News Briefs for Sept. 26, 2018

Trump, alongside Netanyahu, says he favors two-state solution
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he favors the two-state solution and that he hopes to reveal his peace plan within four months.
“I like the two-state solution,” Trump said, appearing Wednesday with Netanyahu at the United Nations during the world body’s General Assembly. “That’s what I think works best.”
The statement was less than a definitive walkback from Trump’s comments soon after he assumed office, in which he appeared to retreat from years of U.S. policy that supported a Palestinian state alongside Israel as an outcome of a final status peace deal. But the president suggested that two states would be wrapped into the peace proposal now being drafted by a team led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Netanyahu, who since 2017 also has retreated from a two-state commitment, played down the significance of Trump’s statement.
“Everyone defines the term ‘state’ differently,” he told reporters after the Trump meeting, Haaretz reported. “I am willing for the Palestinians to have the authority to rule themselves without the authority to harm us.”
Trump predicted the plan would appear by early next year.
“I would say over the next two to three to four months, something like that,” he said. “That would be the time that I’d like to at least release the plan.”
Trump said he was confident the Palestinians would return to the effort to revive the peace talks, although they quit the process in December after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump has cut off all U.S. assistance to the Palestinians. He suggested that if they rejoined the process, aid would resume.
“We were being abused by the leadership of the Palestinians and giving them all of this money,” he said. “So now we’re not. But that will start up again and it’ll start up — I look forward to it because they use it for some purposes that are good.”
Kushner and his team, including lead negotiator Jason Greenblatt and ambassador to Israel David Friedman, have not released any details of their proposed deal, which has frustrated their efforts to garner support for it.
Jordan’s King Abdullah, also in New York for the General Assembly, met privately with Jewish leaders and dismissed reports that Arab nations were lining up behind the peace proposal, saying that none of them — including himself — have any idea what’s in it.
Netanyahu thanked Trump for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and also for his tough posture toward Iran, particularly for pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, which traded sanctions relief for a partial rollback of Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu led opposition to the deal, and Trump this year restored some sanctions on Iran.
“I think that the fact that you brought American sanctions to bear has cut the cash machine of Iran and its campaign of carnage and conquest of the Middle East,” Netanyahu said.
The international community has mostly opposed the U.S. pullout, and Europe, Russia and China hope to sustain the deal even with the U.S. absence.
Trump chaired a session of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday and asked other nations to reinstate Iran sanctions.
“I ask all members of the Security Council to work with the United States to ensure the Iranian regime changes its behavior and never acquires a nuclear bomb,” he said.
Trump didn’t make much headway, at least gauging the reactions of the diplomats present.
“The unilateral withdrawal of the United States from [the deal] creates a serious threat to nonproliferation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Trump’s two top foreign policy deputies, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, made the case for Iran’s isolation Tuesday at a conference convened by United Against a Nuclear Iran, a group that has led the charge against the deal and has ties to the centrist and right-wing pro-Israel community.
Jewish woman accuses Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in high school
A third woman has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct as a high schooler.
On Wednesday, lawyer Michael Avenatti posted testimony by a woman who said she witnessed Kavanaugh drinking heavily at parties and engaging in “abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls” as a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in the 1980s.
Among other things, Swetnick said that Kavanaugh had fondled and grabbed girls, attempted to remove their clothing and made “crude sexual comments” at house parties in the Maryland suburb near Washington, D.C., where they attended school. She also said she “became aware of efforts” by Kavanaugh, his friend Mark Judge, now an author and journalist, and others “to cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped.'”
Swetnick said she was raped at one of the house parties where Kavanaugh and Judge were present.
Avenatti told the Forward that his client is Jewish. Swetnick is the niece of Helene Moglen, a professor of literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who has written about gender and sexual harassment in the academy, the Forward reported. Swetnick, an information technology specialist, is the daughter of the late Elaine Moglen Swetnick, who worked for the Atomic Energy Commission, and Martin Swetnik, a retired physicist, the Forward reported.
