Shorts: World

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Wiesel touched by knighthood

Elie Wiesel received an honorary knighthood from the queen of England.

The Nobel laureate said the award “really means something” and shows how far the country has come since what he views as the dark days of anti-Semitism in Britain after World War II.

In a humble speech after accepting his knighthood last week, Wiesel said that had he been truly successful in his mission to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, “the education of anti-Semitism, the defeat of fanaticism and absolute security for Jews in Israel and the diaspora” would be more apparent.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett called Wiesel “a shining beacon of humanity at its very best.” — jta

University will ignore group’s complaints

Student union authorities at Leeds University were ordered to ignore complaints lodged by the main Jewish student group about the campus’ growing pro-Palestinian lobby.

Following a campus-wide referendum last week, student union authorities were instructed to ignore complaints lodged by the Leeds branch of J-Soc, which represents Britain’s largest Jewish student community, “as long as Judaism as a faith is not offended.”

The motion, which passed by a vote of 1,421-895, was proposed by the Palestinian Solidarity Group, and says that considering every complaint lodged by J-Soc would constitute “an arbitrary use of authority.”

Members of the academic and Jewish student communities expressed shock and outrage. — jta

Day school is No. 1 primary school in UK

A Jewish day school ranked No. 1 in a British government survey. The report ranked the North Cheshire Jewish School as the best primary school in Britain.

Of the 209 primary schools in Britain whose pupils all reached the expected standard for 11-year-olds in English, math and science, almost two-thirds are faith-based schools, including Jewish, Catholic and Church of England institutions.

A total of 16,000 primary schools were included in the survey. — jta

Controversial cardinal retires

Cardinal Jozef Glemp, a longtime leader of Poland’s Roman Catholic Church who clashed with Jewish groups, retired as archbishop of Warsaw.

Glemp, 76, stepped down due to age. He was replaced by the Bishop of Plock, Stanislaw Wojciech Wielgus.

Glemp led the church in the 1980s during the height of the Solidarity movement and martial law, and offered support for the first mass movement against Soviet control.

He became a figure of controversy in 1990 when he criticized Jewish protesters who demonstrated against the location of a Carmelite convent just outside the former Auschwitz death camp. The convent was moved only after Pope John Paul II intervened.

Scholars call on Vatican to open archives

Thirty-five Jewish and Catholic scholars called on the Vatican to open its Holocaust-era archives.

The petition, organized by Seymour Reich, former chairman of the International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission, and the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, was released Monday, Dec. 11.

Citing recently uncovered documents about the Vatican’s role during the Holocaust, the scholars said they “have legitimate disagreements concerning the Vatican’s actions regarding European Jewry during the Hitler years,” but “we all agree that the Vatican should open its archives for the Holocaust period to historians, so that the role of the wartime pope will not be subject to conjecture as to what he knew, what he did, and what he chose to say or not say about the plight of the Jews.”

The pope at the time, Pius XII, is a controversial figure due to claims that he knew of the Nazi genocide against the Jews but remained silent. — jta