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August 14, 2009

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PAGE 10A Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA Obama planning Iran sanc- tions for September WASHINGTON (JTA) The .Obama administration reportedly plans to intro- duce tougher Iran sanctions if its outreach does not bear fruit by September. The New York Times quoted European diplomats on Aug. 2 as saying that they were discussing stopping the export of refinedpetroleum to the Islamic Republic with their U.S. counterparts. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's spokes- man confirmed that she had discussed Iran in a vid- eoconference that she held Aug. 3 with her counterparts among leading industrial- ized nations. Philip Crowley would not discuss particulars, but the Clinton spokesman said, "There are sanctions that are in place, and we continue to work hard to enforce the sanctions against Iran based on our concerns about Iran's behavior and the unan- swered questions about its nuclear aspirations." Robert Gibbs. a White House spokesman, reaf- firmed that the president would again assess his out- reach policy by September, when major leaderswill meet at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Fatah charges Israel in Ararat death WASHINGTON (JTA) Fatah officials charged Israel with assassinating Yasser Arafato yet conceded they had no proof. They made the charges Aug. 5 during a stormy congress of the mainstream Palestinian national move- ment. the first in 20 years and since Arafat's death in 2004. in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Arafat died in Paris af- ter being rushed there for emergency treatment. Israel had effectively imprisoned the longtime Palestinian leader in his headquarters in Ramallah in his final years because it held him responsible for the violence of the second Intifada. French doctors said the cause of death was undeter- mined but dismissed poison- ing, suggesting instead it was an infection. His widow. Suha, refused an autopsy. Officials at the Fatah con- gress said Aug. 5 that they would leave the case open and asked for international assistance to determine the cause of death. Saudi king urges Palestin- ians to unite WASHINGTON ('J TA)-- Saudi King Abdullah urged Palestinians to unite, saying their internal divisions have done more harm to their cause than Israel has. "I frankly tell you that all that the arrogant and law- breaking enemy could not do to the Palestinian cause over the past long years of continuous aggression the Palestinians themselves have done in a few months," Abdullah said Aug. 4 in a cable to Palestinian Au- thority President Mahmoud Abbas at the start of a Fatah conference in Bethlehem. "I am telling you the truth, if the whole world jointly strove to establish an inde- pendent Palestinian state but the Palestinian house remained divided, nothing would be achieved." Abdullah urged Palestin- ians to "rise above your pet- tiness and divisions to unite your ranks." Report: Bloomberg skirted law to get funds to groups NEW YORK (JTA)The mayor of New York City vio- lated government contract- ing rules in funneling money to two Jewish groups, The New York Times reported. Between 2002 and 2006, the Times wrote, the office of Mayor Michael Bioomberg gave $1.1 million to the fervently Orthodox Agu- dath Israel of America and $400,000 to Ohel Children's Services from a special dis- cretionary fund. By law. the funds can be disbursed only if requested by a City Council member. The Bloomberg admin- istration contends that Councilman Simcha Felder requested the funds, but the Brooklyn Democrat told the Times he never made the request. A Bloomberg spokesman contradicted Felder's account. Though neither of the Jewish organizations is im- plicated by the revelations. they come at a time when the Orthodox community is reeling from the recent arrests of five rabbis and other Orthodox Jews in a ~PAVILION Varlo~ Jewbh S~ m~ o~b~l at .~ab Court ~b~n/~ to our Fri~d~ at Tbe J~ Pavai~. money-laundering probe in New Jersey. Barak: New U.S. peace plan in the works NEWYORK (JTA)--Presi- dent Obamawill soon unveil a new Middle East peace initiative, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. Speaking Aug. 4 at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak said the initiative's details were still in the works, ownership of the homes were based on prestate docu- ments, and Jewish families immediately moved into the buildings in the Palestin= ian neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah. Clinton called on both sides to "refrain from pro- vocative actions" andwarned that such actions "cannot be used to prejudge the out- come of negotiations, and they will not be recognized David Berkowitz/Creative Commons New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is accused of violating government contracting rules. "We're in talks with them and the other regional play- ers', including the Palestin- ians. are also in talks with them," Barak said, referring to negotiations with the United States. "When the " initiative is formulated and presented. I think we should treat it seriously and see it as an opportunity to jump aboard while upholding Israel's defense and other vital interests:" Clinton calls Jerusalem evacuation 'regrettable' WASHINGTON (JTA) Hillary Rodham Clinton said Israel's evacuation of Pales- tinians from their homes in eastern Jerusalem was "deeply regrettable." "I have said before that the eviction of families and demolition of homes in East Jerusalem is not in keeping with Israeli obligations, and 1 urge the Government of Israel and municipal of- ficials to refrain from such provocative actions." the U.S. secretary of state said Aug. 3 during a meetingwith her Jordanian counterpart. Israel last weekend moved out two families from homes they had lived in for decades. Jewish groups claimed the I 1301 W. Maitland Blvd. I MaRland, FL 32751 t 407-646-3990 ALF License No. 8447, Sf'~F 1635096 maitland as changing the status quo.'" Nasser Judeh, the Jor- danian foreign minister. thanked Clinton for her "clear position" and said the evacuation complicated the Obama administration's ef- forts to accelerate the.peace process. "Eviction, demolitions of home. excavations, anything to change the current status quo in the city" he said, prejudice "the outcome of the efforts that are currently undertaken to relaunch ne- gotiations." