Four London synagogues vandalized
LONDON — Four synagogues were vandalized in two London neighbourhoods last week.
Dozens of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slogans were spray-painted last Wednesday night on shops, pavements and walls outside the synagogues.
Residents of the Stamford Hill and Clapton Common neighbourhoods were “shocked” Thursday to see some 40 slogans such as “Jihad to Israel” and “Jihad to Tel Aviv,” according to media reports.
A spokesperson for the Community Security Trust, which provides for the safety of British Jewry, said the community already was on high alert after receiving threats from supporters of the Al Qaeda terrorist group.
Police said investigators were looking into footage from surveillance cameras and that forensic teams had recovered a canister of spray paint.
Australia to take Ahmadinejad to court
CANBERRA — Australia is preparing to take Iran’s president to the International Court of Justice for “incitement to genocide” and Holocaust denial.
Kevin Rudd made a pre-election pledge in October that a Labor government would use the 1948 genocide convention to take legal action against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for threatening to “wipe Israel off the map.”
“The Iranian president’s repeated extraordinary statements, which are anti-Semitic and expressing a determination to eliminate the modern state of Israel from the map, are appalling by any standards of current international relations,” Rudd told Sky TV last week. “They are an incitement of international violence.”
Also last week, The Australian newspaper quoted Attorney General Robert McClelland as saying: “The government considers the comments made by Iranian President Ahmadinejad, calling for the destruction of Israel and questioning the existence of the Holocaust, to be repugnant and offensive. The government is currently taking advice on this matter.
“The alternative to not using these international legal mechanisms is considering wholesale invasion of countries, which itself involves, obviously, expense but more relevantly, of course, the potential for significant loss of life,” McClelland said.
Australia is the only country that appears to wish to pursue Ahmadinejad through the international court. According to legal experts, a successful conviction would be difficult to obtain.
Still More Threats
TEHRAN — Arabs and Iranians would destroy Israel if they got the chance, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. “The criminals imagine that by holding celebrations they can save the Zionist regime from death,” the Iranian president said May 14 as U.S. President George W. Bush arrived in Israel for its 60th birthday. “They should know that regional nations hate this fake and criminal regime, and if the smallest and briefest chance is given to regional nations, they will destroy it.”
Shooter Called Insane
SEATTLE — Naveed Haq was insane when he opened fire in the Seattle Jewish Federation in 2006, a witness said. Dr. James Missett, an addiction and forensic psychiatrist, testified last week that Haq was and is severely mentally ill, and was legally insane at the time of the shooting. Haq, 32, killed one woman and injured five people, then told police he wanted to make a political point about Jewish power. Haq’s lawyers will continue to question medical experts about his diagnosed bipolar disorder and chronic psychosis this week. The Muslim-American was taking six drugs for his mental illness at the time, including one not approved for bipolar disorder that has homicidal side effects in some patients, an expert said. He also suffered from schizoaffective disorder, which includes hallucinations and delusions.
Meat Plant Raided
DES MOINES — U.S. authorities say a methamphetamine laboratory was operating at the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, that employees carried weapons to work, and that some 80 per cent of its workers were illegal immigrants, including rabbis who had entered the country from Canada without proper documents. The charges were among the most explosive to emerge following the massive May 12 raid at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa. In a 60-page search warrant application, U.S. federal agents revealed details of their six-month probe of the factory that involved 12 federal agencies. Some 390 workers were arrested on immigration violations. The plant’s rabbinic supervisor, Moses Weissmandel, denied the drug charges.
Rescuer of Warsaw Ghetto Children Dies
WARSAW — Irena Sendler, who smuggled thousands of Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto to safety, died May 11 in Warsaw. She was 98.
Between October 1940 and April 1943, Sendler and a team of about 20 volunteers smuggled out about 2,500 children in boxes or suitcases. She then placed them with Polish families. As a social worker, Sendler, who was Catholic, visited the ghetto regularly.
She was later arrested and tortured by the Gestapo.
In 1965, she was among the first people named by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations. She also was made an honorary Israeli citizen. Sendler was nominated last year for a Nobel Peace Prize.
She lived in relative obscurity until about eight years ago, when a group of students from Kansas learned about her wartime heroism and wrote a play about it. The play has been performed in North America and Poland.
Hundreds of people attended her May 15 funeral, including Poland’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, who said a prayer, and Israel’s ambassador to Poland, David Peleg.