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August 12, 2011
 

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PAGE 2A I, By Dan Klein (JTA)--While some Jews in London marked Tisha b'Av on Tuesday by lamenting the burning of the Holy Temples on that day some two millen- nia ago, other London Jews watched as their city burned amid widespread rioting. "Everyone is shocked," Joel Braunold, a lifelong Londoner, told JTA in a phone inter- view just after leaving Tisha b'Av services Monday night. "People are angry and scared." As London burns, riots spread to Jewish communities Creative Commons Violent protests that broke out last Saturday fol- lowing a deadly police shoot- ing in the North London neighborhood of Tottenham quickly turned into riots, arson attacks and looting in neighborhoods this week Passers-by g!ancing at looted stores in a ondon neighborhood, Aug. 9. all over the city in the worse civil unrest that London has seen in 25 years. In some cases, the Jews reportedly weren't just by- standers. The Guardian reported that some members of Tot- tenham's small Chasidic community~all that re- mains of a once-substantial Jewish community that earned its local soccer team the nickname "the Yids"-- gathered to jeer police. A video posted on YouTube shows Orthodox men laugh- ing and then scattering as a crowd of mounted police officers move in. In another video, young Orthodox men can be seen handing out challah. "When I saw Jewish people out tonight I was happy," one protester told the So- cialist Worker newspaper. "I thought, it's not just us. They gave us bread." Most Jews, however, appear to be eager for a return to law and order. Local rabbis and the Shomrim Orthodox security service have warned Jewish community members to stay away from the riots, the UK Jewish Chronicle reported. As the riots spread to Jew- ish areas of Stamford Hill and Golders Green, several Jewish- owned businesses were ran- sacked. Joelle Selt told JTA that her father's general store was robbed at knifepoint by masked men, and a 71-year- old Jewish-owned store in Tottenham was looted Sun- day morning, the Chronicle reported. "They are tearing up their own community," the store's owner, Derek Lewis, said of the rioters, as reported in the Chronicle. "It's tragic." At least two stabbings were reported Monday night in Stamford Hill, and clashes be- tween rioters and police were reported in Golders Greer and Camden. Linda W., a mother of three daughters who lives in London, contrasted the rioters disparagingly with the massive but nonviolent protests in Israel over high housing prices. "It's evident who raises the better man," she wrote in an e-mail to JTA. Linda said the Riot Act--a 1715 law that made it a felony for groups of 12 or more to refuse to disperse after being ordered to do so--should be returned to the books. The law was repealed in 1973. "People want to enforce the law by any means necessary," Braunold said. "They don't care anymore; they just want the riots off the streets." The rioting began follow- ing the police shooting Aug. 4 in Tottenahm of a suspected drug dealer named Mark Duggan, and spread to young people in poorer neighbor- hoods. Many analysts have linked the riots to the weak economy, widespread unem- ployment and deep budget cuts that have hurt Britain's poor. "There are underlying causes," Braunold said, "but first the rioting and hooligan- ism needs to stop. This brings out the worst characteristics in people, and they need to face the consequences." Ambassador works to head off Palestinian statehood By Lisa Hostein Jewish Exponent Israel's ambassador to the United States has a lot on his plate these days, but one issue preoccupies him more than most: the Palestinian quest to gain statehood recognition at the United Nations. With just a month before a possible mid-September showdown, Ambassador Mi- chael Oren said he is work- ing on the issue daily, using diplomacy to try to head off a U.N. resolution while simultaneously planning for the fallout should it happen. In an interview during a visit to Philadelphia two weeks ago, he suggested that a U.N. decision to take up such a resolution would further isolate Israel and potentially lead to renewed violence in the region. Oren asserted that Israel and the United States are on the same page as they work to avert a U.N. resolution. He said that Israel, at the request ofthe Obama admin- Congratulations Central Florida! You requested The Jewish Channel on Brighthouse, and now it's here. Channel 330 bright house istration to "do something different" to get back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians, has accepted the idea of the 1967 boundar- ies