Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


New York Observer, owned by Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, ceases print edition

(JTA)—The New York Observer, a weekly newspaper owned by President-elect Donald Trump’s Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner, will cease publishing a print edition.

The Nov. 9 edition was the last print edition, the Observer’s parent company,  Observer Media, announced in a statement.

The newspaper will continue to be available online as Observer.com.

The decision to end the print edition and change its name “signals an end of an era when The Observer served as a fixture of Manhattan reporting and a training ground for scores of journalists now in senior positions in the media world,” The New York Times reported.

Joseph Meyer, chairman and chief executive of Observer Media, told The New York Times that ceasing the print edition was a natural outgrowth of the paper’s shift toward a national audience. Meyer is Kushner’s brother-in-law.

Meyer said in the Observer statement that the media company reaches over 8 million people monthly. The Times reported that Observer.com received 5.6 million unique visitors in September, nearly twice its audience from the year before.

Kushner purchased the newspaper in 2006, when he was 25 and in law school. It had been in print for nearly 30 years.

ADL scorns Trump choice of Breitbart chief Stephen Bannon as top adviser

WASHINGTON (JTA)—The Anti-Defamation League decried Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon as a top White House adviser, saying Bannon’s association with “unabashed anti-Semites and racists” is disqualifying.

Bannon, longtime CEO of the right-wing Breitbart news website, a clearinghouse of alt-right views, joined Trump’s presidential bid late in the campaign and helped lead it to victory.

The ADL in its statement first praised the president-elect for his other hire announced Sunday: Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, as chief of staff.

“At the same time, the ADL strongly opposes the appointment of Steve Bannon as senior adviser and chief strategist in the White House,” said the statement posted on Twitter by ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’—a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists—is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house.’”

Breitbart employs Jews and covers Israel sympathetically, but also has become the nexus of the alt-right movement, which includes in it those who have expressed homophobic, misogynist, white supremacists and anti-Semitic views. In one recent instance, a writer mocked a critic of Polish populism because she is Jewish.

Bannon’s ex-wife in 2007, in sworn affidavits, said he was resisting sending their daughters to a private school because he “didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews.” Bannon denied it.

Before the appointment was made official, Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House of Representatives speaker who is expected to play a senior role in a Trump administration, dismissed claims that Bannon was an anti-Semite.

Saying concerns about Bannon and the alt-right come from “nut cakes,” Gingrich, who is close to the right wing pro-Israel community, told CBS on Sunday morning that Bannon could not be an anti-Semite because he had worked on Wall Street and in Hollywood.

Liberal Jewish groups joined in the criticism of the Bannon appointment.

“Those of us who were alarmed by Trump’s campaign when it began over a year ago are starting to see the things we feared come to pass, and this is one of them—the elevation of an avowed bigot to a position of incredible official power,” said Stosh Cotler, the CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a political action committee that had opposed Trump.

The National Jewish Democratic Committee said in a statement that the hire showed that Trump was not serious about Jewish sensibilities, despite his oft-repeated defense that his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren are Jewish.

“No amount of Jewish family members or potential White House Shabbat dinners will overshadow the fact that Trump has hired a man like Bannon as one of his most senior staffers,” the NJDC said. “We won’t forget.”

Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that is part of the boycott Israel movement, likened Trump to the Israeli government.

“From our work on Israel, we are familiar with the deepening violence, hatred and repression that comes from a far right government,” it said. “We cannot sit by and watch that take place here—this is not a time for business as usual.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her opera debut

(JTA)—Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared on stage in an opera performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Ginsburg, 83, performed Saturday night with the Washington National Opera in “The Daughter of the Regiment” by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. She played the role of the Duchess of Krakenthorp.

Some of her lines were rewritten to reflect the current political climate, according to reports. The Los Angeles Times reported that Ginsburg did the rewriting.  The new lines referenced among other issues the “birther” campaign against President Barack Obama and her 2013 dissent against weakening the Voting Rights Act.

Ginsburg, who reportedly is an opera fan, did not sing, and delivered her lines in English rather than French.

She wore a floor-length green gown and sat in a huge chair that did not allow her feet to reach the floor, according to reports.

Ivanka Trump says she will not serve in her father’s administration

(JTA)—Ivanka Trump, the Jewish daughter of President-elect Donald Trump, said in a prime-time interview that she would not serve in his White House administration.

“I’m going to be a daughter,” Ivanka Trump said Sunday night during an interview with Donald Trump and his family on the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” in answer to a question of how she would support her father as president. She added, however: “I’ve said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues. And that I want to fight for them.”

