Concern grows in Israel over U.S. Iran policy
The U.S. has indirectly told Iran that it won’t support Israeli military action on its nuclear program if the Islamic Republic agrees to “steer clear of strategic American assets in the Persian Gulf,” the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday, Sept. 3. America used “covert back-channels in Europe” to convey that message to Iran, according to the newspaper.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the report is “false” and that the U.S. doesn’t “talk about hypotheticals,” according to Reuters.
The report comes after U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, speaking to reporters in London Aug. 30, said the following regarding a potential Israeli strike on Iran: “I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it.” He added that the “international coalition” applying pressure on Iran “could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.”
The international community, however, is failing to set a “clear red line” for Iran over its nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday, Aug. 31. Netanyahu’s remarks followed that of Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who said Aug. 31 that “our friends in the United States” are “in part responsible” for the fact that Iran doesn’t fear international action against its nuclear program. “There are many cracks in the ring closing tighter on Iran,” Ya’alon said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney recently said Obama “has made clear frequently he is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Monday that Obama is now considering setting “red lines”—points that, if reached, would prompt America to take military action against Iran. White House Spokesman Jay Carney said last week that Obama “has made clear frequently he is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear
Israeli court: Rachel Corrie ‘put herself in danger’
(JNS.org) A Haifa court on Aug. 28 rejected accusations that Israel was to blame for the death of American activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bulldozer during a 2003 pro-Palestinian demonstration in Gaza, Israel Hayom reported. Ruling on a civil case Corrie’s family brought against Israel, Judge Oded Gershon said the incident was a “regrettable accident” but absolved the IDF of wrongdoing because Corrie “did not distance herself from the area, as any thinking person would have done… she consciously put herself in danger.”
The IDF had been conducting an operation to clear homes that Palestinian terrorists were using as a front for smuggling tunnels, and according to Israeli investigations of the incident, the bulldozer driver claimed he could not see or hear Corrie. Gershon said soldiers did their best to keep people away from the area where Corrie died.
Corrie traveled to Gaza as part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) during the height of the Second Intifada. According to a Telegraph article from 2004, ISM’s movement’s co-founders, Adam Shapiro and Huwaida Arraf, said, “The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent.” Some have criticized ISM for “direct-action” tactics that put volunteers such as Corrie in harm’s way.
“Corrie’s death was entirely unnecessary, and the leaders of the ISM — who encourage their activists to work in war zones — bear much culpability for her death,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, in a statement on the ruling. “ISM’s cynical and immoral strategy endangers the lives of its members,” Steinberg added.
Others note that Corrie’s death has been manipulated to criticize Israel’s presence in disputed territories. Actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katherine Viner adapted Corrie’s diary into a play called “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” and several documentaries about her have also been produced.
The Corrie family’s lawyer, Hussein Abu Hussein, said the Israeli verdict contradicted “the fundamental principles of international law with regard to protection of human rights defenders.”
Moody’s compliments Israel’s financial conduct
(JNS.org) International credit ratings corporation Moody’s presented a positive evaluation of Israel’s economy in its latest report, issued Monday, according to Israel Hayom. The agency says Israel is economically strong, institutionally and fiscally, and has the capability to weather tough global economic crises, as it did in 2008-9, and again in the current crisis. Moody’s economists pointed out that Israel’s economic performance was supported by a rising gross domestic product per capita, which crossed the 120,000 shekel ($30,000) annual threshold. Moody’s also ratified Israel’s credit rating, which has stayed at A1, the highest rating given in Moody’s upper-medium grade. Analysts predict a stable future for Israel and do not expect any changes in its rating. The credit ratings are determined by four criteria: economic strength, institutional strength (including the Bank of Israel and the Finance Ministry’s regulation of the economy); the current state of the banking and financial systems, and susceptibility to event risk.
