World Briefs 11-15-11

The latest news from the global Jewish community. 

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AJC condemns Greek coalition for welcoming party that equated IDF with Hitler

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has condemned the presence of an extreme right-wing party in Greece’s new provisional government in the wake of the resignation of Prime Minister George Papandreou, the Jewish Chronicle of London reported.

The LAOS extreme right, headed by Georgios Karatzaferis, has reportedly accused the IDF of behaving “with savage brutality only seen in Hitler's time towards helpless people,” and fueled a conspiracy theory by questioning why certain Jews did not go to work on the day of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“We urge the new Greek leadership, understandably preoccupied with the economic crisis, not to permit any such expression of outright bigotry or anti-Semitism to emerge from its ranks,” AJC said, according to the European Jewish Press.

—JointMedia News Service


(Click photo to download. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and wife, Ida, pose with the Obamas. Credit: PD-US.)

Kenya asks Israel for help

In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga requested Israel’s assistance in pursuing an al-Qaida linked terrorist group, Ynet reported. Kenya blames al-Shabab, a terrorist group it is now pursuing in Somalia, for attacks and kidnappings within Kenya. Al-Shabab has threatened to carry out attacks within Kenya’s capital in response.

Israeli security forces are considered among the best in the world in counter-terrorism, and Prime Minister Odinga requested that they specifically train Kenyan police in countering terrorist threats.

--JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold hands as Netanyau exits a meeting in Paris in May, 2011. Credit: EPA/Ian Langsdon.)

'You have my friendship,' Sarkozy tells Netanyahu after blunder

After last week's incident at the G-20 summit when French President Nicolas Sarkozy was overheard calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a liar, the French leader sent Netanyahu a condolence letter to mark the passing of his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, and indirectly to address the gaffe.

"Under these sad circumstances, Carla and I send you and Sara our sincere condolences,” Sarkozy wrote. “Allow me also to take this opportunity to say that you have my friendship. Although our perspectives on the problems in the Middle East are different, interpretations in the media have no effect. I share in your sadness with feelings of true friendship. With great respect and camaraderie, Nicolas Sarkozy."

Sarkozy was overheard last week complaining about Netanyahu to U.S. President Barack Obama. The European Jewish Pressreports that Sarkozy intends to visit Israel in January to clear up any misunderstandings that might sprout from his comments at the G20 Summit.  

Obama also sent Netanyahu a condolence letter.

--Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Pressure mounts on Syria's Assad to step down

Jordan's King Abdullah said Monday that Syrian President Bashar Assad should step down for the good of his country, making the king the first Arab leader to issue such a call publicly.

Syria's crackdown on the eight-month-long uprising has brought international condemnation. Saturday, the Arab League voted almost unanimously to suspend Syria from the organization.

"If Bashar [Assad] has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life," Abdullah told the BBC in an interview. "If I was in his position, I would. If it was me, I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we're seeing."

After Abdullah’s interview aired, 100 demonstrators gathered outside the Jordanian embassy in Damascus. Three demonstrators scaled the fence and removed the Jordanian flag, according to the AP. No one entered the embassy, or was injured. Multiple embassies were attacked this week following the decision of the Arab League to suspend Syrian membership.

--Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service

(Click photo to download. Caption: Bahrani Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (L) and Minister of Foriegn Affairs of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) attend the Arab Foreign Ministers emergency meeting on Syria, at the Arab League Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on November 2nd. Credit: EPA/Khaled Elfiqi.)

Arab League suspends Syria as global pressure on Assad rises

In an unprecedented move on Saturday, the Arab League decided to suspend the Syrian delegation from the organization's institutions in response to the Damascus regime's ongoing violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

During an emergency meeting convened on Saturday at the Arab League's Cairo headquarters, the organization decided with overwhelming majority to suspend Syria beginning on Wednesday, as well as to impose economic and political sanctions on Damascus.

The dramatic decision comes after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has pressed ahead with the bloody retaliation against protesters despite an Arab peace plan brokered on Nov. 2. 

Hours after the League's decision, hundreds of Assad supporters armed with sticks and knives attacked the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Damascus and Turkish and French consulates in the city of Latakia, residents said.

Meanwhile, foreign leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe praised the Arab League’s decision.

--Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Missile mastermind killed in Iran blast, Revolutionary Guard admits

Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Sunday revealed that the commander killed in a weekend explosion at an ammunition depot west of Tehran was a key figure in Iran's missile program.

Gen. Hasan Moghaddam was killed together with 16 other Guard members Saturday at Amir al-Momenin military base outside Bidganeh, a village 25 miles from Tehran. The Guard said the explosion was an accident and occurred while military personnel were transporting munitions.

Amir al-Momenin military base is believed to be one of the sites of Iran's nuclear development program, although Iranian officials deny this.

According to reports, Moghaddam, whose rank was equivalent to brigadier general, was a key figure in the development of Iranian defense systems. Moghaddam has been called the father of Iran's missile program. He also had strong ties to Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist group.

Theories continue to abound over the source of the explosion, with Mossad and the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin Khalq both named as part of a potential collaborative effort. Tehran insists it was an accident.

--Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Egypt arrests terror group leader allegedly behind pipeline bombings

Egyptian security forces on Sunday arrested the leader of an organization affiliated with al-Qaida in the Sinai Peninsula, who was allegedly involved in the multi-pronged terror attack in southern Israel in August as well as attacks on Egyptian police and on a gas pipeline that transports fuel from Egypt to Israel and Jordan.

According to a senior Egyptian security official, Mohammed Eid Muslih Hamad, also known as "El-Tihi," was arrested without resistance in the northern Sinai town of el-Arish.

The official said el-Tihi was being investigated in connection to the Aug. 18 attacks near Eilat, in which Palestinian terrorists infiltrated Israel's border with Egypt and launched a multi-pronged attack that included shooting, suicide bombings and mortar fire, and left eight Israelis dead.

--Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JointMedia News Service


Egypt closes pyramid amidst rumors of impending Jewish spiritual ceremony

11.11.11 held an interesting meaning for Egypt, when its antiquities authority shut down the largest pyramid in Giza on Friday in the face of rumors that it would be used for special spiritual ceremonies by Jewish masons.

Mustafa Amin, the authority’s head, said that the pyramid was closed for maintenance only, and that the rumors were 'completely lacking in truth', the dailymail reported.

Local Egyptian media had reported last week that various groups, including the Jewish masons, were to hold a ceremony at 11:11 am on 11.11.11 to enjoy the ‘mysterious powers’ emanating from the pyramid at that time. According to the dailymail, the group’s request to organize by the pyramid was denied.

--JointMedia News Service


UN Security Council Delays Decision on Palestinian Statehood

The UN Security Council delayed the decision on Palestine’s bid for statehood on Friday. Palestinian leadership is said to be currently deciding whether to press for a vote, as they do not expect to claim even a moral victory, the Guardian reported.

Palestine was hoping to receive nine votes, forcing the U.S. to issue a veto, therefore causing it embarrassment. However, France and Britain both said they would abstain.

The Portuguese ambassador and Security Council president, José Filipe Moraes Cabral, said that the council is taking its time.

"We're consulting with other members of the council and other interested parties and then we'll see the way forward," he said according to the Guardian.

Russia, China, South Africa, India, Brazil, Lebanon, Nigeria and Gabon are the eight Security Council members expected to support the Palestinian bid.

Britain and France claimed they would abstain, on the grounds that recognition of a Palestinian state would affect the negotiation process.

--JointMedia News Service

Posted on November 15, 2011 and filed under World.