As three more of the 13 Iranian Jews charged with spying for Israel pleaded guilty Monday — bringing to six the number who have confessed to date — Jewish leaders and human rights groups were discounting the confessions.
“It’s ludicrous to say that they are part of an espionage spy ring,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The televised “confession” by an Iranian Jew to spying for Israel was predictable, Jewish leaders maintain, but they heatedly denied Iranian claims that Hamid “Danny” Tefileen had made similar statements Monday during a four-hour trial in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz.
Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts were under way to punish Iran by denying it more than $200 million in loans from the World Bank.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria — Albert Alkalai put on his raincoat, the one with the small yellow Jewish star on the lapel, left his family’s house and walked to work a quarter-mile away in the central square at 8 a.m. on March 10, 1943.
The morning was sunny. “A little bit chilly, as in March,” Alkalai remembers.
In a departure from its previous position, the Austrian government said preliminary talks dealing with stolen property might start shortly on a “technical level,” according to its U.S. ambassador.
“I think we can start talking about it,” Peter Moser said in a phone interview from the Austrian Embassy in Washington. “We’re not in denial [regarding these claims].”
Until now Austria has insisted on resolving slave and forced labor cases before dealing with property claims.
Deborah Lipstadt says that for all the emotional, spiritual and professional pain she endured standing trial in England this winter, accused of defaming Holocaust denier David Irving, she considers the experience a blessing.
A few days before Tuesday’s verdict, which Irving lost — castigated by the judge as a bigot and anti-Semite — Lipstadt told The Jewish Week in an exclusive interview, “My life has been disrupted by this case for several years, but I feel I was blessed.”
In the weeks before Reform rabbis met to sanction officiating at gay and lesbian unions, rabbis on both sides of the issue waged a spirited debate on Web chat rooms.
“The amount of vituperation on the Internet became unbearable,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin of the Community Synagogue in Port Washington, L.I. “There were personal attacks, professional attacks, outright lies and innuendoes.”