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Updated: 1 hour 36 min ago

Hamas more popular among Palestinians than before war, poll finds

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 04:53

(JTA) — Hamas’ popularity has surged in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since its latest conflict with Israel, according to a new poll.

A Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey research poll released Tuesday showed that 61 percent of Palestinians would choose Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh for president if elections were held today, The Associated Press reported.

Only 32 percent would vote for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, of the Fatah party, founded by Abbas’ predecessor, Yasser Arafat.

A similar poll in June found that 41 percent of Palestinians supported Haniyeh and 53 percent backed Abbas. Seventy-two percent supported using Hamas’ armed approach in the West Bank.

The research center said it was the first time in eight years that a majority of Palestinians voiced such support for the Hamas leader, but noted that the group’s popularity might fall in the next few months, which happened in the periods following previous Israel-Hamas conflicts.

Polling took place from Aug. 26 through the first four days of the cease-fire, the research center said.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents told pollsters that Hamas won the confrontation, and 86 percent said they would support renewed rocket fire on Israel if a blockade on Gaza is not lifted. Twenty-five percent said armed groups in Gaza should give up their weapons after the blockade ends and elections are held.

Brazilian art event to ‘clearly disassociate’ Israeli funding

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 04:46

(JTA) — A major Brazilian art event agreed to “disassociate” Israeli funding from the main sponsorship following a protest by most of the participating artists.

Sixty-one of the nearly 70 artists in the 31st Sao Paulo Biennial signed an open letter calling on the event’s board to return the funds from Israel due to its recent Gaza operation. Three Israeli artists are participating in the biennial, which led to funding from the Israeli consulate.

According to a statement issued Monday by the protesting artists, the Sao Paulo Biennial Foundation “has committed to clearly disassociate Israeli funding from the general funding of the exhibition.”

The logo of the Israeli Consulate, which was presented as a general sponsor of the event, “will now only be related to those Israeli artists who received that specific financial support. This transparency will be applied to all state funding for artists in the Biennial,” according to the statement.

The artists said they “refuse to support the normalization of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian people. We believe Israeli state cultural funding directly contributes to maintaining, defending and whitewashing their violation of international law and human rights.”

The biennial opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 7.

Brazil recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv in July following the start of Operation Protective Edge.

Memorial to Nazi ‘euthanasia’ victims dedicated in Berlin

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 15:30

(JTA) — Germany dedicated a memorial in Berlin to the more than 200,000 people with physical and mental disabilities who were murdered by the Nazis.

The 79-foot blue glass wall memorial was dedicated Tuesday outside the Berlin Philharmonic. It is located near several other Holocaust memorials and on the site of the building from which the murder of patients at hospitals and psychiatric institutions was coordinated, The Associated Press reported.

In what the Nazis described as euthanasia, more than 70,000 such patients were gassed to death, while others were killed by injection and starvation.

Few of the people involved in executing the program were punished after World War II. The memorial includes audio and video information on the program and its victims.


Stan Goldberg, superhero of comic-book illustration, dies at 82

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 14:19

Stan Goldberg was inducted into the National Cartoonists Society Hall of Fame in 2012. (Wikimedia Commons)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Comic-book artist Stan Goldberg, the color designer for Marvel Comics’ classic superheroes, has died.

Goldberg, known to comic-book fans as “Stan G,” died Sunday at Cavalry Hospital in the Bronx. He was 82.

He was inducted into the National Cartoonists Society Hall of Fame and awarded with its Gold Key Award in 2012.

Goldberg started his career at age 16, when he joined Timely (now known as Marvel) Comics as a staff colorist, quickly becoming its color department manager. He colored interiors and almost every Marvel cover published throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, according to his family.

He also was the color designer for the classic Marvel superheroes and villains of the 1960s, including Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men and The Hulk.

Goldberg went on to illustrate romance comics, such as Patsy Walker, My Girl Patsy and Millie the Model. He also helped write plots for Millie the Model.

