World news

Swiss let Roman Polanski go free

By Lucy Morris, July 12, 2010

The Swiss Justice Ministry has rejected an extradition request from the United States for Roman Polanski.

The Polish-born Holocaust survivor fled America in 1978 after being charged with the drugging and rape of a 13-year old model.

Mr Polanski, 76, who is an Oscar-winning director, famed for "Rosemary’s Baby", "Chinatown", and "The Pianist", was arrested on the way to collecting a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival in 2009.


Foreign Office removes envoy's Hizbollah blog

By Jennifer Lipman, July 12, 2010

The Foreign Office has removed a blogpost by the British ambassador to Lebanon after she wrote of her admiration for a Hizbollah leader who praised suicide bombers and was labelled a terrorist by the United States.

But despite international outcry about the post, in which Ambassador Frances Guy described Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah as her “favourite politician”, she has not been recalled as ambassador.

Ms Guy made the comments in an obituary for the Shia cleric, believed to be Hizbollah’s spiritual leader, who died earlier in July.


Anne Frank: the comic book

By Jessica Elgot, July 9, 2010

A new graphic novel depicting a cartoon biography of Anne Frank is being released by the Anne Frank House Museum.

It will be a comic-book version of the diary written by 15-year-old Anne, who died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp after she and her family were discovered hiding in their secret Amsterdam annex, and aims to appeal to other teenagers.

The work is a collaboration by American author Sid Jacobson and artist Ernest Colon, and translations are planned in German, French and Italian.

It will be released in the UK this autumn.


British ambassador's praise for Hizbollah cleric

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2010

Britain’s ambassador to Lebanon has called Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, believed to be the spiritual leader of Hizbollah, her “favourite politician”.

The Shia cleric, who died on Sunday, was known for praising suicide bombers and calling for war against Israel and the West.


Reform and Conserviative synagogues merge

By Paul Berger, July 8, 2010

Corpus Christi, Texas, is not the first place you would think to look for a Jewish community - and not just because of its name.

"This was once a frontier," said local rabbi Ken Roseman. "There were Indians, there were cowboys, there were bandits, there was adventure."

Yet over the last century and a half, this port city on the Gulf of Mexico, known for its oil and farming industries, sustained a small but vibrant Jewish community.


'Nazi' to stay in Australia

By Jennifer Lipman, July 8, 2010

An Australian court has refused to extradite an alleged Nazi war criminal to his native Hungary.

As an officer in the Nazi-allied Hungarian army during the Second World War, Charles Zentai is accused of beating a 14-year-old Jew to death for not wearing a yellow star. Now 88, he denies the charges, claiming he was not in Budapest at the time. He has been fighting extradition for five years.


German concern at rare anti-Israel vote

By Toby Axelrod, July 8, 2010

Pro-Israel groups in Germany have reacted sharply to a unanimous Bundestag motion criticising Israel's blockade of Gaza.

The resolution suggests a shift in Germany's approach to Israel, critics say.

The unanimous cross-party motion, passed last week, demands that Israel end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, while adding that weapons smuggling into Gaza and rocket attacks against Israel must be stopped as well.


Analysis: Recep Erdogan's strategy may soon backfire

By Meir Javedanfar, July 8, 2010

The results of the recent poll conducted by the Israel Project in the United States must have come as great news to the Turks. According to its findings, only 34 per cent of Americans support the Israeli operation against the flotilla, and this is in a country where public opinion is very sympathetic to Israel.


Israeli coalition hit by secret Turkish meetings

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 8, 2010

A meeting between Israeli and Turkish ministers last week, intended to be secret, seems to have done nothing to improve the countries' rocky relations, instead causing at least two crises within Binyamin Netanyahu's coalition.

Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has close ties with politicians in many Muslim countries and has undertaken delicate diplomatic missions in the past. Following the breakdown of Israel's relationship with the Erdogan administration after the Gaza flotilla incident last month, Mr Ben-Eliezer tried to use back channels to mend fences.


Analysis: Is Barack Obama finally learning to be nice to Israel?

By Jonathan Tobin, July 8, 2010

Both President Barak Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pulled out the stops to show the world that all is well between them this week.

But however much they protested that the US-Israel alliance is as strong as ever, Mr Obama is still convinced that his predecessor's closeness to the Jewish state was a mistake that harmed the prospects for peace.

In response to Washington's cold shoulder, Mr Netanyahu has wisely made concessions, accepting a two-state solution and even a limited settlement freeze.