Jun 082016
 

Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz co-authored the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016, introduced in April, which would reset the statute of limitations, giving families six years to pursue claims once looted items are identified.

The broad bipartisan support was evident at Tuesday’s hearing, where the Texans’ Democratic partners, Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, also spoke of the urgent need to make it easier to pursue claims.

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 Posted by at 11:51 pm
Jun 082016
 

A liberal Jewish political action group will mark the anniversary of the murder of three Civil Rights workers this month by holding anti-Trump vigils around the country, Haaretz reports.

The group, Bend the Arc-Jewish Action, will hold vigils on June 21, the anniversary of the murders of Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin, Texas.

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 Posted by at 9:26 pm
Jun 032016
 

A New York City swimming pool has been forced to maintain gender-segregated swimming hours at the insistence of local Hasidic Jews.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State reported Thursday that the Metropolitan Swimming Pool, located on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn held separate swimming hours for women for more than two decades.

However, the city’s Commission on Human Rights warned last month that the practice of segregating swimmers by gender violates equal access laws.

It briefly appeared that the Metropolitan Pool would comply with the council’s order to desegregate swimming hours to make the pool available to everyone, but State Assemblyman Dov Hikind strenuously objected to the ruling.

“What happened to being culturally sensitive? I thought we were in the midst of a ‘Progressive Era,’ where we do everything we can to be more accepting of cultural differences,” said Hikind in a statement.

He continued, “In no way is this program for separate gender swimming meant to be discriminatory. Anyone, regardless of their race or religion, is more than welcome to take advantage of the facility’s services. We call upon the City and the Parks Department to reverse this decision and ensure the continuation of this program.”

The Parks Department relented and for now, gender segregated swimming hours will continue.

Rabbi David Niederman — director of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg — told The Forward, “It is a question do we believe in equality or not?”

“Men,” he said, “are much more active. They go, they walk, they go to work. They’re all day outside. Women are more homebound… Especially women who have a lot of children, that type of exercise [swimming] is very healthy for them. Depriving that…it hurts.”

Americans United pointed out that gender-segregated swimming is already available in the area at members-only pools.

“The Boro Park Y and Shorefront Y both offer women-only swimming hours,” wrote Sarah E. Jones at the Wall of Separation blog. “It’s not clear why Hasidic women apparently prefer the public pool to these options, but their ability to swim in a manner that conforms to their religious practice is not actually dependent upon a public facility’s decision to accommodate them.”

The New York Times Editorial Board weighed in on the matter Wednesday with an essay declaring that forcing everyone male out of the pool for one religious group’s special dispensation is an unlawful use of public property.

“There is no just way to tell a sweaty Brooklynite on a Sunday afternoon that he should be ejected onto Bedford Avenue because one religious group doesn’t want him in the pool,” the editors wrote.

“The best solution would be for the city to immediately end religious segregation in the pools, and limit the rules of separation only to practical considerations, like keeping lap swimmers away from splashing children. Let those who cannot abide public, secular rules at a public, secular pool find their own private place to swim when and with whom they see fit,” the Times concluded.

 Posted by at 6:58 pm
Jun 012016
 

In May, Israel scored another major moral victory when the United Methodist Church shot down four resolutions calling for the organization to divest from companies that operate in Israel’s post-1967 borders. Only days after this stunning rejection of BDS, the UMC followed up its pro-Israel stance by advocating the Church’s withdrawal from the rabidly anti-Israel “US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.”

In adopting the non-binding pro-Israel resolution, the UMC noted the one-sided nature of the anti-Israel group which seeks to isolate Israel through economic and cultural boycotts. The Methodist petition called the anti-Israel group a “one-sided political coalition” that overlooks “anti-Israel aggression.” The UMC resolution further noted that “blaming only one side while ignoring the wrongdoing of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran will not advance the cause of peace.”

 Posted by at 6:45 am
Jun 012016
 

On April 15, numerous local members of Congress were among the 37 members of the Congressional Bipartisan Taskforce for Combating Anti-Semitism which sent a letter to John B. King, Jr., the new U.S. Secretary of Education, asking him to outline how his agency is tracking, investigating and responding to cases of anti-Semitism on campus — particularly in light of the spread of the BDS movement on U.S. college campuses.

Among the local members of Congress who signed the letter to King include:

•U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D, FL -21)

•U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D, FL-22)

•U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D, FL-23)

•U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D, FL-24)

•U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R, FL-26)

•U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-27)

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 Posted by at 6:42 am

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