Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


September 8, 2017

Hillary Clinton says Bernie Sanders attacks on her led to Trump victory

(JTA)—Hillary Clinton blamed attacks against her by Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary for president on her eventual loss in the general election to Donald Trump.

In excerpts from Clinton’s forthcoming book “What Happened,” the former secretary of state wrote that the attacks by Sanders, a Vermont senator, caused “lasting damage” and were instrumental in “paving the way for Trump’s Crooked Hillary campaign.”

The book is scheduled to be released on Sept. 12, but Clinton supporters have posted photos of pages from the book on social media.

Clinton also said that she appreciated that Sanders campaigned for her in the general election.

“But he isn’t a Democrat – that’s not a smear, that’s what he says,” she wrote of the Independent. “He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”

Clinton praised Sanders, a long shot for the nomination, for engaging “a lot of young people in the political process for the first time, which is extremely important.”

Clinton also wrote that President Barack Obama counseled her to “grit my teeth and lay off Bernie as much as I could,” according to the excerpts. She said that following that advice made her feel she was “in a straitjacket.”

Sanders, who will turn 76 this week, has not said whether or not he will run in the 2020 race, but did say in July that “I am not taking it off the table.”

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley lays out case for US leaving Iran deal

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in a comprehensive speech laid out a possible case for the United States to leave the Iran deal, although she said no decision had been made.

Haley’s argument, made Monday in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, was that the agreement was inextricably bound to other manifestations of Iran’s bad behavior, including its development of missiles, military adventurism and backing for terrorism.

“The deal drew an artificial line between the Iranian regime’s nuclear development and the rest of its lawless behavior,” she said of the 2015 pact, which trades sanctions relief for Iran for a rollback in its nuclear program.

The Obama administration, which negotiated the deal, said that by ending at least for now the threat of a nuclear Iran, the international community could more easily confront Iran for its rogue actions. The deal did not impinge on sanctions on Iran unrelated to its nuclear activities, and President Donald Trump has continued to oppose them like his Oval Office predecessor, Barack Obama.

Haley outlined possible scenarios for leaving the deal, including one that involves essentially deferring a decision to Congress, which under U.S. law oversees Iranian compliance with the deal.

Under U.S. law, she said, “We must consider not just the Iranian regime’s technical violations of the JCPOA,” referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan for Action, the deal’s formal name, but also its violation of U.N. resolutions and Iran’s history of aggression.

“We must consider the regime’s repeated, demonstrated hostility toward the United States,” Haley said. “We must consider its history of deception about its nuclear program. We must consider its ongoing development of ballistic missile technology. And we must consider the day when the terms of the JCPOA sunset. That’s a day when Iran’s military may very well already have the missile technology to send a nuclear warhead to the United States – a technology that North Korea only recently developed. In short, we must consider the whole picture, not simply whether Iran has exceeded the JCPOA’s limit on uranium enrichment.”

A frustration for Trump, who wants to kill the deal, is that U.N. inspectors continue to confirm that Iran is abiding by the deal. Trump’s top security advisers have counseled against quitting the deal, saying that would play into Iran’s efforts to make the United States responsible for any escalation in tensions.

If Trump refuses in October—the next deadline—to certify compliance, she said, “What happens next is significantly in Congress’s hands.”

Trump’s decertification “would signal one or more of the following three messages to Congress,” Haley said. “Either the administration believes Iran is in violation of the deal; or the lifting of sanctions against Iran is not appropriate and proportional to the regime’s behavior; or the lifting of sanctions is not in the U.S. national security interest.”

In those circumstances, she said, “Congress then has 60 days to consider whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran.”

Former Obama administration Iran hands mocked the speech, saying that however Trump frames abandonment of the deal, the U.S. will be blamed.

“No matter how convoluted this gets, the bottom line will be that the U.S. will be blamed for collapse,” Ilan Goldenberg, who worked on Iran and Israel policy for Obama, said on Twitter. “The reality is that if this is the tack Trump takes, he will be killing the deal, but trying to blame others.”

Diego Schwartzman loses quarterfinal match at US Open

(JTA)—Jewish Argentine tennis player Diego Schwartzman lost his quarterfinal match at the U.S Open in straight sets.

Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain defeated Schwartzman, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, on Tuesday. Busta, the No. 12 seed, had reached the quarterfinals by defeating Denis Shapovalov, a Canadian born in Israel, in straight sets on Sunday.

Schwartzman, who was seeded 29th, had pulled two upsets to qualify for his first Grand Slam quarterfinals, notably on Friday over the No. 5 seed, Marin Cilic of Croatia, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. On Sunday he upended 16th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France 7-6 (3), 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, in the round of 32.

Schwartzman, 25, who was raised in a Jewish family in Buenos Aires, has steadily risen in the rankings since turning pro at 17. Between 2010 and 2012, he won nine tournaments in the International Tennis Federation, the sport’s minor leagues. He won his first ATP Tour title at the Istanbul Open last year, upsetting the highly ranked Grigor Dimitrov.

