A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
Turkish leader comments
"A Turkish deputy prime minister linked the 'Jewish diaspora' to recent anti-government unrest and the country’s Jewish community expressed fears on Tuesday the comments could make them targets of popular anger," Reuters reported. For some, the comments merely reflect just how distorted a view some leaders have of the uprising taking place in their region. Theories like this one are perceived as efforts to "deflect legitimate criticism from demonstrators," among other things, according to Ben Armbruster at Think Progress.
A new battle brew
New voter identification laws that may harm the poor and the elderly have become the latest source of controversy in the Jewish community. “It’s amazing how people who are not in these states can comment,” Farley Weiss, president of the National Council of Young Israel, told JTA. “I see the need for protections against discrimination, but not for discrimination that hasn’t occurred in 30 years. To apply an unbalanced rule for something that doesn’t currently exist doesn’t seem right.” With Jewish organizations split on the issue, there's surely more to come.
Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm stepped down from his position at Yeshiva University on Monday after more than 60 years and apologized for not doing more to stop abuses taking place at Yeshiva University High School for Boys during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The abused became more widely known thanks to a series of articles in The Jewish Daily Forward late last year. "When Lamm was quoted by the Forward late last year about abuse at YU's high school, he already had dementia, and the Forward was told this very clearly by several sources. Yet the Forward chose to use those quotes without disclosing how impaired Lamm was," wrote notable Jewish blogger Failed Messiah. Others quickly came to defend Lamm's legacy in their own tributes.
A 20-year-old caught vandalzing a historic Jewish cemetery in New Zealand had been told to leave the country in order to avoid a jail sentence, according to reports. Christian Landmark will also have to pay $3,000 for repairs to the graves. During the trial, a particularly disturbing text message between Landmark and a friend was filed into evidence. The friend texted "Saw your handy work on the filthy jew cemetry g it made the news" to which Landmark replied "lmfao which news lol."
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution came to regret including a clue last Friday for “Shylock,” which is accepted as an offensive term when used to describe Jewish people. That clue was used for the clue for "Jew." Originally a character from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice," Shylock has come to be known as something different. The paper apologized for the error. "If they put 'African American' as a clue, they wouldn't put 'Uncle Tom' as the answer," one person told Atlanta's WXIA-TV. "It's just as inflammatory as what Paula Deen Said."