As Dutch markets deny boycott, EU pressure on settlements grows

Hoogvliet was among four Dutch supermarket chains that distanced themselves from a boycott on Israeli settlements goods they were said to be enacting. (Creative Commons)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — Two weeks ago, the Dutch public learned of what appeared to be an unprecedented victory for European advocates of boycotting Israeli products. Four major supermarket chains reportedly declared a boycott of products from the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. But the… Read more »

It’s rabbi vs. rabbi in competing campaigns to overturn Poland’s shechitah ban

Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, left, and Rabbi Menachem Margolin of the Chabad-affiliated Rabbinical Centre of Europe have been at odds publicly over Schudrich's handling of the kosher slaughter case in Poland. (Creative Commons/Facebook)

(JTA) — A few weeks before Poland’s parliament voted last month on whether to overturn a ban on ritual slaughter, Rabbi Menachem Margolin was scheduled to meet the Polish president in an effort to find a solution to the problem. The ban had been imposed in January, when a Polish… Read more »

Kate Middleton’s baby hoopla and Jewish superstitions

Kate, the duchess of Cambridge, rides in a carriage back to Buckingham Palace in London in June 2013, is in labor in a hospital wing of St. Mary's Hospital named for a wealthy Jewish man. ( Chris Jackson/Getty)

NEW YORK (JTA) – When the news broke Monday that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William, had gone into labor, it seemed that London could not have been more prepared. For weeks, reporters and photographers had been camped out in front of the maternity ward at… Read more »

With few Jews left to save, HIAS finds relevance in non-Jewish refugees

In Kenya, the home of this young HIAS client, the immigrant aid society has taken in refugees from conflicts in neighboring countries, among others. (Courtesy HIAS)

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (JTA) — The new HIAS is not your grandmother’s Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and it’s certainly not the one that brought her mother over from the Pale of Settlement. After decades as the Jewish community’s foremost voice on immigration — first in leading the resettlement of Jews… Read more »

Coach Jacques Demers hoping to add Maccabiah gold to Stanley Cup, victory over illiteracy

Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers embraces his one-time goalie Patrick Roy at Roy's 2008 retirement ceremony at the Bell Centre in Montreal. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Of all the compelling stories of athletic achievement and challenges overcome that could be told by the 9,000 participants gathering in Israel for the 19th Maccabiah Games, it might be hard to find one to top Jacques Demers. He’s a coaching legend, having led the iconic… Read more »

Removal of Islamist Morsi a source of hope in Israel

Egyptian protesters hold an anti-Morsi poster in Tahrir Square in Cairo shortly before the military's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, July 3, 2013. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – For the second time in less than three years, Egypt is erupting in chaos, with a popular protest movement leading to a swift change in the country’s leadership. For Israelis, the Egyptian military’s removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency last week is a cause… Read more »

How a man named Macabi helped bring 21 new countries to Maccabiah Games

BALTIMORE (JTA) — The first arrows Roxana and Rafael Gonzalez launch at the upcoming 19th Maccabiah Games will take flight from their fingertips, but also from Jeffrey Sudikoff’s imagination. Roxana, 25, and Rafael, 24, are part of the first Cuban delegation to participate in the Maccabiah, a quadrennial sports… Read more »

Claims Conf. report on bungled fraud episode in 2001 splits the organization

NEW YORK (JTA) — The release of a highly anticipated ombudsman’s report about how the Claims Conference missed an opportunity in 2001 to detect a massive fraud scheme is raising serious questions about governance of the organization and pitting the organization’s chief executive against the chairman of its executive… Read more »

Canadian Jewish News to keep printing

TORONTO (JTA) — The Canadian Jewish News will keep publishing in print, the paper’s board announced. The paper’s president, Donald Carr, announced June 14 that the board of directors “is happy to confirm that the print newspaper will continue.” In late April, Canadian Jewry’s flagship paper announced that it… Read more »

Student killed in Egypt was active in Hillel, motivated by peace

Andrew Pochter, the Jewish-American student of Chevy Chase, Md., who was stabbed to death during a protest in Egypt on June 28, 2013. (Facebook)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Andrew Pochter, the American student stabbed to death Friday during a protest in Egypt, was active in Hillel and motivated by a desire to encourage peace and democracy in the region. “He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he… Read more »

