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Arab man, Jewish-born bride hold wedding reception despite protests

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 16:03

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab man and his Jewish-born bride held their wedding reception despite hundreds of protesters outside the banquet hall.

Hours before the wedding on Sunday evening, the Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court ruled that the Organization for Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land, or Lehava, could hold a protest no closer than 200 meters — slightly more than the size of two football fields combined — to the venue.  Hundreds of police secured the wedding as security guards checked the invitations of the some 600 guests.

Four people were arrested outside the wedding for violating the restraining order.

Meanwhile, counterdemonstrators brought balloons and flowers to celebrate the union.

Mahmoud Mansour, who is Muslim, and Morel Malka, who was born Jewish but recently converted to Islam, were required to hire 14 security guards for their wedding reception after Lehava posted photographs of their invitation on social media and urged protesters to rally against the union outside the hall.

The groom’s parents and bride’s mother reportedly support the union. The bride’s father told Israeli media he would boycott the celebration.

In a Facebook post, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin offered the couple traditional wedding blessings of health and happiness.

He wrote: “There is a red line between freedom of speech and protest on the one hand and incitement on the other. Mahmoud and Morel from Jaffa have decided to marry and to exercise their freedom in a democratic country. The manifestations of incitement against them are infuriating and distressing, whatever my opinion or anyone else’s might be regarding the issue itself.

“Not everyone has to share in the happiness of Mahmoud and Morel — but everyone has to respect them. Among us and within our midst there are harsh and sharp disagreements, but incitement, violence and racism have no place in Israeli society. ”

al-Qaida threat: U.S. must act or Warren Weinstein will die

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 08:10

(JTA) — Al-Qaida called on the family of captive U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein to pressure the U.S. government to negotiate his release or risk his “dying a lonely death.”

“If you want Warren Weinstein to be released, do whatever you can to pressurize your government,” the terror group said in a statement posted on Islamist websites, the French news agency AFP reported.

“Your continued silence on the inaction of your government will only lead to your prisoner dying a lonely death in prison after this deliberate and prolonged neglect on the part of your government.”

Weinstein, 73, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 outside Pakistan while he was working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses. The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

Al-Qaida is demanding the release of several Islamists held in jail in the U.S., including Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheik who is serving a life sentence for his part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

In January, a video message featuring Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was sent to journalists and news services in Pakistan along with a link to a photo of a handwritten note.

 

Sydney police aim to block pro-Palestinian protest at Israeli film fest

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 07:50

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Police in Sydney launched a legal bid to stop a pro-Palestinian protest at the opening of the Israeli Film Festival.

Officials of the Palestine Action Group said members are listed for a hearing Monday in the Supreme Court of New South Wales ahead of the group’s planned protest outside the cinema on Thursday. The Guardian Australia reported that it had seen the summons served to Damian Ridgwell, a founder of the group.

New South Wales police have made an application under the Summary Offenses Act 1988 to “prohibit the holding of a public assembly,” according to the report.

Police declined to comment Sunday.

“This is an outrageous act of political censorship,” Ridgwell said in a statement. “It is legitimate to protest the event, and by attempting to ban the protest the NSW police is denying our freedom of expression and right to protest.”

The poster for the protest accuses the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which organizes the festival, of being a “front organization for the ruling Likud Party and supports their recent massacre in Gaza.”

Albert Dadon, the founder and chair of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, said protesters were invited “in peace” to come and watch “Self Made,” the opening film, about two women – one Israeli, the other Palestinian.

“They will be surprised to see that their views and their way of life are actually reflected in Israeli society – the only true, tolerant and democratic society in the Middle East,” Dadon said.

“We are a cultural group promoting Israeli and Australian culture in their diversity, as well as peace and harmony between Jews and Arabs,” he said. “We have held past festivals in Nazareth and Um al-Fahm, but also in Sderot and Jerusalem.”

The Israeli Film Festival, in its 11th year, will also screen in Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Byron Bay.

Orthodox man suing Chicago hospital over cremated limb

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 07:40

(JTA) — An Orthodox Jewish man is suing a Chicago-area hospital for cremating his amputated leg instead of preserving it for burial as he requested.

