World news

Jewish dibbuk spirit gets Sam Raimi makeover

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

A disembodied spirit out of Jewish folklore is to be the subject of a new horror film.

Spiderman director Sam Raimi is to produce “Dibbuk Box”, which will tell the story of a family cursed when they open a mysterious haunted box.

The film, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Grey’s Anatomy fame, is set to be released in time for Halloween.

Traditionally spelt with a Y, a dybbuk is said to be a malicious spirit that escapes from the soul of a deceased person and attaches itself to that of a living person in order to complete something left unfinished.

More..

Spanish warrant for suspected Nazi Demjanjuk

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

Spain has issued an arrest warrant for a man currently on trial in Germany for alleged Nazi war crimes.

John Demjanjuk is on trial in Munich over his suspected role in the deaths of more than 28,000 people at Sobibor concentration camp.

That trial began in November 2009, after the United States agreed to deport him. But the proceedings have been delayed because of questions over the health of Demjanjuk, now aged 90.

More..

Greece and Israel to launch disaster response plan

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

Israel and Greece have agreed to coordinate their responses to regional natural disasters, such as the Carmel forest fire.

As Israeli firefighters struggled to put out the devastating blaze last December, Greece was one of a number of countries to respond to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plea for international assistance.

More..

Record year for visitors to Auschwitz museum

By Jennifer Lipman, January 13, 2011

Auschwitz has experienced the highest number of visitors since the former concentration camp was opened up to the public more than 60 years ago.

Some 1.38 million people toured the museum in 2010, eclipsing the previous year’s attendance of 1.3 million.

Outside of Polish groups, the majority of visitors were British, followed by high numbers from Italy and France. Around 850,000 were students.

More..

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.

More..

Welcome to Nazi Hollow

By Toby Axelrod, January 13, 2011

With only 37 residents, ten houses and two streets, the village of Jamel seems harmless.

But this small part of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has been taken over by neo-Nazis.

Observers say that at least two thirds of Jamel's residents identify with the far-right extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) of Germany and its anti-foreigner platform. The local magnate is Sven Krüger, an NPD representative on the district council.

According to reports, the town has become a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis from around the country.

More..

Australia hit by worst floods since Noah

By Dan Goldberg, January 13, 2011

At least a dozen Jewish families in north-eastern Australia have been evacuated from their homes as a "flood of biblical proportions" ripped through Queensland this week, killing at least 12 people.

More than 50 people are still missing and one Jewish man remains unaccounted for near the rural town of Toowoomba, which was flattened on Monday by what police described as an "inland instant tsunami".

More..

Tears for Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona

January 13, 2011

The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has brought an outpouring of grief from her friends and colleagues within Arizona's Jewish communities.

Candlelit vigils were held outside Ms Giffords's congressional office and at local synagogues, and Jewish leaders have spoken of their anguish over the attack.

On Sunday morning, more than 150 people attended a service at Congregation Chaverim, where Ms Giffords is
a member.

Chaverim's Rabbi Stephanie Aaron officiated at the congresswoman's marriage to astronaut Captain Mark Kelly in 2007.

More..

Ahmadinejad's government described as 'worse than Goebbels'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 13, 2011

A leading Iranian opposition figure has compared the behaviour of his government with that of the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Mir-Hossein Mousavi said of the Iranian government, led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "They've surpassed Goebbels in telling lies.”

He told an anti-government website: “Levelling accusations and telling lies is part of their ossified faith.”

More..

Rony Fuchs fraud trial breach of international law

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

An Israeli businessman is on trial in Tbilisi in a fraud case which a high-profile British lawyer has called a breach of Georgia's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, who is working on the case, said: "In its pursuit of Rony Fuchs, Georgia has acted in a manner contrary to [its] obligations under international law.”

In March 2010 Mr Fuchs and his business partner won a £62 million payout from the Georgian government for a breached agreement on the construction of an oil pipeline.

More..