World news

US Jewish charities: prospering despite credit crunch

By Nathan Guttman, November 12, 2009

In Washington, the main Jewish communal body, the Federation, suffered two financial hits in recent years: once through the economic downturn and another through Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. But despite a 15 per cent drop in income, the community hardly felt a decline in services. The organisation cut salaries by 10 per cent and switched to a four-day work week.

“It’s a very challenging time, but we are finding creative ways to cope,” said the Federation’s CEO, Misha Galperin.


Abbas resignation 'could kill peace plan'

By Ben Lynfield, November 12, 2009

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (right) has been deluged with requests from foreign heads of state to reconsider his decision not to seek another term in his office, while his own people seem indifferent.

Mr Abbas said last week that he “does not wish” to run in the January 24 elections, blaming Israel’s expansion of settlements, the US “favouring” the Israeli position and Hamas foiling national reconciliation efforts.

It was not immediately clear if the step was anything more than a ploy to muster American pressure on Israel.


Netanyahu 'agrees to settlement freeze' in tense talks with Obama

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 12, 2009

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to put on a brave face following the demonstrably low-key fashion in which he was received on Monday at the White House. However, Israeli officials have admitted that the nature of the meeting was “a reprimand” to the prime minister and that Mr Netanyahu conceded on a number of issues, including the settlement freeze and the release of Palestinian prisoners.


Hebrew 'Kristallnacht' bible returns to Vienna

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2009

A $30,000 Hebrew bible which was stolen from a library in Vienna during Kristallnacht has been returned to Austria.

It was due to be auctioned by the New York-based Kestenbaum & Company, which is owned by former Londoner Daniel Kestanbaum.

The black, leather-bound bible, which was printed in 1516 in Venice, vanished 71 years ago.
It had been donated to the library of the Jewish community of Vienna in 1908, before being looted by the Nazis on November 9, 1938.


Ahmadinejad: Obama, choose Iran or Israel

By Jessica Elgot, November 11, 2009

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the US must choose between supporting Israel or Iran if any real change of policy is to take place.

Mr Ahmadinejad said it was time for US President Barack Obama to live up to his slogan: “Change”.


Bernie Madoff watches, jewels and furs auctioned

By Jessica Elgot, November 10, 2009

Fraudster Bernie Madoff will have his personal belongings auctioned this weekend, including 16 Rolex watches, a milking stool and five fur jackets.

Madoff is currently serving a 150 year prison sentence for a multi-million dollar fraud where more than 13,000 people lost money through the collapse of his firm Madoff Securities.

The money raised from the auction will go directly to the victims of the Madoff fraud.

It will take place at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on Seventh Avenue in New York on Saturday.


Netanyahu and Obama hold secret talks

By Jessica Elgot, November 10, 2009

Israeli President Binyamin Netanyahu has told US President Barack Obama that he is “extremely serious” about advancing peace talks with the Palestinians and the Arab world.

The two held a private meeting in Washington where they discussed Israeli security and the nuclear threat from Iran.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, National Security Council head Uzi Arad and the Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho were all present at points throughout the meeting.


UN General Assembly adopts Goldstone Report

By Jessica Elgot, November 6, 2009

The United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favour of endorsing the Goldstone Report.

In total, 114 states voted to adopt the report and 18 objected. Britain was one of the 44 states which abstained.

The Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies had previously written to the Foreign Secretary David Miliband, stating that anything less than a “no” vote from Britain would be unacceptable.

Israel and the US voted against the decision, as did Germany, Holland, Canada and Australia. Most of the other EU states, including France, abstained.


LIVE: Watch Judge Goldstone debate his controversial UN report

By Jessica Elgot, November 5, 2009

Former Israeli ambassador to the UN Dore Gold will discuss the UN report into human rights violations during the Gaza war with the man who wrote it, South African judge Richard Goldstone.

Mr Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations and President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, will debate the merits of the reports with Judge Goldstone and then both will take questions from the audience.


Swedish journalist defends organ 'blood libel' in Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

The Swedish journalist who accused the IDF of killing Palestinian youths to harvest their organs claimed this week that he never wrote that the Palestinians were intentionally killed for that purpose.

Daniel Bostrom’s report, published two months ago in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, caused a diplomatic row between Israel and Sweden. His accusations were linked to the arrest of a Jewish man in New York suspected of illegal organ trafficking. The IDF denied all the allegations.