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Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA

 


Tigers pick Brad Ausmus, Israel’s manager in WBC bid, as new skipper

NEW YORK (JTA)—Brad Ausmus, who managed the Israeli national team’s bid for the World Baseball Classic, was named the manager of the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers announced the hiring of Ausmus, 44, on Sunday, making him the only Jewish manager in Major League Baseball. Ausmus was a catcher for four teams in his playing days.

His Israel team failed to qualify for the World Baseball Classic in 2012, losing to Spain, 9-7, in 10 innings in the final game of the qualifying tournament.

Ausmus, a Connecticut native who was educated at Dartmouth, has never served as a manager or coach in the Major Leagues. He has been a special assistant in the San Diego Padres’ front office since 2010, the year he retired as a player.

Ausmus had two stints playing with the Tigers and last played with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He spent the bulk of his career, which started in 1993, with the Houston Astros.

With the Tigers he will succeed Jim Leyland, who stepped down following Detroit’s loss last month to the eventual world champion Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. Leyland managed the Tigers for eight seasons, twice winning the A.L. pennant.

Tunisia out of ‘14 Davis Cup for order not to play Israeli

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Tunisia was suspended from next year’s Davis Cup after ordering one of its national team members to withdraw from a tournament rather than play an Israeli.

The International Tennis Federation in a statement on Saturday said the Tunisian national team would be banned from the 2014 world competition for ordering Malek Jaziri not to compete against Israel’s Amir Weintraub at the 2013 Tashkent Challenger in October.

The statement said the “ITF Board of Directors found that the Tunisian Tennis Federation was in breach of the ITF Constitution by interfering with international sporting practice.”

In voting to suspend the Tunisians, the statement also said the board “was not satisfied with the case put forward by the Tunisian Tennis Federation.”

Jaziri withdrew from the tournament a day before his quarterfinals match against Weintraub, citing a knee injury.

But Jaziri’s brother Amir, who also is his coach, told the French news agency AFP that he pulled out under orders from the Tunisian Tennis Federation not to play an Israeli. An email ordering Jaziri to pull out of the match was published by Tunisia’s state news agency. The Tunisian Sports and Youth Ministry denied making such a demand.

It is believed to be the first time that a player has refused to play against an Israeli in international tennis play, according to reports.

S. Africa pulling back from Israel over Palestinian issue, gov’t minister says

(JTA)—South African government ministers do not visit Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians, the country’s international relations minister said.

“We have agreed to slow down and curtail senior leadership contact with that regime until things begin to look better,” Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said Friday, according to a report by the South African Press Association. “The struggle of the people of Palestine is our struggle.”

“Even the Jewish Board of Deputies that we engage with here, they know why our ministers are not going to Israel.”

Nkoana-Mashabane appeared to contradict herself during her remarks at a meeting of the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ international relations committee meeting.

First she said, “Our Palestinian friends have never asked us to disengage with Israel,” but later said the Palestinians “had asked us in formal meetings to not engage with the regime.”

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday in a statement on his Facebook page called Nkoana-Mashabane’s remarks “a combination of hypocrisy and classic anti-Semitism.”

Interfaith effort urging senators to pass Employment Non-Discrimination Act

(JTA)—Some 60 national faith groups, including a number of Jewish organizations, wrote to U.S. senators urging passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on cloture for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would place a short time limit on debate on the bill, preventing a filibuster.

“ENDA is a measured, common sense solution that will ensure workers are judged on their merits, not on their personal characteristics like sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Nov. 1 letter says. “We call on you to pass this important legislation without delay.

“Our faith traditions hold different and sometimes evolving beliefs about the nature of human sexuality and marriage as well as gender identity and gender expression, but we can all agree on the fundamental premise that every human being is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.”

The bill exempts houses of worship and religiously affiliated organizations from its requirements.

Among the Jewish organizations signing the letter are the American Conference of Cantors, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, B’nai B’rith International, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Hadassah-The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish Women International, Keshet, The Rabbinical Assembly, The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Union for Reform Judaism, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and Women of Reform Judaism.

