World news

German Jewish pundit defends right to call another Jew anti-Semitic

By Toby Axelrod, August 18, 2008

In a scandal unfolding in a Cologne courtroom, a German Jewish journalist is standing up for his right to call another Jew anti-Semitic.

Henryk Broder, acerbic columnist for Der Spiegel magazine and a well-known pro-Israel blogger in Germany, has refused to settle a civil case with Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, daughter of a former leader of Germany's Jewish community, whom he has publicly accused of making anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist statements.


Georgian Jewish quarter comes under siege

By Matt Siegal, August 14, 2008

Wandering in a daze amid the devastated walls of Tskhinvali's ancient Jewish quarter, an elderly man stops to gawp at the foreign journalists in an armoured personnel carrier.

When asked about the city's synagogue, he flashes a broad smile and heads down the central road, over a pile of mangled bricks and fallen steel cables, to the top of a hill.


Bielski’s son attacks Polish massacre ‘lies’

By Dana Gloger, August 14, 2008

The son of a legendary wartime partisan on whom a new Hollywood film is based has spoken out against allegations in the Polish press branding the partisans "murderers and thieves".

Robert Bielski's father Tuvia led 1,230 Jews through the Belarusian forest after escaping Nazi-occupied Poland, and built a secret village there.

Now his story has been made into a film based on Nechama Tec's book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans. Produced by Edward Zwick, it stars James Bond actor Daniel Craig as Bielski as well as Billy Elliot actor Jamie Bell.


Hebron claims attacked UK envoys were on an ‘antisemitic’ mission

By Marcus Dysch, August 14, 2008

A fact-finding visit last week by British diplomats to Hebron, during which their car was attacked by settlers, was "antisemitic", according to a representative of the city's Jewish community.

The settlers blocked the route of the armoured vehicle before kicking and shaking it during the incident in the West Bank last Thursday.

The three middle-ranking diplomats were on a tour organised by human-rights group Breaking the Silence. Their guide, Mikhael Manekin, said the incident had proved "a bit nerve-wracking" for the unnamed officials.


Bahrain appoints first Jewish ambassador

By Leon Symons, August 14, 2008

The historic appointment of his country's first Jewish ambassador appears to have prompted the King of Bahrain to learn more about his Jewish subjects. So last week, he came to London to meet a few of them.

There are officially only 37 Jews in King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa's island kingdom, one of whom, Houda Nonoo, has become the new ambassador to Washington. An even higher number - 45 - of Jewish Bahrainis are ex-pats who live in Britain.


Thousands mourn Palestinian poet

By Ben Lynfield, August 14, 2008

Some ten-thousand Palestinians accorded an emotional farewell on Wednesday to Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, known as "the poet of the resistance" for his defiant verses against Israeli occupation.

His coffin, draped in a Palestinian flag, was driven from Palestinian presidential headquarters to a hilltop grave next to the Ramallah Cultural Palace, now renamed the Mahmoud Darwish cultural palace.


Adelaide Shoah-denier faces jail

By Dan Goldberg, August 14, 2008

A revisionist historian living in Adelaide may be jailed for allegedly defying a Federal Court order to remove all Holocaust-denial material from his website.

Fredrick Toben, of the notorious Adelaide Institute, is waiting for the verdict of a contempt-of-court hearing brought by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry. He pleaded not guilty last week to 28 charges alleging he breached a 2002 Federal Court order to remove all Shoah denial from his website.


Germany in row over Iran deal

By Toby Axelrod, August 14, 2008

Pressure is mounting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to tighten economic sanctions on Iran after news broke of a major gas deal between a German firm and the Islamic Republic.


Hate attack in Vilnius

August 14, 2008

Lithuanian Jews have urged the country's leaders to take action after vandals daubed the Vilnius community centre with hate graffiti.

The centre's managing director, Simonas Gurevicius, warned that the authorities had not responded strongly enough to previous incidents. "Also, the lack of ethnic and religious understanding taught in the school system provides fertile ground for intolerance," he added.


Congressman defeats race slurs in US primary

By Nathan Guttman, August 14, 2008

A Jewish member of congress from Tennessee has emerged victorious from a fierce primary battle in which racial and religious accusations were thrown at him by his opponent.

Steve Cohen, a freshman Democratic member of congress from Tennessee's 9th district, won in a 60 per cent margin over his rival in the state's primary elections and is expected to keep his seat in the November elections.