In the late 1960s, Goldberg began illustrating for Archie Comics, where he worked for more than 40 years.

Most recently, he worked on several graphic novels, including Nancy Drew and the Three Stooges.

Goldberg had homes in Queens, N.Y., and on Long Island in Hampton Bays.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, two sons and four grandchildren. Goldberg also had a daughter that was murdered in 1984.

Polish city marks first rabbinic ordination since World War II

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 14:00

(JTA) – The Polish city of Wroclaw had its first rabbinic ordination since before World War II in its only synagogue to survive the Holocaust.

Four rabbis and three cantors were ordained at a ceremony in the White Stork synagogue on Tuesday. Germany’s foreign minister and other dignitaries were among those in attendance.

The new clergy graduated from the Abraham Geiger College in Potsdam, Germany, a Reform rabbinic seminary founded in 1999 and named for a 19th-century pioneer of Reform Judaism. Geiger was rabbi at the White Stork synagogue for more than 20 years and was instrumental in founding the Jewish Theological Seminary in Wroclaw, a city that before World War II was in Germany and known as Breslau.

Breslau had prewar Germany’s third-largest Jewish community. The White Stork synagogue was built in the 1820. Long abandoned, it was rededicated after a full restoration in 2010 and serves the local Jewish community.

The ordination ceremony took place one day after Geiger College, the German education minister, the Wroclaw municipality and the city’s Jewish community marked the 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland with a memorial concert.

Ceremonies were scheduled for Wednesday to mark the 160th anniversary of the Breslau Jewish Theological Seminary and the 140th anniversary of the death of Abraham Geiger.

Geiger College, the first rabbinic seminary founded in central Europe after the Holocaust, is a member of the World Union of Progressive Judaism.

ISIS video purports to show beheading of Steven Sotloff

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:53

(JTA) — The Islamist ISIS organization has released a video that apparently shows the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff.

The nearly three-minute video, titled “A Second Message to America,” was released Tuesday afternoon on Twitter and other online outlets.

Sotloff family spokesman Barak Barfi said in a brief statement that the family “knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately,” The Associated Press reported.

Sotloff was abducted on Aug. 4, 2013, after crossing the Syrian border from Turkey.

The video reportedly is similar to one showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley that was released on Aug. 19. At the end of that video, Sotloff is shown on his knees with a voice threatening President Obama that Sotloff will be next.

In the video released Tuesday, a man with a British accent is dressed all in black and is holding a large knife in his left hand. He says, “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”

The executioner — suspected to be the same person who beheaded Foley — is shown cutting Sotloff’s throat before the video cuts to a bloody body with a severed head.

Before he was executed, Sotloff says on the video, “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?”

At the end of the video, the executioner is shown threatening another individual, identified as David Cawthorne Haines, a Briton.

The video was first discovered by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online postings of Islamist militant groups.

Sotloff grew up in Miami, the son of Arthur and Shirley Sotloff. Shirley Sotloff has worked in the early childhood program at Temple Beth Am Day School in Pinecrest, Fla., according to the synagogue website.

Last week, Shirley Sotloff pleaded in a video for his captors to have mercy on him.

“He is an honorable man and has always tried to help the weak,” she said, adding that he was sympathetic to the suffering of Muslims.

Sotloff published articles from Syria, Egypt and Libya in various publications, including Time.com, the World Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy.

Obama administration calls on Israel to reverse land appropriation

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:16

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Obama administration formally called on Israel to reverse its appropriation of West Bank land for settlement building, saying it was counterproductive to peace efforts.

“We are deeply concerned about the declaration of a large area as ‘state land’ to be used for expanded settlement building,” said the statement Tuesday from Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman.

“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” Psaki said. “We call on the Government of Israel to reverse this decision.”

While U.S. governments have expressed concern about settlement activity in the past, direct and public calls for Israel’s government to reverse a decision are rare.

