Polish human rights official under fire for saying his ‘nation’ took part in the Holocaust

(JTA) – Poland’s human rights commissioner is being urged to resign after saying the “Polish nation” took part in carrying out the Holocaust – a controversial statement in a country whose government increasingly emphasizes that Poland never collaborated with the Nazis.

Speaking Wednesday on the state-run TVP Info, Adam Bodnar said, “There is no doubt that the Germans were responsible for the Holocaust, but many nations took part in its implementation. Among them – and I say this with regret – the Polish nation.” [Read more…]

Comment

Otto Warmbier’s Hillel rabbi recalls ‘one of the most intellectually curious people I’ve ever met’

Otto Warmbier confessing to stealing a political poster in North Korea, Feb. 29, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)
Otto Warmbier confessing to stealing a political poster in North Korea, Feb. 29, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Otto Warmbier confessing to stealing a political poster in North Korea, Feb. 29, 2016. (Screenshot from YouTube)

(JTA) – Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after returning home in a coma, was remembered by friends and loved ones at a public memorial officiated by his college Hillel rabbi.

Rabbi Jake Rubin, executive director of the Brody Jewish Center at the University of Virginia, called Warmbier “one of the most intellectually curious people I’ve ever met” during the service held Thursday at Wyoming High School near Cincinnati, The Associated Press reported. [Read more…]

Comment

Nearly 2,000 sign online petition to keep Holocaust denier out of Canada

(JTA) – An online petition launched by B’nai Brith Canada aiming to prevent an American Holocaust denier from speaking in Toronto has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.

Kevin Barrett, who has called the 9/11 attacks an “inside job,” is due to address the city’s annual Al-Quds Day rally on Saturday. Al-Quds is the Muslim name for Jerusalem, and the annual march during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is generally a call for the destruction of Israel. [Read more…]

Comment

Haredi Orthodox mob in Jerusalem pelts Israeli police with stones, calls soldiers ‘Nazis’

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Haredi Orthodox Jews pelted police with stones, eggs and other objects while the officers tried to remove three Israeli soldiers who were being verbally attacked at evening services in Jerusalem.

The three soldiers were in uniform when they entered the synagogue in the haredi Mea Shearim neighbourhood on Wednesday night. Residents surrounded the synagogue and prevented the soldiers from leaving, shouting epithets including “Nazis” at them, before the police were arrived, Ynet reported. [Read more…]

Comment

Israel breaks ground on first new settlement in decades

Construction beginning in the West Bank on the new Israeli settlement Amichai meant for the evacuees of the Amona outpost, June 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Construction beginning in the West Bank on the new Israeli settlement Amichai meant for the evacuees of the Amona outpost, June 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(JTA) – Israel broke ground on a new West Bank settlement – its first in more than two decades – to house the evacuated residents of an illegal outpost.

Preliminary work began this week on Amichai, meaning “my nation lives,” for the residents of Amona, who were forced to leave in February. Some 100 housing units are planned. [Read more…]

Comment

Otto Warmbier’s family hid his Jewishness to aid negotiations with North Korea

Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, holding a press conference in Wyoming, Ohio, while wearing the jacket his son wore when he gave a forced confession in North Korea, June 15, 2017. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, holding a press conference in Wyoming, Ohio, while wearing the jacket his son wore when he gave a forced confession in North Korea, June 15, 2017. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, holding a press conference in Wyoming, Ohio, while wearing the jacket his son wore when he gave a forced confession in North Korea, June 15, 2017. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Otto Warmbier arriving at a court for his trial in Pyongyang, March 16, 2015. (Xinhua/Lu Rui via Getty Images)

Otto Warmbier arriving at a court for his trial in Pyongyang, March 16, 2015. (Xinhua/Lu Rui via Getty Images)

(JTA) – The family of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student imprisoned by North Korea who died after his release last week, hid his Jewishness from the public as negotiations for his release took place, a family spokesman said.

Warmbier, 22, a Cincinnati native, was traveling on a student tour of North Korea last year when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for stealing a propaganda poster. After international outrage and over a year of imprisonment, North Korea released the comatose student last week, saying his health had deteriorated after a bout of botulism. Warmbier’s doctors said he suffered extensive brain damage. He died June 19 in Cincinnati. [Read more…]

Comment

Jewish Theological Seminary announces continuing ban on interfaith wedding ceremonies

(JTA) – The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), which trains rabbis for the Conservative movement, said it is committed to continuing to ban its clergy from performing interfaith wedding ceremonies.

The statement issued Wednesday comes in response to the announcement last week by two rabbis who are members of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis, that they would begin officiating at interfaith wedding ceremonies. [Read more…]

Comment

Judge rules El Al cannot ask women to move seats for haredi man

An El Al flight seen at the airstrip at the Ben-Gurion International Airport, Aug. 5, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
An El Al flight seen at the airstrip at the Ben-Gurion International Airport, Aug. 5, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

An El Al flight seen at the airstrip at the Ben-Gurion International Airport, Aug. 5, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – El Al airlines cannot ask women to move seats to accommodate a man who does not want to sit next to a person of the opposite gender, a Jerusalem court found in response to a lawsuit filed by a Holocaust survivor in her 80s.

In a decision handed down on Wednesday, Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Dana Cohen-Lekah said that the airline’s policy of asking a woman to give up her seat at the request of a haredi Orthodox man is “a direct transgression of the law preventing discrimination.” [Read more…]

Comment