World news

Swedish journalist defends organ 'blood libel' in Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

The Swedish journalist who accused the IDF of killing Palestinian youths to harvest their organs claimed this week that he never wrote that the Palestinians were intentionally killed for that purpose.

Daniel Bostrom’s report, published two months ago in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, caused a diplomatic row between Israel and Sweden. His accusations were linked to the arrest of a Jewish man in New York suspected of illegal organ trafficking. The IDF denied all the allegations.

More..

Los Angeles synagogue gunman evades capture

By Tom Tugend, November 5, 2009

The Los Angeles Jewish community remained on alert this week as police continued their hunt for a gunman who shot and wounded two congregants at a Sephardic synagogue.

The shooting occurred last week in the underground garage of the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Synagogue in suburban north Hollywood.

A young man, described as dark-skinned and wearing a dark, hooded sweat shirt, approached one worshipper arriving for early morning services and tried to shoot him, but the gun jammed.

More..

Families flee Yemen for US

By Paul Berger, November 5, 2009

Dozens of Jews have been evacuated from Yemen in a clandestine operation by the US government.

Yemen’s Jewish population is thought to date back about 2,500 years. The majority of its Jews, about 49,000 people, were airlifted to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet during 1949 and 1950. By the beginning of this year, about 300 remained.

Yemen has become increasingly unstable and growing Islamic militancy has brought a rise in antisemitism.

More..

Germany's Russian revolution

By Toby Axelrod, November 5, 2009

In Germany this autumn, there has been a tremendous build-up to Monday’s 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. A generation has passed since the sound of chisels rang out across that divide, when colourfully dressed youths clambered onto the concrete barrier and set about removing it.

In one generation, the entire landscape of Jewish life in Germany has changed. After the wall collapsed, and then the Soviet Union, thousands of Jews poured into Germany, welcomed by the government and by Jewish institutions. The Jewish community here today is overwhelmingly Russian.

More..

Interview: Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich

By Martin Bright, November 5, 2009

The rabbi at the centre of the row over the Conservative Party’s alliance with the controversial Polish MEP Michal Kaminski has issued a fierce condemnation of the MEP’s refusal to support an official apology for Polish involvement in the notorious wartime Jedwabne massacre of Jews.

However, Michael Schudrich, chief rabbi of Poland, confirmed that Mr Kaminski had been a staunch supporter of Israel in recent years and had spoken out against antisemitism in the Polish parliament.

More..

Fears escalate over weapons flow from Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

A missile trial by Hamas last week and a successful seizure of a ship laden with rockets bound for Hizbollah on Wednesday show that the illegal shipments of arms from Iran to terror groups are continuing at full throttle.

On Tuesday, commander of the IDF Intelligence Branch, Major General Amos Yadlin, told a session of the Knesset Foreign and Defence Affairs Committee that Hamas had staged a trial firing of a missile capable of hitting targets 60km away. This would put Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport within Hamas’s range.

More..

US ambassador shuns UN debate on Goldstone

By Jessica Elgot, November 5, 2009

The US ambassador to the UN has shunned the debate over the Goldstone Report at the meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Ambassador Susan Rice did not attend any discussion of the report, and her deputy Alejandro Wolff listened only to the speeches from Swedish ambassador, Anders Lidén, who was representing the European Union, and that of the Israeli ambassador Gabriela Shalev.

More..

UN General Assembly begins debate on Goldstone Report

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009

The United Nations General Assembly has begun debating the Goldstone Report in New York.

Arab delegates presented a resolution calling on UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to act on Goldstone’s recommendations, which included referring Israel and Hamas to the International Court of Justice in the Hague if no action had been taken within six months.

More than 40 people are due to speak during the debate, which is expected to run until Thursday.

The UN General Assembly is likely to defer judgement on the report to the UN Security Council

More..

House of Representatives condemn Goldstone

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009

The US House of Representatives has condemned the UN Goldstone Report by an overwhelming majority, calling the report “one-sided and distorted”.

The representatives voted 344 to 36 to endorse a symbolic resolution to condemn the report which was highly critical of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive early this year. Twenty-two of the delegates declined to vote.

The report will be discussed at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly today in New York.

More..

Polish Chief Rabbi: my views on Kaminski

By Jessica Elgot, October 30, 2009

The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, has reiterated that he does not believe controversial Polish MEP Michal Kaminski is antisemitic — but admitted he does have concerns over the politician’s past.

Mr Kaminski has been at the centre of the row over the Conservatives' new rightwing allies in the European parliament. He is the leader of the European parties' bloc.

He has been accused of antisemitism by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who used Rabbi Schudrich’s comments to the New Statesman as a basis for his attack.

More..