March 11, 2004
Kerry to Get Holocaust Records
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) will be given records about relatives who were killed during the Holocaust. The presumptive Democratic nominee recently learned that his paternal grandmother's brother and sister, both Jewish, were killed by the Nazis. During a visit to New York on Sunday, the chairman of Prague's Jewish community, Tomas Jelinek, presented the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research with copies of the original transport lists for Otto and Jenny Loewe. Jelinek said he had decided to track down the records in Prague after learning from U.S. media reports about Kerry's Jewish roots. "I presented copies of the records to YIVO as a gift and asked them to pass them on to Sen. Kerry," Jelinek told JTA. "We know how touching this kind of information is for Jewish communities in Europe and thought it would be of interest to Sen. Kerry's family."
Powell, Fayyad Meet
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell encouraged Palestinian finance minister Salam Fayyad to increase accountability.
"What they talked about was improving the transparency and accountability of Palestinian finance, with a recognized goal of making sure the money didn't go to the terror -- none of the money ended up in the hands of the terrorist groups," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said after Powell met Fayyad. The United States reprimanded Israel for a recent raid on Palestinian banks believed to be holding terrorist money. U.S. officials said such actions undermine moderate reformers like Fayyad.
Purim Attack Foiled
A major terrorist attack planned against Purim revelers in Jerusalem was foiled. According to the Shin Bet, a raid on a Palestinian terror cell in Ramallah prevented a suicide bombing in Israel's capital on Saturday. Further details were not immediately available, but the reported arrests allowed Israel to lower a high alert in Jerusalem that had caused massive traffic jams as police searched incoming cars.
French Mosques to Be Protected
French mosques will receive the same police protection as synagogues, the country's interior minister said. Nicolas Sarkozy made his remarks Monday after two mosques were destroyed by arson last Friday. Muslim leaders accused the government of a late response and suggested that Jews were given better protection by the state than Muslims. Jewish groups were among the first to condemn the attacks. The chief rabbi of Lyon, Richard Wertenschlag, expressed his shock in a letter to the head of the region's Muslim Council.
Bombing at Moscow School
A small homemade bomb shattered windows at a Jewish educational center in Moscow. The attack at the Mekor Haim Institute occurred last Friday night. The bomb was planted inside a vacant building next to the Jewish facility that belongs to Mekor Haim Institut. The building was given to the Jewish community in 2002 and was eventually to be torn down and replaced by a larger Jewish educational and community complex. Police opened an investigation. A police spokesman told JTA that investigators had no evidence so far that anti-Semitism motivated the explosion.
Denver Synagogue Vandalized
More than 100 people cleaned swastikas off a Denver synagogue. Sunday morning's cleaning at the BMH-BJ Congregation came after the swastikas were painted on the synagogue last Friday night. The synagogue's rabbi, Daniel Cohen, said the vandalism might have been sparked by Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which critics say blames Jews for the death of Jesus.
Poll: Southerners Like Jews
Few people in Alabama blame Jews for the death of Jesus, a new poll says. A Mobile Register-University of South Alabama poll of state residents found 7 percent blamed Jews for the death of Jesus, while 10 percent held the Romans accountable and 64 percent pinned the blame on all of humanity. The poll also showed that just 11 percent held a "somewhat" or "very unfavorable" opinion of Judaism; 61 percent said they would not be uneasy "at all" if a close relative converted to Judaism. There are 9,000 Jews in the state.
Briefs courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.