National

Anti-Semitism in America today: Down, but not out

Members of the National Socialist Movement rally near Los Angeles City Hall on April 17, 2010. (David McNew/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — When Abraham Foxman steps down next summer from his longtime post as national director of the Anti-Defamation League, he’ll be leaving his successor with a much brighter picture on anti-Semitism in America than when Foxman joined the organization in 1965. In an age when anti-Semitic… Read more »

Presbyterians push back against church group’s anti-Zionist study guide

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Presbyterians who engage in dialogue with Jewish groups are scrambling to undo what they say is the damage caused by a congregational study guide assailing Zionism distributed by a group affiliated with their denomination. The guide, “Zionism Unsettled,” posits that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is fueled by… Read more »

Sid Caesar, TV and comedy pioneer, dies at 91

Sid Caesar on “Your Show of Shows” with co-star Imogene Coca (Wikimedia Commons) Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/02/13/news-opinion/sid-caesar-tv-and-comedy-pioneer-dies-at-91#ixzz2tEslJNrS

NEW YORK (JTA) — Sid Caesar, regarded as the founding father of American Jewish comedy and live original sketch comedy, has died. Caesar, who reportedly has been in failing health for a year, died Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 91. He is best known… Read more »

As confab nears, AIPAC still trying to figure out its legislative agenda

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference on March 5, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The highlight of AIPAC’s year is the final day of its annual policy conference, when thousands of activists ascend Capitol Hill to lobby for the passage of the organization’s legislative priorities. But just three weeks before the conference, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is facing… Read more »

As Kerry works on peace framework, Jewish groups keeping low profile

Martin Indyk, the U.S. special envoy for Ben Gurion International Airport on Jan. 5, 2014. (Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/Flash90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — As the Obama administration prepares to unveil a framework plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Jewish groups have responded by laying low. In contrast to the noisy Iran sanctions contretemps between the administration and much of the pro-Israel community, the leading centrist Jewish groups… Read more »

In Iran sanctions debate, what the sides are arguing about

The first fuel is loaded at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant on Aug. 21, 2010. (Iran International Photo Agency via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A loose coalition of advocacy groups and policy experts, including a pair of dovish Jewish organizations, have been coordinating messaging in support of the Obama administration’s Iran strategy. The coalition was convened by the Ploughshares Fund, which advocates for a nuclear-free world. Coalition participants — J… Read more »

Birthright expands eligibility for free trips to Israel

The Taglit-Birthright Israel program has expanded eligibility for its free 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18-26, JNS.org has learned. Teenagers who went on an educational trip to Israel during high school were previously not eligible for Birthright trips, but can now participate, confirmed Noa Bauer,… Read more »

Will AIPAC-Obama sanctions clash dent pro-Israel lobby’s clout?

Sen. Robert Menendez

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In previous AIPAC vs. White House dustups, the pro-Israel lobbying group’s strategy was to speak softly and let Congress carry the big stick. But in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s face-off with the Obama administration over new Iran sanctions, congressional support may not be so… Read more »

For lone socialist in Congress, pet issue finds the spotlight

Sen. Bernie Sanders addressing a rally on Capitol Hill in 2013. (Courtesy photo)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont and the only self-described socialist in Congress, has long been an outspoken voice in Washington on issues of economic inequality. But with the vanishing middle class figuring prominently in the campaign for mayor of the country’s largest city, and… Read more »

Menachem Stark, slumlord or saint? Depends who you ask

Menachem Stark, shown with his wife and seven children, was hailed as a loving father and generous giver by his Hasidic community. (Courtesy photo)

 NEW YORK (JTA) — The murder of Menachem Stark has sparked intense media scrutiny of the Brooklyn real estate developer’s troubled business record, prompting the New York Post to ask “Who didn’t want him dead?” on its front page. But while mainstream media outlets scrutinized the Satmar hasid’s relationships… Read more »

NBA’s Tony Parker apologizes for anti-Semitic quenelle salute

(JTA) — NBA star Tony Parker has apologized for performing an anti-Semitic salute after a three-year-old photo was published in the French media. The photo shows Parker, a French national born in Belgium, performing the quenelle salute with its inventor, the French comedian Dieudonne Míbala Míbala. The quenelle is… Read more »

Jet-setting Edgar Bronfman flexed muscles for Jewish causes

(JTA) — In 1992, Edgar Bronfman was preparing to leave North America for Paris for his first meeting with then-French President Francois Mitterand at the Elysee Palace when at the last minute Bronfman decided he wanted to take an unexpected meeting in Geneva instead. So he asked Serge Cwajgenbaum, Bronfman’s right-hand… Read more »

End of Congress’ year brings odd reversal on Jewish priorities

The House Budget Committe chair, Rep. Paul Ryan, and the Senate Budget Committee chair, Sen. Patty Murray, walk past the Senate chamber on their way to a press conference to announce a bipartisan budget deal, Dec. 10, 2013. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — For Jewish and pro-Israel groups, the congressional year is ending with an odd reversal: the prospect, however fragile, of bipartisan comity on budget issues coupled with a rare partisan disagreement on Middle Eastern policy. The groups that deal with social welfare and justice issues are heartened,… Read more »

Swarthmore Hillel picks fight over campus group’s Israel guidelines

The board at the Hillel chapter of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania is openly rejecting quidelines on Israel debate adopted by the international umbrella group. (Wikicommons)

NEW YORK (JTA) — With an estimated Jewish population of 275 undergraduates, the Quaker-founded Swarthmore College outside Philadelphia is home to one of the smaller Hillel chapters in the country. But that hasn’t stopped student activists at the small suburban school from picking a fight of potentially epic proportions with… Read more »

Pro-Israel groups backing away from confrontation with Obama over Iran

WASHINGTON (JTA) — When it comes to the deal between Iran and major powers, Israel and the pro-Israel community are retreating from a strategy of confrontation and working instead to influence the contours of a final agreement. In a conference call last week, Howard Kohr, the American Israel Public… Read more »

At American Studies Association, boycotting Israel finds wide favor

WASHINGTON (JTA) — For 90 minutes in a packed hotel conference room in the heart of Washington, Israel was the colonizer, the settler state, the perpetuator of apartheid. As the annual meeting this weekend of the American Studies Association demonstrated, participants who favored boycotting Israeli universities far outnumbered those opposed.… Read more »

Sucker punch: Brooklyn Jews targeted in ‘knockout’ attacks

Crown Heights resident Pinchas Woolstone says the neighborhood is 'light years away" from the era of the riots. (Julie Wiener)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Chava, a student at a Chabad seminary, has lived in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn for six years, but it’s only in the past few days that she started carrying pepper spray in her handbag. Her younger brother gave her the deterrent after news… Read more »

Lapse in launch of nukes deal gives Iran an edge, some say

WASHINGTON (JTA) — There’s the six-month interim deal on Iran’s nuclear program that trades some sanctions relief for a freeze on Iran’s nuclear program. And then there’s the interim before the interim begins. Little noticed in the wake of the historic pact reached last month by Iran and the… Read more »