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December 11, 2009

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 11, 2009 EU foreign ministers call for Jerusalem talks BRUSSELS, Belgium (JTA)--European Union for- eign ministers called for negotiations over the status of Jerusalem as a capital for two states. In a statement agreed upon Tuesday, the 27 ministers rep- resenting the member states of the European Union said,"If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states," according to reports. The foreign ministers meet- ing here also called Israel's 10-month freeze on construc- tion in the West Bank a "step in the right direction." EU envoys on Dec. 7 failed to agree on the wording of a Swedish proposal to divide Jerusalem and make east Jerusalem the Palestinian capital, which led to the for- eign ministers' meeting. Israel's Foreign Ministry, responding to the statement, said it "ignores the primary obstacle to achieving a reso- lution between Israel and the Palestinians: the Palestin- ian refusal to return to the negotiating table. Given the Israel Government's efforts to renew the negotiations, Israel regrets that the EU has chosen to adopt a text that, although containing nothing new, does not contribute to the renewal of negotiations. "We expect the EU to act to promote direct negotiations between the parties, while considering Israel's security needs and understanding that Israel's Jewish character must be preserved in any future agreement." The European Jewish Con- gress called the EU foreign ministers' declaration disap- pointing and one-sided. "Although the declaration goes some way to correcting the unprecedented propos- als by the Swedes, it is still extremely lopsided towards the Palestinian point of view," said Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC. "This will only embolden the Pales- tinians by sending them the message that they don't need to negotiate because they will receive everything on a silver platter. It also ignores the fact that Israel has repeat- edly called for immediate and direct negotiations without preconditions, something repeatedly ignored by the Palestinians. Israeli officials had pressed EU foreign ministers to reject the Swedish plan, which re- portedly said that, "Europe calls for an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, comprising the West Bank and Gaza and with east Jerusalem as its capital. If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the capital of two states." The Israeli daily Ma'ariv reported that the draft resolu- tion also added, "Europe has never recognized Jerusalem's annexation" and "The Euro- pean Union will not recognize any changes to '67 borders unless agreed upon by both states." The proposal reportedly did not explicitly identify western Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Demjanjuk trial postponed MUNICH (JTA)---The trial of accused Nazi camp guard John Demjanjuk was postponed Dec. 2 because the defendant was too sick to come to court. Prison doctors determined that Demjanjuk, 89, and said to be ill with several chronic disorders, had a fever and infec- tion and could not be taken to court in Munich. The trial, which began Nov. 30, is set to resume Dec. 21 and is still expected to end in May. During the second day of the trial, Dutch Jews, who lost parents and siblings to the gas chambers of Sobibor, testified following the official reading of charges against Demjanjuk. Chief Prosecutor Hans- Joachim Lutz said the tens of thousands of European Jews who were killed at Sobibor could be accomplished only with the assistance of brutal, SS-trained Trawniki guards, including Demjanjuk. During the proceedings, Demjanjuklay before the court on a hospital gurney. Rudolf Salomon, 70, of Amsterdam choked back tears as he told the court how he learned of his mother's death. "Itwas 1946 ot 1947 when my father said he was going to find a new mother for me," he said. Salomon later saw a letter his mother had thrown from the deportation train. David van Huiden of Am- sterdam was 12 when he said goodbye to his parents and sister in July 1943, "sure we would meet again." They had believed they were going to a work camp, he said. Van Huiden went into hiding. His family was gassed in Sobibor. Defense attorneys Ulrich Busch and Guenther Maull asked several co-plaintiffs how they knew for sure that their relatives had been killed in So- bibor. Virtually all of them had seen original lists of deportees or received notifications from the German Red Cross. E11604/Wikimedia Commons A photo of John Demjan- juk, circa 1943, the year he is accused ofbeing an accessory to the murder of 29, 700Jews at the Sobibor death camp in Poland. The trial opened Nov. 30 with Demjanjuk's attorney claiming that his client is a scapegoat for German