Marcus Dysch

Jewish life soars at Wills and Kate uni

By Marcus Dysch, November 18, 2010

St Andrews JSoc is enjoying one of its most successful years thanks to a significant membership boost.

Last year the society signed up around 200 new members, meaning more events, backed by more people, are now able to take place.

At the end of October, JSoc arranged a successful Shabbaton with the help of members from nearby Dundee Hebrew Congregation. After a Shabbat morning service they held a discussion on the week's parsha and a bagel lunch.

Bill and Emily Shackman, from the Dundee community, have agreed to return to lead a number of services for students throughout the year.


Football helping UJS to build bridges

By Marcus Dysch, November 18, 2010

A five-a-side complex in Nottingham may be a long way from Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium, but for one group of student footballers the Spanish capital is their next destination.

The Seely 17 team, winners of the third annual Juefa Cup, will see Jose Mourinho's men compete in La Liga as their prize after picking up their own trophy at Sunday's tournament.

Following the success of the last two years in Birmingham and Leeds, the Union of Jewish Students' event attracted nearly 30 teams and more than 200 students to Nottingham.


Universal jurisdiction - the other view

By Marcus Dysch, November 16, 2010

I’ve just spotted a piece of fairly foaming invective published by the Palestine Chronicle.

Written by Stuart Littlewood, author of the book Radio Free Palestine, the open letter to the Liberal Democrats lays out opposition to the planned alterations to the universal jurisdiction legislation of which we all know so much.


Man jailed for racist YouTube videos

By Marcus Dysch, November 15, 2010

A man has been jailed for 15 months for posting racist video clips on YouTube.

Gareth Hemingway admitted five offences under the Public Order Act at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.

The court heard he had posted five videos featuring racist imagery and when he was arrested at his home in Sussex, police found a collection of Nazi memorabilia including a flag bearing the symbol of the SS.

The clips posted online called for a “racial holy war”, described acts of violence and made references to far right groups including Combat 18 and POWER (Patriots of White European Resistance).


Two go head-to-head in battle for UJS presidency

By Marcus Dysch, November 11, 2010

Two candidates have started their campaign to become the most important figure in Jewish student politics.

Daniel Grabiner and Marcelle Jennings have been confirmed as the only students standing to become UJS president and follow current incumbent Alex Dwek.

They will go through a rigorous election process, culminating with the result being announced after a final hustings evening in Birmingham on December 1.


Idan on his way to UK

By Marcus Dysch, November 11, 2010

Israeli singer-songwriter Idan Raichel will tour campuses later this month.

He will perform in Leeds, Birmingham and Nottingham between November 28 and December 1 as part of a campaign organised by the Union of Jewish Students.

It is hoped the triple platinum-selling artist will also hold discussion groups with students following his gigs to discuss interfaith work and unity on campus.

In Leeds he is expected to run a workshop with the university's music department, handing down essential tips to Jewish and non-Jewish students.


Israel boycotters launch European grouping

By Marcus Dysch, November 11, 2010

Fresh attempts to promote academic and cultural boycotts of Israel will be spearheaded by a newly-established pan-European organisation.

The European Platform for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (EPACBI) includes representatives from Britain, France, Germany, Spain and five other countries with the aim of streamlining action against the Jewish state.

Members of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (Bricup), and its French equivalent AURDIP, joined forces to set up the new group and campaign against European Union funding of Israeli academic research.


Jews against EDL launch unity voice

By Marcus Dysch, November 11, 2010

The first joint initiative to combat Jewish support for the English Defence League within the community has been launched.

The "Not in our name - Jews against the EDL" campaign is backed by more than a dozen organisations, including the Board of Deputies, Community Security Trust, the Israeli Embassy, and Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

More than 500 people have already pledged their support.


The JC and the Phil Woolas affair

By Marcus Dysch, November 11, 2010

A key section of evidence in the court case which saw a Labour MP stripped of his job focused on a JC report of pre-election attacks on Israel.

At the specially convened election court last week, the former Immigration Minister Phil Woolas was found guilty of lying about his opponent on campaign leaflets. The court ruled that Mr Woolas had stirred racial tensions in the Oldham and Saddleworth constituency, which he won by just 103 votes.

He has been removed from Parliament and thrown out of the Labour Party following the judgment.


Student rage at union chief’s views

By Marcus Dysch, November 5, 2010

The Union of Jewish Students has called for a student union president to resign after making apparently antisemitic remarks.

Clare Solomon, a religion student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, claimed that the persecution of Jews had been fabricated to justify attacks on Palestinians.

She was elected as president of the University of London student union earlier this year.


