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Newsdesk August 13, 2004

N.Z. Slams Antisemitism

New Zealand’s Parliament unanimously passed a statement Tuesday condemning all forms of antisemitism and racism. The move came days after 95 headstones were toppled in the Jewish cemetery near the capital, Wellington. The cemetery’s chapel, used for prayers before burials, was gutted by fire, leaving only swastika-etched walls standing.

Meanwhile, in the French city of Lyon, around 60 graves were daubed with swastikas and Nazi symbols at a Jewish cemetery. Lyon’s chief rabbi, Richard Wertenschlag, said the tombs were sprayed Monday with a variety of insignia including inverted swastikas and references to Hitler. Some tombstones were also spray-painted with anti-Muslim expressions and the name “Phineas,” a biblical figure associated with acts of zealotry committed to cleanse the Jewish community from impurity, Wertenschlag said. The cemetery is the only Jewish burial ground in the center of Lyon, France’s third largest Jewish community after Paris and Marseille, and dates from the end of the 18th century. Two men were arrested late Monday night in connection with the incident and remain in police custody.

Olympic Boycotter Dies

Milton Green, a Jewish hurdler who boycotted the 1936 Berlin Olympics died August 4 at 92. Green tied world records in both the 45- and the 60-meter hurdles in the mid-1930s. In 1936, at the urging of his rabbi, Green, who was considered a shoo-in for a slot on the U.S. Olympic team, boycotted the Berlin Games to protest Hitler and the Nazi regime. In 1997, Green was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Netanya, Israel.

Sudan Claims Israel Link

Sudan said a rebel African group in the Darfur region has ties with Israel. The foreign minister of the Islamist government in Khartoum said Sunday that several leaders of Justice and Equality Movement had bolted because others among the group’s chiefs were making frequent visits to Israel. Mustafa Osman Ismail, who was in Cairo seeking Arab support for his government, said the breakaway leaders “confirmed that the leadership of the movement make regular visits to Israel.” A spokesman for the movement denied the allegation, casting it as an attempt to stir up Muslim sentiment.

Jerusalem Cafe Closes

A Jerusalem cafe that suffered a major Palestinian suicide bombing closed its doors. Cafe Moment’s gates were locked Monday after the owners announced the closure, saying the cafe had not returned to profitability after a March 2002 terrorist attack that killed 11 people. “Following terrible and protracted tribulations, and despite fervent efforts, much willpower and personal sacrifice, we have been brought down by mounting debt since that horrible day, which killed us as well, only more slowly,” read a note the owners left on Moment’s door.

‘Road Apartheid’ Blasted

An Israeli human rights group accused the government of practicing “apartheid” on West Bank roads. According to the B’Tselem report issued Monday, Israeli forces have restricted Palestinian traffic on 440 miles of West Bank roads, while banning Palestinian cars altogether from 17 roads. The system was established because Palestinian terrorists frequently have attacked Israeli cars on West Bank roads. Israeli military sources said the report did not take into consideration recent efforts to ease restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank, including the removal of some 50 roadblocks.

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