Marcus Dysch

Harassment officer posts ‘racist’ cartoon

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

Student groups have condemned a university for failing to discipline a harassment officer who posted an antisemitic picture on the internet.

Andrew Collingwood, who works in the University of York’s biology department, added the image to a Palestine Solidarity Campaign group on social networking site Facebook.

The photograph was taken during a protest in the city against Israel’s actions in Gaza last month.

It shows a placard bearing an image of Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni wearing a witch’s hat and waving a Star of David-topped wand.

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Amnesty charges Israel and Hamas over Gaza

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2009

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has accused the British government of “aiding Israeli war crimes” during the Gaza conflict, and called for a UN arms embargo.

In a 38-page report, Fuelling conflict: foreign arms supplies to Israel/Gaza, Amnesty said both Israel and Hamas had used weapons supplied from abroad to attack civilians.

Israel’s arms included US-made shells used for deploying white phosphorus, and British engines made in Lichfield, Staffordshire, used in drone aircraft, it claimed.

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Peres turns to Netanyahu

By Marcus Dysch, February 20, 2009

Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu has been asked to form a government and be the next prime minister of Israel.

President Shimon Peres met Mr Netanyahu and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni this morning, and will entrust the former PM with creating a coalition.

Mr Netanyahu is likely to ask Ms Livni and Labo u r party chairman Ehud Barak to join him in a broad administration, although Ms Livni has suggested she will turn down any approach.

The new prime minister will have six weeks to create a cabinet.

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Outrage as SOAS invites Hizbollah-linked speaker

By Marcus Dysch, February 19, 2009

Jewish groups have attacked plans to bring a Hizbollah-linked journalist to Britain for a conference on Islam.

Ibrahim Mousawi is expected to speak at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) next month, after a similar appearance in November.

He edits Lebanese newspaper Al Intiqad and previously worked for the Shi’ite TV station, Al Manar.

The Board of Deputies and the CST said that his presence would cause great concern to the Jewish community.

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Leukaemia boy thanks Camp Simcha

By Marcus Dysch, February 19, 2009

A teenage leukaemia survivor has described his involvement with a charity helping Jewish children with serious illness as the highlight of his life.

Sam Ryan told the 580 guests at Camp Simcha’s biennial gala dinner at Wembley Stadium how its volunteers had given him the confidence to make the most of each day.

Seventeen-year-old Sam was presented with a special recognition award by LBC radio presenter Nick Ferrari, who had conducted a mock phone-in with Camp Simcha clients and their parents.

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National's Hytner says no censorship

By Marcus Dysch, February 19, 2009

The director of the National Theatre has defended two plays which have drawn criticism for perceived antisemitic and racist undertones.

Nicholas Hytner said it was not the theatre’s role to censor the views of playwrights, and denied that flyers for one of the plays had accused Israel of “atrocities” during last month’s conflict in Gaza.

Burnt by the Sun is set in 1936 Soviet Russia ahead of Stalin’s great purges and follows a Red Army veteran’s life at his dacha outside Moscow.

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Tory leaders join students on Auschwitz visit

By Marcus Dysch, February 18, 2009

Conservative Party chairman Francis Maude and Barnet Council deputy leader Matthew Offord accompanied students on a trip to Auschwitz last week. Visiting under the aegis of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Lessons from Auschwitz project, the group’s itinerary took in the town of Oswiecim and its Jewish cemetery, as well as the Nazi death camp site.

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A final reunion for men who fought the Fascists

By Marcus Dysch, February 18, 2009

Jewish street-fighters reminisced about their East End battles with Oswald Mosley’s blackshirted supporters at an emotional gathering in Hampstead Garden Suburb on Sunday.

They were among 200 people, Including family members, at the final reunion of 43 Group, founded by ex-servicemen to fight the rising tide of British Fascism. Now mostly in their 80s, they were glad of the opportunity of a last meeting with former comrades.

John Wimbourne joined the 43s after returning to Britain from service in the Merchant Navy. He recalled feeling compelled to combat Mosley’s organisation.

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Wanted: a chaplain for the armed forces

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

The Ministry of Defence is to appoint its first full-time Jewish chaplain to the armed forces.

He will be expected to advise on religious issues, organise services for Jewish personnel and arrange kosher rations.

Jewish servicemen and women are the last to receive a dedicated chaplain, with Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and Sikh padres already employed by the MoD.

Jonathan Woodhouse, MoD deputy chaplain-general, said the appointment was “essential”.

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Oxford students defeat anti-Israel campaign

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

An anti-Israel motion has been rejected by Oxford University Student Union after Jewish students persuaded members of every college to vote against it.

The motion called for the university to condemn Israel’s action in Gaza and the “hideous toll” on Palestinians.

The vote had been delayed to give students extra time to debate its contents. Last Friday, the union rejected the motion by 40 votes to 21.