“Wage equality, child care. These are things that are very important to me. I’m very passionate about education. Really promoting more opportunities for women. So, you know there are a lot of things that I feel deeply, strongly about. But not in a formal administrative capacity.”

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are among the members of her father’s transition team, however.

According to the Code of Laws of the United States, the official compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal statutes of the United States, neither Ivanka Trump nor her husband could be appointed to a public official post due to restrictions on appointing relatives.

Ivanka Trump, the mother of three young children, is the executive vice president of development and acquisitions at her father’s company, the Trump Organization, where her work is focused on its real estate and hotel management initiatives. She also has her own line of clothes and accessories.

During the interview, Trump called on his supporters to stop harassing and threatening minorities and committing acts of vandalism in his name.

“I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, “Stop it.” If it—if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it,” he said.

Trump said he was surprised to hear about the violent acts and thought it must be a small number of incidents.

“I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together,” he said.

In letter to Netanyahu, JFNA board calls for Kotel egalitarian space deal to be fully implemented

(JTA)—The Jewish Federations of North America board of trustees sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underscoring the “growing sense of urgency” on the part of American Jews to see the agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall fully implemented.

The letter was approved by the board on Monday during JFNA’s annual General Assembly, which is being held through Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

“(W)e are writing to affirm our unwavering love for the State of Israel as well as to convey our collective appreciation for all you have done to advance the establishment of an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel and to make room for a diversity of Jewish religious practice and expression,” the letter says. “We recognize that no Israeli leader understands the importance of religious pluralism or has done more in this area than you have.

“We are sure you can understand the concerns we hear from many in our communities who struggle to understand why the implementation of the historic government resolution to create a space at the Kotel where all Jews are free to worship appears stalled.”

Under the agreement announced in January and approved by the Cabinet in a 15-5 vote, the egalitarian section of the wall near Robinson’s Arch would be expanded and placed under the authority of a pluralist committee. The plan called for solidifying haredi Orthodox control over the site’s traditional Orthodox section.

But the religious partners in the agreement backed away from the deal and in June, a group of Orthodox Jewish organizations filed a petition with Israel’s Supreme Court to prevent the establishment of the egalitarian section.

Earlier this month, leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in the United States and Israel brought at least 12 Torah scrolls into the women’s section of the Western Wall plaza for a prayer service. The scrolls were carried into the women’s section for use during the Women of the Wall’s monthly prayer service at the Wall as part of a protest march against restrictions on egalitarian worship at the site.

“We know you recognize the growing sense of urgency to fully implement the Government Resolution which resulted from the work of your office together with Natan Sharansky’s leading of the parties to a compromise,” the letter also says. “Your declaration at last year’s General Assembly that there is ‘one Wall for one People’ has become a statement that our communities truly believe and expect to see come true.”

Sarah Bard, Jewish outreach director for Clinton campaign, moving to Israel

(JTA)—Sarah Bard, the Jewish outreach director for the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, is moving to Israel.

Bard, 36, was scheduled to move by next week, she told JTA last month. Her aliyah, to be with her Israeli fiance, had been planned before the presidential election campaign.

She reportedly does not have a job waiting for her in Israel.

Bard visited Israel in May to participate in a Clinton fundraiser in Tel Aviv.

She also worked on Clinton’s 2008 Democratic primary campaign, losing to Barack Obama. Bard then worked on Obama’s winning presidential campaign.

Trump’s transition team includes Jewish daughter, son-in-law

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Donald Trump’s presidential transition team includes his Jewish daughter and son-in-law, among other family members.

Three of the president-elect’s four adult children are on the team, including Ivanka Trump. Her husband, Jared Kushner, a publisher and, like Ivanka, an heir to a real estate fortune, is also on the team.

Kushner became one of Trump’s closest advisers during the campaign. Among the issues in which he was involved were relations with Israel.

The transition team includes advisers known for their closeness both to the right-wing pro-Israel community and to Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who is a major pro-Israel donor and backed Trump’s campaign with tens of millions of dollars.

Among them are Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who reportedly is being considered for secretary of state or health secretary under Trump, and Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, who may become attorney general.

Gingrich led the successful bid by Congress to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 1995, although no president has yet to implement the Jerusalem Assembly Act, choosing instead to exercise a waiver based on national security interests.

