July 19, 2001
Israel Cited for Human Trafficking
Israel and 22 other countries do not meet the minimum standards for combating traffic in sex slaves and forced laborers, according to a U.S. State Department report.
"It is incomprehensible that trafficking in human beings should be taking place in the 21st century," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said at a news conference July 12, when he released the report. Ranked in the lowest grouping, Israel is a destination in trafficking from former Soviet states, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa. According to U.S. law, a country that does not comply with the minimum standards by 2003 will be subject to sanctions.
Fashion Swastika Draws Criticism
The umbrella organization that represents most British Jews criticized Italian designer Francesco Babaro's use of the swastika as the main theme for his new designer collection at the Fashion Circus in Rome. The Board of Deputies of British Jews plans to write Italian legislators, asking for their assurances that steps will be taken to monitor and discourage such displays of racist symbolism in Italian fashion.
Barak: Peace Will Take Years
It "will take years" for there to be "permanent peace" between Israel and the Palestinians, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Newsweek magazine.
In his first interview since losing the February election to Ariel Sharon, Barak said that after the failure of the Camp David talks last year, Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat "decided that only by turning to violence could he once again create world sympathy" for the Palestinian cause.
Har Shefi Pardoned for Part in Rabin Assassination
Israeli President Moshe Katsav decided to pardon a woman sentenced to nine months in prison for failing to prevent the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Margalit Har Shefi is now slated to be released on Aug. 10 after serving two-thirds of her sentence.
Hezbollah: We Have Kidnap Video
Hezbollah says it has a videotape of its kidnapping last October of three Israeli soldiers. Israel has been pressing the United Nations to release an unedited version of a video made by an Indian member of a U.N. peacekeeping force 18 hours after the kidnapping. According to the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, a U.N. peacekeeper testified last week that the Hezbollah kidnappers wore the uniforms of U.N. peacekeepers.
German Museum Uses Controversial Ad
Officials planning a national Holocaust memorial in Berlin are using a controversial ad campaign in an effort to raise funds. "The Holocaust Never Happened" is the controversial slogan that will be plastered on billboards across Germany this week. The slogan is intended to "shake up the indifferent and motivate the hesitant," the foundation organizing the fundraising campaign said Tuesday. Smaller text underneath the headline reads: "There are still many people who make this claim. In 20 years there could be even more. Make a donation to the memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe."
Briefs courtesy of Jewish Telegraphic Agency.