Bulgaria reveals new evidence on Hezbollah-Burgas link

Israeli ZAKA emergency rescue team evacuating bodies from the scene of the terrorist attack in Burgas, Bulgaria, July 19, 2012. (Dano Monkotovic/FLASH90)

BRUSSELS (JTA) — Bulgaria claims it has previously undisclosed evidence that further implicates Hezbollah in a deadly terrorist attack last year on Bulgarian soil, JTA has learned. A Bulgarian representative to the European Union said Wednesday that investigators have discovered that a Hezbollah operative was the owner of a… Read more »

Jewish exporter from Paris becoming hot merchandise on French music scene

Marc Fichel at his tall at the Rungis wholesale market in Paris, May 29, 2013. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

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Survivor of North Korean prison beseeches world not to repeat Holocaust-era inaction

North Korea refugee and human rights activist Shin Dong-hyuk demonstrating for human rights in North Korea outside the White House, July 10, 2012. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

BRUSSELS (JTA) — When guards dragged Shin Dong-hyuk from his North Korean cell in 1995, he was pretty sure the end was near. Dong-hyuk, then just 13, was born in the prison known as Camp 14, not far from Pyongyang. Camp 14 is part of a network of political… Read more »

HIAS launches yearlong refugee-awareness campaign

HIAS-assisted refugees in Chad (HIAS)

(New York, NY – June 20, 2013) – HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, today launched The Welcome Initiative, a campaign to raise awareness around issues surrounding the treatment and welcome of refugees. Central to the campaign is the Affirmation of Welcome, a call to action to… Read more »

As protests rock Turkey, Israel watches with ambivalence

Protester standing on top of a barricade during a demonstration near Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, June 11, 2013. (Lam Yik Fei/Getty)

TEL AVIV (JTA) – As the budding protest movement in Turkey against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan struggles to gain a foothold, Israel is watching the developments with some measure of ambivalence. On the one hand, Erdogan has led Turkey away from a close alliance with Israel, using his… Read more »

Iran’s president-elect Rohani: More of the same or a bridge to the West?

Hassan Rohani, Iran's president-elect, is a former national security adviser and ex-nuclear negotiator. (Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Former national security adviser, former nuclear negotiator, a decades-old friendship with the supreme leader — Hassan Rohani is as Iranian establishment as it gets. Which is why, some Iran watchers say, he may be an invaluable asset in the quest to reduce tensions between the Islamic… Read more »

Seeking Kin: Photo brings desperate hope for a Holocaust miracle

Rose Goteiner believes that her sister, Ruth Konigstein, is shown in the middle of the bottom row of this 1946 photograph taken in Amsterdam. (Courtesy American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Global Archives)

The “Seeking Kin” column aims to help reunite long-lost relatives and friends. BALTIMORE (JTA) – Picking up her mail about a year ago, 88-year-old Rose Goteiner stopped in her tracks upon seeing the photo on a newsletter cover. Posing shortly after the Holocaust ended, 21 people were standing before… Read more »

Near Dutch ‘Sharia triangle,’ a small Jewish enclave endures

A Star of David in the architecture of the Van Ostade Jewish Housing Project in The Hague. (The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel,

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands (JTA) — On a cold winter night in 2008, Wim Kortenoeven was startled by the crackling of a large fire raging near his home on the edge of this city’s last remaining Jewish enclave. Rushing from his apartment, Kortenoeven walked 70 yards and crossed the… Read more »

Shadows cast on the heroism of ‘Italian Schindler’

NEW YORK (Corriere della Sera Online) — His Wikipedia page remembers him, in at least 10 languages, as “the Italian police commissioner who saved thousands of Jews from being deported to Nazi extermination camps during the Second World War and for this was deported to the Dachau Concentration Camp,… Read more »

EU envoy: Settlements leading to Israel’s isolation

Demonstrators in Berlin protesting the deaths of pro-Palestinian activists in a clash with Israeli commandos aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, June 2010. (Sean Gallup/Getty)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israel’s settlement building is increasingly isolating the country in Europe, leading to European Union policies that could reinforce Israel’s delegitimization, according to the top EU representative to the peace process. Andreas Reinicke, the EU’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, said increasing frustration with… Read more »