Moshe Lefkowitz, 43, had surgery to remove his left leg below the knee in March 2011. He said in a lawsuit filed in court in Cook County that he made his wishes to preserve the leg known to the medical staff and to a rabbi working as a hospital chaplain.

In religious Jewish tradition, amputated limbs and other removed body tissue should be buried with or near a person in preparation for the resurrection of the dead mentioned in the Jewish scriptures.

Lefkowitz sued Skokie Hospital and the rabbi last year for more than $100,000 in damages, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday.

The lawsuit was dismissed by a Cook County court judge, but reversed by a county appeals court last month. The case has been sent back to the county court for trial, according to the newspaper.

The hospital said that Lefkowitz twice signed consent forms giving the hospital permission to dispose of the leg.

Lefkowitz is legally blind and claims a nurse explained to him that all he signed was a consent form for the surgery.

British supermarket demonstrators throw Israeli food products

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 07:15

(JTA) — Demonstrators in England attacked police and threw food products on the floor while calling on a local supermarket to stop selling Israeli goods.

The protest occurred Saturday at the Tesco supermarket in Hodge Hill, Birmingham, the Telegraph reported.

About 100 demonstrators had gathered for a protest of Israeli food products outside the store. Then a smaller group of protesters holding Palestinian flags entered the store and started pushing over piles of food products, according to the British newspaper.

Tesco, the largest British supermarket chain, announced in July that it would stop selling products sourced in the West Bank by September. It also has stores in Europe, North America and Asia.

The company, which was founded by Jewish businessman Jack Cohen, has been at the center of a number of controversies concerning its policies on Israel-related products.

In 2009, pro-Israel groups criticized the chain for setting up a special helpline at its customer service phone line to field complaints about stocking Israeli products. In 2013, protesters from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement placed yellow stickers on Israeli products in the chain’s stores in Ireland.

Yahoo buys small Israeli start-up company

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 06:43

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yahoo purchased a small Israeli start-up company, ClarityRay, for an estimated $15 million to $25 million.

The Tel Aviv-based Clarity Ray, founded in 2012, creates software to enable content publishers to dodge ad-blocking programs, and also focuses on ad security and fraud detection.

“This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity enables the mass scaling of our technology, impact and ideas to the absolute forefront of our field, while working with an amazing team who shares our passion. We’re proud to call Yahoo ‘home,’ ” the company said in a statement on its website.

ClarityRay was founded by CEO Ido Yablonka, Vadim Zak and Guy Pitelko, who all served in the Israeli military’s Intelligence Corps, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.

“We’ve been working on building up security capabilities and making Yahoo! a safer place for users and partners,” Yahoo said in a statement. “Advertising is an essential part of our business here at Yahoo, and we’re committed to getting it right. ClarityRay is a company with deep expertise in ad-malware detection and prevention.”

The company is expected to remain in Israel.

Last month, Yahoo acquired an Israeli company, the video-streaming start-up RayV, for an undisclosed sum, according to Globes.

Israel-hosted Davis Cup match moved to Sunrise, Fla.

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 06:18

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Davis Cup playoff with Argentina will be held in Sunrise, Fla., after being moved out of Tel Aviv.

The Sept. 12-14 match was ordered out of Israel earlier this month by the International Tennis Federation at the request of the Argentine Tennis Association due to the conflict in Gaza.

On Friday, the Davis Cup Committee approved the neutral venue of the Sunrise Tennis Club proposed earlier in the week by the Israel Tennis Association. Israel, which lost an appeal to keep the match in Tel Aviv, will still serve as host.

Sunrise, a city in south Florida, has large Argentine and Jewish communities.

 

Israeli negotiators in Cairo talks told to insist on nation’s security needs

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 05:50

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s delegation to the Cairo cease-fire talks has “clear instructions” to “insist on the security needs of the State of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the regular weekly Cabinet meeting.

“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that continued sporadic firing will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken,” Netanyahu said as Israeli negotiators returned to Cairo for indirect negotiators through Egyptian mediators on Sunday.

“As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to take very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken.”

A five-day cease-fire ends at midnight Tuesday.

