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Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


Report: Sheldon Adelson meets with Donald Trump, suggests he demonstrate humility

(JTA)—Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson told Donald Trump in a private meeting that the Republican presidential candidate must demonstrate a measure of humility, The New York Times reported.

Adelson, a billionaire casino magnate, also told Trump in the meeting last week in Adelson’s suite at the St. Regis Hotel in New York that he was committed to his presidential campaign.

The newspaper cited five unnamed Republicans briefed on the meeting who were not authorized to publicly disclose information about the get-together.

Adelson’s wife, Miriam, also a large donor to the Republican Party, reportedly was at the meeting with Trump on Aug. 24. Neither Adelson has contributed to Trump’s campaign, to groups supporting him or to the Republican National Committee since they pledged to support him during a private meeting in May at the same hotel, the Times reported.

Trump’s campaign would not comment to the Times on the meeting.

Many of the Republican Party’s most generous contributors have refused to give to Trump’s campaign, according to the newspaper.

Trump campaign CEO reportedly made anti-Semitic remarks, his ex-wife says

(JTA)—Donald Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon made anti-Semitic remarks over a private school in Los Angeles that accepted his twin daughters, his ex-wife charged during a court battle over post-divorce financial issues.

Bannon’s second wife, Mary Louise Piccard, said in a sworn court declaration that Bannon said he did not want to send his daughters to The Archer School for Girls for the 2007-08 school year because he “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews,” The Associated Press reported over the weekend. The AP obtained and reviewed the court papers, which were part of a request for Bannon to pay $25,000 in legal fees and cover the $64,000 in tuition.

“He said he doesn’t like Jews and that he doesn’t like the way they raise their kids to be ‘whiny brats,’” Piccard said in a 2007 court filing.

Bannon took over as the head of Trump’s presidential campaign last week. He previously served as executive chairman of the conservative website Breitbart News, which the Hillary Clinton campaign has charged as being anti-Semitic.

Bannon spokeswoman Alexandra Preate denied that Bannon made anti-Semitic comments about the school.

The AP also cited remarks that his ex-wife said Bannon made while visiting private schools in 2000. At one school, Bannon reportedly asked the director why there were so many books about Hanukkah in the library. At another school, Piccard said Bannon asked her if it bothered her that the school building was formerly a synagogue.

Piccard filed for divorce in 1997 after accusing Bannon of beating her up in an altercation over money.

The Trump campaign has come under fire for anti-Semitism, notably in July, when the Republican candidate’s website showed a Star of David shape and dollar bills superimposed over an image of Clinton and the words “most corrupt candidate ever.”

Italy’s national Jewish museum joins cultural sites donating a day of proceeds to earthquake relief

ROME (JTA)—The National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah is among dozens of state museums and cultural sites that will donate all proceeds from visitors on Aug. 28 to aid earthquake victims and rescue efforts in central Italy.

The museum, which is under development, does not yet have a permanent exhibition, but announced it would donate its proceeds from visitors to its temporary exhibit on the Torah.

On Aug. 25, the culture minister of Italy announced that the Aug. 28 proceeds from state-run museums and archaeological sites all over the country would go to the area devastated by the quake that hit early Wednesday morning and urged Italians to visit them to show solidarity.

At least 291 people have been confirmed dead in the 6.2 magnitude temblor.

Meanwhile, more than 20 volunteers from the Israeli aid organization IsraAid have been working in the earthquake zone since Thursday along with other relief organizations, including volunteers from Islamic Relief Italia.

Italy’s national Jewish umbrella organization, UCEI, and the Rome Jewish community initiated a blood drive in Rome; among the donors was  outgoing Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon. Local Jewish communities and UCEI have collected funds and material for relief operations, and UCEI opened a special bank account for earthquake relief donations.

Philly artist paints over swastikas with flowers, has neighbors do the same

(JTA)—A Jewish artist in suburban Philadelphia turned swastikas painted on her trash can into a neighborhood demonstration of love and caring.

