Marcus Dysch

Palestine group told: return Lotto cash

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

A Palestinian organisation has been ordered to return part of a National Lottery grant after an investigation found the money had been used to promote an unauthorised project.

Palestine Lives was handed £7,434 to run a one-day cultural festival at Manchester’s Albert Square in June last year.

But the group later used the grant to promote two film weekends, claiming they were “funded by the National Lottery”.

More..

Charedi wins battle to keep loft

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

A diamond wholesaler has avoided a hefty fine after facing a rare criminal prosecution following a lengthy planning dispute with a council.

David Kahn, 59, has been at loggerheads with Haringey Council for six years over alterations made to a home he owns in Tottenham, north London.

His son, Mordechai, lives at the house with his wife and four children.

The council launched criminal proceedings after the family failed to downscale a loft extension, built in contravention of planning permission.

More..

Banned. Do they offend you?

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

A group of young Israeli entertainers are at the centre of an argument which has forced the relocation of an annual Yom Ha’atzmaut show.

The Zionist Federation planned to hold its annual family entertainment night at the Bloomsbury Theatre in central London next Tuesday (April 28), but was forced to move it after the venue refused to host members of the IDF dance troupe.

The decision followed complaints from anti-Israel groups about the performance, which was due to be part of the Israel 61 Family Show.

It will now take place at a secret location in north London.

More..

Claire Short attacked for Hamas talk

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

Former cabinet minister Clare Short has been criticised for hosting a parliamentary question-and-answer session with Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas’s political bureau.

Mr Mashal was due to appear by satellite link at Wednesday evening’s “A Talk with Hamas” event.

The hardliner has repeatedly ruled out recognition of Israel and advocated suicide attacks. He was the target of a botched Mossad assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997.

Last month Ms Short led a delegation of MPs to meet Mr Mashal in Damascus, where he lives in exile.

More..

Balls praises JCoSS ethos

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

Schools Secretary Ed Balls said this week that the cross-communal JCoSS secondary school in Barnet will be a beacon for tackling discrimination and prejudice.

“This is a very important and significant day,” Mr Balls told the 200 guests at Monday’s ground-breaking ceremony for the £50 million project.

“This is a time when we have to redouble our efforts, say discrimination is wrong and stand together, community by community, to root out intolerance and prejudice. That is what this school is about.

More..

Man in toy gun attack

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

A man has admitted shooting an Orthodox Jew with a pellet from a toy gun.

Kris Cherry told magistrates in Gateshead that he carried out the attack on March 14 because he “didn’t like Jews”.

The victim, who has not been named, was not injured despite being hit on the arm by the pellet. It is thought his overcoat saved him from greater harm.

Unemployed Cherry, 20, was in a car travelling through the centre of the Bensham community and said he had fired the gun “for a laugh”.

More..

Students join Blair interfaith project

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

Two Jewish students have been selected to take part in a Tony Blair Faith Foundation leadership programme tackling malaria.

Natasha Steele, from Edgware, and Stanmore-based Zac Newman will join eight other Faiths Act Fellows from Britain on the 10-month scheme.

They will undergo training in Africa and the United States with fellows from Canada and the US, before returning to the UK where they will work in interfaith pairs educating religious communities about the dangers of the disease.

More..

Woman awarded £64k over Kabbalah pest

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

A female company director who was pestered by her boss to take part in Kabbalah sessions has been awarded more than £64,000 compensation.

Nadine Nassar, 36, was bombarded with suggestive late-night text messages and phone calls by Kabbalah devotee Guy Oppenheim, 55, chief executive of Notz Stucki, one of Europe’s largest asset management firms.

London Central Employment Tribunal heard how the married Mr Oppenheim encouraged her to take part in the classes. She was sacked in April 2008 after dropping out of the sessions and making a formal complaint about his behaviour.

More..

Israel attacks ‘hide antisemitism’

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

The majority of people believe criticism of Israel is often used as a cover for antisemitism, a survey looking at attitudes towards the Holocaust has revealed.

Commissioned by the Holocaust Centre to coincide with Yom Ha’Shoah on Tuesday, the questionnaire investigated how Shoah education influences public perceptions of Jews compared to the effect of media coverage of Israel.

It found that 54 per cent of British residents think that although criticising Israeli government actions is sometimes legitimate, such criticisms are often based in antisemitic beliefs.

More..

Scottish TUC set to call for boycott and divestment

By Marcus Dysch, April 17, 2009

The Scottish Trades Union Conference is expected next week to rubber-stamp plans for a boycott of Israel.