The talks on Sunday reportedly will be centered around an Egyptian proposal calling for an indefinite cease-fire, with talks on Palestinian demands, including a Gaza seaport and airport, to begin in a month. Under the proposal, negotiations for the remains of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners would be postponed.

On Saturday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal said his group would not back down from any of its demands, which include opening all border crossings with Gaza; building a seaport and an airport; and an end to Israeli settlement building.

Hamas’ foreign affairs spokesman, Osama Hamdan, said Saturday that Israel could accept the group’s terms or prepare for a prolonged war of attrition. He also said that Hamas tunnels will continue to be a “strategic threat” to Israel and its rockets will be more precise “next time.”

Violence strikes Jewish and Arab drivers

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 05:27

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Jewish man driving in the West Bank was injured when rocks and a firebomb struck his car.

The attack occurred on Saturday night  near the Beitar Illit settlement, south of Jerusalem.

The driver was wounded in the head by a rock and suffered from burn wounds; he was treated at Hadassah Hospital, Ynet reported. His car ignited during the attack.

Also on Saturday night, three Jewish youths were arrested near Zion Square in Jerusalem in connection with an attack on an Arab cab driver there. The youths cursed at the cab driver and sprayed him with tear gas, according to reports.

In a second incident in Zion Square, dozens of Jewish youths gathered at the site and chanted “death to Arabs.” One person was arrested for attacking and injuring a police volunteer, according to reports.

Thousands of pro-peace demonstrators gather in Tel Aviv

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 04:16

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv to call for peace with the Palestinians.

Signs at Saturday night’s rally in Rabin Square read “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” “When there is no peace war comes,” and “Yes to a diplomatic solution.”

Israeli media reported the number of demonstrators ranged from 2,000 to the 10,000 estimated by rally organizers.

The demonstration, which was organized by Peace Now and the Meretz and Hadash parties, was postponed from last week, when Israel’s Home Front Command refused to give organizers a permit due to safety concerns as rockets fired from Gaza continued to fall on the area.

Zahava Gal-On, leader of the left-wing Meretz, called for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he failed to bring quiet to Israel’s southern communities. She said Netanyahu must return to peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

“You could have achieved the framework you are willing to accept now without paying the price of 64 dead soldiers and the deaths of civilians,” Gal-On said.

Author David Grossman said many Israelis still want peace.

“There is no military solution for the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There is no military solution that will end the suffering of Israelis in the south and the inhumane suffering of people in Gaza,” he said. “People in Israel won’t be able to breathe freely either until the stranglehold on Gaza is lifted.”

There was no significant counter-demonstration, according to reports.

British Jewish paper responds to outcry over Gaza appeal ad

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 17:25

(JTA) – Britain’s Jewish Chronicle responded to controversy over a Gaza aid appeal that it ran as an advertisement.

The Disaster Emergency Committee, a British umbrella organization for international aid organizations, began running the advertisement for its Gaza crisis appeal in various publications.

In response to controversy over its decision to run the ad, The Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard, issued a statement Thursday explaining that the ad was not an expression of the newspaper’s editorial view, which he said is separate from its commercial operations.

“The ad was approved by the chairman of the JC, who has no involvement in editorial decisions, as an ad for humanitarian aid which nowhere makes political or partisan points,” Pollard wrote.

The ad features an image of a Palestinian child and states: “Thousands of children in Gaza … are injured, homeless and living in fear. They desperately need medical supplies, shelter, food and water right away.”

Pollard wrote that he and the newspaper “are entirely supportive of Operation Protective Edge, as our coverage has demonstrated.”

Pollard concluded his statement by writing: “Even if you profoundly disagree with the ad appearing in the paper, I hope this will go some way to explaining its presence and that it is in no way part of our editorial stance.”

Ukrainian court nixes controversial Jewish heritage projects in Lviv

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 14:44

(JTA) — A Ukrainian supreme court forbade the Municipality of Lviv from going ahead with controversial plans for commemorating Jewish heritage sites.

The Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine issued its ruling Wednesday against the city’s plans to design and build projects that would commemorate three Jewish sites instead of restoring them.

