World news

Europe's Muslim and Jewish leaders meet, discuss co-operation

By Jennifer Lipman, December 8, 2010

Leaders of Europe’s Jewish and Muslim communities have met in Brussels in an effort to encourage greater religious co-operation.

Some 50 people from countries including Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, attended Monday’s meeting.

It was organised by the European Jewish Congress (EJC) along with the World Jewish Congress and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

British Muslim representatives included Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Faith Matters and Mohamed Zina, co-chair of the Muslim-Jewish Forum.

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£80 to conceal alleged killer's Nazi tattoos

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

A man on trial for murder in Florida has been awarded nearly £80 per day to cover up his Nazi-themed tattoos.

Lawyers for John Ditullio, in court for a double stabbing in 2006 which left one victim dead and another wounded, successfully argued that if jurors could see the Nazi symbols on his skin they would be prejudiced when making their decision.

The court agreed to pay for a professional make-up artist to come in on every day of the trial and conceal Mr Ditullio’s tattoos.

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Court orders Orthodox woman to be cremated after three month battle

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

The body of a 105-year-old Jewish woman from New York who died three months ago will finally be removed from a mortuary after a judge ruled that she could be cremated.

Ethel Baar, who died on September 11, began following Orthodox Judaism late in life, and her great-nephew James Pollak said that she had wanted to be laid to rest in accordance with Orthodox tradition.

But in 1999 she also stated in her will that she wanted her body to be cremated, which is against halachah.

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Anger over university for thesis calling Holocaust education racist

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

A Canadian university has defended a controversial decision to accept a master’s thesis that described Holocaust education as “racist”.

Jewish groups have reacted furiously to the revelation that the University of Toronto awarded a degree to a student for a work titled “The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education”.

The essay looked at two programmes which take young people to the Nazi sites of Poland; March of the Living for Jewish students, and the March of Remembrance and Hope, which educates non-Jewish participants.

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Nazi outfit next to Michael Jackson costume in Japanese store

By Jennifer Lipman, December 7, 2010

Japanese shoppers can no longer buy a “joke” Nazi costume after mangers at the country’s Don Quijote chain withdrew the outfit in response to complaints.

Until recently the costume - a black jacket with an armband featuring a red swastika – was on shelves at the discount stores next to outfits for dressing up as Michael Jackson or as a ninja.

The Nazi costume was on sale for £8 and came in a package with "Heil Hitler" written on it in Japanese and a drawing of a person resembling Adolf Hitler.

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Helen Thomas: anger over Zionist conspiracy claims

By Jennifer Lipman, December 6, 2010

The former White House journalist who called for all Jews to "get the hell out of Palestine" has caused further controversy by claiming that "Zionists" control US foreign policy.

Helen Thomas, who lost her job with Hearst Newspapers after she caught on film making the denigrating comments, told an audience in Detroit that America is “owned by propagandists against the Arabs.”

The 90-year-old, who enjoyed a decades-long career at the forefront of US political journalism until the scandal last June, was speaking during a seminar on anti-Arab bias.

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Mumbai Chabad wrangle over attack site

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 2, 2010

The second anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks in India has been marred by a legal battle over the future of the Chabad House, the site of one of the attacks.

Six Jewish hostages at Nariman House, the Chabad Centre, were among 175 people killed by Pakistani terrorists on November 26, 2008.

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Germany elects new Jewsih community leader

By Benjamin Weinthal, December 2, 2010

The Central Council of Jews in Germany has elected Dieter Graumann to the presidency of its 105,000 member community, prompting a sea-change for Germany's Jews. The 60-year old Mr Graumann is the council's first Israeli-born, non-Holocaust survivor leader.

Mr Graumann, the son of Polish Jewish survivors of the Shoah, succeeds the 78-year old Charlotte Knobloch, who survived the Holocaust by hiding in Bavaria in the house of a Catholic family as a young girl. She will continue to be president of the Munich Jewish community.

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Dutch question mark over finance for website

By Benjamin Weinthal, December 2, 2010

The Dutch Foreign Minister, Uri Rosenthal, has backed an investigation of government funding for the Interchurch Organisation for Development Co-operation (ICCO), a Dutch aid organisation which finances the Electronic Intifada website. EI is plagued by antisemitic content and frequently compares Israeli policies with those of the Nazi regime.

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New Zealand shechitah gets partial reprieve

By Dan Goldberg, December 2, 2010

New Zealand's Agriculture Minister reversed his ban on the kosher slaughter of poultry last week amid allegations that his original controversial decision was taken to appease Muslim countries which have lucrative trade agreements with New Zealand.

Lawyers acting for David Carter negotiated a settlement last Friday, just three days before a legal challenge, which was being closely monitored by Shechita UK as well as the Office of the Chief Rabbi, was due to open in the High Court in Wellington.

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