News

Gay Saudi Diplomat Fears Persecution

09/12/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) -- A Saudi Arabian diplomat based in Los Angeles has requested political asylum because he is gay and close friends with a Jewish woman.

The diplomat was identified Saturday by NBC News as Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. Asseri said he was effectively fired from his position since his diplomatic passport was not renewed by Saudi officials. He told NBC in an email message that he would be killed if he returned to Saudi Arabia.

Netanyahu Hints at Continuing Freeze

09/12/2010 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled he would heed, in part, an appeal from President Obama to continue the settlement freeze.

"Between zero and one there are a lot of possibilities," Haaretz quoted Netanyahu as telling his Cabinet ministers on Sunday. Other media quoted similar remarks from the prime minister, suggesting that he is considering quashing some -- if not all -- of the thousands of building permits set to kick in when the partial moratorium he imposed last fall expires on Sept. 26.

Michael Oren, Making the Case for Obama

09/11/2010 - 20:00
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Michael Oren outlines what may be his toughest assignment: Making the case to a skeptical public for a leader who's hard to pin down.

Pitching Bibi to the Americans?

No, that's an easy one.

The real problem for the Israeli ambassador to Washington is how to make Israelis understand President Obama.

"Obama often doesn’t get the credit he deserves in Israel," Oren said in a pre-Rosh Hashanah interview with the U.S. Jewish media. "I think it’s important at some point that he visits us."

Clinton cites Newport letter in speech to Muslims

09/07/2010 - 20:00
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- In an address to Muslims, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cited George Washington's letter to the Jews in making the case for American tolerance.

Clinton spoke at her department's annual Ramadan break-the-fast celebration for diplomats and American Muslim leaders.

She praised rabbis and other clerics for speaking out against a Florida church's plan to burn the Koran.

Sanctions shortened for Muslim student group

09/07/2010 - 20:00

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- A Muslim student group at the University of California, Irvine, had a yearlong suspension shortened to four months.

The Muslim Student Union (MSU) on the Irvine campus will be barred from operating this fall semester, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles reported.

Presidents Conf. again calls for U.N. walkout on Ahmadinejad

09/07/2010 - 20:00

(JTA) -- A major Jewish umbrella organization again has called on the ambassadors of United Nations member states to walk out on a speech by Iran's president.

Anticipating that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again will seek to address the General Assembly this year, leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations sent letters asking delegates to leave should Ahmadinejad be allowed to speak before the international body.

Obama to Rabbis: Securing Israel Critical for Peace

09/07/2010 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- President Obama told American rabbis that securing Israel was critical to the peace process.

The president, in a 35-minute Rosh Hashanah call Tuesday with 600 rabbis of all denominations, said his administration's efforts to reassure the Israeli government of U.S. backing for its security helped bring about the renewed peace process.

The Obama administration in the past year has enhanced intelligence sharing and missile defense cooperation with Israel, and has taken the lead in isolating Iran until it makes transparent its nuclear program.

Peres, in New Year's Message, Calls for Jewish Unity

09/07/2010 - 20:00

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres in a Rosh Hashanah message called on Jews in the Diaspora and Israel to work together.

In a message to Jewish communities around the world, Peres called for Israel to continue to "be a part of the Jewish and Zionist education of Jewish youth in the Diaspora," and for youth to visit the Jewish state as a way to achieve this goal.

Jewish Groups Step Up Efforts to Combat Anti-Muslim Bigotry

09/07/2010 - 20:00
JTA

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) -- Jewish groups have stepped up efforts to combat anti-Muslim bigotry, with several national initiatives announced this week and supporting statements coming in from a range of Jewish voices.

In Washington, officials from several Jewish organizations took part Tuesday in an emergency summit of Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders that denounced anti-Muslim bigotry and called for a united effort by believers of all faiths to reach out to Muslim Americans.

Obama Facing Jewish Left Backlash

09/06/2010 - 20:00
Washington Correspondent

As the midterm elections near, Jewish progressives, frustrated by what they see as President Barack Obama’s lack of leadership on a range of domestic issues — starting with the economy — may sit out the November congressional vote in large numbers.

The prospect of a backlash from Jewish liberals, which carries big political risks for the president, say observers, is his real “Jewish problem,” not the Jewish right’s criticism of his handling of the Israel issue.

President Obama with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
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