Weekly roundup of world briefs


August 19, 2022

The judge who signed the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago warrant is facing violent antisemitic threats

By Madeline Fixler

(JTA) — Bruce Reinhart, the federal judge in Florida who signed the warrant allowing the FBI to raid former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property on Tuesday, has been hit with a wave of antisemitic threats online. 

The outburst has appeared on right-wing social media platforms and message boards, where users have published the judge’s name, address and personal information. Threats have been directed at his children and supposed family members as well. 

Reinhart, who appears to be a member of the board of Temple Beth David in Palm Beach Gardens, has been a magistrate judge for the Southern District of Florida since 2018. 

Calls for violence have accompanied antisemitic slurs and conspiracy theories, many referencing how Reinhart represented former employees of Jeffrey Epstein during a case involving the late convicted sex trafficker in 2008. Prior to the Epstein case, Reinhart worked as a federal prosecutor and then in a private practice until 2018. 

One user on 4chan, an online message board known for racist activity, wrote: “About that Judge that signed the search Warrant…Bruce Reinhart once quit his job as a U.S. Attorney to work for Jeffrey Epstein.” Another responded writing, “That is a k***. And a pedophile …  He should be tried for treason and executed.”

“I see a rope around his neck,” wrote a user on the separate pro-Trump message board formerly called The Donald, according to Vice News.

The Mar-a-Lago raid concerned confidential documents that Trump allegedly removed from the White House when he left in 2021. Subsequent right-wing outrage from many of his supporters has included calls for civil war and abolishment of the FBI and IRS. 

Israeli patent applications rose by 18.5% in 2021

(Israel Hayom via JNS) — Data from the Israel Patent Office shows an increase of 18.5 percent in patent applications in 2021, the agency said on Tuesday.

The Patent Office, a division of the Justice Ministry, said that overall, 9,616 applications to register intellectual property rights in Israel were filed in 2021, compared to 8,123 in 2020.

The agency further noted that while 2020 saw the coronavirus pandemic impact such applications, the data shows that this field as well had recovered throughout 2021.

According to the Patent Office, the increase in patent applications was observed across all disciplines, but while in 2020 there was an increase in patent applications by both foreign and Israeli inventors, in 2021 there was a decrease in patent submissions by Israeli applicants and an increase in foreign applications.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

Concerns grow as Russia launches Iranian satellite into orbit

(JNS) — Russian authorities on Tuesday oversaw the launch from Kazakhstan of an Iranian satellite, named “Khayyam,” into orbit.

The launch comes just weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian leader Ali Khamenei pledged to cooperate against the West.

Iranian Information and Communications Technology Minister Isa Zarepour, who attended the launch, stated the development marked the “beginning of strategic cooperation between Iran and Russia in the space industry,” reported Iran’s semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

“The high-resolution images (taken by “Khayyam”) could be used to improve the space applications in the country in the environmental and agricultural sectors,” Zarepour was quoted as saying.

The Washington Post reported last week that U.S. officials are concerned the satellite will allow Iran to monitor sensitive sites and potential targets in Israel and the broader Middle East, in addition to helping Moscow wage war against Ukraine.

Zarepour dismissed the Post‘s report as “untrue.”

‘Aliyah’ from Russia, Ukraine spikes following Russian invasion of Ukraine

(JNS) — Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, immigration to Israel from both countries rose dramatically, according to data released on Wednesday by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

According to the CBS, 18,891 Russians and 12,175 Ukrainians moved to the Jewish state between Feb. 24 and July 31. The figures do not include Ukrainian refugees who fled to Israel but are not eligible for citizenship.

By comparison, during the same period in 2019, the year prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the CBS recorded 2,651 immigrants arriving in Israel from Ukraine and 7,123 from Russia.

In 2021, a total of 25,497 people immigrated to Israel, the vast majority of them from Russia (7,640), France (3,594), the United States (3,480), Ukraine (3,059) and Belarus (1,014).

Anti-Semitic fliers dropped at homes in Houston area, second time this year

(JNS) — Hate-filled fliers from an anti-Semitic group were again left outside of homes in the Houston area.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the fliers, which said either “Let’s Go Brandon,” a slogan used to mock U.S. President Joe Biden, or “Every aspect of the Biden administration is Jewish,” were left in the Bellaire neighborhood, an area that community is home to several synagogues.

