Thursday, September 10th, 2009
A handful of Jewish groups responded positively to last night’s presidential address on health care reform, and many White House observers said it was an oratorical triumph.
At least 17 German banks and industrial firms have agreed to contribute to a fund from which payments will be made to an estimated 100,000 Jews who served as slave laborers during the Holocaust, the German government announced this week. Needy survivors may also be entitled to payments from the fund.
The government hopes the fund will begin making payments to survivors by Sept. 1, the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland and the start of World War II, according to Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly courts pro-settler nationalists in his bid for re-election May 17, some of his biggest American supporters on the ideological right are either abandoning him or saying they are open to other candidates.
Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, who has been appointed to mediate a survivors' suit against German and Austrian banks, is calling all parties together Jan. 7. But how much clout he will wield is open to question.
For some Holocaust survivors and their supporters, a Senate subcommittee hearing this week was their last chance to collect on the Nazi-era life insurance policies of their parents.
The survivors asked that Congress adopt legislation that would require insurance companies doing business in the United States to publish the names of all policyholders from the pre-war era. If the companies then refused to settle claims on reasonable terms, survivors and their heirs could sue them during the next 10 years.
Faced with the prospect of an investigation by New York Attorney General Elliott Spitzer’s office into its financial dealings, the World Jewish Congress is close to working out an agreement with its chief inside critic that would include holding the full and independent audit he has been demanding, The Jewish Week has learned.Sources close to the issue say that Stephen Herbits, transition director of the WJC, met this week in Israel with Isi Leibler, a former leader of the Australian Jewish community living in Israel who WJC officials sought to remove as senior vice president this fal
On the eve of the first World Jewish Congress Assembly in three years, the group’s chief spokesman said he welcomes the prospect of an investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s office into its financial dealings but regrets the failure to resolve internally a conflict over past governance.The WJC Assembly will meet in Brussels for three days starting Sunday, with an expected 500 participants representing 88 Jewish communities from around the world.
Both sides in the increasingly nasty World Jewish Congress feud got what they wanted from the organization’s assembly in Brussels this week. The leadership put on a display of solidarity, with the 540 delegates from around the world not only showing their support for Edgar Bronfman and Israel Singer by re-electing them unanimously as president and chairman, respectively, but by fully embracing their version of the internal dispute about alleged financial mismanagement and lack of governance as baseless and harmful.