“These steps are contrary to Israel’s stated goal of negotiating a permanent status agreement with the Palestinians, and it would send a very troubling message if they proceed,” Psaki said in the statement emailed to reporters.

The Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration on Sunday said it would appropriate nearly 1,000 acres in the Gush Etzion bloc and convert it to state land.

Centrist ministers in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have opposed the appropriation, saying it would damage peace efforts.

“Yesterday’s announcement, which wasn’t brought to the Cabinet, regarding 900 acres of land for building in Gush Etzion harms the State of Israel,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Monday while addressing a conference organized by Calcalist, an Israeli business publication.

“We are after a military operation and facing a complex diplomatic reality,” said Lapid, referring to the aftermath of Israel’s most recent conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “Maintaining the support of the world was already challenging, so why was it so urgent to create another crisis with the United States and the world?”

Palestinian driver killed attempting to run West Bank checkpoint

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:10

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian driver was killed as he tried to run over Israeli soldiers at a West Bank checkpoint.

Another Palestinian in the minivan and an Israeli civilian also were injured in the Tuesday afternoon incident.

The driver was seriously wounded when an Israeli soldier opened fire as the vehicle attempted to overrun the Eyal checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Kalkilya. He later died of his wounds.

The minivan had Israeli license plates and held several Palestinian passengers without documentation reportedly attempting to enter Israel illegally, according to The Jerusalem Post. They were arrested and taken for questioning.

Thousands rally in Frankfurt against anti-Semitism

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 13:06

(JTA) – Some 3,500 demonstrators rallied in Frankfurt to protest a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany.

Under the banner “Stand up! Never again anti-Semitism,” protesters outside City Hall on Sunday also expressed solidarity with religious minorities suffering persecution under the jihadist group ISIS.

Hundreds of members of the Kurdish-Israeli Friendship Association attended the rally, event organizer Sacha Stawski told JTA.

“To see them singing and dancing with Israeli flags in their hands was a really amazing sight,” he said.

Many Kurdish flags waved alongside Israeli ones, as well.

The demonstration is to be followed on Sept. 14 by a national rally in Berlin coordinated by the Central Council of Jews in Germany. German Federal President Joachim Gauck is scheduled to speak.

In Frankfurt over the weekend, a broad coalition of political and Jewish religious leaders joined to decry a recent spate of verbal and physical attacks on Jews in German cities, some of which occurred during anti-Israel protests.

The main messages were that criticism of Israeli government policies or of any other country cannot be used as an excuse for anti-Semitic expressions, and that tolerance of anti-Semitism bodes ill for all minorities, not just Jews, said Stawski, founder of the pro-Israel Internet watchdog organization Honestly Concerned and president of the “ILI-I Like Israel” NGO.

Participants included Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Yakov Hadas-Handelsman, Central Council President Dieter Graumann, and Frankfurt Mayor Peter Feldmann. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her support for the event in a letter.

A spokeswoman for the Friendship Germany-Israel group, Natasha Langmann, called on participants to join “together with Kurds and Yazidis against Hamas and IS,” referring to the religious minority that is one of the groups under siege by the radical Islamist group in Iraq.

Olmert retrial in Talansky Affair begins

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 10:24

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ehud Olmert went on trial for the second time in the the bribery case that led the Israeli prime minister to resign in 2008.

Olmert’s retrial in what became known as the Talansky Affair began with a hearing Tuesday in Jerusalem District Court.

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the new trial last month and said it will allow new testimony from Olmert’s former assistant Shula Zaken, including recordings of conversations between Olmert and Zaken, who provided the information last spring as part of a plea bargain. Zaken and Olmert reportedly will take the stand in the retrial.

In 2012, The Jerusalem District Court acquitted Olmert on charges of fraud, breach of trust, tax evasion and falsifying corporate records in what became known as the Talansky and Rishon Tours affairs. He was found guilty on a lesser charge of breach of trust in what was known as the Investment Center case.

