World news

Antisemitic attack on Moldovan synagogue

By Jennifer Lipman, September 15, 2010

Moldova’s Great Synagogue has been vandalised with Nazi graffiti.

Members of the Kishinev Jewish community arrived at the building to find that swastikas and other antisemitic abuse had been sprayed around the entrance.

The synagogue is the largest in Moldova. The former Soviet Union country is home to an estimated 23,000 Jews.

The Moldovan chief rabbi said antisemitism was not common in the area,

Rabbi Zalman Abelsky said: "Since I began working in this state 20 years ago, I have never encountered such crass behavior.”

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Mel Gibson Jewish rant officer in court

By Jennifer Lipman, September 13, 2010

The Jewish police officer who was at the receiving end of Mel Gibson’s antisemitic slurs has sued his department for harassment.

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

Deputy James Mee, who made the arrest, has claimed that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department asked him to remove the comments from the arrest report because of friendship between the actor and Sheriff Lee Baca.

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George Soros' £65m gift to human rights charity

By Leon Symons, September 8, 2010

Billionaire financier George Soros is giving £65 million to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the New York-based organisation dedicated to investigating human rights abuses.

HRW has criticised both Israel and Hamas in its reports in the past. At the beginning of this year, its programmes director Ian Levine met Jewish communal leaders in London in an effort to convince them that the organisation was not biased against Israel.

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Synagogue saved in New Zealand quake

September 7, 2010

The small Jewish community in Christchurch, New Zealand, is reeling from a massive earthquake last Shabbat.

The tremor did not affect the city's only shul but may have devastated Chabad house, in the worst-affected area. Rabbi Mendel Goldstein, director of Chabad NZ, has not been able to get close to the Chabad house because authorities have sealed the area, fearing after-shocks.

Rabbi Goldstein, whose dining room roof was blown off, went to the city's only shul, Canterbury Hebrew Congregation, just hours after the tremor.

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Orthodox Jews spotlight sex abuse

By Paul Berger, September 7, 2010

Two of America's leading Orthodox organisations will co-sponsor an event to highlight child sexual abuse in the US Jewish community.

National Jewish Child Abuse Prevention Week, which launches in Chicago on October 17, is backed by the highly influential Orthodox Union and by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group.

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Holocaust teacher banned for 'Nazi obsession'

By Ian Sparks, September 7, 2010

A Jewish history teacher has been suspended for "brainwashing" her pupils with too much information about the Holocaust.

Catherine Pederzoli, 58, was investigated by education ministry chiefs in France after accusations that she was obsessed with the Nazi gas chambers.

A report by the ministry has now accused her of lacking "distance, neutrality and secularism" in teaching about World War Two.

It also said she spent too much time organising trips for her teenage students to visit the death camps in Poland and the Czech Republic.

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Roma deportations not like Holocaust roundups

By Shirli Sitbon, September 7, 2010

French community leaders have spoken out against the targeting of the Roma people for deportation, but rejected comparisons with the roundup of the Jews in the 1930s.

"We can't accept discrimination like the one the Roma community is facing. It's a European problem and it must be addressed on that level," said Richard Prasquier, head of the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

"But I was shocked by certain comparisons. The situation today is nothing like the one under the Vichy regime."

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Ramallah turns against Tehran

By Meir Javedanfar, September 7, 2010

Last Sunday, the PLO leadership launched a major verbal assault against Iran's president.

"The one who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified election results, who oppressed the Iranian people and stole authority has no right to speak about Palestine, its president or its representatives," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the PA.

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Hollywood joins West Bank protest

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2010

More than 150 Hollywood stars have voiced their support for Israeli artists refusing to perform in the West Bank.

Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon, along with playwright Tony Kushner and British actress and well-known activist Vanessa Redgrave, have all signed a letter drafted by an American organisation known as the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

In August a group of Israeli artists, actors and academics announced that they would boycott performances at the Ariel cultural centre in the West Bank as a symbol of their opposition to the settlements.

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Dinner with Gaddafi: a refugee goes home

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2010

A man whose family fled Libya in 1967 amid anti-Jewish violence has returned to his home city and had dinner with Colonel Gaddafi.

Raphael Luzon was 13 when, in the aftermath of Israel’s Six day War, the then 4,000-strong Libyan Jewish population was forced out of the north African country.

Several members of his family, including six cousins, were killed before they could escape.

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