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China frees activists detained while investigating company that makes Ivanka Trump shoes

Haaretz - 33 min 58 sec ago
A man investigating working conditions at a company was arrested and two others went missing in May

Norwegian Minister Backtracks On Circumcision Ban

The Forward - 37 min 6 sec ago
— The leader of Norway’s second-largest party made conflicting statements about her position on efforts to outlaw non-medical circumcisio…

U.S. amassing spy planes off Syria, aircraft carrier to arrive in Israel

Haaretz - 43 min 6 sec ago
Amid rising tensions over alleged Syrian preparations for chemical attack, three of the U.S.'s most important spy planes were spotted snooping off Syria's coast

Ukrainian officials post footage of vandals drawing swastikas on Holocaust memorial

JTA - 44 min 36 sec ago

(JTA) — City officials in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv published online security camera footage of vandals painting Nazi symbols on a Holocaust memorial in a bid to identify them.

The municipality made the unusual move last week on its website, in which it showed an image of an individual wearing a backpack and a hat squatting in front of a part of the Space of Synagogues memorial display.

The city inaugurated the display last year on part of the former Golden Rose Synagogue complex with support from some Jewish groups and despite opposition by others, who warned the space could invite vandalism and desecration because it resembles a park.

In the June 20 incident, several young men wrote neo-Nazi slogans on stone slabs meant to evoke headstones. They also drew a swastika and ultra-nationalist Ukrainian symbols, as well as the words “white power” in English.

Mayor Andriy Sadovy in a statement called the incident “unacceptable” and made an unusual appeal “to the heads of the police and security services to find the perpetrators as soon as possible and punish them.” He also urged anyone with knowledge of the incident or the perpetrators’ identity to come forward.

 

Ukraine city to hold festival in honor of Nazi collaborator whose troops killed Jews

JTA - 1 hour 8 min ago

(JTA) — A leader of Ukrainian Jewry condemned the hosting in Lviv of a festival celebrating a Nazi collaborator on the anniversary of a major pogrom against the city’s Jews.

The municipality plans to hold “Shukhevychfest,” an event named after the nationalist collaborator Roman Shukhevych featuring music and theater shows, on June 30th. Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, in a statement called the event “disgraceful.”

On June 30, 1941, Ukrainian troops, including militiamen loyal to Shukhevych’s, began a series of pogroms against Jews, which they perpetrated under the auspices of the German army, according to Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder and other scholars. They murdered approximately 6,000 Jews in those pogroms.

This June 30 will be the 110th birthday of Shukhevych, a leader of the OUN-B nationalist group and later of the UPA insurgency militia, which collaborated with the Nazis against the Soviet Union before it turned against the Nazis.

“Shukhevychfest” is part of a series of gestures honoring nationalists in Ukraine following the 2014 revolution, in which nationalists played a leading role. They brought down the government of former president Viktor Yanukovuch, whose critics said was a corrupt Russian stooge.

On June 13, a Kiev administrative court partially upheld a motion by parties opposed to the veneration of Shukhevych in the city and suspended the renaming of a street after Shukhevych. The city council approved the renaming earlier this month.

In a related debate, the director of Ukraine’s Institute of National Remembrance, Vladimir Vyatrovich, who recently described Shukhevych as an “eminent personality,” last month defended the displaying in public of the symbol of the Galician SS division. Responsible for countless murders of Jews, Nazi Germany’s most elite unit was comprised of Ukrainian volunteers.

Displaying Nazi symbols is illegal in Ukraine but the Galician SS division’s symbol is “in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine,” Vyatrovich said.

In Russia, meanwhile, Henri Reznik, a former president of the Moscow City Bar Association, resigned his teaching position at the state-run Moscow State Law University over its inauguration of a plaque honoring Joseph Stalin, a former leader of the Soviet Union who killed millions of suspected dissidents and implemented anti-Semitic policies.

Reznik, who is Jewish, wrote in the Moscow Echo Tuesday that it was “unacceptable” for a state institution devoted to justice to celebrate the legacy of a man who flaunted judicial process and “deported entire peoples.”

In a survey conducted in April among 1,600 adult Russians, 38 percent of respondents said Stalin was the most venerable Russian to ever live – the highest approval rating of any personality named, followed by President Vladimir Putin and the poet Alexander Pushkin, who both had a 34 percent rating.

 

Norwegian minister who voted for ban on circumcision vows to protect practice

JTA - 1 hour 37 min ago

(JTA) — The leader of Norway’s second-largest party made conflicting statements about her position on efforts to outlaw non-medical circumcision of boys younger than 18.