Public transportation on Shabbat is not essential need, Israeli government tells Supreme Court

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Public transportation on Shabbat is not an essential need, Israel’s government told the Supreme Court in response to a lawsuit.

Several liberal groups and a Meretz party lawmaker, Tamar Zandberg, filed the lawsuit calling for public transportation during the 25 hours of the Jewish Sabbath. Buses and trains do not run in Jewish-majority cities of Israel on Friday night and Saturday prior to sundown.

The State Prosecutor’s Office said in its filing that in response to certain requests, public transportation is provided on certain lines that are needed on Saturday.

The prohibition against permitting public bus lines to run on Shabbat is “based on the law directing the relevant minister to take Israel’s traditions into account as much as possible when determining vehicle traffic on Shabbat,” the filing said, according to Ynet. “Providing licenses for driving on Saturdays, for what few cases specified in regulations, is therefore irregular and is thusly done sparingly.”

Not having public transportation on Shabbat is part of the status quo agreement reached between the haredi Orthodox community and David Ben-Gurion before the formation of the state.

Palestinian security officer charged with incitement over Facebook posts

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Israel has charged a senior member of the Palestinian security service with incitement after he allegedly posted calls on Facebook to carry out acts of violence against Jews.

The posts also included words of praise, admiration and support for acts of terrorism, the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, said in a statement issued Tuesday. They also featured photos of Adolf Hitler and Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann alongside expressions of longing for men like them.

Muhammad al-Sawiti, a West Bank resident, was arrested last month and indicted Monday in a West Bank military court.

“It should be emphasized that online incitement, especially on social media, inflames passions and is liable to lead to acts of terrorism,” the Israel Security Agency said in the statement.

Jewish woman sues Denny’s for serving bacon in her vegetarian omelet

(JTA)—A Jewish woman has filed a lawsuit against a Detroit-area Denny’s restaurant for serving her bacon.

Angela Montgomery, 30, of Sterling Heights, Michigan, said she found bacon in the vegetarian omelet served to her last month at her neighborhood Denny’s.

The lawsuit says Montgomery “is a practicing Jew whose religion forbids the eating of any pork product,” according to a report Monday in the Detroit Free Press.

Montgomery says in the lawsuit that the waitress and manager apologized and said it was a mistake since the bacon container was next to the containers for vegetables in the restaurant’s kitchen. She also said they offered her a new omelet at no charge but that her appetite had been ruined by the knowledge that she had eaten bacon.

Montgomery told the Free Press that she was “poisoned” by the restaurant.

“It’s like the most vile, disgusting creature on planet Earth that’s not supposed to go in your body, and I ate it. To me, that’s a poisoning. I was poisoned,” she told the newspaper.

The lawsuit was filed in Wayne County Circuit Court by Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni, who also filed a lawsuit in the same court last month on behalf of a Yemeni-American Muslim couple from Dearborn against a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Lincoln Park, Michigan, for putting bacon in their chicken sandwiches.

Askar Abubaker, and his wife, Hasinah Saeed, who wears an Islamic face veil, requested cheese as the only extra in their sandwiches. They allege that the KFC employees were looking at them and smiling when they discovered the bacon.

KFC said it was the result of a miscommunication.

“At KFC we respect the religious beliefs of our guests of all faiths,” a KFC spokesman said. “We believe this lawsuit was filed as a result of a miscommunication between the guest and our team member.”

The lawsuits allege breach of contract and negligent representation, and seek monetary damages for emotional and physical distress from having eaten bacon.

Moughni also filed a lawsuit in May against Little Caesars Pizza in Dearborn that advertised halal pepperoni pizza, which the attorney said in his lawsuit was not halal and contained pork.

British couple plead guilty to anti-Semitic attack during wedding at London synagogue

(JTA)—A British couple pleaded guilty to assault in an anti-Semitic attack outside a London synagogue during a wedding.

Ineta Winiarski, 33, and her partner, Kasimiersz Winiarski, 62, from Hackney, a borough of London, offered their pleas Monday in Thames Magistrates’ Court to racially aggravated assault and assault, respectively, The Times of London reported. They are free on bail until they are sentenced Tuesday.

On July 3, outside the Clapton Common Synagogue Kehal Yetev Lev in East London, the couple pushed and struck guests, and whipped them with a dog leash, the prosecution told the court, according to The Times. Ineta Winiarski shouted anti-Semitic epithets while striking the guests.

Magistrate Caroline Dillon said she did not sentence the couple immediately “because we need to find out more about your behavior before sentencing,” the London-based Jewish Chronicle reported.

Jewish pols in Illinois clash over a running mate’s Israel stance

WASHINGTON (JTA)—A Jewish congressman from Illinois pulled his support for a Jewish candidate in the state’s Democratic primary for governor after the candidate named a running mate who has been harshly critical of Israel.

“On August 31, I was surprised to learn through press reports that Senator Daniel Biss had selected Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate,”  Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., said in a Facebook entry posted Saturday.

“I was immediately concerned about some of Alderman Ramirez-Rosa’s past comments about the United States support of our ally Israel, and his affiliation with a group that is an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel,” he said. “Following conversations with Senator Biss and Alderman Ramirez-Rosa, I have informed the campaign of the withdrawal of my support.”

