News

More Free-Speech Furor In N.J.

07/25/2003
Staff Writer
When New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey didn't like what state Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka had to say about Israelis in a poem about 9-11, he took action. McGreevey, with the nearly unanimous support of the state Legislature, abolished the state-funded post through budget cuts several weeks ago to get rid of Baraka. In recent weeks McGreevey has said he didn't like the "abhorrent" views of a Rutgers University pro-Palestinian student group that is sponsoring a national conference in October at the state-financed institution.

Death Camp Dispute

07/11/2003
Staff Writer
How best to honor the memory of half a million Jews buried in the horrific and long-neglected Belzec death camp in southeastern Poland? That's the heart of a running dispute pitting several rabbis and Jewish organizations that support the approved design plan against New York activist Rabbi Avi Weiss, who insists the plan desecrates the victims and violates Jewish law. The dispute echoes the debate in New York City over the memorial for the Sept. 11 World Trade Center victims.

Painful Memories

06/27/2003
Staff Writer
Under a bright sun, Guilla Boukhobza walked up to a microphone in front of the Isaiah Wall near the United Nations and cleared her throat. For the first time, she was going to publicly talk about her family's perilous expulsion from her native Libya. It was not easy, Boukhobza confided, because even a generation later, a deep fear remains about discussing the heart-rending events that forced her parents and seven siblings to leave Tripoli one step ahead of anti-Jewish mobs.

'Passion' Is Lacking For Scholars Report

06/20/2003
Staff Writer
Score one for Mel Gibson. The Catholic Church's official voice in America has washed its hands of a report by some of its own scholars that warns that Gibson's film about the death of Jesus invokes anti-Semitic images and flouts Catholic doctrine. The unexpected response by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops comes after Gibson threatened to sue the group over an allegedly "stolen" script given to interfaith scholars, who concluded the movie will foment anti-Semitism.

Arabs Colluded To Expel Jews, Group Claims

06/20/2003
Staff Writer
Did Arab leaders secretly conspire to expel Jews from their native Arab homelands after 1948 in retaliation for the creation of the State of Israel? Did this "collusion" of Arab nations create a large but little-known refugee population of nearly 900,000 displaced Jews: more than the approximately 650,000 displaced Palestinians at the time? That's the conclusion by a coalition group called Justice for Jews from Arab Countries.

Gibson's 'Passion' Termed Anti-Semitic

06/13/2003
Staff Writer
Hollywood superstar Mel Gibson's upcoming movie about the death of Jesus is anti-Semitic and could lead to increased hatred of Jews around the world, a team of prominent Catholic and Jewish scholars is warning. In response, the Oscar-winning Gibson has threatened to sue the scholars.

Split In Young Israel Family

06/06/2003
Staff Writer
Things are growing nastier at 3 W. 16th St. in Manhattan. Last week, the Young Israel of Fifth Avenue (YIFA), an Orthodox synagogue with about 200 members located at the Chelsea address, was barred from receiving its packages. That's because the building owner is refusing to accept the synagogue's mail. The latest incident of anti-Semitism? Hardly. The building owner is the National Council of Young Israel, the parent organization for nearly 150 Orthodox synagogues across the country.

'Blindsided' By Singer?

05/30/2003
Staff Writer
Who does Israel Singer represent? That's the question several angry Jewish interfaith leaders are asking this week after Singer met privately in Rome with Pope John Paul II and raised several key issues between the Vatican and the Jewish community (apparently without the authorization of IJCIC) the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.

Wake-Up Call For Britain

05/30/2003
Staff Writer
British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was hardly surprised when it was revealed that the suicide bomber who murdered three people in a Tel Aviv jazz club April 30 was a British Muslim. "We have been warning the government for some years that extremist [Muslim] groups were operating in Britain, taking advantage of the extreme tolerance that Britain has," Rabbi Sacks said in a phone interview. "It isn't a complete surprise. But it is a wake-up call."

Harvard Chair Mess Is Anything But Divine

05/30/2003
Staff Writer
Harvard Divinity School graduate student Rachel Fish became disturbed last winter by what she heard at a conference she helped organize on global anti-Semitism. The 23-year-old Tennessee native learned there might be a connection between a new $2.5 million endowed chair in Islamic studies at the divinity school and an Arab cultural center that promotes Holocaust deniers, and anti-Semitic and anti-American concepts.
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