World news

Obama woos Israel lobby

By Nathan Guttman, June 6, 2008

The largest-ever conference of pro-Israel activists convened in Washington DC this week. It took a political flavour as presidential candidates used the event to tout their pro-Israel credentials and tried to court the Jewish community for support in the coming November elections.

The main message sent out by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) focused on the need to take tough measures against Iran. Presidential hopefuls followed suit, promising to increase pressure on Tehran, if and when elected to the White House.

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Olmert in his Aipac swansong

By Nathan Guttman, June 6, 2008

In what may be his last trip as prime minister to Washington, embattled Israeli leader Ehud Olmert met President George Bush and congressional leaders.

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The Arab envoy... who’s Jewish

By Candice Krieger, June 6, 2008

A woman believed to be the Arab world’s first Jewish ambassador, Houda Nonoo, was named this week as Bahrain’s ambassador to Washington. And according to her former headmaster, the British-educated envoy was the perfect student.



Houda Nonoo, educated in Britain

Ms Nonoo, 43, came to london aged 13 to better her education. she boarded at Carmel College, oxfordshire, together with her younger brother, Abraham.

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UK students stuck in Gaza

By Ben Lynfield, June 6, 2008

Two Palestinian students accepted for study at UK universities but trapped in the Gaza Strip by Israeli travel strictures have issued pleas for Britain to intervene on their behalf.

Abir Abu Warda, accepted for a master’s in urban design at London Metropolitan University, and Wisam Abuajwa, accepted for a master’s degree in environmental studies at Nottingham University, told the JC that only the intervention of the Foreign Office could save their study plans in the face of a blanket Israeli ban on Gazans travelling abroad for higher education.

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Facebook begets Faithbook

By Dana Gloger, June 6, 2008

Faithbook, a new social-networking facility promoting interfaith dialogue, went live on the Facebook website this week.

The resource which combines images, videos and content from various faiths’ texts, was the initiative of the Reform Movement and marks the launch of its new gender-neutral
siddur.

Leaders from the nine major faiths involved have launched the site with discussions on religion in modern society, countering extremism through new media and other topics.

Facebook is the sixth most-trafficked website in the world and the second most-trafficked social-media site.

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School recognises my plight — after 70 years

By Simon Rocker, June 6, 2008

Seventy years after being forced to sit at the back of her Austrian classroom, an 87-year-old woman has finally received an acknowledgement of her suffering from the school.

Katerina Fuchs of Hendon, North-West London, was 17 when the Germans marched into Austria in 1938, in what was known as the Anschluss, or annexation.

She and other Jewish pupils at the Radetskyschule in Vienna were separated from other students when the Nazis took over.

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London and New York: a tale of two marches

By Simon Rocker, June 6, 2008

As organisers of a pro-Israel street rally finalised plans for their event later this month, a similar march in New York last weekend set them an impressive target to beat — with a claimed 100,000 participants.

Even allowing for the difference in Jewish populations (London: estimated 250,000; New York: just under one million), New York City’s Salute to Israel Parade last Sunday dwarfs London’s ambitions.

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Protests greet Iranian leader

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, June 6, 2008

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prompted street protests and diplomatic snubs during a one-day visit this week to Rome, where he also reiterated attacks on Israel.

The controversial Iranian leader, making his first trip to the West as Iranian president, was in Rome on Tuesday for the World Food Summit of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

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Portman visits Rwanda to open youth village

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 6, 2008

Hollywood star Natalie Portman visited Rwanda this week to highlight the opening of a youth village for orphans of the genocide, sponsored by Jewish donors and staffed by Israelis.

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Peace talks no comfort for jaded Golan Druze

By Paula Slier, May 30, 2008

As Israel and Syria start talks, a community mulls its divided loyalties

In the central square of Majdal Shams, the largest of the four Druze villages in the Golan Heights, towers a large statue of Sultan Basha El-Atrash.

Engraved below the Syrian resistance hero who fought French colonialism are two lines in Arabic by the Tunisian poet Abu El-Qassem El-Shabi: “If one day the people desire freedom and life, then inevitably destiny will comply — and inevitably darkness will melt away, and inevitably the chains will be broken.”

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