Return Art: Panel
VIENNA — An Austrian government panel urged that the Leopold Museum in Austria return seven paintings looted from Jewish owners by the Nazis. The art commission set up by the Austrian ministry of culture said Nov. 23 that the paintings – five by Egon Schiele and two by Anton Romako – should be restituted to the heirs of their former owners, Karl Maylaender and Maurice Eisler. The decision is non-binding, Bloomberg News reported. The paintings are currently part of the Leopold Museum Private Foundation. The museum paid $19 million earlier this year to settle another restitution case. It’s currently completing research into the origins of its entire collection.
OSLO — Some 100 leading Norwegian figures in arts and culture have signed a petition for a cultural and academic boycott of Israel. The effort is being led by Egil Drillo Olsen, coach of the national soccer team, the Jerusalem Post reported. Olsen wrote in Aftenposten, the country’s second-largest newspaper, that a boycott of Israel would be “in line with what 90 per cent of the world’s population believes. There cannot be many other opinions.”
Jailed For Threats
CHICAGO — A dual Jordanian-U.S. citizen was sentenced Nov. 24 to 25 months in jail for mailing a bomb threat to a Chicago Jewish day school. Mohammad Alkaramla, 26, of Chicago’s North Side, was jailed for mailing a letter to the Ida Crown Jewish Academy that threatened to blow up Jewish educational institutions as well as injure or kill Jewish individuals in the city. The letter, received on Dec. 31, 2008, during Israel’s war in Gaza, was addressed to rabbis and community leaders.
Nazi Dies Before Trial
BERLIN — Samuel Kunz, one of the world’s most wanted Nazis, died in Germany before he could be brought to trial. Kunz, 89, was charged earlier this year with assisting in the murder of 430,000 Jews during the Holocaust at the Belzec death camp. He died Nov. 18, the court in Bonn said Nov. 22. He was third on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most wanted Nazis.
Islamic Textbooks Slur Jews, BBC Reports
LONDON — Textbooks used in a network of Islamic schools in Britain promote antisemitic views, the BBC reported.
The textbook says Jews were cursed by God and “looked like monkeys and pigs,” and it asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews. The curriculum also contains homophobic views and instructs children on where to amputate the hands and feet of persons convicted of theft, in accordance with Islamic law, the report says.
The report was broadcast Nov. 22 on the program Panorama.
The textbooks, which are part of a Saudi Arabian government curriculum, are used in more than 40 British part-time Islamic schools and clubs with 5,000 students, the report found. The schools reportedly are overseen by the cultural bureau of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London.
Saudi officials quoted by the BBC said passages from the Qur’an often are “taken out of their historical context.” British officials quoted in the report said they would not tolerate any antisemitic teachings in British schools.