Israeli swimmer wins bronze at Paralympics
(JNS.org) Israeli swimmer Inbal Pizaro won a bronze medal Aug. 30 in the 50-meter freestyle race at the London Paralympic Games, clocking in at 37.89 seconds. It marks the sixth medal in Pizaro’s career — she won two medals in the Athens Paralympic Games in 2004 and another three in Beijing in 2008. The Paralympics opened Aug. 29 with nearly 4,300 athletes from 166 countries competing in 20 different events. Israel sent 25 athletes as part of its delegation to the games, according to Israel Hayom. Since the inaugural Paralympics in Rome in 1960, the Israeli delegation has now won 365 medals, including 122 gold. Many of Israel’s athletes were disabled serving in the IDF.
Palestinians won’t re-apply for statehood recognition
(JNS.org) Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas has decided not to formally apply for statehood recognition at the United Nations General Assembly session in September, according to Israeli media reports. Instead, Malki said, Abbas will informally appeal for recognition in his General Assembly speech. Last year, Abbas caused an international uproar and drew condemnation from the U.S., Israel and some European states over a unilateral bid to have the UN admit Palestine (West Bank and Gaza) as a member state. Ultimately, Abbas’s initiative failed.
French antisemitism up 40%
(JNS.org) French Jews have seen an uptick of 40 percent in antisemitic attacks since March, when Islamist terrorist Mohammed Merah killed three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse, Reuters reported. According to Simon Wiesenthal Center Dean Abraham Cooper, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls confirmed in a meeting that “there was an increase of 40 percent in antisemitic and anti-Jewish crimes in France” after the shooting by Merah, who was inspired by al-Qaeda. Cooper, who told Reuters that the increase in antisemitism is “shocking” because “the French authorities on both sides of the political aisle did exactly the right thing immediately after [the] Toulouse [attack],” said he asked Valls to implement further measures ensuring the security of French Jewry. Additionally, Cooper said the increase in antisemitism is encouraging rising numbers of French Jews to leave the country. He said he has “met with Jewish people who said either they are sending their kids overseas, to Israel or the States, or Canada to go study.”
Rabbi delivers invocation at convention
(JNS.org) Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, a rising intellectual star, delivered the invocation at the opening of the Republican National Convention on Aug. 28. Soloveichik, 35, is an associate rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshrun on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University. He hails from one of America’s most prominent Orthodox Jewish families and is widely considered to be a brilliant scholar — graduating summa cum laude from Yeshiva University, studying at Yale University Divinity School and receiving a PhD in religion from Princeton University. Soloveichik’s selection for the opening invocation is indicative of the larger trend of Orthodox Jews gravitating towards conservative politics.
College student victim of antisemetic assault
(JNS.org) Michigan State University (MSU) sophomore Zachary Tennen underwent surgery to repair his broken jaw following what his mother says was a brutal anti-Semitic attack after a party on Aug. 26. According to Zachary’s mother, Tina Tennen, the attackers asked him if he was Jewish, and after he replied yes, they raised their right arms in a Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler” before knocking him unconscious and stapling his mouth shut, the Detroit Free Press reported. The family has filed a report with the East Lansing Police Department. So far the police do not have any suspects.
Documentary to highlight life of drummer Buddy Rich
By Robert Gluck / JNS.org
After the legendary drummer Buddy Rich died in 1987, his daughter Cathy worked tirelessly to preserve her dad’s memory, organizing memorial concerts and touring with his band. Now, she has partnered with filmmaker Brian Morgan to produce a new documentary about the great drummer’s life called “Welcome to Nutville.” Many experts say Buddy, who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Jewish vaudevillians Robert and Bess Rich, was the greatest drummer who ever lived. During his long career, Buddy played with Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Ella Fitzgerald and Harry James as well as leading his own bands and playing with Jazz at the Philharmonic. He was known for his technique, power and speed.
According to Cathy Rich, Buddy was proud of his Jewish heritage. “He kept the High Holy days and would fast [on Yom Kippur],” she told JNS.org. “When he would go to Germany to play he would check into a hotel and the man behind the desk was the age where he could have been in the war. Buddy wore a Star of David around his neck and he would look at the man and make sure he saw the star.”