Swetnick’s allegations come on the heels of claims by two other women that Kavanaugh had engaged in sexual misconduct in high school and later as an undergraduate at Yale University.
Kavanaugh, who was nominated by President Donald Trump, has denied the allegations. On Wednesday, in a White House statement, he called Swetnick’s claims “ridiculous and from the Twilight Zone” and said he did not know her.
On Twitter, Trump called Avenatti — whose most famous client, adult film actress Stormy Daniels, is suing the president over an alleged sexual encounter in 2006 — “a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations.”
Kavanaugh and another accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, are expected to testify Thursday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing addressing Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a house party in 1982.
Michelle Obama officiates at wedding of young Jewish couple in Chicago
Michelle Obama officiated at the wedding of a Jewish couple under a traditional Jewish wedding canopy, or chuppah.
The former first lady’s involvement in the wedding of Stephanie Moelis Rivkin and Joel Sircus on Sept. 22 on the banks of Lake Michigan was first reported by TMZ on Sunday. Rivkin is the daughter of Chicago’s deputy mayor, Robert Rivkin.
The New York Times announcement of the wedding lists the couple’s friend Robert Dresser as the ceremony officiant, the Forward reported. However, the bride’s cousin Tina Newman posted a video of the ceremony on Instagram showing Obama officiating.
Obama in November will go on a 10-city book tour to promote her memoir, “Becoming.”
Jeremy Corbyn says he would recognize a Palestinian state if elected prime minister
Jeremy Corbyn, the head of Britain’s Labour Party, said that he would immediately recognize a Palestinian state if elected to lead the United Kingdom.
In his keynote speech to the fourth day of the party’s annual conference on Wednesday in Liverpool, Corbyn criticized Israel’s “ongoing denial of justice and rights to the Palestinian people” and what he called its “discriminatory nation-state law” before affirming that he is for a two-state solution to the conflict.
“And in order to help make that two-state settlement a reality we will recognize a Palestinian state as soon as we take office,” Corbyn said to loud applause, according to The Times of Israel.
Corbyn also discussed the accusations of anti-Semitism against him and others in the party that have reached a high point in recent months.
“The Jewish people have suffered a long and terrible history of persecution and genocide,” he said. “The row over anti-Semitism has caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party. But I hope we can work together to draw a line under it.”
Earlier in the conference, the party passed a motion criticizing Israel and backing a freeze on British arms sales to Israel.
The party criticized Israel’s use of force against Palestinian protesters on the border with Gaza and called for more British government funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.
Before and during the votes on the motion, some delegates waved Palestinian flags and chanted “Free Palestine.”
Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry warned onstage at the conference that the party must kick out “sickening individuals on the fringes of our movement, who use our legitimate support for Palestine as a cloak and a cover for their despicable hatred of Jewish people, and their desire to see Israel destroyed.”
The party’s National Executive Committee last month approved the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA, definition of anti-Semitism and all its examples, as well as an additional clause on Israel, allowing “freedom of expression” in criticizing it.
In July, the party had come under fire after its ruling body and leadership endorsed a code of conduct that excluded several of the IHRA examples of anti-Semitism, including accusing Jews of “being more loyal to Israel” than their own country; claiming that Israel’s existence is a “racist endeavor”; applying a “double standard” on Israel; and comparing “contemporary Israeli policy” to that of the Nazis. Party members apparently felt such definitions would chill criticism of Israel.
Labour under Corbyn, a hard-left politician who has called Hezbollah and Hamas his “friends” and is fighting accusations of harboring anti-Semitic sentiments, has come under intense scrutiny in the media over anti-Semitic rhetoric by party members. In 2016, an interparliamentary committee accused Labour of creating a “safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people.”
In an interview Sunday with BBC host Andrew Marr ahead of the Labour conference, Corbyn declined to personally apologize for a series of anti-Semitic incidents within the party.