Similar papers were previously left outside of homes in the Houston area back in February.

In recent days, hate- and conspiracy-filled fliers blaming Jews for a variety of ills were left outside of homes in Nashville, Tenn.; Springfield, Mo.; and Gainesville, Fla. Many of the fliers were dropped by someone affiliated with the Goyim Defense League, a virulently anti-Semitic group.

As has been the pattern in previous cases, the fliers are put into plastic bags filled with corn or beans, and then tossed onto driveways and yards.

“The speech and sight of these corn-filled packages are just completely stomach-turning,” a Gainesville resident, identified only as Eva, told the local TV station WCJB.

The city’s mayor, Lauren Poe, tweeted a statement saying “Gainesville stands with all of our neighbors in condemning anti-Semitic attacks in the strongest possible terms. They do not represent the welcoming and loving community we are. Please report any instances of anti-Semitic attacks to the Gainesville Police Department.”

British Palestinian journalist criticizes Hamas for not battling with Islamic Jihad

(JNS) — On a program that aired on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) on Sunday, British Palestinian journalist Abdel Bari Atwan chastised Hamas in the Gaza Strip for refusing to support the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in combating Israel during the recent rocket war from Aug. 5-7.

According to a MEMRI video report, Atwan claimed the PIJ took part in all of Hamas’s wars against Israel, including the “Sword of Jerusalem” (the name of the 11-day conflict in the Gaza Strip in May 2021). Atwan added that “everybody” was anticipating at least a statement of support from the Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas.

He stated: “Where is Hamas, demand the Palestinians? Abu Ubeida is where? The Al-Qassam Brigades are where?”

The Palestinian media figure added: “The Islamic Jihad stood by Hamas in all its wars. When Hamas started the ‘Sword of Jerusalem’ war, the Islamic Jihad stood shoulder to shoulder with Hamas, confronting the Israeli aggression and incursions in Jerusalem and its environs.”

“We are talking about a resistance movement,” he said. “A resistance movement must be honest with its supporters.”

UN officials visit jailed Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, warn ceasefire still ‘fragile’

(JNS) — A team of United Nations officials on Wednesday visited jailed Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Bassam al-Sa’adi, who was arrested by Israeli forces on Aug. 1 prior to the outbreak of the conflict against the Gaza Strip-based terrorist group.

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland tweeted that he had dispatched a team to Israel’s Ofer prison to meet with Sa’adi, while reiterating that the ceasefire that took effect between Israel and PIJ on Sunday night following three days of heavy fighting remained “fragile.”

According to Israeli media, Wennesland met over the weekend with members of al-Sa’adi’s family at their home in Jenin.

The U.N. representatives’ visit to al-Sa’adi comes as PIJ is reportedly seeking his immediate release, claiming it conditioned the recent halt to hostilities on an international effort geared towards that end.

However, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Channel 12 that Jerusalem had not agreed to any such demand, and a military court on Thursday reportedly extended al-Sa’adi’s detention until August 16.

Last week, Israeli forces launched an operation that resulted in the detainment of al-Sa’adi, who leads PIJ in Judea and Samaria and is suspected of building terror cells in the area.

Concerned about potential reprisals, the IDF shut down much of the country’s south. Tensions with PIJ eventually boiled over on the afternoon of Aug. 5 when the IDF initiated “Operation Breaking Dawn” to preempt an imminent PIJ attack.

During the conflagration, terrorists from the Gaza Strip fired some 1,100 projectiles towards Israel, approximately 200 of which came down inside the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli military. Of the rockets that did cross into Israeli territory, Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system shot down 96 percent of those that would have landed in populated areas, the IDF said.

An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement between the sides came into effect at 11:30 p.m. local time on Sunday.

Islamic Jihad receives tens of millions of dollars a year from Iran, says Israeli defense minister

(JNS) — Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday accused Iran of providing tens of millions of dollars a year to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Cypriot Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides, who is in Israel for an official visit, Gantz said that Iran also helps smuggle material into Gaza that is then used to make weapons. This is done via Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, he said.

During their earlier meeting, Gantz noted that he and Petrides had discussed the recent round of fighting between Israel and PIJ, which ended in a ceasefireon Sunday night.