In 2010, the city announced an international competition for architects interested in designing projects that would commemorate Lviv’s old Jewish quarter; the city’s 14th-century Jewish cemetery — which is now being used as a market — and a former Nazi camp.

But the plan was opposed by the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union and the Golden Rose Synagogue of Lviv, because “it was meant to cover up and commemorate the Jewish past instead of restoring its ruins and celebrating Jewish life here and now,” Meylakh Sheykhet, director of the union’s Ukraine office, told JTA Friday.

In its ruling, the court found the city’s plan did not conform to international preservation standards.

Following unproductive negotiations with city officials, the union filed this year for an injunction to stop the city’s plan. In March, a regional court ruled in favor of the union’s motion but the city appealed. On Wednesday, the supreme court upheld the lower court’s ruling and rejected the city’s appeal.

“The city’s plans conformed neither with international standards for heritage preservation nor with Ukrainian law and government resolutions on this matter,” Sheykhet said. He also said the city was not interested in restoring heritage sites in the Jewish quarter, because this would come at the expense of restaurants and other business operating on what used to be synagogues.

The ruling Wednesday represented “a new era for the resolution of the complex issues surrounding the proper preservation of the Jewish heritage sites that sustained severe damage by totalitarian regimes,” Sheykhet said.

He added the ruling shows that “Ukraine changed and it will never return to what it was before Maidan,” the Ukrainian word designating the revolution that erupted in November against former president Viktor Yanukovyich over his alleged corruption and perceived allegiance to Russia.

London theater will host Jewish film fest after all

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 12:46

(JTA) — A London theater that refused to host a Jewish film festival because of the event’s Israeli government funding has reversed course.

The Tricycle Theatre decided to continue serving as a venue for the UK Jewish Film Festival after the theater’s initial refusal earlier this month sparked criticism, The Telegraph reported.

The Tricycle earlier said it would not host the UK Jewish Film Festival, which it has hosted for eight years, unless the annual festival eschewed funding from the Israeli embassy, which the theater described as “party to the current conflict” in Gaza.

Festival organizers said the demands were “entirely unacceptable.”

On Friday, the festival and theater issued a joint statement saying that the Tricycle’s initial decision “provoked considerable public upset” and that the theater has “invited back the UK Jewish Film Festival on the same terms as in previous years with no restrictions on funding from the Embassy of Israel in London.”

The ban had divided the artistic community, with opponents branding the theater “anti-Semitic,” according to The Telegraph.

Warsaw to restore 1,000 Jewish tombstones used for construction

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 09:05

A structure made out of Jewish headstones at a park in Warsaw earlier this year. (Courtesy of From the Depths)

(JTA) — The City of Warsaw has agreed to return and preserve 1,000 Jewish headstones that were used to construct a recreational facility inside one of the city’s parks.

The headstones, which are currently part of a pergola and stairs at a park in Warsaw’s Praga district, will be returned in the coming months to the Brudo Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw, according to a statement Friday by From the Depths, the international commemoration nonprofit that led talks on the subject with city officials.

The city allocated a budget of $180,000 for the project, according to Jonny Daniels, From the Depths’ U.K.-born, Israel-based founder.

The pergola at Praga district is one of countless sites scattered across Poland in which Jewish tombstones were used as construction material, according to Daniels, whose group earlier this year brought dozens of Israeli lawmakers to a meeting with counterparts from Poland and other countries, and a visit to the Auschwitz death camp on the 69th anniversary of its liberation.

“In the 1950s, the communists were in full swing of building structures and monuments out of matzevas, which they often broke into pieces,” Daniels said, using the Hebrew word for a Jewish tombstone.

From the Depths’ involvement in the subject is part of the organization’s Matzeva Project, which aims to restore an estimated one million gravestones hidden in buildings and urban spaces. The Jewish Historical Institute and the chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, are official partners of the project.

An effort to locate headstones will begin this month with help from volunteers from the University of Warsaw.

“Since we’ve started being interested in the question of matzevas used as a building material, there was a noticeable influx of information,” Daniels said, adding that his group is receiving calls and emails on a daily basis with information about tombstone and fragments that were used to make roads, walls, knife sharpeners and even toilets.

