Suit Against Gun Makers Dismissed
A damage suit against the manufacturers of guns used by white supremacist Buford O. Furrow Jr. in his attack on the North Valley Jewish Community Center and the killing of postal worker Joseph S. Ileto was dismissed Monday by a federal judge.
The suit was brought by Ileto's mother and the parents of the three children wounded in the Aug. 10, 1999 attack on the Jewish center in Granada Hills.
U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins expressed sympathy for the victims, but ruled that their lawyers had failed to demonstrate a link between the gun makers and Furrow's shooting rampage. Furrow is serving multiple life sentences in a federal prison. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Jordan's King Comes to Hollywood
King Abdullah II of Jordan got the royal treatment from Hollywood's Jewish elite last week (March 18-19) when he visited the DreamWorks studio.
The young monarch had asked specifically asked to meet Steven Spielberg, and the famed director obliged by showing the visitor around the set of "Catch Me If You Can," an in-production film starring Tom Hanks.
According to Variety columnist Army Archerd, the king also expressed special interest in "Shrek," so DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg conducted a tour for the king through the studio's animation department.
Longtime Hollywood player Merv Adelson, active in many Jewish causes, hosted the king at a luncheon, whose guest list included Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer.
The official purpose of the king's visit was to promote a forthcoming Travel Channel documentary on Jordan, in which he rides both a camel and a motorcycle. -- T.T.
Anti-Arab Hate Crimes Down
Hate crimes committed against Arab Americans in California have fallen more than 90 percent since an upsurge of such crimes in September 2001, according to a report by state Attorney General Bill Lockyer. The report, released Feb. 28, tracks a steady decline in hate crimes in 17 police and sheriffs jurisdictions, from a high of 182 attacks in the weeks immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to seven in January 2002. In all, the report lists 294 hate crimes committed against Arab or Muslim Americans, Sikhs, South Asians and others mistaken for Arabs or Muslims since Sept. 11. Seventy one anti-Arab hate crimes were reported in October, 21 in November, 13 in December and seven in January. More than one-third of the reported attacks have occurred in Los Angeles. -- Mike Levy, Staff Writer
Pro-Palestinian Groups Prepare for Rally
A public forum in support of the Palestinian cause drew a standing- room-only crowd of supporters to Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles on March 2. The meeting, held in preparation for an April 20 March on Washington, was sponsored by the group Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and the Palestinian American Women's Association.
The pro-Palestinian meeting drew supporters from a broad swath of progressive and radical causes; flyers and literature handed out before the speeches advocated for Greenpeace, Mumia abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, along with the anti-war and pro-Palestinian purpose of the afternoon. Following a 10 minute video titled "Intifada: The Road to Freedom," speakers, including former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, addressed the crowd.
A second rally in support of the Palestinians is scheduled for Saturday, March 30, at the Westwood Federal Building. -- M.L.
Assembly to Consider Holocaust Education Bill
The Assembly will consider a bill this week that would improve education about the Holocaust. Co-authored by Assemblymen Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) and Paul Wyland (R-Escondido), Assembly Bill 2003 would create a statewide educational program for teaching about the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide.
Known at The Holocaust/Genocide Education Act, the bill would require that survivor testimony be included as part of any Holocaust curriculum, but leave the rest of curriculum planning to educators. The bill's centerpiece provision would create "Centers for Excellence" at California State University schools. The centers would provide training for teachers on methods and materials to use in teaching about the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide. Approximately 80 percent of new teachers in California are trained at a California State University.
Thirty-eight assemblymembers have already committed to supporting the bill, including Speaker Herb Wesson. Scott Svonkin, chief of staff for assemblymember Koretz, says the only significant opposition to the bill has been an e-mail campaign apparently orchestrated by Turkish organizations.
Gov. Gray Davis has expressed support for the bill, which could be on his desk by July. -- M.L.