Australia

Australian, 90, survives bush fire

By Dan Goldberg, February 18, 2009

A 90-year-old Jewish man feared dead in Australia’s worst bush fires has been found alive.

Eugene Goodvach’s burnt-out car was found last week near his country house in Marysville, a small Victoria town destroyed in fires that have killed more than 180 people.

His family was unable to contact him but it is now understood that Mr Goodvach had been evacuated to a nearby village by emergency personnel.

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Expat couple killed in Australia inferno

By Dan Goldberg, February 12, 2009

The deadliest bushfires in Australian history have claimed more than 180 lives, including at least two Jews, and razed at least six properties belonging to members of the community.

John and Jenny Barnett, originally from London, died trying to escape the inferno from their holiday home some 30km from Victoria.

John, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, and Jenny, a researcher at the National Parks Association, were in their 60s and had no children.

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Award for Oz Everest mother

January 29, 2009

Cheryl Bart, the Jewish mother who made history last year when she climbed Mount Everest with her daughter, has been made an Officer of the Order of Australia. The Sydneysider dedicated her award to her late father, Eric Klinghoffer, a Holocaust survivor.

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British National Party leader's tour of Australia has been postponed

By Dan Goldberg, December 15, 2008

A planned speaking tour of Australia by British National Party leader Nick Griffin has been postponed.

Griffin had been invited by the Australian Protectionist Party, a fringe far-right political group formed last year, to speak about the “demographic genocide” caused by immigration from the Third World.

Griffin, who was refused a visa to visit Australia in 1998, had lodged an electronic visa application, but was asked by the Immigration Department to submit a full written application because he appears on the federal government’s Movement Alert List, according to ABC News.

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The Aboriginal who stood up for the Jews

By Dan Goldberg, December 11, 2008

A remarkable 1938 Aboriginal protest against European antisemitism has been honoured at the State Parliament in Melbourne.

On December 6 1938, just weeks after the Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany, William Cooper, an Aboriginal elder, delivered a petition to the German consulate in Melbourne.

They were denied entry to the consulate but handed over the petition, which condemned “the cruel persecution” of the Jews by the Nazis.

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Australians in bid to block BNP leader

By Dan Goldberg and Leon Symons, November 24, 2008

Australia's Jewish and Islamic communities have united to urge the country's immigration minister to deny a visa to British National Party leader Nick Griffin.

Griffin, who has a 1998 conviction for incitement to racial hatred for material denying the Holocaust, plans to visit Sydney and Melbourne in December to speak about the "demographic genocide" caused by immigration from the Third World.

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Sydney shul hosts first gay 'marriage'

By Dan Goldberg, September 26, 2008

In an Australian first, a same-sex commitment ceremony was held in a synagogue on Sunday.

Scott Whitmont, 47, and Christopher Whitmont-Stein, 38, stood under a chuppah at Emanuel Synagogue in Sydney in front of about 75 guests.

The pair, who had a civil-commitment ceremony six years ago, exchanged rings, smashed a glass and walked around each other three-and-a-half times.

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Adelaide Shoah-denier faces jail

By Dan Goldberg, August 14, 2008

A revisionist historian living in Adelaide may be jailed for allegedly defying a Federal Court order to remove all Holocaust-denial material from his website.

Fredrick Toben, of the notorious Adelaide Institute, is waiting for the verdict of a contempt-of-court hearing brought by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. He pleaded not guilty last week to 28 charges alleging he breached a 2002 Federal Court order to remove all Shoah denial from his website.

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Australian billionaire says funds ‘donated to Israel’

By Dan Goldberg, July 24, 2008

Australia's second-richest man has claimed that the $68 million (£34m) a US Senate report accuses him of hiding from tax authorities was donated to charities in Israel.

The allegation came via the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in a hearing last Thursday, prompting Frank Lowy - who fled Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust and fought in Israel's 1948 War of Independence - to issue a vehement denial.

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Fears over Papal visit to Sydney

By Dan Goldberg, July 17, 2008

Five Australian Jews have been invited to meet Pope Benedict XVI during his first visit to Sydney amid continuing concerns about a planned re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross.

They are among 40 interfaith leaders — including Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others — who will meet the Pope at St Mary’s Cathedral on Friday.

Pope Benedict is in Sydney for World Youth Day, a six-day celebration with  an estimated 500,000 people expected at the closing papal mass on July 20.

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