Dutch minister suspends official who said Zionists created ISIS

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 08:57

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — A Dutch government employee who said the ISIS terrorist group was a Zionists conspiracy has been suspended pending further disciplinary steps.

Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten announced the decision about Yasmina Haifi, a former project manager for the ministry’s Cyber Security Center, on Friday, the news agencies ANP and Novum reported.

On Wednesday, Haifi wrote on Twitter: “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It’s part of a plan by Zionists who are deliberately trying to blacken Islam’s name.”

She later removed the statement, citing work-related “sensitivity.” Two rightist lawmakers for the VNL faction said they would query the justice ministry as to whether employing Haifi posed a security threat.

Commenting on Haifi’s statement, Vice Premier Lodewijk Asscher said: “When I heard it it made me sick to my stomach.” Asscher is a member of Dutch Labor, or PvdA, which is also Haifi’s party, according to her personal profile on the social network LinkedIn.

On Friday, Opstelten said: “She will not be returning to this function, not ever,” adding he was “shocked” by the contents of her message. Her statement, he also said, was “incompatible with her responsibilities” and “therefore she was removed. She is not the right person for this job.”

He added: “This is not about what anyone’s own beliefs are but about what one expresses, as a civil servant.”

Haifi’s comments came amid a polarizing public debate in the Netherlands about ISIS following three rallies over the past month in The Hague that featured ISIS flags. Two of the rallies also featured calls to kill Jews and in the third protesters hurled stones at riot police.

Ban Ki-moon meets with Jewish leaders

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 06:05

(JTA) — Leaders of several Jewish organizations met with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday to express concerns about recent actions and comments made by U.N. officials.

The meeting took place on Wednesday morning at the U.N. and included representatives from several major Jewish organizations, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai Brith and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

According to participants in the meeting, the organizational leaders raised several issues, including the recently announced U.N. Human Rights Council investigation into Israel’s conduct in the fighting in Gaza, which the communal leaders argued had been framed in a biased fashion against Israel, and the appointment of Canadian legal academic William Schabas to the probe given his past criticisms of Israel and its leaders. The Jewish leaders also objected to critical statements made about Israel by officials with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency and expressed concern about UNRWA facilities in Gaza being used to store rockets.

The Jewish officials also objected to Moon’s recent statement accusing Israeli of committing a “criminal act” in shelling a U.N. school.

According to the participants, Moon listened respectfully and took notes but offered no endorsement of their objections and promised no specific action.

“The secretary general reiterated that he fully understands Israel’s legitimate security concerns but also stressed the need to show restraint in their actions in Gaza so as to avoid civilian casualties,” said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, according to a report by the Associated Press.

“It’s always important when someone like the secretary general is willing to listen, to meet and to take the time to hear critique,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Even when people say you’re wrong, if they’ve listened and heard you — and there’s no question in my mind that the secretary general listened — it will have an impact in the future.”

Anti-Semitic flyer left for Jewish store owner

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 05:59

LOS ANGELES  (JTA) — A store owner who is Jewish found an anti-Semitic flyer slipped under his door Tuesday morning .

The flyer, adorned with swastikas, the words “Wanted” and “Warning” and a hand-written rant, surfaced at a store in the Westwood neighborhood, close to the campus of University of California Los Angeles, according to a report by CBS 2 News in L.A.

The text of the flyer featured numerous misspellings and addressed a wide range of seemingly disparate topics, referencing O.J. Simpson, Regis Philbin, air pollution and weather patterns.

The store owner, who declined to be identified, notified Boruch Cunin, a local Chabad rabbi, of the discovery.

CBS 2 also noted that the flyer bore some resemblance to anti-Semitic leaflets found in a pair of other Los Angeles neighborhoods in June. Those leaflets also bore swastikas, the word “Warning” and hand-written screeds.

Islamic Jihad: Cease-fire agreement on Gaza expected next week

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 05:52

(JTA) — A spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza said a cease-fire agreement will be signed with Israel next week, though Israeli officials have not confirmed this.

