Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


Hillary Clinton urges Jews to aim for their ‘best selves’ in call to get out the vote

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Hillary Clinton spoke with Jewish supporters in a Rosh Hashanah-themed get-out-the-vote call, urging them to help her build “a country consistent with our best selves.”

“The High Holy Days are a time to reflect on the last year, take a hard look at personal and collective priorities, and ask ourselves how we can do better in the year ahead,” the Democratic presidential nominee said Thursday on a call that her campaign said reached 1,000 supporters. “To build a country that is consistent with our best selves, a country that is big enough for everyone.”

Clinton did not mention her rival, Republican nominee Donald Trump, but her campaign’s pitch to the Jewish community has emphasized Trump’s broadsides against immigrants and minorities and his disparaging references to some women.

Clinton also spoke of her meeting earlier this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying she told him that she would always “stand up for Israel’s security and continue to work for peace.” Netanyahu also met with Trump.

The former secretary of state expressed her sadness in the 10-minute call at the death this week of Shimon Peres, and noted her husband, former President Bill Clinton, would join the delegation to the funeral for the former Israeli president and prime minister led by President Barack Obama. She closed her remarks with “Shanah Tovah.”

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, the executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, opened the call casting the responsibility to vote as a religious one.

“The choices we each make in these coming weeks will not only determine how we personally are inscribed in the Book of Life this year but will affect people around the world for many years to come,” said Schonfeld, spoke in a personal capacity. “We are with you Secretary Clinton because the Jewish community knows that we are always stronger together.”

“I’m with her” and “Stronger together” are Clinton campaign slogans.

The Clinton campaign’s chief Jewish outreach official, Sarah Bard, closed the call with a an appeal for volunteers to register voters, man phone banks and knock on doors.

OSCE announces action plan to combat anti-Semitism

(JTA)—The 57 European and Eurasian countries that comprise the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are embarking on a three-year initiative to promote education and awareness about anti-Semitism and to address Jewish community security.

The initiative, titled “Words into Action to Address Anti-Semitism,” was announced Sept. 28. It was launched by the parliament of Germany, which currently chairs the OSCE, and is being spearheaded by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

Rabbi Andrew Baker, the American Jewish Committee’s director of international Jewish affairs, serves as OSCE’s personal representative on combating anti-Semitism.

“OSCE participating states have recognized that anti-Semitism poses a threat to stability and security in the OSCE region,” Michael Georg Link, director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said in a statement. “They agreed to undertake a number of steps to address the problem in cooperation with civil society.”

Earlier this year the OSCE sought grant applications from universities, museums, schools, ministries of education and civil society organizations to develop programs for countering anti-Semitism through the arts, education, media and coalition building. The grants for the chosen projects will range from 5,000 to 40,000 euros—about $5,600 to $45,000.

Earlier this week, the Anti-Defamation League presented recommendations to the OSCE’s annual human rights conference on advancing security for targets of anti-Semitism and hate crimes.

“The participating European and Eurasian states have recognized the serious threat posed by anti-Semitism and have made critical commitments to address this concerning issue,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement welcoming the OSCE initiative. “We commend the German government for challenging states to put their commitments into action and for funding and catalyzing this initiative.”

YouTube hires Israeli-American entertainment executive Lyor Cohen to lead music division

(JTA)—YouTube hired Israeli-American Lyor Cohen, a former Warner Music executive, to lead its music division.

Cohen will serve as global head of music for the video sharing and streaming site owned by Google, YouTube announced Sept. 28.

The industry veteran, whose parents are Israeli, will be in charge of relations with artists and record companies, as well of the development of the media company’s new music application, YouTube Music, according to Variety.

Cohen is currently working at the music label 300 Entertainment, which he founded. Previously he served as CEO of Warner Music Group’s recorded music division and president of the hip-hop label Def Jam Recordings.

The move reportedly is part of YouTube’s effort to improve ties with the music industry, which has charged that the site does not pay musicians fairly for their work.

“I hope that together we can move towards a more collaborative relationship between the music industry and the technologies that are shaping the future of the business,” Cohen said in a message to YouTube’s music team, Variety reported.

Philippines president: Hitler killed 3 million Jews, I’ll kill 3 million drug users

(JTA)—Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte compared his campaign to eliminate drug use in his country to the Holocaust, saying he would like to kill millions of drug dealers and users.

“Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug addicts... I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Duterte told reporters Friday, GMA News reported.

Duterte was addressing critics who have compared him to Hitler for his “war on drugs,” which has left over 3,000 Filipinos dead since he took office in July. (Six million Jews were estimated to have been killed in the Holocaust.)

Jewish groups such strongly condemned the comparison between the Holocaust and a drug war. The Anti-Defamation League called Duterte’s comments “baffling.”

