International News


Israelis Argue on Behalf Of U.S. Detainee Rights

By Nathan Guttman

The contending sides in Zia-ur-Rahman’s detention case are hardly a surprise. On Rahman’s behalf, the American Civil Liberties Union argues that the 27-year-old Afghan’s indefinite detention by American authorities — without right to counsel or judicial review — at Bagram airfield, outside Kabul, violates his right to due process. On the other side, the Pentagon, under President Obama no less than under his predecessor, President Bush, maintains that a noncitizen being held on foreign territory in an arena of combat does not enjoy the due process rights of this country’s citizens.Read More


HRW Founder Charts Another Way To Probe Human Rights

By Gal Beckerman

When Robert Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, publicly split last year from the groundbreaking organization he birthed in the late 1970s, most people assumed this was the last they would hear from the 88-year-old publisher-turned-activist. But Bernstein was not finished. It appears that The New York Times op-ed in which he charged HRW with disproportionate criticism of Israel was just his opening salvo.Read More


Washington Turns Toward Iran as Revolutions Spread in the Middle East

By Nathan Guttman

Amid the revolutionary turmoil sweeping the Arab world, there is renewed interest in Washington in supporting the movement for human rights and democracy in Iran. The new atmosphere reflects a noticeable shift in the policy discussion in Washington. The Obama administration has, at times, been hesitant to embrace Iran’s opposition movement, wary of being seen as meddling in the country’s domestic politics and of undermining diplomatic efforts to engage the Iranian regime.Read More


Cuba’s Remnant Rediscovers Religion

By Michael Orbach

The hubbub surrounding Cuba’s small Jewish community these days does not faze Yakob Berezniak Hernandez. Sitting behind a desk crowded with a typewriter, several cans of Lieber’s tomato paste and piles of loose foreign change, Hernandez, of Havana’s Adath Israel synagogue, waved away inquiries about Alan Gross, the 61-year-old American Jewish contractor sentenced to 15 years in prison March 15. Gross was found guilty of seeking to clandestinely distribute Internet satellite communications equipment to Cuba’s Jewish community on behalf of United States Agency for International Development.Read More


Historic Canadian Jewish Congress To Be Merged Into New Communal Group

By Sheldon Gordon

The Canadian Jewish Congress, which has functioned as Canadian Jewry’s primary advocacy group since 1919, is being merged into a larger super-agency that is expected to put greater emphasis on Israel advocacy.Read More


Family Secret: My Mother-in-Law, the Accused Spy

By Itzik Gottesman

On Saturday, February 26, my mother-in-law, Judith Socolov, died peacefully in her sleep at age 89. Her death was covered extensively by The Associated Press and The New York Times, and reporters openly discussed her “infamous” past as part of a Cold War drama that had long been forgotten.Read More


In New Book, Grave Robbing and Other Stories of Poles’ Complicity

By Donald Snyder

Jan Gross is once again forcing Poland to take a new look at its past. The Polish-American historian, whose previous books generated heated controversy and self-examination, has written a searing new indictment of Polish behavior toward Jews during World War II.Read More


Palestinian-American Entrepreneur Re-Envisions West Bank Development

By Nathan Jeffay

He’s the Palestinian-American who is determined to out-settle the settlers. In his chic office in Ramallah, Bashar Masri, believed to be the richest person in the Palestinian territories, is in high spirits. It’s February 3, his 50th birthday, and the past year has been a particularly good one.Read More


Report: Shapiro Is Obama’s Choice for Israel Envoy

By Nathan Guttman

Dan Shapiro, whose direct phone number in the White House is on speed dial for most Jewish leaders, could soon be heading to Israel as the top U.S. diplomatic envoy in Tel Aviv. According to a February 22 report in Politico, President Obama intends to appoint Shapiro, who serves as senior director for Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council, as ambassador to Israel.Read More


Jewish Groups Scramble To Adjust to New Mideast Reality

By Nathan Guttman

The Egyptian revolution has kicked open the door to a vast Arab population that, for the first time, is poised to influence the course of its country’s policies directly. For Israel’s supporters, this could mean a new frontier for public diplomacy and a chance to reach out to Arab masses.Read More


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