United States

Free speech: the burning issue

By Geoffrey Alderman, September 21, 2010

Prior to the recent anniversary of the Islamist attacks on the World Trade Centre and other American targets, an obscure American pastor threatened to publicly burn copies of the Koran on the lawn of his church in Gainesville, Florida.

The publicity given to this (subsequently withdrawn) threat sparked worldwide condemnation. Other Christian communities in the neighbourhood were joined by leaders of Muslim and Jewish congregations in berating pastor Terry Jones and his self-declared "International Burn a Koran Day."


Ex-Islamist Husain to fight extremism in USA

By Jennifer Lipman, September 21, 2010

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

Mr Husain, 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.


Stewart plans Washington anti-Tea Party rally

By Jennifer Lipman, September 19, 2010

Jewish satirist is leading the fight against America’s right wing Tea Party movement in the run-up to November’s mid-term elections.

Jonathan Leibowitz, better known as The Daily Show presenter Jon Stewart, has announced plans for a "Rally to Restore Sanity” with a “Million Moderate March” on Washington.


US adviser: Israeli-Palestinian talks are a charade

By Marcus Dysch, September 17, 2010

A senior military strategist and former US government adviser has launched a blistering attack on the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, deriding the process as a "charade".

Edward Luttwak, a senior associate at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington DC, said the "interference of frivolous people" would not bring about peace in the Middle East.

The process was, he said, "a perverse, deeply perverted mechanism that masquerades in humanitarian clothes".


Spielberg's rabbi in adultery storm

By Paul Berger, September 16, 2010

Last year, Tobi Rubinstein-Schneier bought her husband Rabbi Marc Schneier an endangered Asian lion as a 50th birthday present.

This year, it is the high-flying, 51-year-old rabbi's career that is endangered as his wife files for divorce in a bitter lawsuit.

Rabbi Schneier is being accused of an affair with a woman in her thirties, which resulted in her pregnancy. As a result of the allegations, the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group, is now considering expelling him from their organisation.


Orthodox Jews spotlight sex abuse

By Paul Berger, September 7, 2010

Two of America's leading Orthodox organisations will co-sponsor an event to highlight child sexual abuse in the US Jewish community.

National Jewish Child Abuse Prevention Week, which launches in Chicago on October 17, is backed by the highly influential Orthodox Union and by the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the world's largest Orthodox rabbinical group.


Why Republicans are at the top of Kushner's hit list

By John Nathan, September 7, 2010

To get an instant impression of the subject of this article you could do worse than tap the words "Tony" and "Kushner" into YouTube. There is an eight minute, 57-second video which shows the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright saying thank you for his latest honorary degree.


Pot and prayer: rabbi’s cannabis plan

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2010

A rabbi and his wife are attempting to set up the first medical marijuana centre in Washington DC.

According to Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn, decriminalising use of the drug “is an important religious issue.”

He and his wife Stephanie, a nurse, have applied for a licence to open the “zen-like but simple and classy” Takoma Wellness Centre in America’s capital.

And rather than a traditional marijuana leaf motif to identify their shop, the Kahns want to use the Middle Eastern hamsa symbol as the logo.


US congress suspend military aid to Lebanon

By Jennifer Lipman, August 10, 2010

A United States congressional committee has temporarily blocked military aid to Lebanon out of fears Hizbollah militants could use it to attack Israel.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee suspended a military package worth more than £60 million (£100 million) which was due to go to the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Howard Berman, the Californian congressman who chairs the committee, announced that the funding would be suspended on August 2 and called on President Obama to look into Hizbollah’s influence on the Lebanese army.


America: Lebanon attack on Israel 'unjustified'

By Jennifer Lipman, August 5, 2010

America has laid the blame for the flare-up on Israel’s northern border with the Lebanese.

The US State department called the attack, which left an Israeli commander and three others dead, "totally unjustified and unwarranted".