Esther Cohen-Eskin of Havertown discovered the Nazi symbol painted on her trash can on Aug. 19, The Associated Press reported. She and her husband have lived there for 20 years.

“The swastika is such a deep-rooted sign of hatred for everyone, especially Judaism, that I felt so targeted,” she told the AP on Thursday.

Cohen-Eskin decided to paint over the swastikas with flowers. Then she wrote a letter to her neighbors asking them to paint a swastika on their trash bin and paint over it as she had. Garbage cans throughout the neighborhood have been painted with flowers and other symbols of love and caring.

People as far away as Canada, Germany and Ireland called to offer their support. Some sent photos of their own decorated trash containers, according to the AP.

“It gave me a whole new reassurance in humanity,” Cohen-Eskin told the AP. “I feel invigorated by all the love. It’s exciting... it makes you feel there’s so much good out there.”

Argentine boxer Carolina Duer wins world bantamweight title on return to ring

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA)—Argentine Jewish boxer Carolina Raquel Duer won the interim International Boxing Federation’s world bantamweight title in her return to the ring after two years.

Duer, 38, nicknamed “The Turk,” knocked out Aline de Casia Scaranello of Brazil in the sixth round Friday in Quilmes, a Buenos Aires suburb. The bout was aired live by the main Argentine TV channel sport TyC, which called the knockout “spectacular” and spread a video of the victory via social media.

Duer, a former World Boxing Organization super flyweight and bantamweight champion, raised her record to 19-3 with one draw. The knockout was her sixth. She must defend the IBF crown against Chile’s Carolina Rodriguez, who is unbeaten in 15 bouts.

Duer is the daughter of Syrian immigrants to Argentina and attended the Jaim Najman Bialik Primary School in Buenos Aires. She spent more than a month in Israel in her younger years working on a kibbutz and touring the country.

In 2010, Duer was the first Jewish woman to hold a WBO crown, which she defended six times. In 2014 she became a boxer announcer for Argentine National TV.

As an amateur, Duer won 19 of 20 fights.

Poll: Clinton crushing Trump among Florida Jews; Orthodox for Trump 2-1

NEW YORK (JTA)—The vast majority of Florida Jews will vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the presidential election, according to a new poll.

Orthodox Jews were the only Florida Jewish demographic to support Trump.

The poll, conducted by GBA Strategies, found Clinton was beating Trump among Florida Jews, 66 percent to 23 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein earned 6 and 2 percent of the state’s Jewish vote, respectively.

Jews make up 4 to 5 percent of the overall Florida electorate. Clinton is leading Trump by a few points in Florida polls.

Clinton beat Trump in almost every Florida Jewish demographic. Reform, unaffiliated and Conservative Jews all favored the Democrat, as did Jews of every age group. Among the Orthodox, however, Trump was the choice, 66 to 22 percent. Forty-two percent of Florida Jews identify as Reform, while 24 percent identify as Conservative, 19 percent as unaffiliated and 6 percent as Orthodox.

“The only problem Hillary Clinton has with Jewish voters is the same problem Barack Obama had with Jewish voters, and that is there are not more of them,” said Jim Gerstein, a founding partner of GBA Strategies, in a Friday conference call about the poll.

The poll was commissioned by the Schlep Labs PAC, which grew out of efforts to boost Jewish votes for Obama in 2008 and 2012. The findings were released in Washington, D.C., at a briefing conducted by Alex Soros, who chairs the liberal Jewish social action group Bend the Arc; its chief executive officer, Stosh Cotler, and Jeremy Ben Ami, head of J Street, the dovish Israel lobby. Gerstein is a founder of J Street.

In 2012, Obama won the Florida Jewish vote, 68 to 31 percent.