Also on the team is Steve Mnuchin, a longtime banker who was finance chairman of the campaign and, like Kushner, is a scion of one of New York’s best-known Jewish families. Mnuchin is being considered for the post of secretary of the Treasury.

The campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, also is on the team. Bannon took a break from running Breitbart, the right-wing news site that has peddled conspiracy theories that echo themes prevalent among anti-Semites on the alt-right, to lead Trump’s campaign. He has said he wants to return to Breitbart, but on Sunday was tapped senior adviser.

On Nov. 10, a disability advocacy group, RespectAbility, posted what it said was an internal Trump transition team document titled “Trump Cabinet Possibilities.” The list comports with media reports of people being considered for Cabinet positions by Trump.

In addition to Gingrich, Giuliani and Mnuchin as possible choices, other figures who are Jewish or who are close to the right-wing pro-Israel community include:

* Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as secretary of agriculture. Brownback in 2008 ran for president, and made his support for Israel central to his campaign, including an emphasis on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital—a move Trump has pledged he would make.

* Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as secretary of agriculture or commerce. Perry has close ties to the community of Republican Jewish donors.

* Lew Eisenberg as secretary of commerce. Eisenberg, a financier, was one of a small cadre of Republican Jewish Coalition board members who did not run away from the Trump candidacy. Eisenberg was a major contributor to groups backing Trump’s election. Trump stirred concerns among Republican Jews for his equivocation on Israel issues at the outset of his campaign, though he later walked back many of those positions, and for his broadsides against minorities and misogynistic comments about women.

* John Bolton as secretary of state. As a foreign policy official in multiple Republican administrations, Bolton has long been revered in the pro-Israel community for his lead role in the United Nations’ 1991 rescission of the 1975 “Zionism is racism” resolution. Among foreign policy think-tankers, he has been the most forceful in recent years in advocating military action to get Iran to end its nuclear program.

* Carl Icahn, the activist invester, also is under consideration for Treasury secretary, according to the document.

RespectAbility, led by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, who for years was prominent in the pro-Israel community, decried the absence on the list of people who were familiar with the disability community.

Mizrahi listed an array of Republican officials who had experience in advancing disability rights and opportunities as possible choices for the Trump team.

“It is vital for the Trump administration to reflect America, including talented people with disabilities,” she said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch founder: Trump encouraging European anti-Semites

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA)—A founder of Human Rights Watch warned that Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president is encouraging anti-Semitism in Europe.

Aryeh Neier, an American Jew who was born in Nazi Germany, addressed the issue on Sunday at a talk about philanthropy and anti-Semitism during an event organized by the Dutch Humanitarian Fund, or JHF, in the Hague.

“The Trump phenomenon and the phenomenon of xenophobic forces in this part of Europe, some of whom may go further politically than they have gone so far, are likely to contribute” to anti-Semitism, said Neier, 79, the president emeritus of the Open Society Foundations.

Trump, a Republican who defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election, fought allegations during the campaign of encouraging racism and xenophobia. He has called Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, as well as for a ban on entry by Muslims into the United States.

His victory has been celebrated by European far-right groups, including Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front party, who wrote that Trump’s election set the American people “free.” Geert Wilders, a Dutch anti-Islam campaigner, called the Trump victory a “revolution” to be repeated in his own homeland.

Wilders said the victory will “provide very specific encouragement to those who want to demonstrate xenophobia” because “the United States, which has portrayed itself as a leader in efforts to protect human rights, has elected somebody like Trump.”

During the talk, Neier also fielded a question on allegations that Human Rights Watch and groups funded by the American-Hungarian Jewish billionaire George Soros—who also funds the Open Society Foundations—contribute to rising anti-Semitism in Western Europe by singling out Israel for criticism or by supporting its demonization.

Not addressing those accusations specifically, Neier said he opposes rhetoric questioning Israel’s right to exist but stressed all governments should be subjected to “criticism on their policies.”

In 2009, another founder of Human Rights Watch, Robert Bernstein, accused the group of “helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state,” while the “brutal, closed and autocratic” societies of the Arab world were “being ignored.”

The New York-born chief rabbi of Ukraine, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, said at the JHF event that he did not think Trump’s election would embolden anti-Semites in Ukraine.

“I don’t think it’ll have an effect on anti-Semitism in Ukraine,” he said of Trump’s election, which he said was perceived in Ukraine is having effect on everyday life in that country.

JHF, which the Dutch Jewish community established with Holocaust restitution money, provides hundreds of thousands of euros in funding annually for Eastern and Central European Jews.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 08/19/2019 11:24