“I’ll simply say this, I am an anti-racist and I’ll die an anti-racist. Anti-Semitism is a scourge in any society. I have opposed it all my life and I will continue to oppose it all my life,” Corbyn said.
Corbyn also told Marr that remarks about him made last month by former British Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks were “quite hurtful and quite offensive” and “beyond offensive.”
Sacks had labeled Corbyn an “anti-Semite” and called his rhetoric “dangerous.” He compared Corbyn’s speech from 2013 in which he said that “Zionists” were unable to understand British ways of thinking despite growing up in the country to the anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech made in 1968 by Conservative British lawmaker Enoch Powell.
Sacks told Marr earlier this month that that “when people hear the kind of language that has been coming out of Labour, that’s been brought to the surface among Jeremy Corbyn’s earlier speeches, they cannot but feel an existential threat.”
“Anyone who befriends Hamas and Hezbollah, anyone who uses the term ‘Zionist’ loosely without great care, is in danger of engulfing Britain in the kind of flames of hatred that have reappeared throughout Europe and is massively irresponsible,” he said of Corbyn.
Jewish quarterback Josh Rosen to start for Arizona Cardinals
Jewish rookie quarterback Josh Rosen will start on Sunday for the Arizona Cardinals, who are looking to kick-start their season after losing their first three games.
Rosen, the team’s first-round draft pick, was named the starter on Monday for the game against the Seattle Seahawks a day after entering the game against the Chicago Bears with 4:31 remaining. The Cardinals lost, 16-14.
“Josh plays with a lot of confidence,” Cardinals coach Steve Wilks told reporters on Monday. “I think he gives us the opportunity to be able to be successful. When you look at the situation when he went into the game — I didn’t have a problem putting him in at the time because again I know he’s very confident in what he’s doing. … I think he handled it well. He went in, commanded the huddle, did a great job moving the ball.”
Rosen, 21, was the No. 2 quarterback behind Sam Bradford, who will become Rosen’s backup, Wilks announced.
In a post on Instagram Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the National Football League draft, thanked the veteran Bradford.
“Since day 1, Sam has had my back and helped me become the best quarterback I could be. I cannot thank him enough for showing me how to be a professional in every sense of the word. He is a leader, mentor, and great person,” Rosen wrote.
“He and (backup QB) Mike Glennon couldn’t have been more supportive at a time that I thought might be a bit tense or awkward today. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be in a QB room with two of the most selfless people I’ve ever been around as I start my career as a quarterback in the NFL. For that I say thank you.”
Rosen, a standout at UCLA, told the league’s online magazine earlier this year that a lot of the trash talk that was directed at him on the field during college was anti-Semitic.
A 2014 profile noted that Rosen became a bar mitzvah and attends seder every Passover, but he also celebrates Christmas and he called himself “kind of an atheist.”
The quarterback’s father is Charles Rosen, a noted orthopedic surgeon. His mother, Liz Lippincott, is Quaker and is the great-great-granddaughter of Joseph Wharton, who founded the prestigious Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania.
German high court upholds ruling allowing Kuwait Airways to ban Israeli passengers
A high court in Germany has upheld a lower court’s ruling allowing Kuwait Airways to bar Israeli citizens from boarding its planes in Germany.
The High Court of Hesse, a German federal state, issued the ruling on Tuesday, upholding a November 2017 ruling by a district court in Frankfurt. The Frankfurt court said it was unreasonable to expect an airline to “fulfill a contract if it means going against the laws of its state” and having to face legal consequences at home. The court added that it was not within its jurisdiction to decide whether Kuwaiti law was reasonable.
The High Court of Hesse noted that it could not force the ban to be ended because it only has jurisdiction over the leg of the flight in Germany. It said that it was dismissing the claim because the execution of the contract was impossible due to Kuwaiti law.
An Israeli student living in Frankfurt sued the airline over its cancellation of his flight to Bangkok in the summer of 2016. The flight was to originate in Frankfurt with a stopover in Kuwait. When the state-owned airline found out the student’s nationality, it canceled his ticket, referring to a 1964 law that bars any agreements with Israeli citizens.