Olmert was accused of allegedly paying for family vacations by double billing Jewish organizations through the Rishon Tours travel agency; allegedly accepting envelopes full of cash from American businessman and fundraiser Morris Talansky; and allegedly granting personal favors to attorney Uri Messer when he served as trade minister in the Investment Center case. The charges were filed after he became prime minister in 2006, but covered his time as mayor of Jerusalem and later as a government minister.

He officially resigned as prime minister after police investigators recommended that he be indicted.

Zaken was convicted on two counts of fraudulently obtaining benefits and fraud, and breach of trust in the Rishon Tours case.

In May, Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison for accepting bribes in the real estate scam known as the Holyland Affair and ordered to report to prison on Sept. 1. The prison date was suspended pending his appeal.

He could spend more time in prison if convicted in the second Talansky trial.

Parents, teachers protest division of secular school for haredi girls

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 09:45

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Parents and teachers at a secular public school in Beit Shemesh are protesting the partitioning of half of the building for a haredi Orthodox girls’ school.

A floor for the building was separated for use by the school, called Mishkenot Daat, and city construction workers erected an 8-foot-high wall down the middle of the schoolyard of the School for Languages and Culture.

Many parents of the secular school kept their children home from school on Monday due to the controversy. Other parents reportedly demonstrated outside the school.

In recent years Beit Shemesh, a city of 80,000 located just north of Jerusalem, has become a flashpoint for conflicts between Israel’s haredi Orthodox community and its secular and modern Orthodox populations. The school is located in the middle of the haredi Orthodox neighborhood of Ramat Beit Shemesh.

The city said the decision to divide the school was due to a shortage of classrooms in haredi Orthodox schools.

The Education Ministry did not give its permission to divide the school, calling the action “illegal” in a statement issued Monday, adding that it was sending a closure order to the girls’ school. The ministry said the Beit Shemesh municipality rejected an offer of an alternative building for the girls’ school.

The Beit Shemesh municipality, led by haredi Orthodox Mayor Moshe Abutbul of the Shas party, released a statement saying, “This was righting a grave wrong, where a school building designed for 500 students stayed mostly empty and was used by only 144 students.”

Lady Gaga pre-Tel Aviv concert ‘Shalom’ video irks some Arab fans

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 08:15

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Lady Gaga apparently riled some Arab fans with a short video in advance of her Tel Aviv performance featuring a “Shalom” greeting.

“Shalom, Israel,” the American pop star says in the 10-second video. “I’m so excited to perform my new tour in Tel Aviv.”

The performer’s manager announced Sunday that the Sept. 13 concert in Yarkon Park – part of her “artRave: The ARTPOP Ball” international tour — would go on as planned, despite cancellations by other high-profile performers due to the Gaza conflict and its aftermath.

Responding on social media platforms to the video, which reportedly has gone viral, some Arab fans called Lada Gaga “disgusting,” “devilish” and insensitive, Al Arabiya News reported.

Tens of thousands of Israeli fans are expected to attend the concert, which is listed on the performer’s official website. Tickets remain on sale.

Neil Young, The Backstreet Boys, America and Lana Del Rey are among the stars who canceled performances this summer due to Israel’s conflict with Gaza.

Lady Gaga performed in Tel Aviv in August 2009, despite of attempts by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to have her cancel.

Jewish community praises Greek mayor for yellow star protest

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 07:51

ATHENS, Greece (JTA) – The mayor of the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki wore a yellow Star of David at his inauguration to protest a newly elected city councilman from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Mayor Yiannis Boutaris wore the symbol pinned to his jacket last week while being sworn in for his second term.

Greece’s small Jewish community hailed the move in a letter to Boutaris on Monday.

“Your gesture sends a strong and clear message to those nostalgic for Nazism and fascism that under your leadership your city will continue to fight against any phenomena of racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism,” the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece wrote.

Boutaris was protesting the presence of Golden Dawn lawmaker Artemis Matthaiopoulos on the municipal council.