On Kristallnacht eve, Merkel calls for united stand against anti-Semitism

BERLIN (JTA)—The people of Germany need “civil courage” to stand up against anti-Semitism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on the eve of Kristallnacht’s 75th anniversary.

Merkel, speaking on her weekly podcast with 17-year-old Jewish student Samuel Vingron, also said the fact that Jewish institutions still need police protection is a sobering reality 75 years after the pogrom known as the “Night of Broken Glass.”

The remarks broadcast on her website this weekend precede the anniversary of the pogrom, which will be marked in ceremonies throughout Germany.

In Berlin, in addition to the Jewish community’s annual ceremony, some 100 businesses will put stickers on their windows to symbolize the broken glass when Nazis rampaged homes, businesses and synagogues on the nights of Nov. 9-10, 1938.

More than 1,000 synagogues were destroyed, nearly 100 Jews were murdered and tens of thousands of Jewish men were deported to concentration camps. The government held Jews financially liable for the damages and confiscated insurance payments.

Dieter Graumann, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, will address some 200 members of the Conference of European Rabbis on Nov. 10, in a synagogue that escaped destruction and is now part of the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin.

Rabbi Noam Marans, the American Jewish Committee’s director of interreligious and intergroup relations, will address a commemoration organized by the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace.

In Weimar, American expatriate musician Alan Bern is coordinating a sound installation that will include the ringing of hand bells at former Jewish homes and businesses; citizens will then broadcast the music of once-banned composers from their doors and windows. Also, church bells will be rung across the city.

“The city should be flooded with the sounds of bells and once-forbidden music, bearing witness to what happened in 1938 but also celebrating the freedom we have today,” Bern said.

AIPAC says sanctions lobbying will not be delayed

WASHINGTON (JTA)—The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said there would be “no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts” to seek new sanctions on Iran.

The statement late Saturday came after days of reports that top pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC, had agreed in a meeting with senior White House staffers to suspend for 60 days lobbying for increased sanctions on Iran.

“AIPAC continues to support congressional action to adopt legislation to further strengthen sanctions and there will absolutely be no pause, delay or moratorium in our efforts,” said the statement by AIPAC President Michael Kassen.

Obama administration officials have said that passing intensified sanctions would be counterproductive while renewed negotiations are underway with Iran aimed at making its nuclear program more transparent and ensuring that Iran is not working to make a bomb.

Top officials have met with senators in recent days to ask them not to advance intensified sanctions passed over the summer by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressional proponents of the sanctions, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have said that sanctions forced Iran to the negotiating table and should be upheld to extract meaningful concessions.

That outlook was echoed in the statement by Kassen.

“AIPAC supports diplomatic efforts to achieve an end to Iran’s nuclear program,” he said.

“Diplomatic talks have been made possible because of the strong sanctions passed by Congress and implemented by the administration. Until Iran suspends its enrichment program, additional sanctions are vital for diplomacy to succeed.

eBay apologizes for Nazi memorabilia sold on its site

(JTA)—The online auction website eBay apologized for allowing Nazi memorabilia to be sold under its auspices.

The site removed about 30 items for sale within hours of an investigative report published in the Sunday edition of the Daily Mail. The report went up on the newspaper’s website late Saturday night.

“We are very sorry these items have been listed on eBay and we are removing them,” eBay said in a statement Sunday. “We don’t allow listings of this nature, and dedicate thousands of staff to policing our site and use the latest technology to detect items that shouldn’t be for sale.

“We very much regret that we didn’t live up to our own standards. We have made a donation to charity to reflect our concern.”

The site in its rules rejects the sale of Nazi memorabilia.

Among the items being offered for sale were a complete Auschwitz uniform, yellow Stars of David armbands worn by Jews during World War II, a Holocaust victim’s suitcase and a pair of shoes belonging to a death camp victim.

eBay makes 10 percent of the final sale of items auctioned on its site.

Activists launch bid to pressure Jewish leaders on peace

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Activists involved in Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation launched a campaign to press the U.S. Jewish leadership to back peace talks.

“The Time is Now” was launched last week by Bruce Wexler, a Yale University professor of psychiatry who earlier this year published an exhaustive examination of Israeli and Palestinian textbooks and whether they were educating for peace.

