synagogue in Leeds and has around 800 members.

Rabbi Ian Morris said: “In the scheme of things it’s almost verging on the humorous. When people are setting out to target the Jewish community it’s a shame, but on the scale of things people do these days it really does not rate terribly highly.


Radical brain surgery cures epileptic

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

A Jewish charity worker has had sections of her brain removed during a 12-hour operation to cure her of severe epilepsy.

Emma Kon, a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue, suffered from daily seizures that left her unable to work.

But since undergoing the radical surgery last year, she has gone months without a fit, allowing her to volunteer with Jewish Care and help Alzheimer’s and MS sufferers.

The 25-year-old, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, contracted viral encephalitis at the age of 17 and was left in a coma for three weeks.


Israel’s UK voice: worst job in world?

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

The hostility of the British media is hampering the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s attempts to appoint a new press spokesman to its London embassy, the JC understands.

Lior Ben Dor left his role last week, but a replacement is yet to be found.

At least one non-diplomat is known to have been approached to take on the job, but turned it down.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “It is not a case of London being a job that nobody wants, but everyone knows it is a tough job. That does not mean no one wants to do it.”


Britney Spears to star in Holocaust film

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

Of all the women you might pick to star in a sensitive film about the Holocaust, Britney Spears is unlikely to top the list. But the controversial singer, whose private life is frequently all over the tabloids, is rumoured to have been offered the leading role in a new Holocaust film.

Reports in the US suggest she will appear in The Yellow Star of Sophia and Eton, which may start filming in North America later this year.

Britney’s character, Sophia, builds a time machine and travels back to the Second World War, where she meets Eton, a Jewish prisoner of a death camp.


Hit me bubelah one more time

By Marcus Dysch, June 22, 2009

According to reports in the States today, Britney Spears is set to agree to play a role in a somewhat peculiar film about the Holocaust.

The National Lodger website claims the controversial singer will appear in "The Yellow Star of Sophia and Eton" after completing her Circus concert tour.

Apparently the film features the story of Sophia LaMont (Spears' supposed character) who builds a time machine and travels back to World War Two where she meets Eton, a Jewish man held in a concentration camp.

Er, ok...


Salmon - what YOU think about it

By Marcus Dysch, June 19, 2009

Marcus Dysch finds that many customers are prepared to pay more to keep salmon on their menu.

Photos: Ben Turner



Shul’s plans for pub

By Marcus Dysch, June 18, 2009

Moves to convert a Stamford Hill pub into a synagogue have advanced after the Jewish group which owns the building submitted a planning application.

The Swan closed earlier this year after being bought for around £1 million by members of the strictly Orthodox Bobov sect.


Charity plans ‘Apartheid Israel’ forum

By Marcus Dysch, June 18, 2009

War on Want has been accused of inciting hatred by planning an event presenting Israel as an apartheid state.

Pro-Israel groups have attacked the anti-poverty charity’s “Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide” evening taking place in Tower Hamlets, east London, on July 9. It is to feature a question-and-answer session with Ben White, a freelance writer and author of a book of the same title.


Nick Clegg: ‘Israel Jewish?’

By Marcus Dysch, June 18, 2009

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg stunned audience members at a major speech on antisemitism by asking whether referring to Israel as a Jewish state was “a new idea”.

Mr Clegg invited audience questions after delivering the second annual lecture of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism in Westminster on Monday.


Soldier killed in Afghanistan

By Marcus Dysch, June 18, 2009

A Jewish soldier has been killed in Afghanistan trying to protect his
platoon from a roadside bomb.

Lieutenant Paul Mervis of 2nd Battalion The Rifles died in an explosion last Friday during a foot patrol in northern Helmand province.
In Afghanistan, he carried a 1936 issue Soldier’s Siddur which had previously belonged to Sergeant Dave Newman, who fought in the Battle of El Alamein in World War II.

Paying tribute to the 27-year-old, his family, members of Wimbledon Reform Synagogue, said he was “generous and thoughtful, with an infectious sense of fun”.


Protest as charity chief is honoured

By Marcus Dysch, June 18, 2009

A leading pro-Israel charity has complained to the Cabinet Office over the award of an OBE to the former chief executive of its one-time parent charity.

The award to Simon Winters for services to the voluntary sector was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Saturday. He was among around a dozen members of the Jewish community to be recognised.
Mr Winters, who parted company with JNF UK last summer after the arrival of the new chairman Samuel Hayek, was criticised by a High Court judge after a failed legal action against lawyers Mishcon de Reya.


A tale of two Edinburghs

By Marcus Dysch, June 11, 2009

Same city, same supposed 'problem', different answer.

The organisers of the Edinburgh International Film Festival should take note of the response from their friends down the road in Leith to pro-Palestinian pressure over sponsorship.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign warned the Leith Festival board that there would be leafleting and boycotting and more moaning due to Veolia's £3,000 grant.

Veolia are involved in the Jerusalem light-rail project, much to the SPSC's displeasure.


I quit job, sold home, then Israel barred me

By Marcus Dysch, June 11, 2009

A non-Jewish man and his Jewish-born wife say they are “living in complete limbo” after their Israeli citizenship application was rejected by the Jewish Agency.

Kevin and Andrea Ayres sold their home in Devon and quit their jobs 18 months ago in the hope of making aliyah to northern Israel.

Their application was made because Mrs Ayres had a Jewish grandmother.
Last month the couple, now living in temporary accommodation, began legal proceedings at the Israeli High Court in an attempt to force the Interior Ministry, which is responsible for citizenship, to grant them nationality.


Moshe’s Mafia leaders get nine years for £36m cannabis plot

By Marcus Dysch, June 11, 2009

The Israeli masterminds of one of the biggest smuggling operations ever intercepted by British police have been jailed.

Moshe Kedar, aged 81, and Yehezkel Srebro, 57, were both sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

Their accomplice, Mordechai Hersh, 67, received an eight-year term.
They will be deported from Britain after completing their sentences, handed down at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday last week.

Earlier the men were convicted of planning an elaborate operation to bring more than 12 tonnes of cannabis, worth £36 million, into the country using a tugboat.


A kosher menu for a sheikh

By Marcus Dysch, June 11, 2009

As lunch orders go, it is one of the most unusual ever served by kosher caterer Tony Page.

But last week His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, tucked into a London Beth Din-supervised feast at his private residence in Newmarket, Suffolk.

Sheikh Mohammed, whose wealth is estimated at around £11 billion, was hosting a delegation of Jewish business leaders from America — and chose Mr Page’s firm to provide the food.

The menu included a selection of smoked salmon, lamb with herb crust, and baked sea bass. Fresh fruit was served for dessert.