World news

Donors aid Madoff-hit Elie Wiesel

By Tom Tugend, April 2, 2009

After Elie Wiesel lost more than $7 million of his personal fortune in the Bernard Madoff scandal, and his foundation took a $15.2 million hit, the Nobel Prize winner has been flooded by money from sympathetic members of the public.

Following publicity for Wiesel’s losses, donations totalling $400,000 have flowed into his Foundation for Humanity. Some of the money was given directly to Wiesel and his wife Marion, but the couple have turned everything over to the foundation.

Marion Wiesel described it as “an amazing outpouring of generosity”.

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US backlash as Churchill play is staged

By Nathan Guttman, April 2, 2009

The US debut of Seven Jewish Children arrived to mild controversy — and two new plays written in response.

Performed at the Washington DC Jewish Community Centre’s Theatre J, Caryl Churchill’s play was accompanied by two short theatrical responses and an open discussion.

A small group of protestors reminded the audience of the stormy reaction to the play when it was first presented — in the aftermath of the Israeli military assault on Gaza earlier this year.

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‘Antisemitic’ Gaza cartoon sparks fury

By Nathan Guttman, April 2, 2009

A cartoon by one of America’s leading cartoonists has caused uproar among American Jewish groups, which have denounced it as antisemitic.

In his syndicated cartoon, published on March 25 in dozens of newspapers including the New York Times and the Washington Post, Pat Oliphant depicts a baby-carrying woman being pushed off a cliff by a headless, goose-stepping figure holding a Star of David with sharp fangs. The woman and baby are labelled “Gaza”.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called the cartoon “hideously antisemitic”.

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Mother accuses ‘hate cult’ over son’s death

By Toby Axelrod, April 2, 2009

The mother of a British student who died in Wiesbaden, Germany six years ago, is fighting to raise awareness of what she describes as the destructive, antisemitic cult she blames for his death.

Erica Duggan, whose son, Jeremiah, died after attending a meeting of the LaRouche Schiller Institute in Wiesbaden, returned to the scene of his death for a rally and conference focusing on the network of organisations associated with American extremist Lyndon LaRouche and his German wife, Helga Zepp.

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Fatah slam Jenin band’s Shoah gig

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

A Palestinian youth orchestra was ordered to disband after performing for Holocaust survivors and its leader was arrested by the Palestinian security services and banished from the West Bank.

Fatah leaders in the Jenin refugee camp are furious that 13 members of the Strings of Freedom orchestra took part in a “Day of Good Deeds” event in Israel last week. The music group was set up six years ago by veteran educator and violinist Wafa Younis, an Israeli Arab. She lived in the camp but has now been banned.

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Child abuse crackdown

By Keren David, April 2, 2009

The Brooklyn District Attorney is joining with Jewish charities to crack down on child abuse in the ultra-Orthodox community.

DA Charles Hynes has set up Project Kol Tzedek — “Voice of Justice” — to encourage young victims of abuse to come forward.

“Because of the insular nature of Orthodox Jewish communities, many victims are reluctant to report crimes to secular authorities. This programme will go a long way to address those impediments,” said Mr Hynes.

A victims hotline will be set up, manned by social workers.

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Europe hate crime up

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

A dramatic rise in antisemitic incidents in the first three months of this year was reported at a special session of the European Parliament.

The number of incidents so far in 2009 exceeds the total number of such occurrences during 2008, according to the report from the European Jewish Congress.

The report cites reaction to Israel’s operation in Gaza as a key trigger for attacks, adding that the economic crisis is reviving old antisemitic stereotypes. The same upwards trend in antisemitic incidents was evident in Canada.

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Jailed judge asks for a masseuse

By Dan Goldberg, April 2, 2009

Disgraced former judge Marcus Einfeld, who began his three-year jail sentence for perjury last week, started life in prison as he means to go on — by requesting a masseuse and a psychologist.

Marcus Einfeld also asked for his cell door to be left open at night because he would be too hot.

The judge was jailed for at least two years last week for lying under oath to avoid paying a £35 speeding fine in 2006.

The New South Wales Corrective Services are unlikely to agree to Einfeld’s demands, but have allowed him a television in his cell.

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Arms still tunnelled into Gaza

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 2, 2009

Explosives are still being smuggled into Gaza, despite Operation Cast Lead and the international coalition set up to stop the flow of weapons.

Israeli intelligence reports have revealed that, since the end of the operation, 22 tons of explosives, 45 tons of explosive-making materials and hundreds of missiles and mortar bombs have been smuggled into Gaza through the tunnel beneath the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

This has been happening despite the efforts of eight Nato members, including the UK, who have set up a coalition to fight the smuggling.

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Court outlaws animal rights group’s Nazi ad

By Toby Axelrod and Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

Holocaust groups have welcomed a German supreme court ruling against a poster campaign which compared the slaughter of animals to the Shoah.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) “Holocaust on your Plate” adverts constituted an offence against human dignity, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe said last week.

Paul Spiegel, late president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, filed a lawsuit in 2004 after Peta attempted to launch the campaign in Germany.

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