Jewish academics at the university had earlier expressed concern over last month’s library sit-in by anti-Israel protestors.

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Lords shown Sderot bomb part at debate

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

The Israeli army’s tactics and the aftermath of the Gaza conflict have been discussed at length during a special House of Lords debate.

An additional session of the Upper House was convened last Friday, with 34 peers taking the opportunity to give their views on Operation Cast Lead and the subsequent humanitarian crisis.

Many recalled their personal experiences of visits to both sides of the border.

Lord Janner brought to the chamber pieces of a shattered car tail light and a bomb fragment which he had collected in the aftermath of a rocket attack on Sderot last month.

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Amnesty charges Hamas with torture and murder

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

Hamas gunmen used last month’s conflict in Gaza to murder, kneecap and torture Palestinian political opponents suspected of collaborating with Israel, Amnesty International has reported.

The human rights organisation said they had learnt of at least two dozen cases during Operation Cast Lead in which men were abducted from their homes and later dumped with horrific injuries or found dead in hospitals.

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Meat goes off the menu at day centres

By Marcus Dysch, February 12, 2009

New and cheaper charges for services are to be introduced by Jewish Care as part of its recession-beating strategy.

From late April, a flexible pricing structure for activities, food and transport will be implemented at its day centres. Last month, chief executive Simon Morris announced that up to 22 jobs would be cut at head office as part of attempts to save £2.5 million.

After Pesach, service users will be asked to pay £1 for transport to centres and £3.50 per day for activities, rather than the current all-inclusive charges of between £10 and £12.

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Muslim peer in ‘student war’ slur

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2009

A Muslim peer has claimed that student societies are recruiting young British Jews to join the Israeli army. They fought, he said, in last month’s Gaza conflict and should be prosecuted for war crimes on their return to this country.

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham said student unions had been “actively recruiting young people in Britain to join the Israeli Defence Force”.

British citizens had, he claimed, “gone out to fight against the Palestinian people”.

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Dead rabbi used by internet scammers

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2009

Internet scammers are attempting to embezzle money using the names of late philanthropist Benzion Dunner and a Scottish law professor.

An email, sent from Hong Kong and written in broken English, asks recipients to provide legal documents in order to share funds left in the will of Rabbi Dunner, who died in a car crash last March.

The email states: “I do not wish to bore you with much stories [sic], my intention of writing you this mail is to solicit for your partnership in a rewarding venture with funds left by my deceased client by name: Benzion Dunner.”

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Anti-Israel protests spread to 17 campuses

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2009

University campuses across England have been the scenes of furious anti-Israel demonstrations as students staged co-ordinated “occupation” sit-ins and caused lectures to be cancelled.

The disruption began at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies on January 13. By this week, at least 17 universities had been targeted.

A number of university authorities took a hard line, saying the occupations constituted trespass, but others allowed the actions to continue unhindered.

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£3.9m for Leeds housing

By Marcus Dysch, February 5, 2009

The regeneration of a sheltered housing complex for the Leeds Jewish community has moved a step closer after a £3.9 million grant from the government. The money will enable the construction of 46 two-bedroom and 16 one-bedroom apartments.

They will be built next to the Leeds Jewish Community Centre in Stonegate Road and will replace outdated bungalows at the Queenshill Estate site.

Construction begins in the spring and is due to be completed by the end of 2010. LJHA will then have 230 properties in its portfolio.

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Roads closed after student protest

By Marcus Dysch, January 30, 2009

An anti-Israel protestor was arrested after scaling a student centre on Thursday evening.

The incident came as around 50 protestors gathered outside the London Student Centre, in Euston Road, central London, where Colonel Geva Rapp, a retired IDF officer, was due to speak.

Police closed roads and sealed off the area outside Euston Station shortly after the incident began at 6pm.

The man, carrying a “Free Palestine” placard, climbed a wall and walked across a ledge before sitting outside the first floor windows of the student centre.

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Survivor’s harrowing memories

By Marcus Dysch, January 29, 2009

For survivor Joseph Kiersz, Coventry’s HMD service brought back memories of the horrific scenes he witnessed as a boy.

The Nazis captured his family, who lived near Lodz, in Poland, and he was interned first at Belsen and later at Auschwitz. His mother, brother and sisters died in the gas chambers.

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History of Israel on stage in 10 mins

By Marcus Dysch, January 29, 2009

A play written in response to the situation in Gaza is to be staged at a London theatre from next week.

Seven Jewish Children – A Play for Gaza, by Caryl Churchill, will run at the Royal Court Theatre from February 6 to 21. With a predominantly Jewish cast, it shows Jewish mothers talking to their children about the Gaza bombing.

Written earlier this month, the play is just 10 minutes long and described by the theatre as “a history of Israel, ending with the bombing of Gaza”.

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