Marcus Dysch

Wes Streeting: Our friend at the NUS

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

Few non-Jewish presidents of the National Union of Students can have found themselves the victim of an antisemitic attack.

But Wes Streeting’s experience of being verbally abused while reading Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel on the London Underground provided him with an insight into the impact of antisemitism and anti-Israel action.

Since being elected in April 2008, Mr Streeting has worked hard to support the Union of Jewish Students, promoting a zero tolerance stance to antisemitism and academic boycotts.


Bnei Akiva in blood donation drive

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

Bnei Akiva’s national blood donation campaign arrived on campuses this week.

It is the second year that “Bleed BA Dry” has taken donations from students in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Cambridge and London.

Zak Jeffay, BA national director, said: “Many young people know about giving blood but see it as something that their parents do.

“You can give blood from the age of 17 and we are encouraging all of our eligible members to donate and save lives. We are celebrating 70 years of BA ‘leading the way’, and now we are delighted to also be ‘bleeding the way’.”


Sex-pest hairdresser spared prison

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

An Israeli hairdresser who kissed and stroked a 13-year-old girl during a styling appointment has avoided jail.

Shay Kaldron was told he must undergo a three-year community programme during which he will be supervised by the probation service. He must also attend a sexual offenders’ group programme.

The 33-year-old, of Bromley, Kent, and formerly of Golders Green, was convicted last month of pouncing on the teenager while her mother left the house for seven minutes to collect the girl’s brother.


BBC uses Charedi picture to illustrate Jews

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

This is the image which the BBC has been using to illustrate how British Jews cope with grief.

The mocked-up picture ran alongside a feature on the corporation’s website giving practical tips on dealing with bereavement and explaining how different religions conduct funerals.

It was used on the page for months, but has now been replaced with a picture of a candle after the JC asked the corporation to explain why the image had been selected.

A BBC spokesman admitted the scale of its website meant mistakes occur but could offer no further explanation of why the image had been used.


Moving times in Edgware

By Marcus Dysch, October 22, 2009

An Edgware Masorti congregation has found a new home, having been forced to relocate by the projected closure of Brady Maccabi youth club.

Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue had held Shabbat services at the youth centre for nine years, but has now met for the first time at Jewish Care’s Leonard Sainer Centre in nearby Rectory Lane.


New York inspires Reps

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

Eight campus representatives from Jeneration, the Reform-backed project to engage young people, have travelled to the United States looking for tips on running vibrant university projects.

The reps, from universities in London, Cambridge, Sussex, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester and Leeds, visited institutions including the Hebrew Union College — the development centre of Reform Judaism — and the Jewish Theological Seminary during the week-long stay in New York.


Union votes against bias on MidEast

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

University College London’s Jewish society has won a favourable result following a referendum on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

UCL Union’s first general meeting of the year asked members to vote on the question: “Should your Union refrain from making a statement that condemns or supports either side of the Israel/Gaza conflict?”

More than 300 students attended the meeting, with 212 voting in favour of the union abstaining from commenting on matters in the Middle East.


No sun on the South Bank? Try West Bank

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

As Israeli officials worked hard this week to promote easyJet’s new London to Tel Aviv service, British tourism experts were advocating an alternative holiday venue — the West Bank.

EasyJet’s five-day charm offensive, run jointly with the Israeli Embassy, came ahead of its first low-cost flight to Israel, which takes off on November 2.

The campaign saw a London bus travel around the capital’s attractions, including Leicester Square and Spitalfields Market, offering a taste of what tourists could expect in Tel Aviv.


Board blasts Israel’s 'maverick' defender

By Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, October 15, 2009

Board of Deputies vice-president Jerry Lewis has launched a stinging attack on fellow Board member Jonathan Hoffman over his tactics when defending Israel in public.

Mr Hoffman, who is also vice-chair of the Zionist Federation, has been criticised by War on Want and Amnesty for his vociferous attempts to challenge attacks on the Jewish state.


Manchester's Ivan Lewis calls on opponent to stop Kaminski

By Marcus Dysch, October 15, 2009

The row over Michal Kaminski’s alliance with the Conservatives has spread to Manchester, where Labour’s Bury South MP Ivan Lewis has called on his Tory election opponent to condemn the partnership.


