Australia

Wizard of Oz makes history

By Dan Goldberg, July 30, 2009

An Australian golfer has rewritten the history books by competing in his ninth consecutive Games.

Roy Vandersluis, 62, was not content just to participate; he also won his first ever gold medal — something that has eluded him since 1977.

He was part of the Masters golf team that claimed gold – Australia’s first at the Games – at Caesarea Golf Club, beating America and South Africa.

He shot a final round of 72, the best card of the tournament. He also won silver for his individual score.

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Ken Loach’s Israel boycott fails in Oz

By Dan Goldberg, Sydney, July 23, 2009

British director Ken Loach has withdrawn his film from the Melbourne International Film Festival because the event receives funding from the Israeli government.

Mr Loach followed through on a threat to pull his film, Looking For Eric, from the festival as a protest against “illegal occupation of Palestinian land, destruction of homes and livelihoods [and] the massacres in Gaza”.

He succeeded with the same ultimatum to the Edinburgh Film Festival in May, prompting it to return a grant that was intended to help fund the visit of an Israeli filmmaker.

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Film festival rejects Loach's Israel boycott

By Jessica Elgot, July 17, 2009

An Australian film festival has said it will not bow to pressure from British filmmaker Ken Loach to boycott Israeli films and sponsors.

The chief executive of the Melbourne International Film Festival, Richard Moore, has rejected a threat by Mr Loach to withdraw his film Looking for Eric, starring Eric Cantona, unless the film festival boycotts Israel.
He said films had been chosen solely on artistic merit for next week's festval.

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Klinger in the A-team

By Dan Goldberg, June 4, 2009

Prolific batsman Michael Klinger has been selected to represent Australia A for the first time.

Klinger, 28, will play two four-day matches against Pakistan in July.

The selection comes shortly after the South Australian star won the 2009 State Player of the Year award after scoring more than 1,600 runs.

“My dream is to play Test cricket for Australia,” said Klinger. “But this is definitely a stepping stone to where I want to get to.”

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Non-Jew ban is scrapped

By Dan Goldberg, June 4, 2009

Maccabi Australia has abandoned a controversial plan to ban non-Jews from competing in its sports teams.

The board of Australian Jewry’s largest member organisation decided last month to enforce its constitutional right, insisting that it would be an exclusively Jewish club by December 31, 2010.

Clubs that did not abide by the directive would have been disaffiliated from the roof body. Australia’s Equal Opportunity Act allows clubs to discriminate in order to preserve a minority culture.

But a backlash from within the Jewish community prompted the board to recant.

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Toben jailed in landmark Shoah case

By Dan Goldberg, May 27, 2009

A revisionist historian living in Australia has been sentenced to three months in prison for refusing to remove Holocaust denial material and other antisemitic vitriol from his website.

Fredrick Toben, the director of the notorious Adelaide Institute, was sentenced in the Federal Court of South Australia for breaching a 2002 court order to remove offensive material that denied the Holocaust, doubted the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and vilified Jews.

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Australians boycott Margolyes

By Dan Goldberg, May 14, 2009

Jewish actress Miriam Margolyes is facing the wrath of the Australian community after it was announced she would participate in a reading of Seven Jewish Children, a play that has been branded antisemitic.

Their anger became apparent when JewishCare, Melbourne Jewry’s largest elderly-care facility, declined an offer by Ms Margolyes to entertain its residents last Tuesday.

She claims that she was told by the home that her appearance could offend some of its residents, who are Holocaust survivors.

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Australian Bishop bans Jewish jokes

By Dan Goldberg, May 7, 2009

Heard the one about the Catholic bishop who wanted to ban Jewish jokes?

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has written to almost 150 priests saying Catholics should be sensitive towards Jews.

“While I know most of you would not tolerate the improper nature and offence caused by Jewish jokes, I sadly note that this has happened in our church in the past. I know you will agree with me that this is unacceptable.

“Since the terrible crimes committed against the Jewish people in the 20th century, Catholics must continue to search their hearts,” he added.

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Oh boy, things just got better for Petter

By Dan Goldberg, May 7, 2009

It took almost two years, cost more than £5000 and involved two donkeys, one sheep, a case of mistaken sexual identity, several DNA tests and the unwavering faith of two ultra-Orthodox Jews in Australia.

On Sunday, more than 1500 mainly Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Melbourne witnessed what is believed to be Australia’s first-ever Pidyon Petter Chamor — the redemption of the first-born male donkey

Berel Goldberger, a Vishnitzer, and Binyomin Friedman, a Belzer, stumbled across the tractate during their daily study session at the Adass Israel Congregation.

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Billionaire dies just as scam charge dropped

By Dan Goldberg, April 30, 2009

Richard Pratt, a billionaire Australian industrialist, has died from prostate cancer — the day after a criminal case against him was dropped.

Mr Pratt’s reputation as a businessman and generous philanthropist was tarnished in 2007 when his company was fined a record £17.5 million for collusion in a price-fixing scam with a rival.

Citing Mr Pratt’s terminal illness, prosecutors on Monday dropped a case accusing him of giving false or misleading evidence to the corporate watchdog.

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