During the brief conflict, “Over 1,000 rockets were launched by Islamic Jihad from within population centers, toward Israeli kindergartens, schools, communities,” said Gantz. “Their disregard for human life was tragic, as multiple failed rocket launches led to the deaths of innocent Palestinian children in Gaza,” he added.

According to figures released by the IDF, of the approximately 1,100 rockets launched at Israel during the fighting, some 200 fell inside the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Gantz hailed Israel’s “great bond” with Cyprus, which he said was based on shared values and interests, as well as a common vision for a peaceful region. He said that this has translated into defense cooperation as well as joint projects in the field of energy, in particular.

“We also value the trilateral framework [including] Greece,” Gantz said, calling the alliance “an asset to the force build-up of the individual countries, as well as to wider regional security.”

Gantz emphasized that Israel would continue to work with its partners to confront Iranian aggression, “which harms security and stability everywhere from the Israel-Gaza border, to the Mediterranean Sea, to the Gulf and beyond.”

Funerals take place for mother and daughters killed in Jerusalem bus accident

(JNS) — A pregnant woman in her late 30s and two of her young daughters, ages 2 and 7, were laid to rest in Jerusalem just hours before Shabbat following a deadly bus accident on Thursday night.

According to local media reports, the bus driver lost control of his vehicle and collided with a bus station outside a shopping mall, killing Shoshana Glustein and her daughters Chaya-Sara and Chana, and injuring a number of other people, one critically.

Onlookers rushed to help, and police and rescue personnel worked for hours at the scene.

Police are investigating if the driver left the bus without activating the handbrakes.

This was the second accident involving a public bus in Jerusalem this week. In the first accident, a driver lost control of his vehicle and killed a pedestrian in his 70s.

New York governor signs legislation to aid Holocaust survivors, support education

(JNS) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law a package of legislation to assist and honor Holocaust survivors, as well as support better Holocaust education in schools.

“As New Yorkers, we are united in our solemn commitment to Holocaust survivors: We will never forget,” said Hochul at the signing ceremony, which took place on Wednesday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage-A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Lower Manhattan. “These are individuals who have endured unspeakable tragedy but nonetheless have persevered to build lives of meaning and purpose right here in New York. 

“We owe it to them, their families and the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust to honor their memories and ensure future generations understand the horrors of this era,” said the governor.

The new legislation authorizes the state’s commissioner of education to conduct a survey and determine whether school districts in New York are meeting the requirements for teaching about the Holocaust, which has been mandatory by law since 1994. 

Avi Posnick, executive director for StandWithUs Northeast, was among those who attended the signing ceremony and said the Holocaust education bill, along with Hochul’s proclamation in June to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s  working definition of anti-Semitism, “stresses the critical importance of learning from and about the Holocaust.” 

He noted in his statement: “At a time when anti-Semitic crimes are spiking across the nation, and 30 percent are taking place in New York and New Jersey, it’s high time to take these steps.” 

Among other items that Hochul signed into law include a bill that requires the New York Department of Financial Services to keep a list of institutions that waive wire-transfer or processing fees for Holocaust reparations payments, and one that requires museums to publicly acknowledge the origins of artwork stolen from Jews by the Nazis.

Missouri man admits plan to bomb local synagogue, says he hates Jews ‘with rage’

(JNS) — A man from St. Louis admitted in court that he threatened to bomb a local synagogue while people were inside, the U.S. Department of Justice announcedon Monday.

Cody Steven Rush, 30, pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey to the use of a telephone and instrument of interstate commerce to make a threat, a charge that carries a potential prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Rush admitted calling the St. Louis branch of the FBI on Nov. 5, 2021, and saying, “I’m going to blow up a church.”

He gave his name to the FBI dispatcher and said his target was the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis. Rush told the FBI agent on the call that he would act on his threat the next morning when people were inside the synagogue, and that he “hated Jews.”

He apparently called back later and again threatened to attack the synagogue “while they are in service.” When the FBI agent on the call asked Rush if had anything to add, he replied: “Yeah, that I hate them with rage.”

Rush called the FBI a third time and shared that he was on the same street as the synagogue, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. He made additional threats when the FBI called him back.

When officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the St. Louis County Police Department and the FBI found Rush, he told them: “I am feeling suicidal and homicidal. I just feel like killing Jews.”

He was arrested and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 8.


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