Siv Jensen, the leader of the Progress Party — a junior coalition partner of the ruling Conservative Party — voted in favor of a motion opposing ritual circumcision during the annual party convention held on June 6 north of Oslo.

Jensen, who is Norway’s finance minister, later said she had intended to vote against the motion, which passed with a comfortable majority, explaining the voting was “confusing.” She also said that she “respects the will” of the majority of party members who voted in favor of the ban.

Yet during a meeting Monday in Oslo with a rabbi from Belgium and another rabbi from the Netherlands, Jensen said she would not advance prohibitions on the ritual.

“I want to re-assure that it is not on the government agenda, not on my party’s agenda and is not on my personal agenda,” Jensen on Monday reportedly told Rabbi Menachem Margolin from the Brussels-based European Jewish Association and Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs.

“I want to make it clear: on my shift, this will not be followed up. Here in Norway we respect freedom of religion. We oppose anti-Semitism, we do not tolerate it and we will fight it,” Jensen also said.

Many European secularists regard circumcision on minors, which is performed by Muslims and Jews, as a violation of children’s rights. A similar debate is taking place across Europe and on the continent’s north about the issue of ritual slaughter of animals, which devout Jews and Muslims require be performed on conscious animals.

Several parties in Norway, where ritual slaughter has been prohibited since 1929, support banning nonmedical circumcision of boys.

In 2014, the Norwegian government introduced legislation that regulated nonmedical circumcision of boys stipulating that the procedure must be performed under the supervision and in the presence of a licensed physician, but it may be physically carried out by other persons.

This Jewish tech millionaire could become the first openly gay man elected governor in the U.S.

Haaretz - 2 hours 8 min ago
If Jared Polis wins, the 42-year-old would make history in more ways than one

The Supreme Court’s New Ruling About A Playground May Save Your Life

The Forward - 2 hours 14 min ago
The court just made it easier for governments to give money to religious institutions like synagogues and mosques. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

U.S. professors who fight boycott of Israel slam plans to gag political speech in academia

Haaretz - 2 hours 17 min ago
The proposed ethics code for Israeli professors would radically circumscribe the authority of Israeli academic institutions to do their work, Alliance for Academic Freedom says

Listen to Daddy Yankee's 'Despacito,' the number one song in the U.S. - in Hebrew

Haaretz - 2 hours 21 min ago
The first mostly Spanish-language song to become a number one Billboard chart hit in 20 years is now in Hebrew

Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort registers as foreign agent

Haaretz - 2 hours 26 min ago
With the move, Paul Manafort acknowledges to the Justice Department that he coached Ukrainian party members on how to interact with U.S. officials

Jellyfish clogging Israeli power plant is a reminder of how icky nature can be

Haaretz - 2 hours 31 min ago
The stations installed filters over their seawater intake systems - but that didn't stop the invading jellyfish hordes

Netanyahu Claims He Didn’t Kill Western Wall Prayer Deal — He’s Saving It

The Forward - 2 hours 35 min ago
— American Jewish leaders are calling it a betrayal. They say that 17 months after achieving a historic agreement to provide a non-Orthodox…

Now it's a crisis? Israel lost this American Jew a long time ago

Haaretz - 2 hours 54 min ago
I'm not 'outraged' or 'insulted' by Netanyahu reneging on his commitments to liberal U.S. Jews at the Western Wall. I don't need the Wall to be Jewish - nor do I need Israel

Expelled For Sexual Misconduct, Rabbi Finds Work — At Wife’s Synagogue

The Forward - 3 hours 14 min ago
Kaplan was expelled from the Reform rabbis’ association for violating “sexual boundaries” and after worked at his wife’s New Jersey synagogue.

How Isaac Babel Became The Bard Of Jewish Loss And Fate

The Forward - 3 hours 14 min ago
‘Gedali’ Is a perfect Zionist proclamation: “Jews, it is over here in Europe; flee while you can.”

Iran blasts U.S.'s Rex Tillerson over 'interventionist plan' to change regime

Haaretz - 3 hours 20 min ago
In letter to UN chief, Iranian envoy calls U.S. secretary of state's comments on preventing Tehran from developing nukes 'a flagrant violation'

Textbook regression: Turkey’s anti-Semitic onslaught against evolution

Haaretz - 3 hours 54 min ago
In Turkey’s schools, creationists are now far ahead of their American peers. And there's a characteristic anti-Jewish twist

Israeli army reopens Golan Heights border area, closed after flare-ups with Syria

Haaretz - 4 hours 56 min ago
Area opposite Syrian town of Quneitra was prohibited to civilians after three incidents of stray fire from Syrian war in as many days
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