World news

Could this frum lady be Madoff’s $40m agent?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 9, 2009

Sonja Kohn looks an unlikely villain — if she is one, that is. A strictly Orthodox mother-of-five and grandmother of 24, she is the daughter of Holocaust refugees and is unmissable in her bright, bouffant sheitel.

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Madoff's 'Jewish jail' plea denied by judge

By Jessica Elgot, July 6, 2009

Bernie Madoff, the billion-dollar fraudster who will spend the rest of his life in prison after a 150-year sentence has been refused the chance to serve in a ‘Jewish jail’.

His lawyer has asked the judge to recommend he serve his term in the medium-security Otisville Correctional Institute, which has an unusually high percentage of Jewish inmates, but the request was refused.

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Demjanjuk is 'fit to stand trial'

By Jessica Elgot, July 3, 2009

The suspected war criminal, John Demjanjuk, has been declared fit enough to stand trial in Germany, despite his family's pleas that he is too frail.

Demjanjuk, 89, was deported in May from his home in the US to stand trial in Munich, where he is currently in hospital with gout.

But after a medical check-up, doctors declared him fit to face trial by the German court for his alledged war crimes, even though his family insist he is too ill to cope with the trial.

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Austrian death camp to be ‘filled with trash’

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 2, 2009

Parts of the Gusen 2 Concentration Camp in Austria, almost forgotten for 64 years, are being turned into a residential development, and a former underground slave-labour factory is being filled in, local residents claim.

Tens of thousands of prisoners toiled and died in the vast underground caverns, building jet planes for the Luftwaffe. The site has remained sealed since the camp’s liberation, but redevelopment work recently began.

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New rights body for survivors

By Leon Symons, July 2, 2009

A new body has been set up to oversee the work of the Holocaust Era Assets Conference, which restores Shoah assets to their owners.

The European Shoah Legacy Institute will act as a forum for those representing Holocaust survivors and other victims of the Nazis. It will also be involved in the fight against racism, xenophobia and antisemitism in Europe and worldwide.

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Can Dennis Ross bring Israel and US closer?

By Nathan Guttman, July 2, 2009

Veteran peace negotiator Dennis Ross is back in the US government’s Middle East portfolio in a move many interpret as a shift to the right for the administration.

After serving as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top adviser on Iran, Mr Ross is moving to the National Security Council (NSC), where he will be special adviser to the president on the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Mr Ross is considered to have close ties with Israeli officials. He previously chaired the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute.

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Michael Jackson and the Jews

July 2, 2009

Michael Jackson’s life was full of contradictions, and his relationship to Jews and the Jewish community was no exception.

This was the man who asked to be allowed to visit the Museum of Tolerance and its Holocaust exhibit one week before its Los Angeles opening in February 1993.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the museum, took Jackson on a two-hour tour ending with the vivid exhibit on the Final Solution.

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Jeremiah Duggan parents demand new probe

By James Martin, July 2, 2009

The German government has been asked to open an investigation into the workings of the far-right LaRouche group.

Jeremiah Duggan was found dead on a highway in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 2003, while attending a LaRouche youth event.

The student’s parents have presented the German Embassy in London with a dossier detailing the group’s antisemitic links.

This week, Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies, joined Erica and Hugo Duggan at a meeting at the embassy with Germany’s deputy ambassador, Dr Eckard Lubkemier.

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Spain drops Israeli war crimes probe

By Jessica Elgot, June 30, 2009

The National Court in Spain has dropped a war crimes investigation into an air attack by the Israel Defence Forces on a Hamas target in Gaza in July 2002.

Saleh Shehadeh, a leading militant of Hamas was killed when the Israeli Air Force bombed his Gaza home in an explosion which killed 14 other people, mostly women and children.

Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu argued the bombing was a crime against humanity and the case had caused some diplomatic tension between Spain and Israel.

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Michael Jackson and the Shabbat dinners

By Tom Tugend , June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson’s life was full of contradictions and his relationship to Jews and the Jewish community was no exception.

This was the man who asked to be allowed to visit the Museum of Tolerance and its Holocaust exhibit one week before its Los Angeles opening in February 1993. Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the museum, took Jackson on a two-hour tour ending with the vivid exhibit on the Final Solution.

“When he left, Michael was crying, and he wrote me afterwards that he cried for weeks,” Rabbi Hier recalled.

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