Matthaiopoulos gained 7.7 percent of the vote in May’s local elections, garnering Golden Dawn two councilmen. It was part of a strong showing by the party across Greece despite an ongoing government crackdown on the xenophobic party, which has been accused of dozens of attacks on immigrants.

Boutaris’ move also was seen as a gesture of solidarity with Thessaloniki’s Jewish community, which was devastated in the Holocaust and now numbers about 1,000 members.

Syrian rebels make demands for release of Golan U.N. peacekeepers

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 07:38

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Syrian rebels have issued a list of demands for the release of U.N. peacekeepers stationed on the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel.

The 45 Fijian troops from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force  have been held captive for five days in an unknown location.

The rebels from the Nusra Front, which has ties to al-Qaida, have demanded to be taken off the U.N. terrorist list; humanitarian aid delivered to parts of the Syrian capital Damascus; and compensation for three of its fighters it says were killed by U.N. officers during a shootout, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

The U.N. reportedly has sent hostage negotiators to Syria.

Two units of Filipino peacekeepers escaped from the rebels after their positions in the buffer zone between Israel and Syria were surrounded.

Ireland said Monday that it may not replace its 130 troops in the Golan Heights next month because of security issues. The replacement troops will not be sent, Irish Defense Minister Simon Coveney said in an interview on national television,  without “a full review and we have to get assurances about how the mission will change to adapt to the new realities,”  Reuters reported.


Eric Cantor joining Wall Street investment bank

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 06:19

(JTA) — Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader, is joining a Wall Street investment bank as vice chairman and managing director.

Cantor, 51, who served as the Republican congressman for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, also will be elected to the board of directors of the global investment bank Moelis & Company, the bank announced Tuesday.

Cantor will be based in New York and is scheduled to open an office in Washington.

“Eric has proven himself to be a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions,” Ken Moelis, chairman and CEO of Moelis & Company, said in a statement.

Cantor stepped down from his position as House majority leader and from his congressional seat on Aug. 18 after being upset in the Republican primary two months earlier by a little-known college professor, David Brat, who had the national backing of the insurgent Tea Party movement.

The sole Jewish Republican in Congress, Cantor as majority leader was the most senior Jewish lawmaker in U.S. history and had ambitions of becoming speaker of the House of Representatives.


Police ends search for terrorist infiltrator in central Israel

Tue, 09/02/2014 - 05:16

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Police set up roadblocks in central Israel following intelligence information that a Palestinian terrorist may have infiltrated Israel near Netanya.

At least one man from  the Israeli-Arab community of Tayibe, located in central Israel near Kfar Saba, was arrested during the late Tuesday morning search. The search was called off after their arrest, Ynet reported.

Cars were searched at the roadblocks , causing massive traffic congestion.

Israel’s military and search helicopters were involved in locating the possible terrorist infiltrator, according to reports. It was believed that he was trying to reach Tel Aviv.

On Monday, an Israeli was injured when a bus driving near the Tappuach Junction in the northern West Bank was hit with a firebomb. The bus also was damaged.

Also on Monday, a girl, 3, was injured when the bus in which she was riding in eastern Jerusalem was hit with a rock, breaking a window.



Report: SodaStream mulling departure from West Bank plant

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 14:58

SodaStream may be shutting down its West Bank factory in Maale Adumim. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli firm SodaStream, which has been a target of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, is considering closing its West Bank factory.

CEO Daniel Birnbaum told the Israeli economic publication The Marker that the company, which makes home soft drink machines, will make a decision in the next two months.

Birnbaum said the decision would be based solely on economics.

“The considerations will be purely financial, and do not include the European boycott on manufacturing in the territories,” he told the Marker. “Nor will they include the various calls to boycott products of the company because of its location in Maale Adumim. The boycott is a nuisance, but does not cause serious financial damage. We are not giving in to the boycott. We are Zionists.”