The student was represented through the appeal process by the U.S.-based Lawfare Project.
In January 2016, Kuwait Airways dropped its 35-year-old route between New York City and London after the U.S. Department of Transportation found the airline was breaking American law by barring passengers based on nationality. The decision followed an appeal by an Israeli citizen against a negative ruling by the department.
More sovereignty, less globalism, Trump tells UN General Assembly
U.S. President Donald Trump made the case for less globalism and more sovereignty in his address to the United Nations General Assembly.
He also stressed that the United States would only give aid to countries that are its “friends.”
Trump on Tuesday in his second address to the international body first touted his successes to the delegates and guests saying that the United States is “stronger, safer and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago.” The declaration of success prompted chuckles from the audience.
“The U.S. will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control and domination,” Trump said. “I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue own customs, beliefs and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereign rights in return.”
He noted that the U.S. has made “giant strides” and helped to bring “very historic change” to the Middle East, including bringing Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar into the fight against terrorism.
“Ultimately, it is up to the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for their children,” he said.
He said that the “ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking” and called for the UN-led peace process in the face of the country’s long-running civil war to be invigorated. He added that the United States would respond if chemical weapons are used.
Trump blamed the “corrupt dictatorship in Iran” for continuing the conflict in Syria through money and support for the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
“They sow chaos, death and destruction,” Trump said. “They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.”
“The United States is conducting a campaign of economic pressure to deny the regime the funds needed to advance their bloody agenda,” he added, referring to his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
He briefly mentioned his administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, saying that peace “is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the reality.”
Trump noted the United States’ withdrawal from the Human Rights Council and said it will not return “until real reform is enacted.” He also said that the International Criminal Court has “no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority.” He announced that the US would not participate in the new international compact on migration, saying such decisions should not be global but undertaken by each nation.
Trump announced that the United States “will not be taken advantage of any longer,” and that it would only give foreign aid to countries “that respect us and, frankly, are friends.” In addition, he said that the United States would not pay more than 25 percent of the United Nations peacekeeping budget and would move its funding from assessed to voluntary. He called on other nations to step up in their funding as well.
Charges dropped against Israeli businessman who brought fake bomb to Newark airport
Charges have been dropped against an Israeli businessman who was caught carrying a realistic-looking fake homemade bomb at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Alon Feldman, 50, is a vice president of sales for a company that designs and manufactures portable X-ray inspection systems, and had the device with him for a sales demonstration with a branch of the United States military. He was headed to Panama City, Florida, for the meeting, according to a statement issued by his attorneys Matthew E. Beck and Olajide A. Araromi.
Feldman had been charged by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office with “creating false public alarm” and “interference with transportation” after the incident on September 4. It led the Transportation Security Administration to close the third level of Terminal C at the busy international airport while it confirmed that the device was not a working bomb. He was arrested after a TSA officer at the airport saw the item in his carry-on and alerted a supervisor.
“As we said from the outset of this matter, Alon Feldman is a legitimate businessman who committed no crime. We were confident that once the Prosecutor’s Office had time to review the facts and circumstances of the event, it would come to the same conclusion,” his attorneys’ statement said.
“We thank the Prosecutor’s Office for its quick investigation and dismissal of the case. Mr. Feldman has now returned home and will continue to pursue his business of helping countries, including the United States, remain safe,” it concluded.
Biden, Boehner and Blair join Jewish group in push to keep strong US ties with NATO and EU
WASHINGTON — Top former officials of both parties joined an American Jewish Committee appeal to maintain traditional Western alliances, an implicit rebuke to President Donald Trump’s rejection of the structures.
“We rise in defense of the precious alliance of democracies — and its treaties, institutions and norms — that has sustained peace and generated prosperity from the Cold War to the present day,” the statement posted Wednesday by the AJC said. “As students of history, we know all too well the terrible price that has been paid when these principles were not respected and protected.”
