National

Jewish activists try to fight Wall Street — and some protesters’ anti-Semitism

An Occupy Wall Street protestor who says his name is David Smith holds a sign in Zuccotti Park in New York that offers an overtly anti-Jewish message, Oct. 11­. (neolibertariannet via YouTube)

NEW YORK (JTA) — The most unloved man in Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street protests, isn’t a Wall Street banker but a fellow who wears a baseball cap and carries signs denouncing “Jewish bankers.” The man, who told Slate his name is David Smith, comes… Read more »

Kay Granger and Nita Lowey, the congressional couple that’s odd for getting along

Rep. Kay granger, the chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, greets Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a subcommittee hearing while Rep. Nita Lowey, the subcommittee's senior Democrat, looks on, March 11, 2011. (Courtesy office of rep. Kay Granger)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In any other town at any other time they would be a boring, if worthy, pair: Wonkish grandmothers sorting through nitty-gritty foreign policy and budgetary details to keep their country influential and safe. But in Washington at a time of intense partisan rancor, the friendly and… Read more »

Iran observers: Assassination bid underscores nuclear threat

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Iran watchers say the revelation of an alleged plot to hire Mexican contract killers to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington signals the Iranian regime’s deepening radicalization. It also underscores the urgency of the threat posed by Tehran’s nuclear plans, they say. “We need to… Read more »

NBA lockout prompts a new motive for aliyah: basketball

Former Duke University basketball star Jon Scheyer, who will be playing pro ball for Maccabi Tel Aviv, at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel following his group aliyah flight, Aug. 30, 2011. (Sasson Tiram)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Call it circumstantial Zionism. There’s been a recent uptick in North American aliyah — of basketball players. More than a dozen North American players have become Israeli citizens and joined professional Israeli basketball teams and second division squads in the past few years. It’s not exactly… Read more »

Romney’s Jewish backers enjoy front-runner status, but challenges continue

Mitt Romney is the whack-a-mole front-runner: He consistently leads the Republican pack, but only by beating back one conservative challenger after another. First it was Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, and now a surging Herman Cain. His contradictory status — as a front-runner caught in a constant rearguard action… Read more »

Occupy Wall Street protests taking on a Jewish flavor

Participants embrace prior to Occupy Wall Street's Kol Nidre service across from Zuccotti Park in downtown New York, Oct. 7, 2011. (Danielle Fleischman)

Rachel Feldman originally had meant to attend a traditional synagogue Kol Nidre service. Aimee Weiss hadn’t found a place to daven but was looking for something more interesting than a “big box synagogue.” Come Yom Kippur eve, they and several hundred other Jews found themselves drawn to lower Manhattan,… Read more »

U.S. Dept. of Education probing anti-Jewish discrimination at Columbia

A building at Columbia University, which is being investigated for an alleged incident of "steering" at its affiliated Barnard College. (Creative Commons)

NEW YORK (Tablet) — “You’ll feel very uncomfortable,” Barnard Professor Rachel McDermott allegedly told an Orthodox Jewish student at the college when the undergraduate inquired about a course called “Arabs and the Arab World” taught by a controversial Columbia University professor, Joseph Massad. “Why don’t you look at ancient… Read more »

How Occupy Wall Street is like Israel’s summer protests

Protesters marching in lower Manahttan in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration, Sept. 26, 2011. (Paul Stein/Creative Commons)

NEW YORK (Tablet) — As the Occupy Wall Street protest enters its third week, with demonstrations popping up in more than 10 cities, the protesters are aggressively pushing a comparison to the Arab Spring. Some say the movement has channeled the zeal (or perhaps the naivete, others would argue)… Read more »

How the GOP has learned to love Israel unconditionally

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republican presidents have been guiding Israel toward the peace table — sometimes not so gently — almost since the Jewish state was born more than six decades ago. But in the recent round of debates, the crop of candidates vying for the GOP nomination have been… Read more »

The Jewish Zen of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference. (Matt Yohe via CC)

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (JTA) — Social networking sites began buzzing immediately after word spread of the death of Apple Inc. visionary Steve Jobs Wednesday evening. Rabbis took time out of their busy preparations for Yom Kippur to halt their sermon writing and post personal reflections on what the contributions of… Read more »

Congress looks to punish Palestinians, but cuts to security aid pose dilemma

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee seen here answering questions from reporters on Sept. 13, 2011, is withholding funding from the Palestinians because of the Palestinian Authority's statehood push in the United Nartions. (Courtesy Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — If the Palestinians don’t pull back from their statehood push, congressional cuts in aid are inevitable, U.S. lawmakers say. Just how comprehensive such cuts will be, however, could end up depending on Israel’s stance on the issue. Lawmakers, lobbyists and congressional staffers told JTA that hundreds… Read more »

Both sides agree, Irvine verdict sends message to campus activists

A member of the Muslim Student Union disrupts a February 2010 speech by Michael Oren at the University of California, Irvine. (StandWithUs)

(JTA) — The misdemeanor convictions of 10 California college students for disrupting a speech by Israel’s ambassador to the United States is already leading partisans of both sides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to predict changes in the way the fight over the issue plays out on campus. “When you… Read more »

The untold story of Josh Fattal

PHILADELPHIA (Jewish Exponent) — By now, the whole world knows the name and face of Joshua Fattal, the 29-year-old Elkins Park, Pa., native who spent 26 months in an Iranian prison before being reunited with his family last week in Oman and arriving back on U.S. soil on Sunday.… Read more »

Decision coming on national Jewish museum in Washington

Daniel Libeskind's design for the national Museum of the Jewish People (Courtesy Ori Soltes)

WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week) — Washington needs a major national museum of the Jewish people — at least that’s what a group of local heavy hitters and international Jewish celebrities believes. They have been trying for more than five years to get that museum built, and a decision to… Read more »

Obama’s U.N. speech — another “get real” moment

President Obama, meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Roussef, at the United Nations, is canvassing world leaders to oppose a bid by the Palestinians for statehood recognition, Sept. 20, 2011. (Office of Brazilian president)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Was it a speech to help launch his campaign for re-election, or an address to bury hopes for immediate Palestinian statehood recognition? Both assessments marked the immediate reaction to President Obama’s speech Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly, and there was ammunition for both arguments.… Read more »

As U.S. stands with Israel at U.N., some warn of looming rift

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In recent months, the tensions that have characterized relations between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government have largely receded into the background. The Obama administration is preparing to stand virtually alone with Israel at the United Nations in opposing the Palestinians’ statehood push. A consensus… Read more »

This week: At and around the United Nations

Protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, like this one held in June 2011 by the Iran180 group, are expected to be part of the street theater that will accompany this week's happenings at the United Nations. (Iran 180)

NEW YORK (JTA) — With the Palestinians set to submit their bid for statehood as the U.N. General Assembly convenes this week and leaders from around the world descending on New York, there’s going to be a lot going on. Here’s a rundown of what to expect in the… Read more »

JFSA, WIC urge signing of anti-unilateral U.N. petition

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Weintraub Israel Center are encouraging area residents to sign a “Petition Against a Unilaterally Declared Palestinian State” created by the Israel Action Network, a joint project of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The… Read more »

JFSA nominates Giffords, Aaron as heroes

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (P.K.Weis/southwest photobank.com)

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona has nominated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Rabbi Stephanie Aaron for the Third Annual Jewish Community Hero Awards. Created by The Jewish Federations of North America, the awards project uses social media such as Facebook and Twitter to bring national attention to local leaders,… Read more »