September 14, 2006
Al Qaeda urges Israel attacks; Israeli Arab lawmakers represent Hamas in court
Al Qaeda Urges Israel Attacks
On the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Al Qaeda urged Muslims to attack Israel. In a statement aired Monday by CNN, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, warned the West that it would suffer further attacks by Islamic terrorists.
"You gave us every legitimacy and every opportunity to continue fighting you," he said. "You should worry about your presence in the Gulf, and the second place you should worry about is Israel."
In remarks that attested to the fact that the statement was recent, Zawahiri lambasted the United States for supplying Israel with weapons and urged the Muslim world to "rush with everything at its disposal to the aid of its Muslim brothers in Lebanon and Gaza."
Arab Lawmakers to Represent Hamas
An Israeli Arab lawmaker announced he was joining the defense team of jailed Hamas politicians. Taleb a-Sana, an attorney who is a member of the United Arab List faction in the Knesset, announced Monday that he would help defend some of around 35 Palestinian Authority ministers and lawmakers detained by Israel over the past two months.
"I have no doubt that this is a case of political persecution," a-Sana told the Ynet Web site.
The Hamas officials were rounded up after Palestinian gunmen in the Gaza Strip killed two Israeli soldiers and kidnapped a third, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, in a June 25 raid. Israel justified the detention on security grounds, but Palestinians allege that Israel wanted the lawmakers as bargaining chips for Shalit's release.
Conviction in Attack on Palestinians
A West Bank settler was convicted of murdering four Palestinians. Jerusalem District Court on Monday convicted Asher Weisgal, 38, of gunning down four Palestinians with whom he worked at a West Bank factory in August 2005. The Shvut Rachel resident is expected to get a life prison sentence. The shootings coincided with Israel's evacuation of Gaza Strip settlements. In court, Weisgal said he acted to prevent the Jewish state from suffering "divine retribution" an apparent reference to the pullout plan, which many Israeli right-wingers considered a security risk and a betrayal of biblical land.
BBC Ordered to Release Report
The British Broadcasting Corp. no longer can keep private a report on the broadcaster's Middle East coverage, a tribunal ruled. Set up to deal with inquiries under Britain's 2000 Freedom of Information Act, the tribunal ruled that BBC allow access to a report presented in 2004 to BBC news executives by Malcolm Balen, its senior adviser on the Middle East. Until now, all applications under the FOI Act to see the Balen report had been denied through a loophole in the legislation. But last week, the Information Tribunal reversed an earlier ruling in response to a challenge from London attorney Steven Sugar. BBC now must either release the Balen report for publication or try to claim a different exemption.
British Jews Meet on Security
The current threat to the Jewish community and wider British society "is very real and is not going away," an expert on terrorism said. Andy Hayman, assistant commissioner of specialist operations at the Metropolitan Police Service, made the comments Sept. 7 in an annual pre-High Holiday security briefing for British Jews. The meeting took place as anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in Britain. Some 300 synagogue security officers and volunteers with the Community Security Trust, the group that monitors security for British Jews, were briefed on what the trust and the police have done to ensure the community's safety during the holidays.
Trump to Observant Jew: You're Hired
Donald Trump hired Lee Bienstock, an observant Jew who had been a contestant on "The Apprentice," to serve as associate vice president in charge of corporate development for Trump Mortgage. Bienstock finished second on last year's edition of the reality TV show, in which contestants vie for a job with Trump. Bienstock missed two tasks on the show in order to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Babi Yar Event to be International
Government delegations from 40 countries are expected to attend a Holocaust memorial event in Kiev later this month, the organizer said. It remains unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the event marking the 65th anniversary of the Nazi massacre in Babi Yar, Vyacheslav "Moshe" Kantor said Monday during a conference call with journalists from Europe and Israel. Kantor is president of the Russian Jewish Congress and chairman of the board of the European Jewish Congress. Kantor said one of the major goals of the commemoration would be to educate the younger generation about the Jews' wartime tragedy.
"Youth of the world is not informed about what happened in Kiev in September of 1941," Kantor said.
He said Ukraine's government should turn the area of Babi Yar, on the outskirts of Kiev, into a protected memorial zone. In Babi Yar today, "boys are playing soccer," he said.
"This game of soccer should be stopped."
Danish Newspaper Publishes Holocaust Cartoons
A Danish newspaper published six cartoons from the Iranian government's Holocaust cartoon contest. The six cartoons were printed in last Friday's edition of the Danish daily Information. The Iranian government launched the contest earlier this year after a Danish newspaper printed cartoons critical of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. Among the cartoons the Danish newspaper chose to print is one featuring President Bush with a gun and helmet with the Star of David, pointing at a painting of Adolf Hitler and saying: "He started it." In a related development, an Irish lawmaker has condemned the appearance of the satirical Holocaust cartoons in Iran's largest newspaper, Hamshari, as "totally unacceptable."
In a letter to the Irish Times, Ruairi Quinn, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust of Ireland, said: "When a sovereign nation not only questions but also satirizes the Nazi Holocaust, it is an affront to decent people everywhere." Quinn represents a constituency in south Dublin with a relatively high proportion of the city's 1,500 Jews.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.