Among those signing on are Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden and Republicans such as former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, and Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser to President George W. Bush. Also signing was former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Among the alliances worth preserving were NATO, the European Union, and “the integrity of the West’s intelligence, law enforcement and security agencies,” the statement said.
Trump has targeted all three establishments, second-guessing the commitment by members of the NATO alliance to come to one another’s defense, saying the European Union is a rival to the United States and placing tariffs on its imports, and attacking the integrity of U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Many of these positions are also embraced by far-right groups, and the AJC statement called for “measures to counter appeals to extremism, xenophobia and all forms of bigotry; uphold a free and independent press; thwart and deter cyberattacks; and block attempts at electoral interference.”
Swedish officials shutter Malmo’s only kosher meat shop, citing health reasons
The health department in Malmo has shut down the Swedish city’s only supply of kosher meat, citing food sanitation reasons.
Inspectors this week raided the ICA Kvantum Malmborgs Limhamn shop, which for the past 20 years has sold frozen kosher meat per an agreement with the leaders of Malmo’s Jewish community of about 800 people, the Sydsvenskan daily reported Tuesday.
The reason given, according to Ilana Edner, a prominent member of the community, was that the Jewish community is not licensed to import food products. The inspectors cleaned out the small kosher department at ICA Kvantum and confiscated the products.
Sweden is one of only five countries where the slaughter of animals without prior stunning – a requirement for producing kosher and halal meat – is illegal. Since 2013, Sweden has also seen attempts to outlaw the import of kosher meat.
Some Swedish opponents of slaughter without stunning say it’s cruel, while others, often opponents of Muslim immigration, decry it as a custom that is foreign to Swedish traditions.
Malmo, where a third of some 350,000 residents are immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, has a disproportionately high prevalence of anti-Semitic attacks. Its anti-Semitism problem, which began in the early 2000s, has led hundreds of Jews to leave the city. Financial and employment considerations have also contributed to this trend.
Until the mid-1980s, the Jewish community sold meat products directly in a kosher shop it had in the city’s center. Amid downsizing, however, the shop was closed and the arrangement with ICA Kvantum reached.
“It was convenient to go Limhamn and buy kosher products there,” Edner said, naming the Malmo district where the shop that was raided sold meat. “Now we can’t do that anymore.”
Edner, a teacher, added that she has “no problems eating vegetarian, even vegan” in the absence of kosher meat.
“What I have a problem with is being forced to do so,” she said.
Pope Francis prays at site of former Vilnius Ghetto on 75th anniversary of its liquidation
Pope Francis prayed at the site of the former Vilnius Ghetto in Lithuania on the 75th anniversary of its liquidation.
He offered the prayers on Sunday in the presence of survivors and Jewish community leaders at the site.
He also led a mass for more than 100,000 in Kaunaus, the second largest city in Lithuania. “Seventy-five years ago, this nation witnessed the final destruction of the Vilnius Ghetto; this was the climax of the killing of thousands of Jews that had started two years earlier,” he said.
Lithuania observes September 23 as the Day of Remembrance of Lithuanian Jewish Victims of Genocide. On that day in 1943, 70,000 Jews were taken from the ghetto to Ponary forest, where they were shot and buried in mass graves. The murder of these 70,000 Jews together with another 130,000 from the rest of the country marked the end of a centuries-old Jewish community that had made Lithuania a world center of Jewish scholarship and culture, according to a statement from the American Jewish Committee.
“In these days, I reserve a special thought for the Jewish community,” the Pope said, calling for “dialogue and the shared commitment for justice and peace.”
He also honored victims of Soviet-era persecution later on Sunday during a visit to a museum in the former KGB building in Vilnius where regime opponents were tortured and killed.
Francis spent two days in Lithuania, he also is scheduled to travel to Latvia and Estonia to mark their 100th anniversaries of independence.

Leave a Reply