U.S. Briefs 1-31-12

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Indianapolis Chabad prepares for the Super Bowl

Lubavitch of Indiana is arranging a tailgate-style party near Lucas Oil Stadium for Super Bowl Sunday, with afternoon (Mincha) and evening (Ma’ariv) prayer services as well as kosher food.

Rabbi Avrohom Grossbaum, director of the Chabad house, told JointMedia News Service that he received a number of requests for Shabbat hospitality leading up to the game, but that many people who were interested could not book hotel rooms near Chabad in downtown Indianapolis.

Grossbaum said his children, who follow football more closely than he does, “get a kick” out of the fact that former Super Bowl participant Alan “Shlomo” Veingrad—who won a title in 1993 as an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys—is now part of the Lubavitch movement.

Locally, the Colts’ 2-14 regular season was a “bummer” for Grossbaum’s sons, who will miss out on the Super Bowl’s visit to town due to yeshiva commitments. “Because one of my sons is in yeshiva in Israel, [and] the other one is in yeshiva in Chicago, and they can’t be down here for the Super Bowl, they think it’s a lousy deal,” Grossbaum said.

—JointMedia News Service

Narrator defends film that teaches New York police about jihad

Click photo to download. Caption: Zuhdi Jasser. Credit: Courtesy Zuhdi Jasser.Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and narrator of “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision For America,” said the recent controversy surrounding the New York City Police Department’s screening of the film as part of officer training “has brought horrendous distortion of the film and my body of work against radical Islam.”

In a column for the New York Post, Jasser noted an error by the New York Times, which reported that the film’s narration included “This is the true agenda of Islam in America.” However, the correct line from Jasser’s narration is “This document shows the true agenda of much of Muslim leadership here in America.”

Jasser added that the film opens with: “This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims are radical.”

“The point is not that the small Islamist minority could ever take over the United States, but rather that they pose as moderates as they seek to weaken our advocacy of liberty while Islamists take over Muslim-majority nations abroad and drown out other, genuinely moderate Muslim voices here at home,” Jasser wrote in the Post.

—JointMedia News Service

New Testament released with Jewish annotation

Oxford University Press has released a copy of the New Testament annotated by Jewish scholars with the goal to make the Christian scriptures more accessible to Jews while also teaching Christians about their Jewish roots, USA Today reported. The book’s editor is Amy-Jill Levine, a Jewish New Testament professor at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Having this addition opens up a text that was previously deemed as taboo to Jewish readers, said Rabbi Kliel Rose of West End Synagogue in Nashville. “The volume flags common anti-Jewish stereotypes, shows why they are wrong, and provides readings so that the Gospel is not heard as a message of hate. These stereotypes include the Old Testament-Jewish God of wrath vs. the New Testament God of love and the view that Judaism epitomized misogyny and xenophobia,” Levine said.

Jesus, Paul was a Jew and most of the early readers of the New Testament were all Jewish, said William Brosend, associate professor of homiletics in the School of Theology at Sewanee: University of the South. “So we need to know what being Jewish meant for them.” Furthermore, “we become better Christian by better understanding Jesus, who was Jewish,” said Jay Phelan, senior professor of Theological Studies at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago.

—JointMedia News Service

Teen charged in New Jersey synagogue firebombing

A teenager has been charged for allegedly firebombing two northern New Jersey synagogues, Fox News reported. Officials say he also planned a similar attack on a Jewish community center, and searched for building Molotov cocktails and bombs on the Internet.

Anthony Graziano, 19, has been charged with aggravated arson, bias intimidation and other charges. Investigators found multiple Molotov cocktails in a wooded area near the Jewish Community Center of Paramus, tracing the evidence to the suspect.

“What Mr. Graziano did ... is clearly the result of an anti-Jewish animus, a bias against them; an intent to harm them. There are people that might be biased, there are people that might be bigoted, but this is an individual that takes violent action based on that, and that's a crime in New Jersey,” said Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli. The public defender representing Graziano refused to comment.

—JointMedia News Service

ZOA: Obama misses the mark on Egypt

Though President Barack Obama’s administration “appropriately reacted” to the detention of several Americans on Egypt by threatening to cut U.S. aid to the country, the Zionist Organization of American said, Obama failed to mention the crux of why aid should be cut: the Muslim Brotherhood’s disregard for Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.

Recently, the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Rashad al-Bayoumi, said the Muslim Brotherhood “did not sign the peace accords [with Israel], will “take the proper legal steps in dealing with the peace deal,” and that the deal “isn't binding at all.”

Despite this “explicit Muslim Brotherhood platform demanding the abrogation of the U.S.-brokered peace treaty and explicit statements by Brotherhood leaders about their intention to end the treaty,” Obama did not previously threaten to cut off aid to Egypt, ZOA President Mort Klein pointed out in a statement.

