World Jewry is facing an interfaith crisis with Christians and Muslims over the anti-Jewish tirade spouted by Bashar Assad in the presence of Pope John Paul II, who failed to repudiate the Syrian president.
Anxious and irate Jewish leaders this week called for an unprecedented interfaith summit and dashed off letters imploring the Pope to renounce the stunning remarks by Assad. Experts say Assad has elevated anti-Jewish religious charges to dangerous levels.
Striding across the opulent lobby of Manhattan’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last Sunday morning, Michael Sonnenfeldt, chair of the pro-peace Israel Policy Forum, spotted Malcolm Hoenlein, the top executive of the nation’s leading Jewish umbrella group — the 50-year-old Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“It seems like I’m always following you around,” joked Sonnenfeldt, a private investor with a linebacker’s build, extending his hand.
Polish lawmakers this week began wrestling with a long-delayed World War II property restitution plan, only weeks after 11 Jews filed an unprecedented federal lawsuit in Brooklyn against the Republic of Poland seeking the return of property seized from their families during the Holocaust.
In the past few days, Zalman Shoval’s popularity has soared with colleagues and strangers he bumps into around his Washington office.
“There isn’t a single person in the [U.S.] State Department that hasn’t tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘thank you,’ ” related Shoval, Israel’s incoming ambassador to the United States. “It reminds me of the good old days of Israel’s restraint in the  Gulf war.”
When Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat sought an economic adviser for the proposed first joint industrial project with Israel, he turned to a 63-year-old Libyan Jewish businessman who has broken bread with Col. Moammar Khadafy.
And the businessman, Rafello Fellah, is betting his reputation and a small fortune that the proposed Karni Industrial Free Trade Zone on the border of Israel and Gaza will help foster a new era of peace between the two entities.
Friday, November 20th, 2009
It’s looking more and more like Hannah Rosenthal, the former executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), will be the new State Department special emissary on anti-Semitism; her appointment could be announced as early as today, sources here say.
That looks to me like an intriguing, out-of-the-box selection.
The script goes like this: Washington objects to Israeli settlement construction; there are some angry words on both sides, and then an apparent coming together around some vaguely defined, transparent face-saving compromise. Both sides insist there's no crisis in the relationship.
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Haven’t we seen this movie before?
The script goes like this: Washington objects to Israeli settlement construction; there are some angry words on both sides, and then an apparent coming together around some vaguely defined, transparent face-saving compromise. Both sides insist there’s no crisis in the relationship.
The latest twist in the long-running extradition case of alleged Brooklyn pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz has apparently thrown the case into limbo and for the first time in decades raised the specter that Mondrowitz might be tried in Israel.
In what is being seen by some close to the case as an unexpected move, the Israeli Supreme Court last week gave prosecutors representing the state until Dec. 23 to gather additional information on whether Mondrowitz — who was charged with sexual crimes against children in Brooklyn over two decades ago — can be tried in Israel.
Monday, November 16th, 2009
Early this month the Orthodox Union applauded the introduction of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 2009, but I’m guessing its pragmatic man in Washington, Nathan Diament, isn’t buying tickets for the new embassy’s opening ceremony.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.