World news

WikiLeaks: antisemitic campaign to shut Libyan M&S

By Jennifer Lipman, December 21, 2010

The Libyan government attempted to force the Tripoli branch of retail chain Marks & Spencer to close using a "repugnant antisemitic" smear campaign and “pseudo-populist rhetoric against ‘the force

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New York rabbi fights US Army beard ban

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

A rabbi hoping to become chaplain to US troops has run into a problem as plain as the hair on his face – his beard.

According to the army’s strict regulations on appearance, anyone serving the military must be clean - shaven, but Chabad rabbi Menachem Stern has a long black beard.

Rabbi Stern was refused a job as a military chaplain last year after he claimed it would contradict his religious beliefs to trim it.

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Madonna donates big to Jewish and Kabbalah charities

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

Madonna donated thousands of dollars to a Jewish charity last year, according to the tax records for her charitable foundation which have been published on the website Showbiz 411.

The pop star, who is also a famous follower of Jewish mysticism Kabbalah, gave the Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters scheme $10,000 in 2009.

The charity, based in Los Angeles, runs mentoring programmes for Jewish children.

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Orthodox nurse wins payout after job cut for Shabbat observance

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

A Jewish nurse who lost a job offer after she refused to work on Shabbat has won more than £25,000 in compensation.

Before she took the job at the hospital in New York, Alisa Dolinsky, who is Orthodox, told her potential employers that she would not work on Shabbat. However, she offered to work on Saturday evenings and Sundays.

But in response to her request, the hospital retracted the job offer.

Ms Dolinsky, 34, said: “They told me if that's the case, if you can't work on Shabbat, we can't offer the job."

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WikiLeaks: Spielberg boycotted for Israel support

By Jennifer Lipman, December 20, 2010

Film director Steven Spielberg was the subject of an Arab League boycott for his support of Israel, a US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks has revealed.

The Jewish filmmaker gave $1 million to Israel in 2006 during the second Lebanon war.

In response, members of the Arab League voted to block the sale or distribution of his work, covering films including the Holocaust drama Schindler’s List and Munich\, the story of the aftermath of the Munich Olympic attacks.

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Comic Jimmy Kimmel sued for flying rabbi video

By Jennifer Lipman, December 17, 2010

A US comedian will have to defend himself against allegations he inappropriately used a YouTube video featuring a Hassidic Jew.

Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel used clips of a man he did not know, David Sondik, speaking in Yiddish in a video the comic made spoofing basketball player LeBron James.

Mr Kimmel, whose on-off partner is Jewish comedienne Sarah Silverman, used the edited version on his late night news-comedy programme Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The original footage had been uploaded to YouTube by Mr Sondik and had nothing to do with basketball.

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Shock at Kissinger's 'gas chamber' remark

December 16, 2010

Recordings released last week by the Nixon Presidential Library contain some shocking comments made about Jews by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

In March 1973, following a state dinner at which then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir petitioned Mr Kissinger to encourage the USSR to allow Soviet Jews to emigrate to North America, Mr Kissinger said to President Richard Nixon: "If they want to put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern."

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'A true giant of American foreign policy'

By Jennifer Lipman, December 16, 2010

The US diplomat credited with bringing peace to the Balkans has died at the age of 69.

Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, whose parents were Jewish immigrants to the US from eastern Europe, was serving as the Obama administration's envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He was admitted to hospital with a torn aorta last week, but died on Monday after unsuccessful surgery.

Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman said Mr Holbrooke was "proud of his Jewish identity and a good friend of the state of Israel. His death is a loss to the world, to America, and to the Jewish people".

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Winona Ryder reveals Mel Gibson's antisemitic Jewish joke

By Jennifer Lipman, December 16, 2010

Jewish actress Winona Ryder has revealed that Mel Gibson once told her an antisemitic joke about the Holocaust.

However the star said no one believed her when she suggested Mr Gibson was prejudiced against Jews.

After the actor was arrested for drunk driving in 2006 Mr Gibson reportedly said: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world".

He was caught on tape allegedly telling the Jewish police officer who arrested him: “F***king Jews… Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”

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Libel charges dropped against Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff

By Jennifer Lipman, December 16, 2010

Libel charges against Nazi-hunter Efraim Zuroff were thrown out of a Hungarian court today after the plaintiff, a man suspected of Holocaust-era war crimes by Mr Zuroff, did not show up in court.

Judge Viktor Vadász had previously warned Sandor Kepiro, 96, that the case would not proceed without his presence in the Budapest court.

The judge is believed to have told Mr Kepiro’s lawyer that if his client was healthy enough to attend the first court date in October, he would be expected at the second.

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