Iran can have weapons-grade uranium within five days, its nuclear chief says

(JTA) – Iran can begin enriching weapons-grade uranium within five days if the nuclear deal with the world powers is cancelled, its atomic chief said.

“If we want, we can start the 20 per cent enrichment in Fordo in maximum five days and this has a lot of meaning,” Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Tuesday on national television, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported on its English-language website. “This measure has different messages technically and professionally, and the other side understands its message.” [Read more…]

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Stephen Bannon reportedly ‘going to war’ against Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner

(JTA) – Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon reportedly is “going to war” against several White House targets, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, according to reports.

A report Sunday evening in Vanity Fair titled “Steve Bannon Readies His Revenge: The war on Jared Kushner is about to go nuclear,” said that Bannon’s targets in the West Wing are the “globalists,” identified as Ivanka Trump, Kushner and former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser to Trump and director of the National Economic Council, as well as the “hawks,” identified as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and his deputy, Dina Powell.  [Read more…]

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Steve Mnuchin defends Trump to Yale classmates who called on him to resign

President Donald Trump speaking to the media at Trump Tower in New York City, Aug. 15, 2017. Looking on, from left, are Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump speaking to the media at Trump Tower in New York City, Aug. 15, 2017. Looking on, from left, are Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin; Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao; and Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

(JTA) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin defended President Donald Trump in a statement in response to a letter from hundreds of his former Yale classmates who called on him to resign over Trump’s response to the Charlottesville rally.

More than 350 members of the Yale class of 1985 in a letter dated Aug. 18 said it was Mnuchin’s “moral obligation to resign” from Trump’s cabinet immediately.  [Read more…]

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Opinion: 11 former White House Jewish liaisons say Trump doesn’t understand anti-Semitism

President Donald Trump shown before making a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 14, 2017. (Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

By Matt Nosanchuk, Noam Neusner, Jarrod Bernstein, Adam Goldman, Jay S. Zeidman, Scott Arogeti, Deborah Mohile Goldberg, Jay K. Footlik, Jeanne Ellinport, Amy Zisook, and Marshall J. Breger

President Donald Trump shown before making a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 14, 2017. (Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump shown before making a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 14, 2017. (Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

(JTA) – As Jewish liaisons to four different U.S. presidents, we had the responsibility inside the White House to give voice to the perspectives and priorities of the American Jewish community. While our community may not be unified in matters of policy and politics, our spiritual practice, cultural traditions and history have instilled in American Jews a shared commitment to protecting those targeted by bigots, racists and others spewing hate and division.

The presidents we served repeatedly used their bully pulpit to condemn hatred and bigotry when it appeared, whether in America or overseas. A video of president Ronald Reagan’s speech at the 1981 NAACP Convention following the lynching of an African-American man in Alabama has gone viral in recent days. President Bill Clinton led the nation’s mourning following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and we all vividly recall president George W. Bush’s eloquent remarks standing on the rubble of the World Trade Center in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and president Barack Obama’s eulogy and rendition of “Amazing Grace” following the murder of nine African-American worshippers at a historically African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.

President Donald Trump, in his reaction to the violence in Charlottesville and to other examples of anti-Semitism, shows that he neither understands his responsibilities nor the nature of the ancient hatred of anti-Semitism and other forms of hate. [Read more…]

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Charlottesville says it provided protection to synagogue, refuting initial account

Police blocking off the street after a car rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Police blocking off the street after a car rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Police blocking off the street after a car rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Local officials said police provided protection to a synagogue during a far-right rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia refuting a claim by a Jewish community leader that they had refused to do so.

On Friday, Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones said it “is simply not the case that Congregation Beth Israel was left unguarded” during Saturday’s event, when neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered in the city. The synagogue’s senior rabbi also seemed to confirm the police statement. [Read more…]

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AIPAC in rare non-Israel statement rebukes Trump over Charlottesville

WASHINGTON (JTA) – In a rare statement unrelated to Israel or the Middle East, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) implicitly rebuked U.S. President Donald Trump for drawing equivalence between the sides in the Charlottesville clash.

“AIPAC shares the outrage and deep concern of our fellow Americans about the inexcusable violence and sickening displays of racism and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville this weekend,” the prominent Israel lobbying group said in a statement posted on Twitter. [Read more…]

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