World news

Israeli medical chief returns fire on ‘torture’

By Leon Symons, July 9, 2009

The Israeli president of the World Medical Association has challenged his main critics to put up or shut up.

He says that if they have a case against Israeli doctors whom they believe to have been complicit in the torture of Palestinians, they should lodge complaints with the police and the state’s Attorney General.


Professor: diaspora in danger

By James Martin, July 9, 2009

Diaspora Jews are under increasing threat from assimilation due to a lack of “mission causes”, according to an international expert on Jewish history.

Brandeis University’s Professor Jonathan Sarna made the statement while delivering the first William Frankel memorial lecture last week, in memory of the former JC editor and chairman, who died last April.

Professor Sarna told the 100-strong Institute for Jewish Policy Research audience that the recession would reduce communal expenditure, “which would weaken links to Jewish identity for a generation of youngsters”.


Sonja Kohn — her bank statement

July 9, 2009

Sonja Kohn has repeatedly denied receiving payments from Bernie Madoff and denied knowing that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, telling journalists, “I am his biggest victim”.

A representative of Bank Medici told the JC, “Bank Medici and the Kohn family are victims of Mr Madoff. Both Bank Medici and the Kohn family had substantial investment in the Herald Funds. Bank Medici was active in institutional business and only eight customers of Bank Medici AG were invested in Madoff funds. Their combined total investment is a one digit million Euro sum.


Could this frum lady be Madoff’s $40m agent?

By Miriam Shaviv, July 9, 2009

Sonja Kohn looks an unlikely villain — if she is one, that is. A strictly Orthodox mother-of-five and grandmother of 24, she is the daughter of Holocaust refugees and is unmissable in her bright, bouffant sheitel.


Madoff's 'Jewish jail' plea denied by judge

By Jessica Elgot, July 6, 2009

Bernie Madoff, the billion-dollar fraudster who will spend the rest of his life in prison after a 150-year sentence has been refused the chance to serve in a ‘Jewish jail’.

His lawyer has asked the judge to recommend he serve his term in the medium-security Otisville Correctional Institute, which has an unusually high percentage of Jewish inmates, but the request was refused.


Demjanjuk is 'fit to stand trial'

By Jessica Elgot, July 3, 2009

The suspected war criminal, John Demjanjuk, has been declared fit enough to stand trial in Germany, despite his family's pleas that he is too frail.

Demjanjuk, 89, was deported in May from his home in the US to stand trial in Munich, where he is currently in hospital with gout.

But after a medical check-up, doctors declared him fit to face trial by the German court for his alledged war crimes, even though his family insist he is too ill to cope with the trial.


Austrian death camp to be ‘filled with trash’

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 2, 2009

Parts of the Gusen 2 Concentration Camp in Austria, almost forgotten for 64 years, are being turned into a residential development, and a former underground slave-labour factory is being filled in, local residents claim.

Tens of thousands of prisoners toiled and died in the vast underground caverns, building jet planes for the Luftwaffe. The site has remained sealed since the camp’s liberation, but redevelopment work recently began.


New rights body for survivors

By Leon Symons, July 2, 2009

A new body has been set up to oversee the work of the Holocaust Era Assets Conference, which restores Shoah assets to their owners.

The European Shoah Legacy Institute will act as a forum for those representing Holocaust survivors and other victims of the Nazis. It will also be involved in the fight against racism, xenophobia and antisemitism in Europe and worldwide.


Can Dennis Ross bring Israel and US closer?

By Nathan Guttman, July 2, 2009

Veteran peace negotiator Dennis Ross is back in the US government’s Middle East portfolio in a move many interpret as a shift to the right for the administration.

After serving as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top adviser on Iran, Mr Ross is moving to the National Security Council (NSC), where he will be special adviser to the president on the Middle East, including Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Mr Ross is considered to have close ties with Israeli officials. He previously chaired the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute.


Michael Jackson and the Jews

July 2, 2009

Michael Jackson’s life was full of contradictions, and his relationship to Jews and the Jewish community was no exception.

This was the man who asked to be allowed to visit the Museum of Tolerance and its Holocaust exhibit one week before its Los Angeles opening in February 1993.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the museum, took Jackson on a two-hour tour ending with the vivid exhibit on the Final Solution.