guilt over the Holocaust. Demjanjuk is charged as an accessory to the murder of 29,700 Jews at the Sobi- bor death camp in Poland in 1943. He appeared nearly expressionless Nov. 30 as he was wheeled into the Munich courtroom. Wrapped in a blue hospital blanket, he wore a baseball- type cap that cast a shadow over his eyes. His head was tilted back, and occasionally he opened his mouth as if to speak or yawn. A few times he moved one hand. Mostly, Demjanjuk was still. Demjanjuk's lead attor- ney, Ulrich Busch, told JTA that Germany "wants to be acquitted through this .trial, by finding people from other nations guilty." The trial, which some are billing as the last major Nazi war crimes case, marks an- other landmark for Germany's confrontation with its Nazi past. For Demjanjuk, who was born in Ukraine and immi- grated to the United States after the war, it is the second war crimes trial. In 1988, Israeli courts convicted Demjanjukand sen- tenced him to death for murder and savagery at the Treblinka death camp. But the sentence was overturned in 1993 when the Israeli Supreme Court determined there was insuffi- cient evidence that Demjanjuk was the so-called guard named "Ivan the Terrible," and he was released. This time, prosecutors say they have all the proof they need that Demjanjuk actively participated in the mass mur- der of Jews in the gas chambers of Sobibor in 1943. "The totality of evidence is overwhelming," said Barbara Stockinger, spokeswoman for the state prosecutor in Munich. An SS identification card places Demjanjuk in the death camp, and his number shows up on many documents related to Sobibor. The prosecution alleges that Demjanjuk, after being captured by the Germans in 1942, received training at the Trawniki SS facility in occupied Poland, which produced guards for several death camps. Demjanjukinsists he merely served in the Soviet army and was captured by Germany in 1942. Much of the evidence against him was gathered by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations to prove that Demjanjuk had lied about his role in the Holocaust to gain U.S. citizenship. In October 2002, U.S. Dis- trict Judge Paul Matia "found that he had contributed to the mass murder of Jews by asphyxiation with poison gas, and that he had served volun- tarily at the camps," said Eli Rosenbaum, director of the OSI, which had been investi- gating Demjanjuk since 1977. Demjanjuk, an autoworker who lived in suburban Cleve- land, eventually was stripped of his U.S. citizenship and, after exhausting his appeals, was deported to Germany in May. Germany has jurisdic- tion to try Demjanjuk because 1,900 of his alleged victims were German Jews and he had stayed in a Munich DP camp after the war. If convicted, Demjanjuk faces several years in jail. Addressing the court Nov. 30, the attorney Busch insisted it was unfair to try a man for allegedly following orders when those giving the orders were never charged. Busch demanded that the judges and prosecution be removed on suspicions of prejudice against his client. Busch also said that the so-called Trawnikis--many of them Soviet POWs trained by the SS--werejustas much vic- tims as Jews who were forced to work for the Nazis in con- centration camps, whether as "kapos" (controlling barracks) or as "sonderkommandos," hauling bodies of gassed Jews to be burned in crematoriums. The court rejected Busch's request that the judges and prosecution be replaced. Special prosecutor Corne- lius Nestler said that "a court that does the right thing now cannot be biased because other courts did not do the right thing before." Nestler added that he was disgusted by Busch's com- parison ofSS-trained Trawniki guards and Jews. "The Trawniki guards in Sobibor were well fed. They ate and drank. They enriched themselves" on the belongings of Jews about to be killed, Nes- tler said. "They had vacations." For some in Germany, the Demjanjuk trial is reminis- cent of the first major postwar Thomas Blatt Accused war criminal John Demjanjuk is wheeled into a Munich courtroom on Nov. 30 for the first day of his trial in a photo taken by one of the few survivors of the Sobibor death camp. trials of Nazis by Germans, including the Auschwitz trials of 1963-65, when Germany put 22 citizens on trial for their roles as mid- and lower- level officials at Auschwitz. The trials served to wake up the postwar generation to the horrors their parents had tried to forget. In contrast, the Nuremberg Trials, which took place im- mediately after the war, were conducted by the Allies and seen by many Germans as vic- tors' justice, Rosenbaum said. "I felt then, and I feel now as an older man, that these trials [in German courts] are im- portant," said Wolfgang Benz, director of Berlin's Center for Research on Anti-Semitism. As a history student, Benz