World news

Edward Said's daughter: I'm Arab-American - and Jewish

By Ellen Tumposky, April 1, 2010

Najla Said, the daughter of controversial Palestinian-American literary critic Edward Said, says she "grew up as a Jew in New York City".

"I was more likely to say 'Oy vey' and 'I'm shvitzing' than dare utter a word of Arabic."

The riff runs through her one-woman show, Palestine, now playing off Broadway at the 4th St Theatre in New York with a future London transfer likely.

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Obama is setting a precedent for Israel

By Jonathan Tobin, April 1, 2010

President Obama's foreign policy team came into office in 2009 determined to distance themselves from Israel. This was due in part to their inclination to change everything that the Bush administration did as well as their belief that a more "even handed" approach really could jump start the peace process.

This determination to cool things down with Israel was strengthened once Binyamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition won in the elections held only a month after Mr Obama's inauguration.

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Netanyahu warns of lessons learnt from history

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 1, 2010

Binyamin Netanyahu is the son of a historian. Three weeks ago, hundreds of guests celebrated Benzion Netanyahu's 100th birthday.

In an emotional speech, the PM extolled his father's ability to foresee major historical events, from the Shoah to the attack on New York by Islamic terrorists.

"I learnt from you to look into the future," said Bibi to his father.

In his own speech, the wise old historian spoke of the future and warned of the terrible consequences if Iran is allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

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The Ugandan kippot project that saves lives

By Keren David, April 1, 2010

The colourful kippot worn by the men of the Abayudaya community of rural East Uganda are more than a statement of their Jewish identity. They hope to sell the skullcaps to Jews worldwide and drastically improve their impoverished living conditions.

The man helping them to help themselves is a British Jew, Adam Williams, 34. The accountant, born in Leeds, moved to Uganda two years ago, and was astonished to find villages of devout Jews living in mud and stick houses.

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Nun who hid Jewish family honoured

By Robyn Rosen, March 25, 2010

An Italian nun who hid a Jewish family in her convent during the Second World War has been awarded posthumously with the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

Madre Maria Agnes Tribbioli was nominated for the Yad Vashem honour by Cesare Sacerdoti, of Brondesbury, who was rescued by her when he was five years old.

Florence-born Mr Sacerdoti, 72, went into hiding with his mother and younger brother, Vittorio, on November 6 1943, after the Florence synagogue was raided and vandalised by German SS and Jews were rounded up.

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Analysis: Still deep divisions between US-Israel

By Nathan Guttman, March 25, 2010

The annual policy conference held this week by Aipac, the Israel lobby, certainly helped tone down the rhetoric between Israel and the US.

However, it also highlighted the deep divisions that still remain between the two countries, which no amount of sweet talk will be able to paper over.

The conference brought together 7,500 delegates from across America. As always, it was the top event in town, with the A-list of Washington politicians gathering to express their support for Israel.

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French Jews 'unfazed' by National Front gains

By Shirli Sitbon, March 25, 2010

The far-right National Front made a surprise comeback in the French regional elections on Sunday, but the Jewish community remains largely unperturbed.

The National Front gained its best result in years, getting an average of 17.8 per cent of the vote in 12 French regions. Eighty-two-year old party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen obtained the highest share of the vote, 22.8 per cent, in the southern region of Provence, Alpes, Cote d'Azure.

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Rabin's plaque in Ukrainian home town

By Edward Doks in Kiev, March 25, 2010

Yuval Rabin, son of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, has dedicated a plaque in memory of his grandfather Nechemia in the Ukrainian town in which he was born.

Just a month before he was murdered in November 1995, his father Yitzhak had visited the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and was presented with documents concerning his father's birthplace, Sidorovichi.

Russian-Jewish officials who were present at the ceremony said Yitzhak Rabin had wanted to visit the village - now home to just 272 residents - but could not fit it into his schedule.

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Analysis: In Venezuela, antisemitism is state policy

By Shimon Samuels, March 25, 2010

A new report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has criticised the Venezuelan government for encroaching on the civil and political rights of its people, and particularly those of its Jewish community.

The report expressed particular concern about the rising number of antisemitic incidents, and noted that the government-controlled media "contributed to creating an atmosphere of intimidation and violence against the Jewish community in Venezuela".

This is cause for serious alarm. However, it is hardly surprising.

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Netanyahu meets Obama in Washington

By Jessica Elgot, March 24, 2010

US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have met for lengthy, private talks in the White House.

Mr Netanyahu, along with Defence Minister Ehud Barak, met Mr Obamafor a 90 minute discussion in the Oval Office.

But debate was reportedly so heated, that after the talks were due to conclude, both sides went their separate ways to seek advice from aides and after a short break Mr Netanyahu requested a further 35 minute meeting with the President.

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