World news

Israeli ambassador snubs dovish lobby

By Nathan Guttman, October 22, 2009

The closer the dovish Israel lobby J Street gets to its first national conference, the louder the controversy surrounding its activity grows.

J Street, committed to being “pro-Israel and pro-peace”, has been under fire since it took its first steps 18 months ago. But as it reaches a major milestone — a grand conference scheduled for next week and fashioned after the similar annual event held by the more established, mainstream Israel lobby, Aipac — criticism is mounting from all fronts: the Israeli government, hawkish Jewish activists, and members of Congress.


Turkey-Israel ties take another hit

By Sami Kohen and Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

Tension between Israel and Turkey has risen further after a state-owned Turkish television channel broadcast a drama depicting Israeli soldiers as murderers and Israeli tourists vowed to boycott the country.

Last week, Israel reacted furiously after Turkey excluded Israel from a joint air force drill with the US and Nato.

Now, a new series broadcast on the TRT channel, Separation, included scenes of Israeli soldiers gunning down Palestinian civilians, including children, during Operation Cast Lead.


Top scientist 'is Israel spy'

By Paul Berger, October 22, 2009

An apparently Jewish scientist was charged this week with attempting to sell classified secrets to Israel.

Stewart Nozette, 52, of Maryland, was caught in a sting operation by an FBI agent posing as an Israeli spy. He twice passed classified information to the agent over several weeks.

Mr Nozette appeared in court on Tuesday, accused of two counts of attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information. If convicted he faces life in jail.


Goldstone: I believed it would be good for Israel

By Simon Rocker, October 22, 2009

Q: Did you anticipate the strength of reaction to the report from Israel and the Jewish world?

A: I obviously expected criticism from all sides in consequence of the Report. I did not anticipate the depth of venom and ad hominem attacks and especially not from Israeli leaders, from whom I expected better. I expected that the substance of the allegations in the report would be the subject of their concern rather than [an attempt] to deflect attention from them by making unwarranted personal attacks on me.


Goldstone: I was not a traitor to Israel

By Simon Rocker and Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

Judge Richard Goldstone, author of a controversial United Nations report highly critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza, has defended his role in an interview with the JC.

The South African jurist said he was “a traditional Zionist” who found it hard to understand the suggestion that he had betrayed Israel by agreeing to lead the inquiry. “On the contrary, I believed that what I agreed to do would be in the interests of Israel and the region,” he said.


China will oppose Goldstone Report at UN

By Jessica Elgot, October 22, 2009

China has confirmed it will oppose any discussion of the Goldstone Report at the meeting of the UN Security Council and attempt to block the report being used for war crimes trials.

The Chinese statement came during a visit of members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee to Beijing.

Committee chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi had previously criticised the Chinese government for voting in favour of the report at the UN Human Rights Council meeting.

The report passed with 25 votes in favour and six opposed. Britain failed to vote.


Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi death rumoured

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2009

The lawyer for Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi has denied reports he has died in Libya.

The Libyan had been serving life in a Scottish for murdering 270 people aboard Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

His Scottish lawyer Tony Kelly told Reuters that it was not true Al-Megrahi is dead.

He said: "It's absolutely untrue. He's definitely not dead. I'm not saying anything about his health condition other than the fact he is alive and breathing."

Al-Megrahi was released in August on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal cancer.


Iran nuclear plan tentatively agreed

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2009

Iran has agreed a draft proposal from US, Russian and French negotiators in Vienna to export three-quarters of the country’s enriched uranium.

Under the new deal, 75 per cent of Iran’s low enriched urainium will be shipped out of the country and enriched elsewhere. The uranium would be treated enough to be used by Iran for medical research but not enough to make weapons.

The talks in Vienna, which were meant to conclude on Monday have dragged out for almost three days. Now the representatives in Vienna have until Friday to get the deal approved by their respective governments.


Clinton and Kaminski: What the papers say

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2009

The Jewish Chronicle revealed last week that concerns were expressed during the London visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Conservative links to far-right European groups and Polish MEP Michal Kaminski.


New Jersey fraud witness in court

By Jessica Elgot, October 20, 2009

One of the key figures in a major New Jersey corruption case, involving members of the Syrian Jewish community, has appeared in court.

Solomon Dwek, 36, is expected to plead guilty to a total $50 million fraud.

The son of a Monmouth County rabbi, Mr Dwek, who was arrested in 2006, agreed to act as a co-operating witness to trap crooked politicians engaged in fraud, bribery and money laundering.

Forty-five people were arrested during the swoop in New Jersey in the summer of 2009, including several rabbis. Six people have pleaded guilty.