Discouragement from Israel and other governments leaves only the most determined activists on deck.
Jerusalem — Earlier this week, as the Greek government continued to prohibit a flotilla of boats bent on breaking Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza from leaving Greek waters, a leader of the Free Gaza movement appeared to let down her guard for a moment.
When a reporter from the Irish Times asked whether the coalition of activist organizations would allow Greece to channel the cargo to Gaza, Greta Berlin, the movement’s co-founder and spokesperson, gave an emphatic “No.”
(JTA) -- Six Democratic lawmakers urged U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ensure the safety of the American citizens who join the Gaza flotilla.
U.S. Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), William Clay (D-Mo.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Bob Filner (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) signed a letter to Clinton last Friday expressing their concern for the safety of the passengers who will be aboard the U.S. ship The Audacity of Hope. Filner is Jewish.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A bipartisan delegation of U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers is in Israel this week.
The delegation, including Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.), and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) had meetings planned with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Tzipi Livni.
They also planned to tour areas in Israel subject to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A spokesman for Justin Bieber told JTA that the pop star is not meeting with children from Israel's rocket-beset south because of logistics, not politics.
“Justin welcomes the chance to meet with kids facing difficult circumstances, regardless of their background, and in fact, he had already invited children from the Sderot area to join the 25,000-plus other fans at his concert in Tel Aviv on Thursday night,” the spokesman told JTA.
Avi Dichter says program leads to connection to Israel for young people and government should pay more.
Avi Dichter, a former head of Israel’s Shin Bet (internal security service) and a former minister of internal security, is a Knesset member from the Kadima Party. He was one of six Knesset members who spent last week meeting with Jewish leaders here and in Boston to learn about the American Jewish community as part of a new effort launched by the Ruderman Fellows Program and Brandeis University. The Jewish Week caught up with him for a wide-ranging interview touching on everything from diaspora Jewry to the Goldstone report to Israel’s new missile-defense system.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly has canceled a meeting with pop star Justin Bieber after the singer refused to meet with children from southern Israel.
Netanyahu, who was scheduled to meet Bieber on Wednesday night, a day before his concert in Tel Aviv, invited children living in communities that have been hit by rockets fired from Gaza to join the sit-down. Bieber, however, refused to meet with the children, according to Israel Channel 2, causing Netanyahu to cancel the meeting.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- The severe harassment of Palestinian journalists by Palestinian Authority and Hamas forces in the West Bank and Gaza has had a chilling effect on freedom of expression, a new report by Human Rights Watch found.
The 35-page report issued Wednesday documents cases in which Palestinian security forces tortured, beat and arbitrarily detained journalists in the West Bank and Gaza, in addition to confiscating their equipment and preventing them from leaving the Palestinian enclaves.