“To the contrary, he has continued to closely engage the Brotherhood,” Klein said. “Only now, when U.S. nationals are being detained, does the State Department raise the issue of continued aid.”

—JointMedia News Service 

American-Jewish leaders visit Jonathan Pollard

Click photo to download. Caption: Jonathan Pollard. Credit: PD.Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations visited jailed spy Jonathan Pollard last week, together with his wife, Esther.

Conference Chairman Richard Stone and Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein were on hand at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, where Pollard is serving a life sentence for spying for Israel.

The visitors spoke with Pollard for two hours, after which the two released a joint statement.

“We returned with a renewed commitment to work for Mr. Pollard’s release from incarceration in accordance with long-standing Conference policy. We see this as a serious humanitarian issue as well as a legal matter. He has served 27 years, seven of them in solitary confinement. Mr. Pollard has expressed remorse, which he persuasively reiterated in our two-hour discussion. He suffers from multiple serious medical challenges, which we believe add urgency to the timeliness of his release,” the statement read.

—Israel Hayom/Exlcusive to JointMedia News Service

Jews react to State of the Union

Click photo to download. Caption: President Barack Obama delivers the 2012 State of the Union Address. Credit: White House/Pete Souza.Since President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address last week, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Jewish Federations of North America congratulated the president for addressing the economic crisis. However, some Republican Jews questioned Obama’s motives.

JCPA President Rabbi Steve Gutow said, “We applaud President Obama for laying out his vision to address the economic situation and help millions of Americans return to work and take care of their families.” Gutow said his organization is “inspired by the President’s call for unity to find policies that get Americans back to work... The continued security of Israel is an unquestionable U.S. interest, and we applaud the President’s reaffirmation of our ongoing alliance.”

Republican Jewish activist Tevi Troy criticized Obama’s diplomacy strategy in regard to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. He also said Obama’s mention of an unquestionable commitment to Israel is merely an election strategy to rebut Republican criticism that the president is not supportive enough of the country. “He put it out there so his surrogates would be able to wield the words on the campaign trail,” Troy said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

—JointMedia News Service

University of Pennsylvania conference dedicated to defaming Israel

A University of Pennsylvania group called PennBDS will sponsor an anti-Israel conference on campus. Speakers scheduled for the 2012 National Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Conference from Feb. 3-5 have claimed Israel was created by terrorist gangs, engages in systematic ethnic cleansing, and that Israelis and Jews believe they are exceptional.

Some university alumni have expressed anger. “As an alum who interviews [prospective students] on behalf of the University, [the BDS conference] is enough to make me not do it. I don’t want to help anybody that doesn’t stand up against hate speech,” said Ira Rosen, a 1988 Penn graduate, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian.

“If you want to break up Israel economically, everyone from BDS has to stop using computers…Microsoft has R&D in Israel. Apple just bought a major company in Israel,” added Dov Hoch, 1986 Penn graduate and president of the alumni group Penn Club of Israel. Amy Gutmann, the university’s president, has said the school supports neither the group nor sanctions or boycotts against Israel.

JointMedia News Service

U.S. ‘bunker-busters’ likely not strong enough for Iranian targets

The U.S.’s biggest conventional bomb is not capable of destroying Iran’s most heavily-guarded nuclear bunkers, the Pentagon has concluded, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Saturday.

The report, based on information from U.S. government sources, said the U.S. Department of Defense is boosting its efforts to make the bomb more powerful.

The 14-ton (30,000-pound) Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), known as the “bunker-buster” bomb, was built specifically to be able to pierce through the heavy fortifications surrounding Iranian and North Korean nuclear facilities.

However, initial experiments revealed that the bomb, as it is currently built, would not be able to destroy some Iranian nuclear facilities, either because of their depth in the ground or because of new fortifications added by Tehran to secure them.

Among the heavily-protected bunkers that the U.S. bomb would have difficulty penetrating is the Fordow uranium enrichment plant, buried deep in the mountains near the Iranian city of Qom, and surrounded by anti-aircraft batteries.

—Israel Hayom/Exlcusive to JointMedia News Service

American extremist calls for annihilation of Jews and government agents

An extremist white nationalist and anti-government author has been advocating attacks against Jewish facilities between November 2011 and January 2012 in several online articles. The extremist also declared “open season on Jews,” according to the Secure Community Network Situational Awareness Bulletin.

In addition to his rants against Jews, the author—whom Secure Community Network did not identify—revealed the identities of federal agents, police and military personnel as enemies who must be eliminated. He advocated bombing the “big agencies and headquarters” of the U.S. government which the “Jewish rulers” have positioned against Americans.

Law enforcement officials said that no specific threats of violence have resulted from these articles, but called on the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities.  For additional questions and concerns related to this situation, please contact the Secure Community Network at 212.284.6940 or scandesk@scnus.org.

—JointMedia News Service

Posted on January 30, 2012 and filed under Briefs, U.S..