Ramirez-Rosa is affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America, which last month passed a resolution supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

A Bernie Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention last year, Ramirez-Rosa said at the time that he hoped that Palestinian issues would be addressed at the convention.

“You know, for too long the U.S. government has subsidized the oppression of the Palestinian people, and it’s time that that’s stopped,” he told The Real News Network, a progressive website. “And we have seen a shift internationally in favor of justice for the Palestinian people. You know, people stand with Israel, but they also want to make sure the Palestinian people have [justice].”

Supporters of Biss, a progressive state senator who is running in a field of nine for the nomination, defended Ramirez-Rosa and said his running mate was personally opposed to BDS. They noted that he voted in favor of a 2015 law that divested Chicago from companies that were divesting from Israel.

Schneider’s 10th District near Chicago has a substantial Jewish population which leans more conservative than many Jewish communities and has swung back and forth between Republicans and Democrats in recent years. Before running for office, Schneider was active in pro-Israel groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the American Jewish Committee. After Biss named Ramirez-Rosa, Schneider came under fire for backing Biss from Jeremy Wynes, who is mounting a challenge to Schneider next year.

Biss, a mathematician, is the son of noted violinists Paul Biss and Miriam Fried, and the brother of pianist Jonathan Biss. There is at least one other Jewish candidate in the crowded Democratic field for governor: J.B. Pritzker, a venture capitalist.

Schneider in his statement appeared to leave open the possibility of re-endorsing Biss.

“I remain hopeful that, as Alderman Ramirez-Rosa learns more about the importance of the US-Israel partnership to both our nations, the unique challenges Israel faces as the only democracy in a very dangerous neighborhood, and the commitment of the vast majority of the Israeli people to peace and a two-state solution, he will reconsider his positions,” he wrote.

Haredi Orthodox man indicted in Israel for death threats against Reform leaders

JERUSALEM (JTA)—A man from the haredi Orthodox town of Bnei Brak was indicted for making death threats against leaders of the Reform movement and vandalizing a Reform synagogue.

The man, whose name has not been made public, was arrested last month and prosecutors asked that he be held in custody until the end of his trial. He was indicted Monday on charges of extortion, threats, vandalism and intent to commit arson.

He allegedly also targeted the left-wing Breaking the Silence organization and threatened well-known atheists in Israel.

The incidents date back to 2014.

In November 2016, hate graffiti was painted on the walls of the Kehilat Ra’anan Reform synagogue in Raanana and death threats left in envelopes held down by a knife addressed to prominent Reform leaders were left at its doorstep.

The phrase “The divine presence will never leave the Western Wall,” was spray-painted on the building, as well biblical references “Ovadia 18 and 21,” and “Psalms 139:21-22.” The Ovadia citation deals with the destruction of Israel’s enemies at the hand of a vengeful God. The Psalms citation states of enemies of God, “I hate them with utmost hatred; they have become my enemies.”

The letters were addressed to Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism; and Anat Hoffman, chair of Women of the Wall and the head of the Israel Religious Action Center, the advocacy arm of the Reform movement in Israel. The threats came days after a protest for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall led by the Reform leaders.

It was the second time the Raanana synagogue had been vandalized. Similar graffiti has been painted on the walls of the synagogue in January 2016, though no death threats had been issued. The threats included arson against the synagogue.

The man also left threatening letters held down by knives and graffiti outside of the homes of Israeli atheists, and had information on activists for Breaking the Silence in order to leave similar messages. He reportedly also had purchased gasoline and other equipment in order to burn down the headquarters of Breaking the Silence.

Palestinian family evicted from eastern Jerusalem home to make way for pre-1948 Jewish owners

JERUSALEM (JTA)—A Palestinian family was evicted from its eastern Jerusalem home of more than 50 years to restore the property to the Jewish family that owned it prior to 1948.

In the first such eviction since 2009, the eight members of the Shamesneh family, including an elderly couple in their 80s, were evicted early Tuesday morning and by the afternoon remained outside the home. Jewish tenants moved into the home in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood following the eviction, the French news agency AFP reported.

Under Israeli law, Jews who can prove that their families lived on property in eastern Jerusalem before the 1948 War for Independence can ask Israel’s general custodian office to release the property and return them to ownership. Thousands of Jewish families fled Jerusalem during the war when Jordanian forces took over the city.

In 2013, Israel’s Supreme Court upheld the rulings of lower courts in restoring ownership rights to the Jewish former owners who sold the property to other Jews through the Israel Land Fund, a pro-settler organization. The court ordered the eviction of the Shamasneh family to be deferred, however, noting the elderly residents of the home. The family had recently received an eviction order following renewed legal proceedings.

“Settlers are already inside the Shamasneh family’s home,” Peace Now said in a statement. “The settlers, with the backing of the government, are utilizing a discriminatory law in order to change the status quo and Israelize Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The eviction of the Shamasneh family, who resided in the house since 1964, is not only brutal but it is also indicating a dangerous trend that could threaten a future compromise in Jerusalem.”


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