The poll, which was conducted Aug. 4-8 among 500 likely Jewish voters and had a 4.4 percent margin of error, also found that Israel is a low priority for Jewish voters. Only 8 percent of Jewish Florida voters said Israel was one of their top two election issues, compared to 35 percent who chose the economy and 29 percent who indicated terrorism.

“Israel is not the defining issue for the American Jewish voter,” Ben-Ami said on the conference call. “The Jewish electorate is not going to be moved or swayed by hawkish, uncritical rhetoric related to Israel.”

The poll found that most Florida Jews supported last year’s agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions. Fifty-one percent of Florida Jews supported the deal, while 39 percent opposed it. In addition, only 2 percent said they were casting their vote in the November election based on policy toward Iran.

Jewish voters in Florida have drawn attention ever since the 2000 election, where a confusing ballot led a large number of voters in heavily Jewish Palm Beach County to vote for Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate often accused of anti-Semitism. George W. Bush carried the state by 537 votes, which won him the election. He won the state again in 2004.

In 2008, comedian Sarah Silverman led “The Great Schlep” initiative, which urged young Jews to travel to Florida to convince their grandparents to vote for Obama. Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012.

‘Dr. Drew’ show canceled after remarks about Hillary Clinton’s health

(JTA)—CNN canceled “Dr. Drew On Call” eight days after the Jewish celebrity physician said he was “gravely concerned” about Hillary Clinton’s health and medical treatment.

“Dr. Drew and I have mutually agreed to air the final episode of his show on Sept. 22,” said CNN Executive Vice President Ken Jautz, according to CNN Money.

The changes, which were announced Aug. 25, came shortly after Drew Pinsky expressed his worries about Clinton’s health in a radio interview, during which he diagnosed her with brain damage and said she was receiving “sort-of 1950-level care.”

Pinsky said he and a fellow physician had studied the Democratic presidential candidate’s medical records and “were gravely concerned not just about her health but her health care.”

“What is going on with her health care? It’s bizarre,” he said, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “There ought to be some sort of standard for people that are going to lead the country or are going to making these important decisions. Again, Hillary may be fine with all of this.”

Republican candidate Donald Trump has raised questions about Clinton’s health in recent attacks. Clinton “lacks the mental and physical stamina to take on ISIS, and all the many adversaries we face,” Trump said last week.

Although Clinton, like Trump, has not released a full medical record, she did release a two-page health care statement from her physician in July 2015 saying she is in “excellent physical condition and fit to serve as President of the United States.”

Dr. Arthur Caplan, head of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, criticized medical professionals who offer diagnoses of patients not under their care.

“[U]nless you believe in psychic diagnosis, it is completely irresponsible and unprofessional to do it,” he told the liberal watchdog group Media Matters.

“Dr. Drew On Call” premiered on CNN’s sister network HLN in April 2011.

HLN is in the process revamping its content and focusing on more news-related programming, according to Deadline.

13 Jewish graves vandalized in Belfast, Northern Ireland

(JTA)—Thirteen Jewish graves were damaged as headstones were smashed and knocked over at a municipal cemetery in West Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Police were called Friday afternoon to the scene, where smashed pieces of glass could be found atop overturned headstones.

Eight young people are said to have carried out the attack with hammers and blocks, with a larger crowd looking on, according to Northern Ireland Assembly member William Humphrey, Belfast Live reported.

Humphrey said he was “disgusted and appalled” at the vandalism, which the police are treating as a hate crime.

It isn’t the first incident of its kind in Belfast. In 2015, a memorial to a Christian Zionist officer was vandalized, and in 2014, windows at a local synagogue were smashed.

Anti-Semitic graffiti found at playground across from Lakewood yeshiva

(JTA)—Several swastikas and other anti-Semitic messages were spray-painted on equipment at a playground across the street from an Orthodox yeshiva in the heavily haredi Orthodox township of Lakewood, New Jersey.

The graffiti discovered Aug. 25 included the words “Hail Hitler,” the Asbury Park Press reported.

