World news

UNESCO cuts funding for 'antisemitic' Palestinian magazine

By Jennifer Lipman, December 23, 2011

UNESCO has cut off funding to a Palestinian children’s magazine that was revealed to have featured articles glorifying Adolf Hitler.

A human rights organisation, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, had sent a public letter of complaint to the UN’s cultural arm about its sponsorship of the ‘antisemitic’ publication, Zayzafuna.


Deal struck for Hamas to join the PLO

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2011

The terrorist organisation Hamas is planning to join the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

The partnership, agreed on at a meeting in Cairo on Thursday, marks the next step in efforts to forge unity between long-time rivals Hamas and Fatah.


'Maccabee' Havel remembered at Prague Chanucah ceremony

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2011

The Jewish community of Prague paid tribute to the former leader of the Czech Republic at a Chanucah candlelighting ceremony.

Vaclav Havel, who died on Sunday at the age of 75, was praised during his presidency for his efforts to tackle antisemitism, further Holocaust education and encourage a revival in Jewish life after the Communist era.


UNESCO criticised for 'antisemitic' Palestinian kids magazine

By Jennifer Lipman, December 22, 2011

The UN’s cultural arm has been criticised by a human rights organisation for publishing a magazine featuring an "antisemitic" article that praised Adolf Hitler.

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre took issue with the UNESCO magazine for Palestinian children, which in February 2011 carried an article by a young girl about meeting the Nazi leader in a dream.


Study says Reuters biased in favour of Palestinians

By Eti Shechtman, December 22, 2011

An academic study carried out by Roosevelt University in the US has concluded that Reuters' coverage of the Middle East conflict is systematically biased in favour of the Palestinians.

The study, which took three months, claims to have found over 1,100 "ethical" or "reporting" failures in a sample of 50 Reuters articles.

The "failures" were divided into three broad categories - "propaganda",


Tunisia president invites back Jews

December 22, 2011

The call by Tunisia's new president for the country's Jews to return has elicited mixed responses from its small Jewish community.

Around 1,800 Jews currently live in the North African country, down from 110,000 in the 1950s. About two-thirds of them live on the island of Djerba.


Obama keeps support of major Jewish funders

By Nathalie Rothschild, December 22, 2011

Contrary to claims from some on the American political right, a new report shows that President Barack Obama has retained the backing of his biggest Jewish fundraisers.

The report, published in Forward magazine, showed that prominent Jews who raised over $500,000 each for Mr Obama in 2008 - so-called "elite bundlers" - are supporting him again ahead of the 2012 election.


US switches to hawk over Iranian threat

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 22, 2011

America's defence chiefs have adopted a belligerent new tone over the possibility of carrying out a military strike against Iran.

In an interview with CBS on Monday, Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said that the Iranians are at a point in the their nuclear programme where they can develop a bomb in a year or less.


Dutch compromise over kosher slaughter ban

By Jessica Elgot, December 22, 2011

The Dutch government will not ban shechitah or halal slaughter outright, but said it would draw up new guidelines in an attempt to satisfy animal rights activists.

The government announced this week it would appoint a commission to set out tighter procedures for slaughter.


Effect of Kim Jong-Il death on Middle East 'hard to predict'

December 22, 2011

The death of North Korean Kim Jong-Il on Saturday also signalled the departure of one of the most significant players in the Middle East.

While the military involvement of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the region goes back to the 1973 Yom Kippur War when the "Great President" Kim Il-Sung sent a squadron of fighter jets to Egypt's aid, it was his son who transformed his isolated c