World news

Survivor's son and Israel fan tipped to be New Zealand PM

By Dan Goldberg, October 24, 2008

The son of an Austrian-Jewish refugee whose mother escaped the Nazis is tipped to become New Zealand's prime minister next month.

The election of John Key - who told the JC of his admiration for Israel - may also end a period of dire diplomatic relations between Wellington and Jerusalem.

Mr Key, 47, has been ahead of Prime Minister Helen Clark in all major polls for the last year, although the gap narrowed last week as the parties officially launched the election campaign.


Norway denies Irving a platform

By Craig Silver, October 24, 2008

A wave of protest has resulted in an invitation to the convicted Holocaust denier David Irving to a literary festival in Norway being withdrawn.

Irving was jailed in Austria and banned from entering several countries because of his claims that the gas chambers in Auschwitz were fake.

Organisers of the Norwegian Festival of Literature withdrew its invitation to Irving to be the inaugural speaker at the event, due to take place in Lillehammer next May. He had been scheduled to speak on the 2009 festival theme: Truth.


BNP seeks to reactivate far-right alliance in European Parliament

By Leon Symons, October 24, 2008

The seeds of a reactivated extreme right-wing alliance in Europe were being sown this week by British National Party leader Nick Griffin, who made visits to Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Mr Griffin was invited to the two East European countries by representatives of extremist parties who had made trips to Britain earlier in the year.


Pius XII row inflames Vatican

By Yaakov Katz, October 24, 2008

A contentious caption on a picture of Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum has led to increased tensions between Israel and the Vatican, possibly scuttling a visit to the Holy Land by the current pontiff.

The Vatican urged Yad Vashem to carry out "a new, objective and in-depth review" of the caption, which says that Pope Pius did not protest the genocide of Jews and maintained a neutral position.


Fears over Israel-hate at UN race conference

By Simon Rocker, October 24, 2008

Jewish representatives remain concerned that a United Nations anti-racism conference next spring may be used to promote an anti-Israel agenda.

A follow-up to the Durban human rights conference of 2001 - where Jewish organisations were shocked at the level of aggressive anti-Zionism - is due to take place in Geneva next April.

But representatives of the Jewish Human Rights Coalition UK, set up to participate in the event, expressed worries after attending a UN pre-conference meeting to discuss the agenda earlier this month.


LA Kabbalah Centre sues former directors

By Tom Tugend, October 17, 2008

The Kabbalah Centre of Los Angeles has launched a lawsuit against two veteran former employees.

In the case, filed in the US District Court, the centre accuses Shaul Youdkevitch and his wife Osnat of stealing its "trade secrets" and members by establishing the spin-off United Kabbalah Communities (UKC).

Lawyers for the centre are seeking $100,000 (£58,000) from the Youdkevitch couple for unfair business practices and trademark infringement, plus any UKC profits.


Man held over ‘sex attack on daughter'

By Leon Symons, October 17, 2008

A member of New York's Orthodox community has been charged with serious sexual offences against his daughter, a girl who spent several years at school in Manchester.

Federal prosecutors have also moved to keep the man in custody until his trial because they feared he would attempt to interfere with witnesses and flee the country.


Seminar explores Saudi plan

By Simon Rocker, October 17, 2008

A three-day seminar at a Quaker retreat centre in Oxford was this week due to explore whether a Saudi-led Arab peace initiative is the best hope for solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

It was sponsored by the Oxford Research Group, an independent think-tank active in conflict resolution.


Jesse Jackson: Obama would end decades of “zionist control”

October 17, 2008

Barack Obama's campaign has played down accusations by civil-rights leader the Rev Jesse Jackson that the Democrat candidate would end decades of "Zionist control" if he became president.

The New York Post quoted Rev Jackson, at the World Policy Forum in Evian, France, as saying an Obama presidency would weaken Zionists, who "have controlled American policy for decades".


Mazeltov — we’ve won a Nobel Prize

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 17, 2008

Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences credited him with "having shown the effects of economies of scale on trade patterns and on the location of economic activity", adding: "His ideas have given rise to an extensive reorientation of the research on these issues."