Another pointless blog

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2009

I have just (belatedly) seen one of the more pointless blogs on Kaminski-gate.

Despite making Aliyah and settling in Modi’in earlier this year, former Barnet Tory councillor Richard Weider is still sticking his oar in whenever a chance to slap Labour comes up.


FlashForward? Blame the Jews...

By Marcus Dysch, October 13, 2009

Spoiler Alert – FlashForward fans who haven’t watched last night’s episode yet should look away now…

So, it’s all the Jews’ fault is it?

The third episode of this fascinating (albeit quite stupid) sci-fi series saw FBI Agent Benford fly to Munich to interview Nazi war criminal Rudolf Geyer, who claimed he held the key to the blackouts (bit implausible given this was only episode three of 22, but anyway, stick with me).


Teen must pay £1000 after shul vandalism

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

A Muslim teenager has been ordered to pay a Jewish community compensation after he smashed its synagogue windows with a baseball bat.

Junaid Javed must pay £1,000 to Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation after admitting the attack had been motivated by antisemitism.

But the congregation’s Rabbi David Rose expressed surprise that Javed had instructed his lawyer to tell the court he had visited the shul to apologise after the incident.

Rabbi Rose said he did not recall meeting the teenager.


Matzah price wars: it's Rakusen's vs Tesco

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

Rakusen’s, one of Britain’s biggest kosher food producers, will no longer supply its products to Tesco supermarkets following a pricing dispute.

The Leeds-based company’s products — including matzah, soups and biscuits — will not be available after current stocks runs out.

Rakusen’s said it had taken the decision following discussions over margins and supply prices. It reached the conclusion, a spokeswoman said, that “Tesco thinks it rules the world, but we are standing up for ourselves, and said no.”


JSocs get a dream start at freshers' week

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

University Jewish Societies have enjoyed a successful start to the academic year, with hundreds of new members taking part in Freshers’ Week events across the country.

In Leeds, JSoc members were treated to their own unique Freshers Fair, offering them a chance to sign up to almost a dozen other Jewish student groups including Chabad, Aish, JLE and Tribe.

Fresher events included a barbecue attended by 160 students, a Shabbat meal at the new Hillel student centre and a drinks night.


Bagel bakery is in hot water over hygiene

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

A north London kosher bakery has been fined £3,000 after failing a food safety check because it did not have hot running water to clean equipment.

Hendon Bagel Bakery was found guilty of failing to comply with a hygiene improvement notice served in June last year. The notice required the company to install a hot water supply to a sink in the shop.

As well as the fine, bakery owner Avi Avital was ordered to pay £1,500 costs and a £15 surcharge.


Anti-Israel protestor cleared of police attack

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2009

A founding member of an anti-Israel group has been cleared of attacking a policeman during a protest against Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Deborah Fink, of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG), was arrested in London in May while demonstrating as Mr Lieberman spoke at an event at the home of JNF chairman Samuel Hayek.

Ms Fink was in a group of around a dozen protestors who were asked to move by police.

When they refused they were moved by officers. She admitted putting up “strong physical resistance” before she was arrested.


Chelsea to ban antisemitic football chants

By Marcus Dysch, October 7, 2009

Chelsea FC have pledged to find and ban supporters filmed singing antisemitic songs about rivals Tottenham at a match last month.

Clips of fans chanting in a concourse at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium were posted on YouTube, leading Spurs to complain to the west London club.

They can be heard singing "Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz" while beer bottles are thrown around.

Chelsea, owned by Roman Abramovich, said they had passed the clips to police who are now investigating.


The Brick Testament

By Marcus Dysch, October 6, 2009

Lego was one of my all-time favourite toys when I was younger. I spent hours and hours building race tracks, fire stations and whole cities of little brick people - happy days.

I have just seen this absolutely wonderful website, The Brick Testament, which recreates the bible using the Danish building bricks.


'Abused' footballer attacks FA inaction

By Marcus Dysch, October 1, 2009

A Maccabi Premier Division footballer who claims he was called “a Paki” by an opponent in April is outraged that the London FA has yet to hold a hearing into the incident.

Virgil Levy, who is of South American origin, also alleges that he was called “Asian” and told that he “should not belong in the community or in the league” during the game between his team, Montana Boca, and Glenthorne in April.