Delegates at its annual congress will vote on whether to implement recommendations from a two-year investigation by its general council into alleged Israeli violations of human rights.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) has warned that the proposal for boycott, divestment and sanctions would expose Jews to attack, and has requested an urgent meeting with the organisation.

More..

Fury over taxpayer cash for Hizbollah seminar

By Marcus Dysch, April 16, 2009

The government spent more than £20,000 of taxpayers’ money sending civil servants on a course at which Hizbollah’s media relations officer was due to be a keynote speaker. In the event, Ibrahim Moussawi was barred from entering Britain by the Home Office.

Details released to the JC under Freedom of Information legislation reveal that the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development each had five representatives at the Political Islam seminar, held last month at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

More..

Council staff suspended over emails

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

Fourteen council workers have been suspended amid claims that they sent antisemitic emails.

Lancashire County Council took action against the staff on Thursday of last week. An investigation and disciplinary hearings were due to begin on Tuesday. The 14, said to be mostly Muslim, face the sack if found guilty of misconduct.

More..

Wanted: elite youth to train for leadership roles in the diaspora

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

The crème de la crème of young British Jews are being sought for the ultimate leadership programme run by Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry for the communal stars of the future.

Seminars with diplomats and analysts from across the Israeli political spectrum are the backbone of the scheme for those aged between 21 and 36. They will be trained in diplomacy, politics and Jewish organisation leadership skills and spend 12 days in Israel visiting government and judicial institutions.

More..

Barclays Bank shareholders’ visa ban revolt

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

Barclays’ sponsorship of a tennis tournament from which Israel’s top woman player was barred will be criticised at the bank’s annual meeting next week.

Some shareholders are angry that the bank continues to lend its name to the Dubai Tennis Championships, following the refusal of the United Arab Emirates to grant a visa to Shahar Peer to compete in the 2009 event in February. The decision prompted the Wall Street Journal Europe to withdraw its sponsorship and the Tennis Channel to cancel coverage.

More..

Going online to reach more abuse victims

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

The new executive director of Jewish Women’s Aid has outlined plans to expand the charity’s services to reach as many victims of domestic violence as possible.

Emma Bell said an online advice system was at the forefront of attempts to encourage abused women to come forward. Victims could make contact via email rather than through the national telephone helpline.

“The email advice service marks a new way of getting in touch with the women who need our assistance,” explained Ms Bell, 34. “We recognise lots of women cannot use the telephone if they are in dangerous situations.

More..

Madeira: Peace in the land of Ronaldo

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

Hurtling down the side of a mountain in a wicker basket supported by wooden slats and steered by two slightly tipsy gentlemen who don’t speak English may seem a rather peculiar way to spend a supposedly relaxing break. But in Madeira this is about as exciting as it gets. And that’s the whole point.

The birthplace of World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo does not pretend to share his pace and flamboyance, but is instead, a quiet retreat for those enjoying their golden years and for those who want a restful break from the stress of city life.

More..

Muslim leader sues Blears in Gaza row

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

The deputy general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain is suing Communities Secretary Hazel Blears for defamation following a row over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

More..

Family living in fear after hate attacks

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

An Israeli family living in Edgware say they fear for their safety after being subjected to a campaign of antisemitic abuse by their neighbours.

Police are investigating a number of incidents reported by the 38-year-old man and his wife since they moved to the Broadfields estate six years ago. The couple, who have five children, are too scared to be named. In the latest incident, their car, parked outside their ground floor flat, had its window smashed last Tuesday.

More..

Banned Hizbollah fighter blames JC

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

A Hizbollah fighter has been barred from re-entering Britain, and has blamed the JC for his detention by immigration officers.

Lebanese-born Dyab Abou Jahjah addressed two meetings in London last week, but left the country to visit Brussels before the weekend.

When he attempted to return on Saturday to catch a flight home to Beirut, he was detained for six hours before being denied entry.

Jahjah, who is also leader of a radical Muslim group, wrote on his blog: “They say I am a threat to the peaceful co-existence of communities.

More..

Boycott helpline at Tesco

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

Pro-Israel groups have attacked Tesco for setting up a customer helpline for those considering boycotting Israeli goods.

Tesco says it provided the service in expectation of calls questioning its stocking of products from Israel and the West Bank.

Callers selecting the general information option on its customer helpline hear the recorded message: “If you are ringing regarding Israeli goods, please press one.” They are then connected to specially-trained call centre staff.

More..