“We are asking all American Jews to write our Jewish leaders and ask that they express their full support for the negotiations and refrain from negative comments during this process,” the website says. “It is vital that we all express our support.”

It draws its name from Psalm 102:14, “Ki Va Mo’ed,” and also from calls from the Obama administration for grassroots Jewish pressure on U.S. Jewish leaders to support the renewed peace talks.

Tovah Feldshuh, a Broadway actress who has been involved a number of Jewish peace groups, appears on the group’s website singing the psalm.

Also backing the initiative is Parents Circle, a group that brings together the parents of Palestinian and Israeli youths killed in the conflict.

Shooting victim leads prayer at Chabad envoys conference

(JTA)—A rabbi who survived an anti-Semitic shooting in Russia led a prayer at the annual gathering of Chabad’s emissaries in New York.

Rabbi Ovadia Isakov from the Russian republic of Dagestan led the prayer on Oct. 31, the first day of the weeklong International Conference of Shluchim and Shluchos of the Chabad movement, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. Thousands of emissaries posted in communities around the world take part in the annual conference.

In July, assailants shot Isakov in front of his house in the city of Derbent late at night and left him for dead. He was rushed to surgery in Israel, where he has slowly recovered from his near-fatal lung injury.

In September, Russian government officials said counterterrorist forces killed Sherif Akhmedov, the man responsible for Isakov’s shooting. They said Akhmedov was part of a simmering Islamist insurgency in Dagestan, the predominantly Muslim Russian republic where Derbent is located, and had an “extremist worldview.”

Isakov told JTA that he intended to return with his wife and four children to Derbent in the near future.

Foxman: U.S. seen as ‘weak and retreating’ on world stage

(JTA)—American wariness of foreign military involvement is making the United States seem “weak and retreating,” warned the Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman.

“Make no mistake about it. If what we are seeing now is the beginning of a deep change in American foreign policy, it will be bad for the Jews,” said Foxman, the ADL’s national director, at a conference Thursday in New York marking the group’s 100th anniversary.

“The combination of America’s unsatisfactory involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the financial crisis at home, have generated a broader opposition to American military involvement overseas,” he said.

Citing among other things the recent congressional resistance to authorizing a strike on Syria, Foxman said, “America is being seen as weak and retreating.”

“The world looks at our choices, looks at our public opinion polls, looks at congressional reactions, looks at the paralysis in Washington on budgeting matters and wonders,” he said.

The perception of weakness could harm U.S. efforts to get Iran to end its nuclear push, Foxman warned.

“I hope that we get our act together,” he said. “I hope Congress starts to think of the bigger picture. I hope we are truly able to keep all options on the table, whether vis-a-vis Iran or Syria, without rushing to military action.”

U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum to get U.N. war crimes archive

NEW YORK (JTA)—The United Nations will give the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington its archive documenting the actions of thousands of Nazi war criminals.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told an Anti-Defamation League conference on Oct. 31 that the entire archive will benefit scholars “at a time when Holocaust denial is embraced by many who prefer diversionary fantasies to inconvenient facts.”

The unrestricted records of the U.N. War Crimes Commission, relating to more than 10,000 cases in Europe and Asia, were put online in early July by the International Criminal Court after an agreement with the U.N. However, thousands of files remained restricted.

The War Crimes Commission was established in 1943 by 17 Allied nations to issue lists of alleged war criminals.

Report: Lockheed Martin to open subsidiary in Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Lockheed Martin reportedly plans to open a subsidiary in Israel that will employ hundreds of workers.

The American aerospace and defense contractor also is looking to purchase Israeli companies and integrate itself into the Israeli economy and its domestic security market, the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv reported Sunday.

Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Patrick Dewar made the announcement over the weekend during a visit to Israel, according to the newspaper.

Work on the project is set to begin immediately, Dewar said. The plans to open a subsidiary reportedly will supplant previously announced plans to open a facility in Israel specializing in information technology.

Israel’s Air Force in 2010 ordered 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. In April, the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries was hired to build the wings for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. IAI already produces wings for the Lockheed-produced F-16 and the U.S. Air Force’s T-38 trainer aircraft.

The company is a major supplier of technology to the Israel Air Force.

 

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