WJC Praises Ottawa
JERUSALEM — The World Jewish Congress passed a resolution praising Canada for its “bold” stance on the Durban conference. Canada said last month it won’t attend the second UN anti-racism conference in South Africa next year out of concern it will stir up anti-Semitism. The WJC, whose board met Jan. 29 in Israel, commended Ottawa for “its bold action in calling the world’s attention to the corrupted Durban Review Conference process.” The 2001 conference featured a resolution equating Zionism with racism and a series of protests against Israel. Members of Jewish groups who attended an accompanying conference for non-governmental groups said they were heckled.
NEW YORK — Liberal MP and former justice minister Irwin Cotler received the prestigious Pursuit of Justice Award from the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists on Jan. 27 at Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Cotler is the first Canadian to receive the award. Previous winners include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Israeli Supreme Court justice Aharon Barak. In presenting the prize, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz revealed that he has nominated Cotler for the Nobel Peace Prize.
More Iranian Threats
TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the imminent collapse of Israel. In a televised speech Jan. 30 in the port city of Bushehr, where Russia delivered the last of the uranium needed to start up Iran’s first nuclear power plant, Ahmadinejad told Israel’s friends to “stop supporting the Zionists, as [their] regime reached its final stage… Accept that the life of Zionists will sooner or later come to an end.” London’s Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying, “The ones who still support the criminal Zionists should know that the occupiers’ days are numbered." Ahmadinejad has publicly threatened the destruction of Israel many times since becoming Iran’s president in 2005. He has also referred to the Holocaust as a “myth.”
CLEVELAND — A U.S. federal appeals court rejected accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk’s challenge of a final deportation order by a former chief U.S. immigration judge. The court said Jan. 30 that the 2005 order to deport him to Ukraine, his birthplace, is still valid. His lawyers say he may face prosecution or torture if deported. Demjanjuk was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 1981 and extradited to Israel, where he was acquitted in 1993 of being the Treblinka guard “Ivan the Terrible” by its Supreme Court. He was stripped of his citizenship again in 2002 based on new evidence he was a guard at another camp. In December 2006, his appeal to have a deportation order overturned was dismissed. His lawyer said the next step is an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
NOUAKCHOTT — Gunmen opened fire outside Israel’s embassy in Mauritania early last Friday in Nouakchott, the Arab nation’s capital. No one was killed, but one to three people were wounded, apparently revellers at a nightclub next door. None were Israeli. The attackers shouted “God is Great” before opening fire. Mauritania is one of only three Arab nations with full diplomatic ties with Israel. Western intelligence agencies recently have identified an Al Qaeda cell in the country.
Shabbat For Israel
NEW YORK — The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructonist leaders have declared a Sabbath for Israel to mark the state’s 60th birthday. Shuls will celebrate Shabbat Israel May 9 to 11.
Holocaust Attorney Seeks Interest Payment
NEW YORK— A lawyer who sparked outrage over his multimillion-dollar fees for a Holocaust reparations case has demanded interest.
In papers filed last week, Burt Neuborne, a New York University law professor, said he is due an extra $300,000 (US) because two years have elapsed since he originally filed for his fee. Last month, a U.S. federal judge ordered that he be paid $3.1 million for his work. The additional request is based on an interest calculation of 4.72 per cent.
Neuborne’s original fee request of $4.76 million provoked outrage among Holocaust survivors.Critics said Neuborne is not only being greedy but had led survivors to believe he was working pro-bono on the case. He countered that he did indeed work for free to win the original settlement, $1.25 billion from Swiss banks accused of profiting from the deposits of the Nazis’ victims, but not for his later years of work administering the settlement.
Sam Dubbin, a Miami lawyer representing several survivors who objected to the original fee request, has written to the court opposing the interest payment.