National

Rendell Cuts Off Israeli-American Security Firm

09/16/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell terminated a contract with an Israeli-American agency that tracked peaceful protests and reported them as potential terrorist threats.

Rendell said Tuesday that he was "deeply embarrassed" by revelations of a $125,000 contract with the Philadelphia-based Institute of Terrorism Research and Response.

The state's Office of Homeland Security contracted the institute to track threats, and then relayed its reports to a large number of law enforcement and private groups.

Israel Reportedly OKs U.S.-Saudi Arms Deal

09/15/2010

JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel has privately signed off on a proposed arms deal between the United States and Saudi Arabia, a Washington columnist reported.

At $60 billion, the deal is the most expensive arms deal ever. It will be spread out over five to 10 years.

Syndicated columnist Douglas Bloomfield reported Tuesday that Israel has privately blessed the sale, citing U.S. congressional, Israeli and lobby sources.

Mosque Conflict Seen Sharpening Jewish Divisions

Nascent effort to combat anti-Islam sentiment running into strong headwind.

09/15/2010
Washington Correspondent

The New York Islamic center controversy — and what some analysts say is the worst surge of nativism and bigotry since the Red Scare of the 1950s — is sharpening longstanding rifts in American Jewish life.

Sign of the times: Opponents of the planned Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero protest on 9/11. Getty Images

American Jewish Right Muted Ahead of Possible Extension of West Bank Settlement Freeze

09/14/2010
JTA

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Don't expect a familiar American echo now that West Bank settlers are gearing up to fight the possible extension of Israel’s settlement freeze.

Activists on the left and right in Israel usually get their allies in the American Jewish community to fight for the cause of the day with congressional lobbying and protests to Israeli and American officials.

Brandeis Students, Alumni Demand Peretz Apology

09/13/2010

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- More than 350 students and alumni at Brandeis University called on columnist Martin Peretz to apologize for saying Muslims do not value human life or deserve free speech.

Clinton cites Newport letter in speech to Muslims

09/08/2010
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

09/08/2010

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

09/08/2010

(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

09/08/2010

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.

Jewish Groups Step Up Efforts to Combat Anti-Muslim Bigotry

09/08/2010
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.

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