The company is expanding its operations at a new plant in Lehavim, a Negev community near Beersheba in Israel’s South, and could consolidate its operations in whole or in part from the Maale Adumim plant. The company receives a government subsidy for its operations in Beersheba.

The company also has plants in Ashkelon, the Galilee and 20 others around the world.

SodaStream has already fired between 100 and 200 workers at the Maale Adumim plant. There are now 1,100 employees there, of whom 850 are Israeli Arabs or Palestinians, according to the Marker. The plant is expected to employ a significant number of Bedouin Arabs at its Negev plant.

The company was in the news following the signing of actress Scarlett Johansson as a spokeswoman and the ensuing controversy over its West Bank factory. Johansson resigned as a global ambassador for Oxfam over her position with SodaStream.

Canadian Nazi Party founder running for Ontario township post

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 13:16

(JTA) — The founder of the Canadian Nazi Party, John Beattie, is running for deputy head of the town council in an Ontario community.

Beattie, who led violent Nazi rallies in Toronto 50 years ago and painted swastikas on the lawns of its prominent Jewish residents, is a candidate in the Township of Minden Hills, which has a population of 5,600, the Toronto Sun reported.

Beattie told the newspaper that he was manipulated by the Canadian Jewish Congress into founding the Canadian Nazi Party in order to get hate-speech laws passed. Bernie Farber, a former CEO of the Congress, denied the accusation.

According to the Star, Beattie remains in contact with right-wing activists and still espouses right-wing propaganda.


Foreign Affairs Committee’s Royce and Engel to visit Israel

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 11:41

(JTA) — Reps. Ed Royce and Eliot Engel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will visit Israel this week.

Royce (R-Calif.), the committee’s chairman, and Engel (D-N.Y.), its ranking member, are scheduled to meet with Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, as well as Palestinian Authority officials. They also will tour an Iron Dome battery, according to a statement from the House committee.

In a statement, Royce said the lawmakers “are traveling to Israel to show bipartisan support at a critical time.”

“With Iran’s backing, Hamas was able to launch a barrage of rockets on innocent Israelis, reaching further and deeper into the country. Now with a cease-fire in place, we’ll be meeting with senior Israeli leaders as they chart their course forward,” he said. “We’ll also assess the other threats to Israel – and the United States – including Iran’s nuclear program and the continuing Syrian implosion and its severe humanitarian and security consequences.”

Engel said in a statement that the two lawmakers “are making this trip to deliver a clear message: the Congress and the people of the United States stand with Israel.”

Last month, the committee unanimously passed an amended version of the Emergency Iron Dome Replenishment Act that authorizes the continued supplying of the missile defense system.


Turkish Jews can stay mum on Israel’s Gaza op, Turkish Jewish intellectuals say

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 11:29

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jews in Turkey are under no obligation to comment on Israel’s operation in Gaza, a group of Jewish intellectuals in Turkey said.

The open letter issued Friday was in response to calls for the Jewish community to denounce the operation, as well as a campaign claiming the Jews of Turkey are responsible for Israel’s actions in Gaza.

“No citizen of this country is under any obligation to account for, interpret or comment on any event that takes place elsewhere in the world, and in which he/she has no involvement,” the intellectuals wrote. “There is no onus on the Jewish community of Turkey, therefore, to declare an opinion on any matter at all.

“It is racism to hold a whole people responsible for the actions of a state and we wish to declare that we are opposed to this.”

The letter also pointed out that it is not possible for a community of 20,000 to hold a unified opinion.

The signers, however, said they are opposed to Israel’s Gaza policy “not because we are of Jewish origin, but because we are human.”

“We may not agree on all matters, some of us oppose all of Israel’s policies, some of us oppose some of them,” they wrote. “But all of us are opposed to Israel’s aggression, militarism, expansionism and the violence it brings upon the Palestinian people.”

At the end of July, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey pledged to keep its Jewish community safe, but urged the Jewish community to denounce Israel.