World news

Jewish voices join call for for Ashtiani release

By Jennifer Lipman, December 13, 2010

Jewish politicians, comedians and writers are among those who have signed a letter demanding that Iran release Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the widowed mother-of-two sentenced to death by stoning for adultery and murder.

The letter, published in The Times, comes just days after the Iranian regime appeared to have freed her, only for it to be revealed as a stunt to get her to re-enact the murder in her former home. The “documentary” was broadcast on the Iranian-backed channel Press TV.


Board backs Netanyahu's condemnation of anti-Arab rentals

By Simon Rocker, December 9, 2010

The Board of Deputies has welcomed Israeli President Shimon Peres’s condemnation of rabbis who have told Jews they should not rent home to Arabs in Israel.

A number of prominent rabbis backed Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu’s declaration that it was forbidden to rent or sell land in Israel to non-Jews.


Antisemitic theories on the rise in Germany

By Toby Axelrod, December 9, 2010

Higher-earners are more xenophobic than the average German, and resentment of Jews and Muslims is on the rise, according to an annual study of social trends released last week.

The 9th annual "German Situation" study, from the University of Bielefeld Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, suggests a clear "cooling of the social climate" as a result of tougher economic times.


'Politics' destroying top leadership body

December 9, 2010

Canada's top communal organisation, the 91-year-old Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), looks set to be dismantled to make way for what organisers say will be a more streamlined yet more widely representative body.

Rumours of a consolidation of some Jewish advocacy agencies have circulated for years. They first took form in 2004 with the creation of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), which many saw as a hostile takeover of the community's leadership by about a dozen of the country's top donor families.


Care for Holocaust survivors doubled

By Jessica Elgot, December 9, 2010

The German government is to double funding to help care for elderly Holocaust survivors - but there is no indication of how much the UK will benefit.

The Claims Conference has secured £93m, double last year's grant, for its Homecare scheme to support Holocaust survivors around the world.

Gordon Greenfield, director of the Association of Jewish Refugees, said: "We already receive substantial funding for elderly Holocaust survivors, but we don't know how exactly this increase will affect us or how much more we will get in 2011.


'Jews have no future in Holland'

By Michel Zlotowski, December 9, 2010

Due to the growing hostility ofa large part of Holland's Muslim population, Dutch Jews should emigrate to the United States or to Israel, said Frits Bolkestein, former European Commissioner and ex-leader of Holland's ruling right-wing VVD party.

The statement appeared in the book Het Verval (The Decline), written by Manfred Gerstenfeld, a Netherlands-born Holocaust survivor and senior researcher at the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs.


Saudis had plan to destroy Hizbollah

December 9, 2010

New revelations from the United States diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show that Israel is not alone in its concerns regarding the power of Hizbollah in Lebanon.

One of the latest cables to be revealed includes a proposal by Saudi Arabia to create an American-backed joint Arab military force to fight Hizbollah.

The proposal was made by Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, two years ago to American special representative David Satterfield.


Was this the ultimate Nazi hunt?

By Toby Axelrod, December 9, 2010

It appeared to be a remarkable sting, finally bringing to justice one of the men who helped to kick-start the Holocaust.

Former SS Lieutenant Colonel Bernhard Frank, who had rubbed shoulders with Nazi leaders, was living out his old age in Frankfurt, never suspecting that the American neo-Nazi who had been interviewing him for years was really out to get him.

Last week, the 97-year-old found out. The American, Mark Gould, a self-proclaimed Nazi-hunter, had posed as a Nazi to get close to Frank and interview him.


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.


£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.