World news

Wartime pope’s secret heroism

By Simon Caldwell, February 26, 2009

Documents that show the wartime pope saved tens of thousands of European Jews from the Nazis have been discovered in the Vatican’s

The 300 pages reveal that Pope Pius XII directly ordered convents, monasteries and Catholic churches to hide Jews from the Gestapo.

He also helped Jews to escape to safe countries, requesting the Brazilian government to receive 3,000 “non-Aryans” and persuading the Dominican Republic to grant visas for a further 11,000 people.


Auschwitz plans on display

February 26, 2009

Blueprints for the Auschwitz concentration camp have gone on display in a Berlin exhibition for the first time. The 29 sketches, discovered last year in a Berlin flat and bought by the Bild newspaper, date from 1941-1942 and show plans to extend buildings in the camp.


Canadian boycott motion

February 26, 2009

A major Canadian union has adopted a resolution supporting a university boycott of Israel. The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents some 200,000 people, will decide in May whether to cut ties between universities in Ontario and in Israel.


‘Cleanse shuls’: Hungary

February 26, 2009

Hungarian Jews lodged an official complaint after a far-right politician called on fellow councillors to take up “sickles and hacks” and “cleanse” nearby synagogues. Attila Kiss,who sits on the Rajka city council, is also a member of the banned paramilitary Hungarian guard.


Anger as Schroeder visits Iran

February 26, 2009

German Jewish leaders harshly criticised former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for meeting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran. Mr Schroeder, who works for Russian energy giant Gazprom, called for direct talks between the US and Iran.


Israel says sorry to Turkey

By Sami Kohen, February 26, 2009

Israel has formally apologised to Turkey for sentiments expressed by the Israeli ground forces commander, General Avi Mizrachi, in response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s verbal attack on Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Davos conference.

“Erdogan should look into the mirror,” said General Mizrachi, referring to the Turkish killings of Armenians in 1915 and the more recent suppression of Kurds in eastern Turkey.


US attendance at Durban II still in balance

By Nathan Guttman, February 26, 2009

As the Obama administration attempted to engage with organisers of the UN World Conference against Racism this week, a troubling picture emerged of the resolutions expected to be adopted at the conference.

The April event (dubbed Durban II after the first conference, held in South Africa in 2001) has been high on the agenda of Jewish leaders and Israeli diplomats for more than a year, as they worry it will serve once again as a platform for accusations against Israel of racism.


Tennis world threatens Dubai over Pe’er ban

By Daniella Peled, February 19, 2009

A major row over the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) decision to refuse a visa to Israeli tennis player Shahar Pe’er is escalating ahead of next week’s men’s championships, at which another Israeli is due to play.

International tennis organisations have hinted they may pull out of the $10 million (£7m) Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships if Israeli doubles player Andy Ram is also denied entry.


Ahmadinejad may have a kosher secret up his sleeve

By Simon Rocker, February 19, 2009

He wants Israel to disappear; he has questioned the Holocaust; he believes Zionists pull the financial strings in the world. Many Jews would probably rate him public enemy number one. But could President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be hiding a secret?


France ‘facilitated’ Nazi-era crimes

February 18, 2009

The highest court in France has for the first time recognised the state’s responsibility in the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews during the Nazi era. The Council of State said that the collaborationist Vichy regime had “allowed or facilitated the deportation from France of victims of antisemitism” and called for the “formal admission of the state’s responsibility”.

Around 76,000 French Jews were deported to Nazi camps.