Yousef al-Hasayneh told the Ma’an news agency Friday that his group “expects a complete truce agreement to be signed right as the five-day cease-fire ends.”

Islamic Jihad fought alongside Hamas against Israel in hostilities that erupted on July 8 following an escalation in the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. On Wednesday night, Israel and Hamas agreed on a five-day cease-fire while the parties were discussing a permanent cease-fire during Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo.

The Palestinian delegation to Cairo “has made much progress in ending the siege and the offensive on Palestinians,” al-Hasayneh said, adding that the “final truce” would ease Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, expand the fishing zone and increase imports into Gaza, especially of construction materials.

But Israeli defense officials told Army Radio Friday that there were “areas of disagreement” and that it was too early to know whether an agreement could be reached. A meeting of the Israeli cabinet Friday ended without any dramatic decisions, Haaretz reported.

In his statement, al-Hasayneh said that construction of an airport and seaport in Gaza will be discussed a month after signing the agreement.

More than 1,700 Palestinians have been killed in the war. Sixty-five Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

Israel has demanded the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, while Hamas has demanded the construction of a seaport and airport, as well as the lifting of the blockade.

South African Jews to sue union leader over Gaza murder charges

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 05:47
CAPE TOWN (JTA) — A South African Jewish group said it would file charges for alleged hate speech against a trade union leader who accused it of complicity in murder in Gaza. The South African Jewish Board of Deputies, or SAJBD, decided to take legal steps against Tony Ehrenreich, provincial secretary of trade union umbrella body COSATU, after he wrote about the group on Facebook Wednesday.

“The time has come to say very clearly that if a woman or child is killed in Gaza, then the Jewish board of deputies, who are complicit, will feel the wrath of the People of SA with the age old biblical teaching of an eye for an eye,” he wrote. “The time has come for the conflict to be waged everywhere the Zionist supporters fund and condone the war killing machine of Israel.” The board said it was instituting criminal and civil charges against Ehrenreich for alleged hate speech and incitement to violence against the community’s representative body. In a media statement issued Thursday, SAJBD chairman Mary Kluk said the post was “a flagrant violation of South African law prohibiting hate speech and incitement to cause harm” and inflamed “an already volatile situation.” Ehrenreich said that he stood by his statement, that he was not anti-Semitic and was not calling for violence against Jews, the daily Cape Times reported. His focus was on the SAJBD for what he described as condoning violence against the Palestinians. “The killings in Gaza by the Israeli army have never been condemned by the Jewish Board of Deputies,” he said, adding he was laying charges against it  “for supporting crimes against humanity in Gaza.” The Facebook post comes in the wake of another statement by Ehrenreich warning the SAJBD to cease its “Zionist propaganda” in Cape Town by Aug. 7 or face a COSATU-led campaign of strikes and boycotts against its members, supporting companies and organizations. “It is unprecedented in a democracy for a political lobby to threaten violent reprisals against the SAJBD, or against any individual or group for that matter,” Kluk said.

7 arrested for storming Elbit’s Australia HQ

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 05:41

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Police in Melbourne arrested seven pro-Palestinian protesters who stormed the roof of an Israel-based company, accusing it of “supporting genocide.”

The protesters, from a coalition called the Melbourne Palestine Action Group, surrounded the factory belonging to Elbit Systems Friday morning, chanting “Elbit, Elbit you can’t hide, you are supporting genocide.”

Elbit Systems of Australia manufactures defense equipment, including the drones used by the Israel Defense Forces during its war in Gaza. The company also manufactures defense equipment for the Australian army.

The protesters occupied the roof around 5 a.m.. and were arrested around 10 a.m., according to police. They were released with a court summons for trespassing.

A spokeswoman for the group, Sam Castro, said the group would continue to target Elbit. “This draws attention to the fact the Australian government has complicity in the killing of children in Gaza by allowing a war profiteer to operate in our city,” she was quoted as saying in the Guardian Australia.

Nina Bassat, the president of the Jewish community in Melbourne, said the protest “accentuates” the difference between the how the two sides are responding to the conflict. “The Jews in our community pray for peace and the Palestinian supporters express aggressive behavior,” she was quoted as saying on J-Wire, a local Jewish blog.