World news

Orthodox Jews spotlight sex abuse

By Paul Berger, September 7, 2010

Two of America's leading Orthodox organisations will co-sponsor an event to highlight child sexual abuse in the US Jewish community.

National Jewish Child Abuse Prevention Week, which launches in Chicago on October 17, is backed by the highly influential Orthodox Union and by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group.

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Holocaust teacher banned for 'Nazi obsession'

By Ian Sparks, September 7, 2010

A Jewish history teacher has been suspended for "brainwashing" her pupils with too much information about the Holocaust.

Catherine Pederzoli, 58, was investigated by education ministry chiefs in France after accusations that she was obsessed with the Nazi gas chambers.

A report by the ministry has now accused her of lacking "distance, neutrality and secularism" in teaching about World War Two.

It also said she spent too much time organising trips for her teenage students to visit the death camps in Poland and the Czech Republic.

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Roma deportations not like Holocaust roundups

By Shirli Sitbon, September 7, 2010

French community leaders have spoken out against the targeting of the Roma people for deportation, but rejected comparisons with the roundup of the Jews in the 1930s.

"We can't accept discrimination like the one the Roma community is facing. It's a European problem and it must be addressed on that level," said Richard Prasquier, head of the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF.

"But I was shocked by certain comparisons. The situation today is nothing like the one under the Vichy regime."

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Ramallah turns against Tehran

By Meir Javedanfar, September 7, 2010

Last Sunday, the PLO leadership launched a major verbal assault against Iran's president.

"The one who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified election results, who oppressed the Iranian people and stole authority has no right to speak about Palestine, its president or its representatives," said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the PA.

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Hollywood joins West Bank protest

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2010

More than 150 Hollywood stars have voiced their support for Israeli artists refusing to perform in the West Bank.

Sex and the City actress Cynthia Nixon, along with playwright Tony Kushner and British actress and well-known activist Vanessa Redgrave, have all signed a letter drafted by an American organisation known as the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

In August a group of Israeli artists, actors and academics announced that they would boycott performances at the Ariel cultural centre in the West Bank as a symbol of their opposition to the settlements.

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Dinner with Gaddafi: a refugee goes home

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2010

A man whose family fled Libya in 1967 amid anti-Jewish violence has returned to his home city and had dinner with Colonel Gaddafi.

Raphael Luzon was 13 when, in the aftermath of Israel’s Six day War, the then 4,000-strong Libyan Jewish population was forced out of the north African country.

Several members of his family, including six cousins, were killed before they could escape.

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Israelis in Moscow shul 'expulsion' row

By Jennifer Lipman, September 5, 2010

A dispute has broken out between the rabbi of a Moscow synagogue and a group of Israeli tourists who claim they were evicted from the building on Shabbat.

As part of a tour of Jewish sites in the Russian capital, the 14 Israelis went to see a 19th century synagogue near the Kremlin. But rather than invite them in, the rabbi asked them to leave.

The Israelis said that they had been expelled because the rabbi objected to them having also visited several churches.

But their version of events has been questioned.

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Chavez talks antisemitism with Venezuelan Jews

By Jennifer Lipman, September 5, 2010

President Hugo Chávez has agreed to meet representatives of Venezuela’s Jewish community to discuss antisemitism in the country’s state-run media.

David Bittan Obadia, vice president of the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela (CAIV) said the meeting had been arranged because of concerns about levels of anti-Jewish feeling in Venezuela.

Mr Obadia said: "We do not deem [antisemitism] a state policy, but the government has the tools to stop it.

“We will be very straightforward in expressing our concerns. We can see that the government is willing to cooperate.

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Egypt and Iran row over peace talk 'betrayal'

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

The Egyptian government has called off a visit by Iran’s foreign minister after he accused President Hosni Mubarak of betraying Arabs by supporting the Middle East peace talks.

Manouchehr Mottaki had been set to visit Cairo for a meeting of the non-aligned movement.

But the discussion has been postponed after Mr Mottaki criticised Arab leaders for their involvement in this week’s Washington negotiations.

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Deal on Mormon baptism of Holocaust dead

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010

16-year-old dispute over the posthumous baptism of Holocaust victims has been resolved after the Mormon Church agreed to monitor its database more closely.

Mormons – members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – have baptised the dead for 170 years, in the belief it secures a place in heaven.

But in the early 1990s it emerged that some Mormons had submitted the names of hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims to the church’s genealogical database for posthumous baptism , without regard to their religious origin.

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