A spokesman for the Lakewood police said the department received a report of “bias criminal mischief” on that afternoon and is investigating.

Mayor Menashe Miller condemned the vandalism, telling The Lakewood Scoop: “Lakewood Township and its police department takes bias crime very seriously. It is obvious that someone is trying to intimidate a particular segment of the community and we will not tolerate that sort of behavior.”

The vandalized playground is across the street from Yeshiva K’tana, a K-12 Jewish boys school.

NY state attorney says he was target of anti-Semitic Trump supporters

(JTA)—New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he has been the target of “gruesome” anti-Semitic tweets from supporters of Donald Trump, whose for-profit Trump University is the target of a state lawsuit alleging fraud.

Schneiderman also joked that he would leave the United States for the Dominican Republic if Trump was elected president.

Schneiderman made the remarks during an interview published Aug. 25 by the New York Daily News. The state attorney, who is Jewish, also said he had been the subject of personal attacks by Trump.

In 2013, Schneiderman filed on behalf of the state a $40 million civil lawsuit against Trump for his Trump University—now known as the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative—charging that the real estate training program was a “bait-and-switch” scheme.

The Republican presidential candidate has denied all accusations, calling Schneiderman a “political hack.“ In February, Trump accused President Barack Obama of bribing Schneiderman with a campaign contribution to bring the lawsuit against Trump University.

The case is not expected to go to trial until after the election. New York’s highest court  is expected to hold a hearing this fall on a motion by Trump’s lawyers to dismiss several of the claims brought by Schneiderman.

“You guys can reach me in the Dominican Republic if there is a Trump administration,” Schneiderman said jokingly during an appearance before the Daily News editorial board on Aug. 25.

Schneiderman, a Democrat and supporter of the party’s presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, echoed statements made by her on Aug. 25 when he accused Trump’s campaign of fomenting racist sentiment, including against Jews.

“You don’t get to choose your bigots. Once you go after Muslims and you go after Mexicans, it’s open season,” he said.

Schneiderman added: “I think probably we are better off having it out in the open rather than having winks and dog whistles for the bigots.”

Roseanne Barr calls Hillary Clinton ‘anti-Semitic,’ says top aide is ‘filthy nazi whore’

(JTA)—Jewish actress-comedian Roseanne Barr repeatedly slammed Hillary Clinton on Twitter, saying the Democratic presidential nominee “will be the absolute death of Israel.”

Barr posted numerous inflammatory remarks, videos and articles about Clinton last week, including one that refers to her as “Hitlery Clinton” and another that labels her “anti-Semitic Hillary.”

Last Friday alone, Barr tweeted and retweeted several posts about Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin, whom Barr labeled “a filthy nazi whore.” Abedin, a Muslim American, is married to former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner, who is Jewish.

Barr also tweeted that Clinton “is surrounded by jew haters who make fun of the holocaust & jewish suffering…”

On Aug. 24, Barr tweeted: “Hillary will be the absolute death of Israel-she will sell #nukes to Hamas next if price is right [sic]. She listens to Sid Paul and Max Blumenthal,” she wrote, referring to former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal and his two sons Max, an avowed anti-Zionist, and Paul, a journalist.

Barr, who starred in the long-running sitcom “Roseanne,” has been outspoken in her support of Israel in recent years. She visited the Jewish state in May, where she was a keynote speaker at a Jerusalem conference on the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

In 2012, Barr sought the presidential nomination of the Green Party, but lost to Jill Stein, the party’s current presidential candidate.

The comedian, who frequently posts on Twitter, is an outspoken critic of the pro-Palestinian left and BDS. She has even called Jews who support BDS “anti-Semites” and recently retweeted a post from JTA’s partner website Jewniverse noting that the Bataclan, the Paris nightclub where at least 130 people were killed in a recent attack, was named for a 19th-century Jewish operetta.


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