August 11, 2005
Nation & World Briefs
Former AIPAC Officials Indicted
The indictment of two former officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) suggests that the U.S. government wants to prove an extensive pattern of trading classified information.
Paul McNulty, the U.S. attorney for eastern Virginia who handed down the indictment in Alexandria, Va., Aug. 4, decisively counted out the pro-Israel lobby itself as a target in the inquiry.
Still, the broad scope of the charges -- stretching back more years and covering a broader array of U.S. and Israeli officials than was previously known -- is sure to send a chill through Washington's lobbying community.
The indictment charges Steve Rosen, AIPAC's former policy director, and Keith Weissman, its former Iran analyst, with "conspiracy to communicate national defense information to people not entitled to receive it," which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Rosen is also charged with actual communication of national defense information, also punishable by 10 years in prison.
The charges against the former AIPAC staffers do not rise to the level of espionage, which the defendants and their supporters had feared.
Weissman and Rosen are expected to appear in court on Aug. 16. They have denied any wrongdoing.
Evangelical Won't Apologize
An evangelical political leader defended his comments comparing stem cell research to Nazi medical experiments. James Dobson, who founded the group Focus on the Family, said his "recent comments are being spun like a top by the ultraliberals who don't care about unborn life."
Officials from the Anti-Defamation League and the Reform movement's Religious Action Center have issued statements calling on Dobson to repudiate his comments. Dobson told a radio show Aug. 3 that embryonic stem cell research may have the potential to produce positive findings, but it should be condemned the way Nazi "experiments" on concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust were condemned.
Pakistanis Detain Jewish Filmmakers
Pakistani authorities who detained two Swedish filmmakers of Jewish descent for 16 days probed them about their "religious preferences." Leon Flamholc and his son David, together with Tahir Shaw, a British writer of Afghan origin, were making a film about the Mogul empire when authorities arrested them July 18 in Peshawar, a large city near Afghanistan. Authorities said their 16-day detention and their deportation Aug. 3 were "lenient" because the men had entered on tourist visas and didn't have permits to film. David Flamholc said the men were "blindfolded, held in shackles at gunpoint" and held in cells "stained with blood and excrement," according to The Associated Press. Some of their interrogators' questions focused on their religion, he said, apparently because of their Jewish background. British and Swedish diplomatic officials said they were denied access to the men.
Shabbat Comp Time
The U.S. government has changed regulations to allow part-time federal employees to use comp time to take off for Sabbath and other Jewish observances. Observant employees had been allowed to bank comp time instead of earning overtime wages in order to take off time for holidays, but the Office of Personnel Management recently changed the policy for part-time employees.
Jews Take the Field
Three Jewish baseball players took the field at the same time for the Boston Red Sox. Gabe Kapler, Kevin Youkilis and Adam Stern all played the ninth inning for the Red Sox in their 11-6 victory Monday night over the Texas Rangers. The event will be recorded on a card in the second edition of a Jewish baseball card set, slated to be ready for Chanukah 2005. The 1946 New York Giants had five Jewish players on their roster, though it's not known whether all played together on the field at the same time.
More information about the Jewish card set will be available at Jewishmajorleaguers.org.
Briefs Courtesy Jewish Telegraphic Agency.