“These comments by the Philippine president are shocking,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO. “The comparison of drug users and dealers to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust is inappropriate and deeply offensive.”

“It is notable that the Philippines has a proud history of providing refuge to over a thousand Jews fleeing Hitler’s genocide,” he added.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Digital Terrorism and Hate project, said Duterte owes Holocaust victims an apology for his “disgusting rhetoric.”

This is not Duterte’s first controversial statement as president. After President Barack Obama criticized the Philippines government’s mass detention of drug dealers in August, Duterte called him a phrase that has been widely translated as “son of a whore.”

The United Nations and the European Union also both oppose Duterte’s drug war tactics. Many of the related killings have been carried out by vigilante groups, who target names on police lists—which may or may not be accurate—and, according to the Washington Post, leave bodies on the sides of roads with signs that read “pusher.”

On 70th anniversary of Nuremberg trials, US attorney general lauds recognition of rape as war crime

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Marking the 70th anniversary of the Nuremberg trials, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the most important development in war crimes prosecutions since the trials was the recognition of rape as a war crime.

“One of the greatest advances of international criminal law over the last generation has been the recognition of gender-based violence as a war crime,” Lynch told JTA in an interview Friday.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda classified rape as a war crime as a result of rulings in the 1990s.

Lynch had spoken in Nuremberg on Thursday at the International Humanitarian Law Dialogues, a forum for practitioners and students of international law, at an event marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi war crimes trials in that German city. The trials, which held Nazi officials accountable for their genocide of Jews and other war crimes, formed the basis for current war crimes prosecutions.

The country’s chief law enforcement officer said the recognition of rape as a war crime, coupled with the proliferation of prosecutions, including against commanders in the Balkans, Sudan and the Republic of Congo, was a testament to how a younger generation of prosecutors was increasingly committed to justice.

When she attended law school, Lynch said, students exploring international law saw it as an avenue on “how to make money” through corporate law.

“Now most students talking about international law are asking how they can make a difference,” she said.

Lynch acknowledged discrepancies in the application of international law, where some alleged perpetrators are quickly caught and others—notably Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir—are able to evade justice because of a network of friendly leaders who allow them to travel without being arrested.

“We have to constantly reinvent the ways we tackle this evil,” she said.

Lynch described as a great frustration the reality that it is easier to bring war criminals to justice after the fact than it is to stop their crimes, saying she would love to be able to intervene.

“The nature of what we do as investigators and prosecutors perforce happens after the worst atrocities have been committed,” she said. “The human condition continues to spin out dictators and autocrats and people who live on the suffering of others.”

She would not speculate as to whether President Bashar Assad of Syria, the leader of the regime that has brutally repressed the uprising in his country, or the Islamists battling him would face war crimes in a conflict that has claimed nearly half a million lives over more than five years.

“I’ve been a prosecutor for a long time and I never want to forecast to anyone who may or not be within the ambit of any tribunal because you don’t alert them to that,” Lynch said.

“They would be hard-pressed not to be aware that their crimes have certainly gained international condemnation and they’ve gained international scorn. Right now we’re in the middle of the conflict and we have to see what develops, and also how things will be dealt with once that conflict is resolved,” she said.

“I do think that with the strong coalition of nations that are facing this issue in Syria, that ultimately we will prevail—it is my hope and my view. At the end of that conflict we will certainly have to assess and see how we deal with the perpetrators.”

Carnegie Deli to close at end of 2016

(JTA)—The Carnegie Deli, a New York City mecca for Jewish foods since 1937, will close at the end of the year.

Owner Marian Harper Levine broke the news to employees on Friday morning, The New York Post reported. She will leave the restaurant open until Dec. 31 so that staffers can benefit from tips during the busy holiday season.

The decision was a personal one for Levine, 65, not a business one. She owns the building on Seventh Avenue that houses the deli. Her father, Milton Parker, acquired the deli in 1976 from the original owners.

“At this stage of my life, the early mornings to late nights have taken a toll, along with my sleepless nights and grueling hours that come with operating a restaurant business,” Levine said.

Levine will continue to license Carnegie Deli locations in Las Vegas and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She hopes to arrange a similar licensing agreement in the original location in the future, WABC-TV reported.

“Moving forward, Marian Harper hopes to keep her father’s legacy alive by focusing on licensing the iconic Carnegie Deli brand and selling their world-famous products for wholesale distribution,” said spokeswoman Christyne Nicholas.

The deli’s menu, centering around a trio of hand-cured meats—pastrami, corned beef and tongue—includes the famous “Woody Allen” sandwich, which consists of an enormous serving of corned beef and pastrami. Scenes for Allen’s 1984 movie “Broadway Danny Rose” were filmed in the restaurant.


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