SAN FRANCISCO — A vote to overturn the veto of an Israel divestment bill at the University of California, Berkeley has attracted high-profile supporters. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and author Naomi Klein have spoken out in favour of the university divestment bill, which was vetoed last month by the president of Berkeley’s student association. A vote to overturn the veto was set for this week. The bill passed 16-4 in the student senate, but some senators were said to be reconsidering their vote. A two-thirds majority is required to overturn the veto.
Church Ruled OK
CHICAGO — A Chicago court ruled that a father can take his Jewish daughter to church. A judge who had previously denied Joseph Reyes permission to take his daughter, 3, to Easter services, said in a divorce ruling April 13 that he could take the girl to church during his visitation times, which include Christmas and Easter. The judge reportedly said her decision was based on “the best interest of the child.” Joseph Reyes made headlines when he took his daughter to church and had her baptized, despite a restraining order filed by his estranged wife that barred him from exposing the girl to faiths other than Judaism.
Demjanjuk calls war crimes trial ‘torture’
MUNICH — John Demjanjuk addressed the court at his German war crimes trial for the first time last week, expressing anger at the proceedings.
In an April 13 statement read by his lawyer in the Munich court, Demjanjuk, 90, called the trial “torture.” He was charged in December 2009 as an accessory to the murder of 29,700 Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Poland in 1943. The trial is expected to conclude this summer.
Demjanjuk said he was “forcibly deported” from the United States last year to face a “false accusation of accomplice to murder” after “30 years of legal persecution in Israel, the United States and Poland.” He blamed Jewish groups, namely the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, for levelling false charges against him.
He said Germany is trying to “turn a prisoner of war into a war criminal.” He says he was a Red Army soldier taken prisoner by the Nazis and blamed Germany “for using violence and threats of execution to force thousands upon thousands to work in perverse mass-extermination camps.” He didn’t say whether he worked in one of these camps, as the prosecution maintains.
An Israeli death sentence against he Ukraine-born Demjanjuk was overturned after the Supreme Court found reasonable doubt he was a guard at Treblinka.