USA

Malmo mayor accused of lies and antisemitism

By Nathalie Rothschild, March 31, 2011

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has renewed its criticism of Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu, accusing him of failing to combat antisemitism and of "echoing the conspiracy theories against Jews in the 1930s".

In October 2010, the Centre demanded that Mr Reepalu be disqualified from the World Mayor Award because of his "anti-Jewish statements".

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Jail or the Mob? Tough choice for diamond dealer

By Ellen Tumposky, March 24, 2011

A Jewish diamond dealer has begged a New York City judge to let him remain in prison rather than face retribution for testifying against a member of the Mafia.

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USA: Radio executive is caught in video 'sting'

By Yoav Sivan, March 17, 2011

As the United States debated federal funding for public broadcasting after the release of a sting video of a National Public Radio executive attacking the Tea Party movement, Jewish organisations focused on certain comments pertaining to control of the media.

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New US ambassador to Israel is Obama insider

By Ellen Tumposky, March 17, 2011

The nomination of White House adviser Daniel Shapiro as US ambassador to Israel has won praise across the spectrum from US Jewish organistions which saw Shapiro as the best man for the job-and one who has the President's ear.

Mr Shapiro, 41, will replace Bush appointee James Cunningham. The nomination must be confirmed by the US Senate.

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Conservative Jews face a rapid decline

By Paul Berger, February 17, 2011

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, once the largest denomination in America, has announced sweeping changes aimed at halting a precipitous decline in membership.

The number of families affiliated with Conservative Judaism has fallen by 14 per cent in 10 years, according to a strategic report issued recently by the USCJ.

"Among congregations of every size and in every region, there is growing ambivalence about their continued membership in USCJ," the report warned.

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Fake Guggenheims tried to defraud ex-president

February 10, 2011

They may have called themselves "Guggenheim". But when it came to the art of the steal, the three supposed multi-millionaires were quickly spotted as likely fakes.

David Birnbaum, Vladimir Zuravel and Catarina Pietra Toumei appeared in federal court this week accused of posing as members or associates of the Guggenheim family to swindle investors out of millions of dollars.

Their targets appear to have included presidents George Bush and George W Bush, the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and Coca-Cola Company executives.

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How Chabad triggered a superpower art war

By Paul Berger, February 10, 2011

Russia has halted the loan of artworks to major American museums because of a row between the Russian government and Chabad.

Works by Gauguin, Cézanne and Canaletto will be missing from exhibitions opening this month at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Russian officials ordered state-run museums, such as the State Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, not to release the works for fear they may be confiscated by US courts.

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Fake rabbi stole £3m by posing as dead

By Paul Berger, January 20, 2011

A Chicago man posing as a rabbi attempted to steal £34 million by filing fraudulent tax returns using the identities of dead people and prison inmates.

Marvin Berkowitz, 64, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in a Chicago court on Friday.

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Berkowitz and his accomplices, who included family members, scoured online records for the names and social security numbers of the dead and of prisoners.

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US groups criticise Israel NGO probe

By Paul Berger, January 20, 2011

As thousands turned out in Tel Aviv last weekend to protest against the bill to investigate the funding of left-wing, Israeli NGOs, several major American Jewish organisations voiced their opposition to the move.

They argue that the bill, which proposes setting up a parliamentary panel to look into NGOs that criticise the Israel Defence Forces, threatens the country's democratic values.

It is the most significant revolt since the Rotem Conversion Bill drew almost unanimous opposition from the American Jewish community last summer.

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Hillel leads battle against US boycotters

By Ellen Tumposky, January 13, 2011

Hillel is fighting back against the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that is sweeping US campuses.

The student support organisation has set out new guidelines to bar people who back the BDS movement from its campus events. "We will not allow our resources to be used to support the BDS movement," said Jeff Rubin, spokesman for Hillel, which has chapters at more than 500 universities.

The new policy has angered Jewish advocates of BDS activities.

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