World news

Jewish community reacts to Tunisia violence

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011

The political instability in Tunisia could put the future of the country’s 2,000 year-old-Jewish community under threat.

More than 100 people are believed to have died and many more been injured in violent anti-government clashes in the North African country, which last week triggered the president of 23 years to flee to Saudi Arabia.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) said that the target of the rage was the ruling party and not Tunisia’s Jewish population, which is estimated to be anywhere between 1,500 and 3,000-strong.

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Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp not going to Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011

The pop-singer partner of Hollywood star Johnny Depp has cancelled a performance in Israel after she was targeted by pro-Palestinian campaigners calling on her to boycott.

French star Vanessa Paradis, who shot to fame as a 14-year-old with the hit “Joe Le Taxi,” was set to sing at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre next month and meet President Shimon Peres while in the country.

However Ms Paradis has now said that she cannot play the February 10 show because of a commitment in Los Angeles on the same date relating to her film career.

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Demand for Rupert Murdoch to remove Glenn Beck from Fox News

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011

More than 10,000 people have signed an American Jewish organisation’s petition calling on Rupert Murdoch to fire controversial pundit Glenn Beck because of his “grotesque falsehoods” about Jews.

Jewish Funds for Justice (JFSJ) launched the petition following the showing of Mr Beck’s recent three-part series “Puppet Master” on Fox News. The channel is part of Mr Murdoch’s media empire.

On the programme Mr Beck attacked Jewish businessman George Soros’ Holocaust record and accused him of helping “to send the Jews to the death camps”.

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Natalie Portman, Aaron Sorkin triumph at Golden Globes

By Jennifer Lipman, January 17, 2011

Jewish stars were celebrating last night after they swept the boards at the Golden Globes ceremony in Los Angeles.

Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman has been widely tipped for an Oscar-nomination after she was named Best Actress for Black Swan.

The film, released in Britain this week, stars Ms Portman as a tormented prima ballerina and is directed by Jewish filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.

Mr Aronofsky was nominated for Best Director but lost out to The Social Network, a retelling of the origin of Facebook and its Jewish misfit creator Mark Zuckerberg.

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Jewish dibbuk spirit gets Sam Raimi makeover

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

A disembodied spirit out of Jewish folklore is to be the subject of a new horror film.

Spiderman director Sam Raimi is to produce “Dibbuk Box”, which will tell the story of a family cursed when they open a mysterious haunted box.

The film, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Grey’s Anatomy fame, is set to be released in time for Halloween.

Traditionally spelt with a Y, a dybbuk is said to be a malicious spirit that escapes from the soul of a deceased person and attaches itself to that of a living person in order to complete something left unfinished.

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Spanish warrant for suspected Nazi Demjanjuk

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

Spain has issued an arrest warrant for a man currently on trial in Germany for alleged Nazi war crimes.

John Demjanjuk is on trial in Munich over his suspected role in the deaths of more than 28,000 people at Sobibor concentration camp.

That trial began in November 2009, after the United States agreed to deport him. But the proceedings have been delayed because of questions over the health of Demjanjuk, now aged 90.

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Greece and Israel to launch disaster response plan

By Jennifer Lipman, January 14, 2011

Israel and Greece have agreed to coordinate their responses to regional natural disasters, such as the Carmel forest fire.

As Israeli firefighters struggled to put out the devastating blaze last December, Greece was one of a number of countries to respond to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plea for international assistance.

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Record year for visitors to Auschwitz museum

By Jennifer Lipman, January 13, 2011

Auschwitz has experienced the highest number of visitors since the former concentration camp was opened up to the public more than 60 years ago.

Some 1.38 million people toured the museum in 2010, eclipsing the previous year’s attendance of 1.3 million.

Outside of Polish groups, the majority of visitors were British, followed by high numbers from Italy and France. Around 850,000 were students.

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Hillel leads battle against US boycotters

By Ellen Tumposky, January 13, 2011

Hillel is fighting back against the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that is sweeping US campuses.

The student support organisation has set out new guidelines to bar people who back the BDS movement from its campus events. "We will not allow our resources to be used to support the BDS movement," said Jeff Rubin, spokesman for Hillel, which has chapters at more than 500 universities.

The new policy has angered Jewish advocates of BDS activities.

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Welcome to Nazi Hollow

By Toby Axelrod, January 13, 2011

With only 37 residents, ten houses and two streets, the village of Jamel seems harmless.

But this small part of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has been taken over by neo-Nazis.

Observers say that at least two thirds of Jamel's residents identify with the far-right extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) of Germany and its anti-foreigner platform. The local magnate is Sven Krüger, an NPD representative on the district council.

According to reports, the town has become a place of pilgrimage for neo-Nazis from around the country.

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