World news

Turkish Jews reach out

By Sasha Brenner, July 9, 2009

The Jewish Turkish community is seeking to reach out to the Muslim population with a series of cultural and educational events.
The aim is to improve understanding of their community, particularly among young people.
“In the eyes of our society, Turkish Jews are the others of the other,” Lina Filiba, Vice President of the Jewish Community of Turkey said.
“We are shouting out that we’re Turks, but people keep seeing us as Israelis.”
The programme will launch this week with a concert featuring traditional Turkish music composed by Jews.


Tired of Al Jazeera? I’m beaming kosher TV across the Middle East

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 9, 2009

Next week, for the first time, a Jewish news channel will begin broadcasting via satellite to the entire Middle East, trying to persuade the Arabs that a Jewish presence in their midst is not such a bad idea after all.

Unlike previous grandiose plans to launch a pro-Israel hasbarah channel to counter the influence of Al Jazeera, this project is much more humble, at least to start with.

Israeli businesswoman Galia Albin has just bought a controlling stake in the small Jewish Life TV (JLTV) channel, which is currently carried on American cable and digital services.


Prince Hassan calls for EU-style MidEast union

By Bernard Josephs, July 9, 2009

An impassioned plea for Middle East nations to form an EU-style organisation to deal with human rights, the environment and the scarcity of water has been made in London by Jordan’s Prince Hassan.

Addressing an audience of diplomats and British supporters of Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam — a village in central Israel where Jews and Arabs live together in equality — the Prince warned that time was running out for the region.

Economic and social cohesion were essential to the security concerns of Israel and the Arab world. “We are mutually dependent,” he said.


Amnesty slams critics of war crimes report

By Marcus Dysch, July 9, 2009

Amnesty International has defended its report of the Gaza conflict in the face of fierce criticism from the IDF and NGO Monitor.
Although the report, Operation Cast Lead: 22 Days of Death and Destruction, says both sides committed war crimes, it focuses overwhelmingly on the actions of the Israeli army.

Amnesty’s Jeremy Croft said the charity “absolutely refuted” NGO Monitor’s attempt to “rubbish” the document, and said that since February, the IDF had refused requests to discuss the findings.


Anger flares at doctors’ meeting

July 9, 2009

Dr Yoram Blachar has criticised the British Medical Association for allowing Israeli doctors to be compared to those of Sri Lanka and Darfur.

Dr Blachar, as president of the World Medical Association, was a guest at the BMA’s conference in Liverpool last week.

He sat in silence as Israel was criticised by two speakers during a debate about the main resolution put to the conference.


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.