World news

Hate wave feared in recession-hit Ukraine

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

A major wave of antisemitism is feared in Russia and Ukraine in 2009 as their economies begin to bear the full brunt of the global financial crisis.

The warning comes from senior officials in local Jewish organisations and from the Israeli government.

One veteran emissary from a major Jewish body was especially worried.


No time limit for art claims

By Leon Symons, December 18, 2008

Germany has pledged there will be no time limit for descendants of Nazi victims to reclaim looted art.

Federal Commissioner for Culture, Bernd Neumann, told a two-day conference in Berlin that the government had rejected calls from some museums to impose deadlines.

The conference, Taking Responsibility, was held to mark the 10th anniversary of the Washington Declaration, in which 44 countries agreed to identify and return Nazi-looted art.

Assessing how much progress had been made, Mr Neumann admitted that German museums and collections had been dragging their heels.


Netherlands vows to boycott Durban II

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

The Netherlands is the latest country threatening to boycott the United Nations ‘Durban II’ conference against racism.

Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said the conference was “a propaganda circus by countries attempting to carry out antisemitic agitation against Israel”.

He warned that his government would not participate if the resolution of the preparatory committee was not changed.

Netherlands is one of several EU members to voice concerns over the conference, due to take place in Geneva in April.


British National Party leader's tour of Australia has been postponed

By Dan Goldberg, December 15, 2008

A planned speaking tour of Australia by British National Party leader Nick Griffin has been postponed.

Griffin had been invited by the Australian Protectionist Party, a fringe far-right political group formed last year, to speak about the “demographic genocide” caused by immigration from the Third World.

Griffin, who was refused a visa to visit Australia in 1998, had lodged an electronic visa application, but was asked by the Immigration Department to submit a full written application because he appears on the federal government’s Movement Alert List, according to ABC News.


Israel denies policy change over Gaza boats

By Yaakov Katz, December 11, 2008

Israel has denied that its decision to allow a fourth boat carrying international activists to sail into the Gaza Strip this week constitutes a change in policy with regard to the IDF blockade on the Palestinian territory.

On Tuesday, a boat called Dignity, operated by the Free Gaza Movement, was allowed by the Israeli Navy to sail into the Gaza port with 11 activists on board — including two Jewish professors from the London School of Economics — as well as one ton of medical supplies and baby formula.


The right triumphs in Likud polls

By Yaakov Katz, December 11, 2008

Hawkish right-wingers made a strong showing in the Likud primaries this week as the party chose the candidates that will run for the Knesset in next February’s general elections.

Moshe Feiglin, head of a right-wing faction of the Likud, landed 20th spot on the Likud’s list, despite efforts by the party’s chairman, former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to keep him off the list.

According to the latest polls, Likud is expected to win 34 seats, out of which nine would be filled by candidates affiliated with Mr Feiglin.


Israel turns to cluster bombs which self-defuse

By Yaakov Katz, December 11, 2008

Following huge criticism of IDF conduct during the 2006 Lebanon War, the Defence Ministry has decided to stop buying American-made cluster bombs and to begin equipping artillery forces with a local product that has an internal self-destruct mechanism.

Israel’s use of cluster bombs against Hizbollah has become the focus of a campaign to ban the use of the weapon in future conflicts. Last week in Oslo, 93 countries — including Great Britain — signed a treaty banning cluster bombs. Israel and the United States did not attend.


New envoy at Chabad Mumbai

By Yaakov Katz, December 11, 2008

Two weeks after the Mumbai terror attacks, a new envoy has arrived to run the city’s Chabad House.

Six people were killed in the siege at the Chabad centre, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka. Their two-year-old son, Moishy, was saved by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, and is being cared for by family in Israel.

The new Chabad envoy, Rabbi Dov Goldberg, vowed he would continue the Holtzbergs’ work. “We are staying at the same centre and will rebuild it even nicer than it was,” he said.


Settler chiefs plan ‘code’ to stop violence

By Yaakov Katz, December 11, 2008

Settler leaders are writing a code of conduct to be used in future struggles against home evacuations in the West Bank in response to the violent rampage by Jewish extremists in Hebron last weekend.

The violence, which Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described as a “pogrom”, came after the Israeli forces evacuated a building at the centre of an ownership dispute between settlers and the Palestinian owner.


US lift death an ‘accident’

December 11, 2008

San Francisco police said that the death of a pro-Israel activist two weeks ago appeared to be accidental. The body of Dr Daniel Kliman, 38, was found on 1st December at the bottom of a lift shaft and had been there for six days. Police said they believed he had tried to climb out of the lift after it became stuck between floors.