USA

US groups criticise Israel NGO probe

By Paul Berger, January 20, 2011

As thousands turned out in Tel Aviv last weekend to protest against the bill to investigate the funding of left-wing, Israeli NGOs, several major American Jewish organisations voiced their opposition to the move.

They argue that the bill, which proposes setting up a parliamentary panel to look into NGOs that criticise the Israel Defence Forces, threatens the country's democratic values.

It is the most significant revolt since the Rotem Conversion Bill drew almost unanimous opposition from the American Jewish community last summer.

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Hillel leads battle against US boycotters

By Ellen Tumposky, January 13, 2011

Hillel is fighting back against the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that is sweeping US campuses.

The student support organisation has set out new guidelines to bar people who back the BDS movement from its campus events. "We will not allow our resources to be used to support the BDS movement," said Jeff Rubin, spokesman for Hillel, which has chapters at more than 500 universities.

The new policy has angered Jewish advocates of BDS activities.

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'Israel risks losing the whole world'

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2010

A senior Israeli minister has warned that the "whole world", led by the United States, may back a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood if Israel does not commit to peace talks.

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the Trade and Industry Minister and a veteran Labour Party politician, said talks with the Palestinians must resume, even if Israel were forced to renew a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank.

His warning, delivered to cabinet colleagues on Sunday, is the first admission by a senior Israeli official of a potential rift with its key ally.

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US Jews in decline? No, says survey

By Ellen Tumposky, December 29, 2010

The number of American Jews is growing, not declining, according to a new study from Brandeis University.

Leonard Saxe, a professor at Brandeis's Steinhardt Social Research Institute, found that the number of Americans who identify themselves as Jewish has risen from 5.5 million in 1990 to 6.5 million.

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Secret files: US gave Nazis safe haven

By Paul Berger, November 18, 2010

The American government provided a safe haven for Nazis after the Second World War, according to a Department of Justice report kept secret for four years.

"America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became in some small measure a safe haven for persecutors as well," the 600-page report concludes.

The Department of Justice fought the release of the report since it was completed four years ago.

Last month, it released a heavily redacted version. But a full version was published by the New York Times at the weekend.

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US Jews call for kindness

By Simon Rocker, November 11, 2010

A leading American Jewish organisation has launched a campaign to get Jews to speak more kindly to each other, alarmed by the fractious tone that has crept into community debate.

More than 150 rabbis and community leaders have signed up to the Statement of Civility issued by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), which wants to encourage a "respectful and healthy debate" without acrimony.

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We were prepared, say targeted Chicago shuls

By Paul Berger, November 4, 2010

Like other Jewish populations around the world, Chicago's community is no stranger to threats of violence.

So when the Department of Homeland Security contacted the city's Jewish institutions last week to say that two bombs had been found in printer cartridges bound for local synagogues, there was little surprise.

"When we got the call we knew what to do," said Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. "We weren't surprised. But there was a lot of curiosity about the details."

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