World news

Calls for ‘Durban III’ rejected after Geneva rows

By Leon Symons, April 30, 2009

The United Nations should set up its own antisemitism unit, according to one of Britain’s leading antisemitism campaigners.

John Mann, chair of the Commons All-Party Committee on Antisemitism, told MPs in a debate in the House on Tuesday that antisemitism was one of the reasons that the UN was created after the Second World War.

The short debate was an assessment of the UN’s racism review conference held in Geneva last week, eight years on from its 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, known as Durban I.


I’m your rabbi (and they won’t get me out of here)

By Keren David, April 30, 2009

On the map it is a pinprick in the Bolivian rainforest, a tiny township where the nearest cash machine is a 20-hour bus ride away.

Many of the 15,000 residents are indigenous people too poor to afford a boat to cross the Beni river. From one tribe, the Tacana, comes the town’s name, Rurrenabaque, meaning lagoon of ducks.

The local airport is often reduced to a mudbath, electricity comes from an unreliable generator and, until recently, the only vehicular access was via the aptly-named Death Road.


Mexico community shuts down

By Isabel Janner, April 30, 2009

In Mexico City, all 12 Jewish day schools are closed and synagogue services have been reduced from large congregational gatherings to smaller minyanim as the 40,000 strong Jewish community follows its government’s advice on preventing the spread of swine flu.

Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations scheduled for Wednesday, hosted by Israel’s ambassador Yosef Levine, were also cancelled.

Many community services have been stopped and the Jewish Sports Centre in Mexico City is closed, along with all kosher restaurants.


Obama and Netanyahu clash over Hamas

By Anshel Pfeffer and Nathan Guttman, April 30, 2009

A row has broken out on the eve of Israeli President Shimon Peres’ visit to Washington next week over a move by President Obama to allow US aid to reach the Palestinian Authority even if it is run by a government which includes members of Hamas.

Sources within the Israeli government have described the clause, in the US administration’s emergency spending request to Congress, as an extremely negative development which will give a lead to other western governments and encourage them to transfer funds to Hamas-controlled agencies.


UK Beth Din may hear Australia case via video

By Dan Goldberg, April 29, 2009

A bitter legal battle between a prominent Sydney rabbi and his Orthodox congregation may be resolved by rabbinical judges in Britain.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick won a last-minute injunction from the NSW Supreme Court on the eve of Passover to prevent members of his cash-strapped shul from voting on a motion to make his position redundant.

Justice Richard White ordered Rabbi Gutnick and the board of the Mizrachi shul in Bondi to resolve their dispute “by a Jewish tribunal in accordance with Jewish law”.


Denier jailed

April 29, 2009

A right-wing author was convicted last week of promoting Nazi ideas and Holocaust denial.

An Austrian court sentenced Gerd Honsik to five years in prison. He had been found guilty of similar charges in 1992 but fled abroad.


‘Shylock’ off statute book

April 29, 2009

The offensive term “shylock”, referring to illegal money-lending, will be dropped from Florida’s statutes.

State governor Charlie Crist signed a bill this week removing the term from some provisions of state law after a campaign.


Top KKK man held in Pnrague

April 29, 2009

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was arrested in Prague and ordered to leave the Czech Republic last week.

The 59-year-old American was arrested under suspicion of denying the Holocaust.


Arab general ‘is Mossad spy’

April 29, 2009

A Lebanese former general has been charged with spying for Israel.

Adeeb Al-Alam, his wife and nephew have been accused of sending classified information to Mossad.

They face the death penalty if found guilty.


Builders find Auschwitz message

April 28, 2009

Builders working near the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp have found a message in a bottle written by prisoners.

The message, dated 9 September 1944, bears names, camp numbers and home towns of seven young inmates from Poland and France, written in pencil. All were aged between 18 and 20.

At least two survived the war, according to the Auschwitz museum.

The bottle was buried in a concrete wall in a school that prisoners had been forced to rebuild.