Month: November 2017

Why so many African-American pro basketball players love Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) — Chris Watson played four standout years of basketball at Niagara University, where he became one of the upstate New York school’s all-time leading scorers. So when the 6-7 forward-center went undrafted by an NBA team in 1997, he set out to play on a professional level internationally.

He played two years in Uruguay, then his agent called and said, “You’re going to Israel.”

Watson, an African-American from suburban White Plains — who in his own words did not grow up “watching the news” — said at the time he knew “nothing at all” about the Jewish…

Polish Jewish leaders offer support following attack on Warsaw Muslim center

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Leaders of the Polish Jewish community expressed sympathy with the Muslim community following an attack on a mosque in Warsaw.

On Monday night, rocks and bricks thrown at the Muslim Cultural Center in Warsaw smashed the building’s windows. The garden also was destroyed.

Security camera footage showed at least two perpetrators, but they did not get inside the building.

It was not the first time the mosque has been targeted.

Leslaw Piszewski, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, and Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich wrote a letter to Mufti Tomasz Miśkiewicz, president of the…

Brazil honors diplomat who presided over 1947 UN vote for partition plan

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A Brazilian diplomat who played a crucial role in the creation of the State of Israel 70 years ago was remembered in his country at several ceremonies.

Oswaldo Aranha as president of the U.N. General Assembly presided over the vote held on Nov. 29, 1947, and heavily lobbied for the majority in favor of the resolution that partitioned the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, Jewish and Arab. For his efforts, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948.

“We are very proud that it was a Brazilian in that role,” said…

US aircraft carrier gets a Torah scroll

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish sailors aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford now have a Torah scroll to use during their six- to eight-month stints at sea.

The umbrella body for Jewish chaplains, the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, a program of JCC Association of North America, dedicated the scroll on Wednesday aboard the ship in Norfolk, Virginia.

It was dedicated to the memory Sgt. Jacob Kamaras, a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. On hand for the ceremony were his son, Philip Kamaras, a New York lawyer, and his namesake…

Linda Sarsour gets warm welcome at controversial panel on anti-Semitism

NEW YORK (JTA) — Audience members greeted Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour with loud applause at an event here that in recent weeks became a rallying cry for both critics and defenders of Israel.

Sarsour, a leading feminist as well as pro-Palestinian advocate, was the best-known speaker on a panel on anti-Semitism held Tuesday at the New School. Billed as a discussion of anti-Semitism on the right and left, the panel was denounced by pro-Israel critics who have accused Sarsour and other panelists of anti-Semitism and charged that the event was meant to obscure the anti-Semitism they see lurking among…