with mutually agreed land swaps as a basis for negotia- tions with the Palestinians. At the same time, he said, "Israel regards the 1967 boundaries as indefensible and stresses the need to ad- dress the rights and interests of the hundreds of thousands ot our cltlzens who llve be- yond those lines. "We welcomed President Obama's clarification that 'mutually agreed swaps' means that the parties will not return to the lines that existed on June 4, 1967," he said. But, Oren emphasized, Jerusalem only accepted that formula after getting a"more express commitment" from the administration that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state, which they have so far refused to do. Such recognition is criti- cal, Oren said, because it would signify Palestinian un- derstanding that Israel is not a "transient phenomenon," that the conflict is over and that the Palestinians can no longer stake claim to the so- called "right of return" for the descendants of Palestinian refugees from 1948, when Israel became a state. Oren said that his govern- ment had hoped for similar backing from the Quartet, which besides the United States, includes Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. But the EU and Russia objected to rec- ognizing Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, he said. The ambassador sug- gested, though, that even a Quartet agreement might not have diverted the statehood quest anyway. PA President Mahmoud Abbas wants rec- ognition of statehood to leave as his legacy. Although the United States has said it would veto any action in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians are likely to push for a resolution Anne Menanbaum Michael Oren at the General Assembly of all member nations. Oren said he'd rather not predict the outcome at the General Assembly if statehood is voted upon. But noting the G.A.'s "long history of actions against Israel," he said, "We're working hard not to let it happen." Not only would such a dec- laration "not bring peace," he added, it would likely bring an outbreak of renewed violence and make the prospects for negotiations even dimmer. Oren, beginning his third year in the top diplomatic posting, said that U.S.-Israel relations are closer today than they have been in the past 21/2 years. Asked why this is so, he answered; "We've all learned lessons; no one's had the monopoly on mistake-making." Indeed, relations between the Obama administration in Washington and the Netan- yahu regime in Jerusalem have been rocked by disagree- ments over settlements in the West Bank and other issues. His two-day visit to Phila- delphia, which included Erev Shabbat at Beth Sholom Congregation and meetings with local Jewish leaders and media representatives, culminated in a Shabbat morning visit to Bethel, an African-American synagogue in West Oak Lane. Afterward, he said he was "deeply moved" by the warm welcome of him and his wife, Sally, and the rabbi's and members' expressed love for Israel. In his remarks, he said, he cited the weekly Torah portion, Matot, "dealingwith the responsibilities of Jewish peoplehood to say that, in spite of our differences, we are a single people endowed with the same blessings and obligations" and that "Israel belongs to us all." Asked in the interview passage of an anti-boycott law, 0ren predicted that the Israeli Supreme Court would likely rule against it. The law, approved July 11, provides for civil sanctions against supporters of boycotts target- ing Israel or the settlements. Those harmed by boycotts can file civil lawsuits seek- ing monetary damages from those who advocate or orga- nize such boycotts. The law has elicited opposition from Jewish groups across the political spectrum. At the same time, 0ren said, the law has broad public and government back- ing, stemming from Israel's increasing sense of interna- tional isolation. The global movement to boycott "is not about the settlements, it's about boycotting a certain segment of Israeli society," he said. Israel "is turning right- ward," he said, citing devel- opments that have sparked fear and uncertainty among the populace: uncertainty over the future of peace with Egypt, Hezbollah's in- creasing power in Lebanon, Iran's push to build a nuclear weapon, rockets on Israeli borders and Fatah reconcil- ing with Hamas. "What Israelis feel is fear," he said. If they felt there was a sincere Palestinian partner with whom to do business, "the Israeli politi- cal spectrum would look very different." Lisa Hostein is executive editor at the (Philadelphia) Jewish Exponent, from which this article was reprinted by permission. HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 12, 2011