World news

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..

Arizona shooting: Sarah Palin accuses media of 'blood libel'

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin has accused her critics of “a blood libel” in their coverage of her controversial statements last year, about a Jewish congresswoman who was shot and severely injured in Tucson on Saturday.

Speaking in an online video broadcast, Mrs Palin said: "Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn.

“That is reprehensible.”

More..

Germany top for prosecuting Nazi war criminals

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

Germany has been praised for its efforts to bring suspected Nazi war criminals to justice.

The country has been awarded an “A” grade by the Los Angeles - based Simon Wiesenthal Centre in a new report on the international commitment to tracking down former Nazis.

It is the first time anywhere other than the United States has been given the top mark. The findings are based on the period between April 2009 and March 2010.

However, countries including Hungary and Canada have come under criticism in the new report for failing to prosecute suspected Nazi war criminals.

More..