World news

Phil Spector gets 19 years for murder

June 1, 2009

The music producer Phil Spector has been jailed for a minimum of 19 years over the murder of the actress Lana Clarkson.

Spector, 69, was given 15 years to life for second-degree murder and an additional four for personal use of a gun in Los Angeles on Friday.

The actress was found dead from a gunshot wound at Spector's mansion in February 2003. He is reportedly now selling his 30-room mansion in Los Angeles to fund an appeal.


How serious is the terror threat to American Jewry?

By Andrew Silow-Carroll, May 28, 2009

After a sabbatical in Jerusalem in the mid ‘90s, we moved for a time to Riverdale, NY, in large part because it reminded us of… Jerusalem. Set on a hill above the rougher-edged Bronx, leafy Riverdale has low-slung apartment buildings and pricey single-family homes and good parks. Most importantly for us, it also has a burgeoning shomer Shabbat community, centered around two big modern Orthodox synagogues — the buttoned-down Riverdale Jewish Centre and the Hebrew Institute, home base for the political firebrand and Orthodox maverick Rabbi Avi Weiss.


Austrians fear rise in hate crimes

By Toby Axelrod, May 27, 2009

A series of antisemitic incidents in Austria has raised worries among political and Jewish leaders on the eve of European Parliament elections.

An attack by right-wing youths on Holocaust survivors in Ebensee; antisemitic statements by pupils visiting Auschwitz; a columnist blaming Jews for the world financial crisis: all suggest that Austria may be fertile ground for hate and conspiracy theories.


Judge bans photos of Ilan Halimi’s torture

By Natasha Lehrer, May 27, 2009

A French judge has ordered a publisher to stop the sale of all copies of a magazine that featured a photograph of Ilan Halimi, the Jewish man who was kidnapped in 2006 by a gang currently standing trial for his murder.

The photo, which appeared on the front cover of the June edition of Choc (“Shock”), shows Halimi bound and gagged and with a pistol held to his head. It was taken during Halimi’s three-week kidnap ordeal and sent to his family in an attempt to extort a €450,000 ransom.


Charedim battle sex-abuse bill

By Nathan Guttman, May 27, 2009

Attempts to bring justice to victims of sexual abuse are opening old wounds in New York’s strictly Orthodox community and its leadership, which is largely viewed as trying to block these attempts.


Amos Elon, Israel’s critical voice, is silent

By Simon Rocker, May 27, 2009

One of Israel’s most distinguished authors and journalists, Amos Elon, a longstanding critic of the country’s occupation of the West Bank, died in Italy on Monday aged 82.

Vienna-born, Elon moved to Palestine when he was seven, in 1933. He grew up in Tel Aviv and served three years in the Hagana, before going on to begin his life-long love affair with history, reading history and law first at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and then at Cambridge.


‘New antisemitism’ threat warning from Canadian MP

May 27, 2009

A Canadian minister won unexpected plaudits in Israel this week as he denounced a “new antisemitism” as a profound threat to Israel and the West.

Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, took a leading role in February’s London conference on antisemitism.

This week he spent four days in Israel and concluded: “The existential threat faced by Israel on a daily basis is ultimately a threat to the broader Western civilisation.


Toben jailed in landmark Shoah case

By Dan Goldberg, May 27, 2009

A revisionist historian living in Australia has been sentenced to three months in prison for refusing to remove Holocaust denial material and other antisemitic vitriol from his website.

Fredrick Toben, the director of the notorious Adelaide Institute, was sentenced in the Federal Court of South Australia for breaching a 2002 court order to remove offensive material that denied the Holocaust, doubted the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and vilified Jews.


North Korea tests more missiles

May 25, 2009

Two more missiles have been fired by North Korea, a matter of hours after the UN Security Council condemned yesterday’s nuclear test.

The two short-range missiles were fired from an east coast base, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

UN diplomats said they were seeking "tough measures", including further sanctions against the communist state.

Monday's underground nuclear test was accompanied by at least three missile launches Today’s involved one surface-to-air missile and one ground-to-air missile.


Shul ‘terror plot gang’ in court

May 21, 2009

Four suspected terrorists have been arrested by police who claim they caught them planting bombs near two Synagogues in the Bronx area of New York.

State prosecutors say James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, planned to detonate a car filled with plastic explosives outside the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Centre.

In April the group are said to have agreed on the synagogue they intended to attack and conducted surveillance.