observed the trial of high-level SS member Karl Wolff in Mu- nich in 1964. Now his daughter Angelika, a doctoral student and expert on the Trawniki SS camps, is planning to attend the Demjanjuk trial. "There is no statute of limitations for the crime of murder," Benz said. "It doesn't matter if this old guy is sick or if he is nearly 90 years old. The issue of dealing with our past will never end, and Demjanjuk is the case for today." While some are hyping the Demjanjuk trial as the last major Nazi war crimes trial, Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, director of the Jerusalem of- rice of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said "That's been said foryears, so don't jump to hasty conclusions." Similar billing was given to Nazi trials in the 1980s, Zuroff said. Rosenbaum, who has been asked to testify in the Dem- janjuk trial, said he recently came across a Newsweek story about the prosecution of Kurt Lischka in Germany from 1979 with the headline "The Last Nazi Trial?" In fact, Rosenbaum said, "We still have nine or 10 cases in the legal system here." Would-be perpetrators must understand, he said,"thatthere is a real chance that theywillbe pursued and not for months or years but if necessary for decades, even into old age and even into countries at great dis- tances from the ones in which they committed the crimes." Toby Axelrod ofJTA contrib- uted to this report. Los Angeles philanthropist pleads guilty on bribes By Tom Tugend LOS ANGELES (JTA)--EI- litt Bridy' a majr philanthr- pist in the Los Angeles Jewish community, pleaded guilty to the felony charge of rewarding official misconduct. Broidy, also a leading investor in the Israeli economy, admitted that he made nearly $1 million in payoffs to four senior New York state officials as he pursued an investment from the state public pension fund, according to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. He has agreed to forfeit $18 million in management fees and faces up to four years in prison, The Wall Street Journal reported. The development is part of Cuomo's wide-ranging pay-to- play probe on whether decisions about how to invest retirees' money in the giant pension fund were wrongly influenced by money and politics. Cuomo said that Broidy has acknowledged paying at least $75,000 for high-price luxury trips to Italy and Israel for a top official in the New York state comptroller's office and his relatives. Severalmediasources quoted unnamed sources iden- tifying the official as the former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi; his lawyer reportedly declined to comment. By raising $800 million, Broidy turned his Markstone Capital Group into the largest private equity fund in Israel at a time when the intifada was at its height and most investors were shunning the Jewish state. In Los Angeles, Broidy has been a major donor to the United Jewish Fund and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. He is a trustee of the University of Southern California and USC Hillel, as well as the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and has served on the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Re- ligion board of governors. He is credited with revital- izing the dormant California- Israel Chamber of Commerce in the mid-1990s, together with Stanley Gold and Stanley Chais. Gold is president and CEOofShamrockHoldings and outgoing president of the Jewish Federation of Greater LosAnge- les. Chais, a large contributor to Israeli and Jewish causes, faces three legal actions as an alleged middleman for Bernard Madoff. Broidy has also been a GOP heavy hitter, serving as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and a top fund-raiser for the presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush in 2004 and Sen. John McCain in 2008. Gold said that he has known Broidy for some 20 years and worked with him on behalf of the local Jewish federation and Wilshire Boulevard Temple, as well as the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce. "Elliott has given freely of his time and energy to the com- munity, of which he has been an outstanding member," Gold said. "Our hearts go out to him and his family at this difficult time." Gold added that "Elliott is a decent and good man. It is not my style to desert a friend in his hour of need." Broidy's New York attorney, Christopher Clark, issued a statement saying that his cli- ent "regrets the actions that brought about this course of events, but is pleased to have resolved this matter with the New York Attorney General and will be cooperating in the ongoing investigation." Clark also said that Broidy has "resigned from all operational, supervisory, and other roles at the firm of Markstone Partners in order to focus his attention on legal matters."