World news

Germany's Russian revolution

By Toby Axelrod, November 5, 2009

In Germany this autumn, there has been a tremendous build-up to Monday’s 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. A generation has passed since the sound of chisels rang out across that divide, when colourfully dressed youths clambered onto the concrete barrier and set about removing it.

In one generation, the entire landscape of Jewish life in Germany has changed. After the wall collapsed, and then the Soviet Union, thousands of Jews poured into Germany, welcomed by the government and by Jewish institutions. The Jewish community here today is overwhelmingly Russian.

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Interview: Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich

By Martin Bright, November 5, 2009

The rabbi at the centre of the row over the Conservative Party’s alliance with the controversial Polish MEP Michal Kaminski has issued a fierce condemnation of the MEP’s refusal to support an official apology for Polish involvement in the notorious wartime Jedwabne massacre of Jews.

However, Michael Schudrich, chief rabbi of Poland, confirmed that Mr Kaminski had been a staunch supporter of Israel in recent years and had spoken out against antisemitism in the Polish parliament.

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Fears escalate over weapons flow from Iran

By Anshel Pfeffer, November 5, 2009

A missile trial by Hamas last week and a successful seizure of a ship laden with rockets bound for Hizbollah on Wednesday show that the illegal shipments of arms from Iran to terror groups are continuing at full throttle.

On Tuesday, commander of the IDF Intelligence Branch, Major General Amos Yadlin, told a session of the Knesset Foreign and Defence Affairs Committee that Hamas had staged a trial firing of a missile capable of hitting targets 60km away. This would put Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport within Hamas’s range.

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US ambassador shuns UN debate on Goldstone

By Jessica Elgot, November 5, 2009

The US ambassador to the UN has shunned the debate over the Goldstone Report at the meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Ambassador Susan Rice did not attend any discussion of the report, and her deputy Alejandro Wolff listened only to the speeches from Swedish ambassador, Anders Lidén, who was representing the European Union, and that of the Israeli ambassador Gabriela Shalev.

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UN General Assembly begins debate on Goldstone Report

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009

The United Nations General Assembly has begun debating the Goldstone Report in New York.

Arab delegates presented a resolution calling on UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to act on Goldstone’s recommendations, which included referring Israel and Hamas to the International Court of Justice in the Hague if no action had been taken within six months.

More than 40 people are due to speak during the debate, which is expected to run until Thursday.

The UN General Assembly is likely to defer judgement on the report to the UN Security Council

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House of Representatives condemn Goldstone

By Jessica Elgot, November 4, 2009

The US House of Representatives has condemned the UN Goldstone Report by an overwhelming majority, calling the report “one-sided and distorted”.

The representatives voted 344 to 36 to endorse a symbolic resolution to condemn the report which was highly critical of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive early this year. Twenty-two of the delegates declined to vote.

The report will be discussed at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly today in New York.

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Polish Chief Rabbi: my views on Kaminski

By Jessica Elgot, October 30, 2009

The Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, has reiterated that he does not believe controversial Polish MEP Michal Kaminski is antisemitic — but admitted he does have concerns over the politician’s past.

Mr Kaminski has been at the centre of the row over the Conservatives' new rightwing allies in the European parliament. He is the leader of the European parties' bloc.

He has been accused of antisemitism by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who used Rabbi Schudrich’s comments to the New Statesman as a basis for his attack.

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Two men shot at LA synagogue

By Jessica Elgot, October 30, 2009

Two men have been shot and wounded outside a Los Angeles synagogue in what police described as a hate crime.

Maor Ben-Nissan, 38, and Allen Lasry, 53, were shot in the car park of the Adat Yeshurun Valley Synagogue in North Hollywood, an Orthodox Sephardi synagogue to which they both belonged.

The men had arrived for the morning service at 6.30am when a gunman approached them and shot each of them in the legs, without speaking or taking anything from them.

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Can Beirut's last synagogue still be saved?

By Josie Ensor, October 29, 2009

A scheme to renovate Beirut’s last standing shul is running out of money.

Maghen Abraham Synagogue, located in the former Jewish quarter of the Lebanese capital, was destroyed by Israeli shelling in 1982. It has been abandoned ever since, leaving Lebanese Jews without a synagogue building.

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Australia textbook ‘offensive’

By Dan Goldberg, October 29, 2009

The Asia-Pacific arm of a major UK publisher has withdrawn a secondary school textbook from Australian shelves, after it was accused of containing offensive claims about Jews.

Cambridge University Press (Australia & New Zealand) said on Tuesday that it “recognised the concerns that have been expressed” about the chapter on Judaism in the Cambridge Studies of Religion, and would “seek the advice of an independent expert in Judaism”.

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