United States

On this day: The end of the Salem witch trials

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2010

Nineteen men and women were hanged in 1692 for the crime of witchcraft in Salem. At the time, under British law, consorting with the devil was viewed as a crime against their government.

The events of that year and the characters involved formed the basis for Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible. Born to Jewish immigrant parents in New York in 1915, Miller, who was married to Marilyn Monroe for five years, started his career as a journalist. While still a college student in 1936 he wrote his first play, No Villain.

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Is this lobby really 'pro-Israel'? We are all about to find out

By Shmuel Rosner, October 7, 2010

The facts are not all known at this point in time, but there's enough to make the case that J Street - the relatively new, dovish, "pro-Israel, pro-peace" Jewish lobby - might be in big trouble. In the past couple of days, four troubling facts were revealed about J Street's activity.

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J Street now under fire for Goldstone aid

By Nathan Guttman, October 7, 2010

The dovish Israel lobby J Street is facing even more criticism in the US following claims the group had been involved in arranging meetings for Judge Richard Goldstone on Capitol Hill.

This report, published in the Washington Times, comes only a week after the paper revealed that J Street has been receiving donations from billionaire George Soros, a fact that had previously been denied by heads of the lobby.

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Fury as Jewish paper pulls same-sex marriage announcements

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010

The publisher of a Jewish newspaper has said a controversial decision to stop printing same-sex marriage announcements may have been made “too quickly”.

The New Jersey Jewish Standard had published a piece on its “Lifecycles page” marking the engagement of Avichai David Smolen, 23, and Justin Taylor Rosen, 24, in the September 24 edition of the New Jersey weekly.

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Hall of Infamy: Faisal Shahzad

October 6, 2010

"Brace yourselves, because the war with Muslims has just begun. Consider me only a first droplet of the blood that will follow me.

"[George W Bush] said 'You are either with us or against us'. And so it's very clear for us Muslims, either we are with the mujahedeen or we are with crusading Jews and Christians. There is no in between.”

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On this day: Louis D. Brandeis dies

By Jennifer Lipman, October 5, 2010

With the appointment of Elana Kagan this year there are now three Jewish judges sitting on America’s highest court, and there have been eight in history. But Louis Dembitz Brandeis was the first.

Born in 1856, in Louisville, Kentucky, his parents came to America from Europe. They sent their son for education in Germany He never attended college but managed to gain entrance to Harvard Law School, becoming one of its youngest students to be admitted to the bar.

He became a lawyer in Boston, making a name for himself as the champion of the underdog with fights for minimum wage laws.

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Rahm Emanuel launches Chicago bid

By Jennifer Lipman, October 4, 2010

Rahm Emanuel has launched his campaign to become mayor of Chicago.

The Jewish politician announced on Friday that he was stepping down from his position as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff.

Mr Emanuel, a former Illinois congressman, also served as a political aide to President Bill Clinton.

In a video statement, Mr Emanuel spoke of his father, who fought for the Irgun in the run-up to Israel’s independence.

He said: “My father came to Chicago as an immigrant from Israel. I was born here – and my wife Amy and I raised our three children here.”

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Rahm Emanuel set to announce White House departure

By Jennifer Lipman, September 29, 2010

Rahm Emanuel is expected to reach a decision within days as to whether he will remain the White House chief of staff.

Mr Emanuel, 50, is widely believed to be planning to swap Washington politics for Chicago where he will mount a bid to become the city’s new mayor.

He has spent his career working for Democrat politicians, serving as a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998.

But there has been speculation for some time now that he will leave President Obama’s administration to run in Illinois, both his home state and where Mr Obama served as senator.

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Ex-Islamist takes war on hate to USA

By Jennifer Lipman, September 28, 2010

Ed Husain, the Muslim co-founder of a British counter-extremism organisation, is to take the "battle of ideas" to America.

Mr Husain, 34, who set up the Quilliam think tank in 2007, will leave the organisation this November to become a senior fellow at the US Council for Foreign Relations (CFR).

He is also planning to take on an academic role at an American university and work on a follow-up book to The Islamist.

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New Israel Fund halts grants to non-Zionists

By Nathan Guttman, September 28, 2010

The New Israel Fund will no longer give grants to any group that "works to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign self-determination within Israel".

The new guidelines were released late last month following months of deliberations, in an attempt to clarify the group's relationship with grantees that question Israel's definition as a Jewish state.

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