World news

French Jews 'unfazed' by National Front gains

By Shirli Sitbon, March 25, 2010

The far-right National Front made a surprise comeback in the French regional elections on Sunday, but the Jewish community remains largely unperturbed.

The National Front gained its best result in years, getting an average of 17.8 per cent of the vote in 12 French regions. Eighty-two-year old party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen obtained the highest share of the vote, 22.8 per cent, in the southern region of Provence, Alpes, Cote d'Azure.


Rabin's plaque in Ukrainian home town

By Edward Doks in Kiev, March 25, 2010

Yuval Rabin, son of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, has dedicated a plaque in memory of his grandfather Nechemia in the Ukrainian town in which he was born.

Just a month before he was murdered in November 1995, his father Yitzhak had visited the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and was presented with documents concerning his father's birthplace, Sidorovichi.

Russian-Jewish officials who were present at the ceremony said Yitzhak Rabin had wanted to visit the village - now home to just 272 residents - but could not fit it into his schedule.


Analysis: In Venezuela, antisemitism is state policy

By Shimon Samuels, March 25, 2010

A new report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has criticised the Venezuelan government for encroaching on the civil and political rights of its people, and particularly those of its Jewish community.

The report expressed particular concern about the rising number of antisemitic incidents, and noted that the government-controlled media "contributed to creating an atmosphere of intimidation and violence against the Jewish community in Venezuela".

This is cause for serious alarm. However, it is hardly surprising.


Netanyahu meets Obama in Washington

By Jessica Elgot, March 24, 2010

US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have met for lengthy, private talks in the White House.

Mr Netanyahu, along with Defence Minister Ehud Barak, met Mr Obamafor a 90 minute discussion in the Oval Office.

But debate was reportedly so heated, that after the talks were due to conclude, both sides went their separate ways to seek advice from aides and after a short break Mr Netanyahu requested a further 35 minute meeting with the President.


Indian Chabad House targeted in February attack

By Jessica Elgot, March 24, 2010

Indian security officials have confirmed that the Chabad House in Pune was the real target of a bomb attack which killed seventeen people at a nearby bakery.

Rabbi Betzalel Kupchik, of the Chabad House, said he recognised the sound of the blast as like a “Katyusha rocket sent from Hamas.”

Chief Minister of the state of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, said that the attack which ripped through a popular German bakery in the north west of the city was intended for the Chabad House, a few metres away.


Tony Blair: A two-state solution is best for Israel

By Jessica Elgot, March 23, 2010

Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister and envoy to the Middle East Quartet has described his vision for a safer Israel at the Aipac conference in Washington.

He said: “Israel is a democracy. The politicians are in fear of the people, not the people in fear of the politicians.”

Like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke at the conference yesterday, Mr Blair called the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit "a disgrace" and said that Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.


Tony Blair: His speech to Aipac in full

By Jessica Elgot, March 23, 2010

"My job is to try to get agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, for the Quartet which tries to get agreement between the US, the UN, the EU and Russia. I thought after being Prime Minister of Britain for ten years I should try something easy.

I am always described as a friend of Israel. It is true. I am and proud of it and I will tell you why.

Israel is a democracy. The politicians are in fear of the people, not the people in fear of the politicians.

Citizens are governed by the rule of law. Men and women are equal before the law.


Clinton: Israel situation 'unsustainable'

By Jessica Elgot, March 22, 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called the current situation in Israel “unsustainable” but guaranteed the Obama administration’s “rock solid” commitment to Israel.

In a speech prepared to deliver to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) in Washington, which was released early by her office, Mrs Clinton will say: “Guaranteeing Israel's security is more than a policy position for me. It is a personal commitment that will never waver.


Three men who stole Auschwitz sign jailed

By Jessica Elgot, March 18, 2010

Three men who stole and vandalised the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign from Auschwitz have been jailed after pleading guilty to the theft.

The three men, two of them brothers, were named only as Radoslaw M, Lukasz M and Pawel S. They were sentenced to between 18 and 30 months at the court in Krakow.

Police arrested five men when they recovered the 16-foot wrought-iron sign, which had been cut into three pieces. The two other men are awaiting trial.


Analysis: Baroness Ashton fails first big Arab test

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, March 18, 2010

In her first real test as Europe's new foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton delivered a key policy speech to the Arab League in Cairo on Tuesday. As it turns out, she flunked the test and returned the EU - after a brief hiatus of relatively friendly relations with Israel - to where it has traditionally been: a friend and a major sponsor of Palestinian intransigence and Arab complicity in the lack of progress in regional peace.