World news

Hamas’s new enemy? Even more radical Islamist set

By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem, August 27, 2009

Hamas is facing an unprecedented challenge, this time from even more extreme elements within Islam and Gaza.

It is responding by radicalising even further, imposing Islamic dress on schoolgirls, militarily crushing a breakaway mosque preacher and his followers, and undertaking a propaganda push in mosques and on the web.

The source of the pressure on the Hamas leaders is the Jihadi-Salafi Muslims, who believe in returning Islam to what they see as its pure form that existed at the time of Mohammed and his companions, and in using holy war to achieve this.


Shalit is Tweeted

August 27, 2009

A Twitter campaign entitled “Tweet4Shalit” has been launched to mark the 23rd birthday of kidnapped Israeli solider Gilad Shalit. The man behind the initiative, David Appletree, said: “This appears to be the largest internet campaign of its kind for Gilad Shalit.”


Oy! You’re killing me. Laugh? I hardly started

August 27, 2009

Have you heard the one about the Jewish woman suing her daughter-in-law for telling too many mother-in-law jokes?

Comic Sunda Croonquist, who is a regular on the Hollywood comedy circuit, is being taken to court by her husband’s mother, Ruth Zafrin, for allegedly spreading false, defamatory and racist lies about her. Mrs Zafrin seeks damages and requests that Ms Croonquist remove any offensive statements from her website and routines.


Netanyahu to receive Auschwitz plans

By Jessica Elgot, August 26, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be presented with the original architectural plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, to keep at Yad Vashem, during his trip to Germany.

Mr Netanyahu will attend a special ceremony in Berlin where the German newspaper Bild will present the plans to him, along with Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev and the director of the Yad Vashem archives, Haim Gertner.


Jewish tributes to Ted Kennedy

By Jessica Elgot, August 26, 2009

Jewish and Israeli leaders have paid tribute to US Senator Ted Kennedy, who died of brain cancer at the age of 77.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is currently in the UK called Senator Kennedy an "American patriot" said that he was "a great friend of Israel".

Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed deep sorrow at the death of Senator Kennedy
He said: "Kennedy was a clear friend of Israel the whole way, and in every place that he could help us, he did help.

“He was a particularly respected leader with an interest in helping society.


Austrian politician attacks Jewish museum director

By Jessica Elgot, August 26, 2009

An Austrian right-wing party leader may face prosecution for calling a Jewish museum director a “Jew in exile from America”.

Dieter Egger, head of the Freedom Party which is part of the coalition government in the country’s Vorarlberg province, was responding to criticism from Hanno Loewy, director of the Jewish museum in Hohenems.

Mr Egger had previously said that he believed that all Austrians should be forced to leave the country if they did not agree with his policy to pay family benefits only to native Austrians.


Bernie Madoff's cancer scare

By Jessica Elgot, August 24, 2009

Bernie Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison for defrauding clients of $65 billion may be dying of cancer.

The 71-year-old is serving his sentence in Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

He told inmates he did not expect to live much longer, according to the New York Post.

There had been speculation during his trial that he may be suffering from pancreatic cancer.

An inmate said: “He's been taking about 20 pills a day for his cancer. He talks about it all the time. He's not doing very well."


Israeli lecturer's boycott call attacked

August 23, 2009

A Ben-Gurion University lecturer who called for an international boycott against Israel has been attacked by his own university.

Dr. Neve Gordon told the Los Angeles Times that he thought Israel had reached a historic crossroads and only dramatic measures could ensure its survival.

"It is indeed not a simple matter for me as an Israeli citizen to call on foreign governments, regional authorities, international social movements, faith-based organisations, unions and citizens to suspend co-operation with Israel," he wrote.


Israelis and Hamas have secret talks in Switzerland

By Keren David, August 20, 2009

A secret “peace conference” held in Switzerland earlier this month brought together senior establishment figures from Hamas, Fatah and Israel to discuss a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.

The meeting was organised by London-based group the Next Century Foundation, which describes itself as a “second track” diplomatic foundation working towards conflict resolution. Its first objective is to provide a forum for Israelis and Palestinians.


Analysis: The halo drops from Human Rights Watch

By Noah Pollak, August 20, 2009

Over the past few years, non-governmental organisation Human Rights Watch has managed to portray Israel as one of the greatest human rights violators on earth. The group has produced dozens of heated condemnations of Israel over the Gaza blockade yet only criticised Egypt, which also maintains the blockade, a few times in passing — and Egypt has not even been under rocket attack.

During the 2006 Israel-Hizbollah war, HRW officials repeatedly accused the IDF of intentionally targeting civilians, a claim utterly without substance.