Israel's Meridor feared UK arrrest

By Marcus Dysch, November 4, 2010

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor cancelled an appearance at a London fundraising dinner this week over fears he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

The Israeli Justice Ministry warned Mr Meridor that a warrant for his arrest might be issued if he entered Britain.

He had been due to speak at the Bicom dinner on Monday evening, to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled last week citing the delicate state of the peace negotiations.


When will university chiefs finally act?

By Marcus Dysch, November 3, 2010

Roshonara Choudhry has been jailed for life for the attempted murder of MP Stephen Timms.

Inspired by al-Qaeda and Jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki she knifed Mr Timms during a constituency surgery in May.

Thankfully, and no doubt rather luckily, he escaped serious injury or worse.

As Choudhry was jailed, her supporters (yes really) protested in the public gallery, screaming “Allahu akbar”, “British go to hell” and “Curse the judge”. A demonstration was also taking place outside the court.


Meridor cancels Bicom appearance over arrest fears

By Marcus Dysch, November 1, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor has cancelled an appearance at a London fundraising dinner over fears he could be arrested under universal jurisdiction legislation.

It is believed the Israeli Justice Ministry warned Mr Meridor that a warrant for his arrest may be issued if he entered Britain.

He was due to speak at the Bicom dinner tonight. He was a replacement for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cancelled last week due to the delicate state of the peace negotiations.


Trust backs Baroness Warsi on bigotry

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

The Coexistence Trust has backed Tory peeress Sayeeda Warsi's comments on Islamophobia and antisemitism.

Baroness Warsi, chairman of the Conservative Party, told the New Statesman that anti-Islamic sentiment was the "last acceptable form of bigotry in Britain today," comparable to the portrayal of Jews a century ago.

Rokhsana Fiaz, director of the Coexistence Trust, which works with Jewish and Muslim students, said: "Baroness Warsi is absolutely right…both Islamophobia and antisemitism are scourges on our society and an affront to every decent-minded citizen.


Racial abuse pair spared jail sentences

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Two men have avoided jail after racially abusing yeshivah students during a drunken rampage.

Mark Padgett and Karl Bowman taunted the students at Gateshead Talmudical College and tried to provoke them into fighting in the street.

The pair had been drinking at a house party before the incident in May.

Padgett, 19, of Saltwell Road, Gateshead, caused more than £1,000 of damage to the yeshivah by battering the front door with a plank of wood. He also smashed a car windscreen.


Ahava: anti-Israel duo will face trial

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Two people face trial after denying charges that they chained themselves inside a branch of an Israeli cosmetics store.

Gwendolen Wilkinson, 20, from Newport, and Matthew Richardson, 24, from Sheffield, were charged with aggravated trespass at Ahava in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, following a protest on October 2.

The pair appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court, north London, on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.


UCL Detroit bomber report a 'whitewash'

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Critics have attacked a report into a university's approach to tackling campus extremism as "complacent" and a "whitewash".

An investigation was launched at University College London following former student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's arrest last December after he allegedly attempted to blow up
a plane flying from Europe to Detroit. Abdulmutallab studied at UCL between 2005 and 2008 and was president of its Islamic Society. He is currently detained in the United States awaiting trial.


Jewish centre gets £3m to curb Israel tensions

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

Manchester University is to give £3 million to its Centre for Jewish Studies in an attempt to help the centre ease interfaith tension.

The centre, which has previously relied mainly on external grants, said the money would bolster research and undergraduate courses on Muslim, Jewish and Christian relations and Middle Eastern history.

Centre co-director Professor Philip Alexander said the move was a positive response to the attack on former Israeli deputy ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher by pro-Palestinian activists during her visit to the university in April.


The English Defence League and the surfing rabbi

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

An American rabbi will join an extreme right-wing anti-Islamic-fundamentalist group in a protest outside the Israeli Embassy in London next week.

Rabbi Nachum Shifren, from California, said he was supporting the English Defence League because he opposed multiculturalism, and promised to act with "full force" against shariah law.

But his plans have been roundly criticised by Jewish community organisations. The Community Security Trust said that Jews who believed they could shape the EDL, or find shelter in the group, were "utterly deluded".


Columnist unrepentant after 'tight fist' joke

By Marcus Dysch, October 14, 2010

A university newspaper has apologised for printing a column featuring jokes about Jews being tight-fisted.

The launch issue of London Student, distributed to universities and colleges which are part of the University of London, included an article titled The Tight Fist – Lessons in frugality from a real Jew.

The Union of Jewish Students complained to the newspaper's editorial board that the column contained antisemitic stereotypes.