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's gov- ernment has said that Jewish settlement in Jerusalem is not negotiable. Police arrested three pro- testers Aug. 3 at a demon- stration against the evacu- ation. Franklin: Some FBI agents anti-Semitic WASHINGTON (JTA) The former Pentagon official at the center of the classified information case involving AIPAC staffers accused some FBI agents of displaying anti-Semitism. Larry Franklin. an Iran analyst in 2004 when he helped the FBI set up a sting targeting Keith Weissman, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's former Iran analyst, and Steve Rosen. its former former policy chief, said some of his FB] handlers at times appeared to be motivated by hostility to Jews. "One agent said to me. 'How can an Irish Catholic from the Bronx get mixed up with all these ...' and I fin- ished the sentence for him: 'Jews?' " Franklin said in an interview published July 31by the Washington Times. The FBI. which had caught Franklin removing classified" information from the Pen- tagon to his West Virginia home and revealing classi- fied information, co-opted him in its attempt to build a case against the lobbyists. Franklin wore a wire to lure Weissman and Rosen into the FBI sting. Franklin told the Wash- ington Times not all agents HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 14, 2009 dealing with him were were anti-Semitic, but some asked him to identify Jews in the Pentagon. The FBI declined comment. Spinka rabbi pleads guilty NEWYORK (JTA) -ACha- sidic rabbi pleaded guilty in an $8.5 million tax evasion scam. Rabbi Naftali Tzi Weisz offered the plea Aug. 4 at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, ac- cording to news reports, The 61-year-old, Brooklyn-based Spinka rabbi admitted using a charity to avoid paying federal taxes. Four other Spinka com- munity members also plead- ed guilty on charges of fraud related to the charity. Judge John Walter will sentence Weisz and his ac- Complices in November. Woman charged in Holo- caust survivor's murder NEW YORK (JTA) A Bronxwomanwas charged in the murder of an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor. Angela Murray was ar- raigned Aug. 2 on charges of robbery and murder in the death of Guido Felix Brinkmann. who was discov- ered bound and beaten last week. in his New York City apartment, the Daily News reported. Police are also seeking Murray's companion in con- nection with the crime. Brinkmann ~eportedly was interned at several con- centration camps, including Auschwitz. B'nai B'rith raps Chavez over free speech limits NEWYORK (JTA) B'nai B'rith International lashed out at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for imposing restrictions on free speech in his country. Officials of the Jewish rights organization said the leftist politician's recent order to close dozens of inde- pendent radio and television stations and reassign their frequencies to his supporters was an "outrage." "This is an unacceptable assault on free speech," said B'~ai B'rith President Moishe Smith. "We are greatly disappointed that more international watch- dogs, such as the Organi- zation of American States, have not condemned Ven- ezuela's latest attack on De- mocracy. The international community should hold the Caracas government ac- countable for shredding the last line of defense against a dictatorship." Since being elected in 2000. Chavez has become the unofficial leader of a left- ist resurgence throughout Latin America, leading a fer- vently anti-U.S, agenda. Last year Chavez cut diplomatic ties with Israel following i% operation against Hamas in Gaza. Wexler target of extortion plot WASHINGTON (JTA) A Ghana man was arrested in an extortion attempt targeting a leading Jewish Democratic congressman. Eric Kwame Ogbosu was arrested July 15 and charged with trying to extort money from U.S. Rep. Robert Wex- ler (D-Fla.) by threatening to give his Social Security number, as well as his wife's, to identity thieves, accord- ing to media reports. Ogbosu had called Wexler with the threat, and the congressman reported the call to the Secret Service and Capitol Police. Since the arrest, several attempts reportedly have been made to open credit ac- counts with Wexler's Social Security number. Obama extends additional Syria sanctions WASHINGTON (JTA) President Obama extended sanctions against Syrian officials. The sanctions Obama extended for a year on July 30 were imposed in 2007 by President George W. Bush and address Syria's contin- ued meddling in Lebanon. They target individuals believed to be behind efforts to sustain Syrian hegemony over its neighbor. They are separate from economic and political sanc- tions imposed under the Syria Accountability Act of 2003 that Obama extended earlier this year. Jewish clergy on 'rolling' Darfur fast WASHINGTON (JTA) Jewish clergy across the world are participating in a "rolling fast" to call at- tention to the situation in Darfur. The water-only fast has been under way for about six weeks and is scheduled to continue through Rosh Hashanah in late September. Spearheaded by the Re- ligous Action Center of Reform Judaism and the Union of Reform Judaism. but including sponsorship from Conservative and Re- constructionist groups and others, the fast in which clergy each commit to fast for one day comes after more than 80 rabbis par- ticipated with RAC director Rabbi David Saperstein and American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger in a three-day, water-onlyfast in mid-June. The humanitarian situa- tion in Darfur has worsened since the government of Sudan expelled 13 humafli- tarian aid groups from the country in March. At a Senate hearing o.n July 30, Obama administration Sudan envoy Scott Gration said he was optimistic that new aid organizations prom- ised entry into the country would be able to operate freely, but Saperstein said one shouldn't be too hopeful. Grand jury indicts Holo- caust museum shooter WASHINGTON (JTA)-- A grand jury indicted the white supremacist charged with killing a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. James Von Brunn, 89. faces hate crimes charges in addition to charges related to first degree murder, for a total of seven counts in the indictment handed down July 29 by a Washington grand jury. Some of the charges may incur the death penalty. Von Brunn is accused of killing museum guard Stephen Johns on June 10. Von Brunn is recovering in the hospital from wounds sustained when guards re- turned fire. t