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July 17, 2013

This week in power: Portugal, Poland, NFL player, Tisha B’Av message

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/this_week_in_power_portugal_poland_nfl_player_tisha_bav_message/

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Portugal law
A bill passed in Portugal this week that allows Jewish descendants of expelled Jews to come back, making it the only country besides for Israel with a Jewish law of return. “The law is a commendable initiative,” said Nuno Wahnon Martins, the director of European affairs for B’nai B’rith International, as quoted by JTA. “It has economic considerations as well, which do not subtract from parliament’s worthy decision.” Some wonder what kind of impact the ruling will have. "Why change, and why now? By the 1960’s Inquisitions behind the expulsions had been nullified in both countries. Even without an open invitation, Jews had begun to return in small numbers. Will Jewish communities directly affected by this new law of return be contacted? Moreover, how will they react?" asked Edwin Frankel at the Examiner.Jew

Jewish slaughter
A defeat in Polish parliament of a bill meant to reverse January’s ban on ritual slaughter has many people up in arms. They cited animal cruelty in the ruling. "To complicate matters, kosher slaughter has not stopped altogether since the ban entered into force at the beginning of the year. Poland’s Jewish community is using a 1997 agreement between itself and the state, which allows religious slaughter. The practice’s legal status remains unclear," reported The Economist. "The country finds the task of being nice to dead Jews far more appealing than guaranteeing the rights of living ones," wrote Ben Cohen at Commentary.

Aliya back on
After a two-week impasse, aliya has returned, according to The Jerusalem Post. Immigration visas had been denied in late June as part of an ongoing work dispute by the ministry’s workers’ union and the government. The strike threatened a "significant increase in aliya from France, the result of the agency’s investment in 'experiential programs,' providing young adults the opportunity to study abroad, work and 'experience real life' in Israel." Many of those students are deciding to stick around, and now they can.Ne

Palestinian player
New York Jets' rookie Oday Aboushi was criticized harshly by some bloggers and NFL personnel last week after word came out about a recent appearance at the El Bireh Society convention at the El Bireh Society. Although several people rallied behind Aboushi, and others apologized, the damage was done. "In sum, this entire episode shows you that as a Palestinian public persona, you have to be quiet about your history, beliefs and views or you will be silenced by attackers who want to bring you down," wrote Yousef Munayyer at The Daily Beast. "I think we should ask Yahoo! why they would publish a piece that accuses an NFL player of anti-Semitism without one solitary quote or piece of actual evidence. This is worse than your typical 'keep your politics out of my sports' hit piece. It’s slander," said Dave Zirin at The Nation.

Mourning on Tisha B'Av
The day commemorating the falling of the two temples came and went this week. What did we learn this year? "The logical conclusion that one must take from these two Gemarot, is that if in our days the Temple is still not rebuilt, then our generation is still suffering from the ills of sinat chinam, which was the cause of the original destruction," wrote Josh Gerstein at The Jewish Press. "On Tisha B’Av, of all days, we are not meant to point to flaws outside ourselves, however apparent they may be, but rather to examine those within. After all, we can never truly know the minds and motivations of others. The only baseless hatred we can diagnose is our own," said Yair Rosenberg at Tablet.

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