World news

Goldstone: I was not a traitor to Israel

By Simon Rocker and Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

Judge Richard Goldstone, author of a controversial United Nations report highly critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza, has defended his role in an interview with the JC.

The South African jurist said he was “a traditional Zionist” who found it hard to understand the suggestion that he had betrayed Israel by agreeing to lead the inquiry. “On the contrary, I believed that what I agreed to do would be in the interests of Israel and the region,” he said.


China will oppose Goldstone Report at UN

By Jessica Elgot, October 22, 2009

China has confirmed it will oppose any discussion of the Goldstone Report at the meeting of the UN Security Council and attempt to block the report being used for war crimes trials.

The Chinese statement came during a visit of members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee to Beijing.

Committee chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi had previously criticised the Chinese government for voting in favour of the report at the UN Human Rights Council meeting.

The report passed with 25 votes in favour and six opposed. Britain failed to vote.


Lockerbie bomber Al-Megrahi death rumoured

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2009

The lawyer for Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi has denied reports he has died in Libya.

The Libyan had been serving life in a Scottish for murdering 270 people aboard Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988.

His Scottish lawyer Tony Kelly told Reuters that it was not true Al-Megrahi is dead.

He said: "It's absolutely untrue. He's definitely not dead. I'm not saying anything about his health condition other than the fact he is alive and breathing."

Al-Megrahi was released in August on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from terminal cancer.


Iran nuclear plan tentatively agreed

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2009

Iran has agreed a draft proposal from US, Russian and French negotiators in Vienna to export three-quarters of the country’s enriched uranium.

Under the new deal, 75 per cent of Iran’s low enriched urainium will be shipped out of the country and enriched elsewhere. The uranium would be treated enough to be used by Iran for medical research but not enough to make weapons.

The talks in Vienna, which were meant to conclude on Monday have dragged out for almost three days. Now the representatives in Vienna have until Friday to get the deal approved by their respective governments.


Clinton and Kaminski: What the papers say

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2009

The Jewish Chronicle revealed last week that concerns were expressed during the London visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Conservative links to far-right European groups and Polish MEP Michal Kaminski.


New Jersey fraud witness in court

By Jessica Elgot, October 20, 2009

One of the key figures in a major New Jersey corruption case, involving members of the Syrian Jewish community, has appeared in court.

Solomon Dwek, 36, is expected to plead guilty to a total $50 million fraud.

The son of a Monmouth County rabbi, Mr Dwek, who was arrested in 2006, agreed to act as a co-operating witness to trap crooked politicians engaged in fraud, bribery and money laundering.

Forty-five people were arrested during the swoop in New Jersey in the summer of 2009, including several rabbis. Six people have pleaded guilty.


NASA man accused of spying for Mossad

By Jessica Elgot, October 20, 2009

An American space scientist has been arrested after he attempted to sell US secrets to an undercover FBI agent, posing as a Mossad representative.

Stewart David Nozette, 52, from Chevy Chase, Maryland, who is Jewish, has worked for the Pentagon and for NASA.

During his career, he developed an experiment which led to the discovery of water on the moon, and worked at the White House on the National Space Council.


Iran nuclear talks stall in Vienna

By Jessica Elgot, October 19, 2009

New talks over Iran’s uranium enrichment programme have begun in Vienna, but diplomats are pessimistic about Iran keeping its promise to export 75 per cent of its uranium stock.

Today’s talks among the US, Russia, France and Iran were intended to discuss the technical process of moving the enriched uranium to Russia and France.

But now Iran has reportedly retracted its agreement, and is refusing to allow so much of its uranium stock to be exported to the two countries.


Yankees cancel singer for antisemitic joke

By Jessica Elgot, October 16, 2009

An Irish tenor has been banned from singing ‘God Bless America’ at an important Yankees baseball game after telling an antisemitic joke.

Ronan Tynan, who was born in Kilkenny, made his name singing patriotic songs at American sports events, and sang ‘Ave Maria’ at the funeral of Ronald Reagan.

But Mr Tynan’s career took a nosedive after he made an antisemitic joke to a Jewish doctor.

Mr Tynan bumped into an estate agent showing the doctor around a apartment in his block.


UN backs Goldstone report into Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, October 16, 2009

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted the Goldstone Report, with a huge majority voting in favour of referring the report’s recommendations to the UN Security Council.

Twenty-five members voted in favour, with six voting against the report, including the US. Eleven countries, including Britain and France, declined to vote.

Israel does not have a seat on the Human Rights Council, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak personally telephoned European leaders, including Gordon Brown and David Miliband, urging them to vote against the report.