World news

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.

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Perfect punishment for Dutch teen's anti-Jewish slur

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

A teenager whose offensive comments about Jews were published online has been given a particularly fitting punishment.

The Dutch 18-year-old, referred to as Omar E in court, has been sentenced to community service at the Holocaust hiding place of Jewish diarist Anne Frank.

He had told the website GeenStijl that he believed Jewish people should be exterminated.

Despite a claim by Omar E’s lawyer that the case should not even have come to court because of the negative publicity his client had faced, a judge ruled that the teenager should do16 hours of community service.

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ADL: Antisemitism not motive in Arizona attack

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has dismissed speculation that the alleged Arizona gunman Jared Loughner was motivated by antisemitic or extremist views.

In the wake of the shooting a memo from the US Department of Homeland Security suggested a possible connection between the extremist organisation American Renaissance and the fact that one of the people targeted was Arizona’s first Jewish Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords.

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Pastor blames Australian floods on Rudd's Israel views

By Jennifer Lipman, January 11, 2011

An Australian pastor has blamed the country’s former prime minister for causing devastating floods because of his stance on Israel.

At least 20 people have died and many more been injured, while thousands have been left homeless as a result of the flash flooding that has hit the northeastern Australian state of Queensland.

Daniel Nalliah, who two years ago explained bushfires in Victoria in terms of the state’s abortion law, said he had been reminded “that every time America went against Israel, there was disaster in the land”.

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Loughner lawyer represented extremist anti-Jewish gunman

By Jennifer Lipman, January 11, 2011

The lawyer for the man in court over the shooting of a Jewish Congresswoman and killing of six others in Arizona previously defended a white supremacist who attacked a California Jewish centre in 1999.

Jared Loughner, 22, appeared in court yesterday for the attack on Gabrielle Giffords as she spoke at a political event in Tucson.

He was represented by Judy Clarke, a lawyer known for defending notorious clients including the "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, and for securing life sentences rather than the death penalty for several high-profile clients.

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Teacher banned for Holocaust 'obsession' back at work

By Jennifer Lipman, January 11, 2011

A Jewish history teacher who was suspended by French education authorities for teaching too much about the Holocaust has returned to work.

In September 2010 Catherine Pederzoli was given a four-month suspension for lacking "distance, neutrality and secularism", principles seen by the French as vital safeguards of the separation of Church and state.

Ms Pederzoli, from Nancy in eastern France, faced the allegation that she was obsessed with the Nazi gas chambers.

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Arizona shooter Jared Loughner could face death penalty

By Jennifer Lipman, January 11, 2011

The 22-year-old man accused of attempting to assassinate a Jewish US congresswoman from Arizona and of killing six others has appeared in court.

Jared Loughner was in a Phoenix court yesterday, two days after he allegedly rampaged through a supermarket as Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords met constituents at a routine political event.

He was told by the judge that he could face either life behind bars, or the death penalty, for the shooting spree, which also left 14 people injured.

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Arizona shooter Jared Loughner thought to have antisemitic links

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

The US authorities are understood to be exploring whether the shooting of a Jewish congresswoman in Arizona was motivated by the gunman’s links to an extremist group.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has noted both that the Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, is Jewish and that her shooter may have been involved with an allegedly antisemitic group.

Ms Giffords, Arizona’s first Jewish representative and a former member of the regional board of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), is still in hospital in intensive care following the rampage on Saturday at a political event.

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A 'Jewish visionary': singer Debbie Friedman mourned

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

An influential American singer-songwriter who led a guitar session at Limmud last month has died after being hospitalised with pneumonia.

Debbie Friedman, who was in her late 50s, was considered a key figure in the revival of music within prayer and credited with "reminding Jewish people how to sing”.

In a career spanning more than three decades, Ms Friedman released more than 20 albums, a host of awards and played to vast audiences at venues around the world, including at several Limmud conferences in Britain.

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Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords critical as suspect Loughner appears in court

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

Doctors for the Jewish congresswoman critically wounded during a shooting rampage at an Arizona supermarket have said there are signs she could recover.

Six people were killed, including her political aide Gabe Zimmerman, and 13 others injured in the attack on Saturday in Tuscon.

The man suspected of being behind the shooting spree, Jared Loughner, will appear in court today on several charges including attempting to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords.

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