World news

Appeal for shul vandalised with pig's head

By Jennifer Lipman, August 27, 2010

A businessman from London has launched a charity appeal after extremists left a pig’s head with a star of David carved on it at a Lithuanian synagogue.

Moshe Katz, who runs an IT company in Wimbledon, is hoping to raise enough money for CCTV equipment to guard against future attacks.

More..

Daniel Pearl's father: don't build mosque

By Jennifer Lipman, August 26, 2010

The father of a Jewish journalist murdered by terrorists in Pakistan has voiced his opposition to the plan to build a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks.

More..

Analysis: The West is downplaying Iran's reactor at its peril

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, August 26, 2010

Last week's feeding of fuel into Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor came as a surprise. For years, Russia dragged its feet and found recurrent excuses to delay the completion of the Bushehr project. The ceremony marking the start of the reactor last Saturday indicates the last obstacle has now been removed.

Why Russia decided to proceed is open to debate - though one can surmise that Moscow wished to register its discontent with the autonomous sanctions that the US, Europe and other Western countries recently adopted against Iran's energy sector.

More..

Amnesty head calls Israel 'scum state'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

The chairman of human rights organisation Amnesty International in Finland has described Israel as a “scum state”, prompting a call for him to resign.

Frank Johansson made the comment on a blog the Finnish tabloid newspaper Iltalehti.

The phrase used by Mr Johansson was “Israel on nikkimaa”, which one Finnish blogger also translated as meaning “punk”.

Referring to discussions with a friend who had lived in Israel for several years, he added: “he has come to the conclusion that 'Israel is a scum state.'

More..

Hoffman, Streisand, Stiller film together again

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller are to be reunited on screen.

The trio are all set to appear in Little Fockers, the third installation in the successful Meet the Parents series.

More..

Anne Frank tree lives on

By Jennifer Lipman, August 25, 2010

The chestnut tree which comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding from the Nazis may survive despite being toppled by a storm.

The teenage diarist could see the tree from her family’s Amsterdam hiding place, and in her two years she spent there before being sent to Bergen-Belsen she wrote of admiring it “nearly every morning”.

Anne wrote: “As long as this exists...I cannot be unhappy."

More..

Extremists target Lithuanian synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, August 24, 2010

Lithuanian Jews have expressed their shock after vandals left a pig’s head with a star of David carved on it outside a synagogue in the city of Kaunas.

Community leaders said they believed it was left there by a neo-Nazi organisation.

The head, discovered on Shabbat, was left under a black Hasidic hat with peyot (sidelocks) attached to it. Police said they have launched a formal investigation but do not yet have any suspects.

The synagogue, which dates back to the 1870s, is still in use although Kaunas’s Jewish population has fallen to less than 500 people.

More..

Justin Long's not very kosher film

By Jennifer Lipman, August 24, 2010

Actor Justin Long has revealed the kosher conundrum at the centre of his new film Going the Distance.

Scenes from the comedy film, which also stars Drew Barrymore, were shot at the home of an Orthodox Jewish couple from Queens in New York.

But the script called for Mr Long’s character to eat a hamburger at their dining room table.

“The prop guy was making the burgers on the grill that they owned. They found out about it and got very upset because it was not kosher food.”

However he said the studio replaced the grill and utensils after the shoot.

More..

Anne Frank tree collapses

By Jennifer Lipman, August 23, 2010

The chestnut tree that Anne Frank wrote about in her diary has fallen over in a storm.

The 150-year-old tree, which had already been damaged by fungus and moth infestation, snapped about one metre above its roots and crashed across surrounding gardens.

The tree, which has inspired replicas around the world, was rooted just beside the Amsterdam attic in which the Frank family hid from the Nazis for more than two years.

The teenage diarist, who died in 1945 after contracting typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, wrote that she admired it nearly every morning.

More..

Opposing 9/11 mosque 'like antisemitism'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 23, 2010

The wife of the imam behind the plan to build a mosque and Islamic centre in Manhattan, just by the site of the 9/11 attack, has likened opposition to the proposal to prejudice against Jews.

Daisy Khan said she was “deeply concerned” about the negative reaction to the project, known as the Cordoba Initiative.

Mrs Khan, whose husband Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the moderate Muslim in charge of the plan, said: "This is like a metastasised antisemitism. That's what we feel right now.

"It's not even Islamophobia, it's beyond Islamophobia - it's hate of Muslims.”

More..