Friday, April 27, 2012

Israel’s UN envoy does the Beatles

Ambassador ushers in Independence with a rendition of 'When I’m 64'
Israeli UN envoy Ron Prosor plays the trombone
during his rendition of 'When I'm 64' on Israel's 64th Independence Day.
(photo credit: Shahar Azran/Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations)
Hundreds of diplomats and United Nations officials celebrated Israel’s 64th Independence Day at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

Israeli music greeted the attendees, while Israeli food and wines were served in a marquee specially prepared for the event. The UN grounds beside the East River were colored blue and white in honor of the occasion.

But nothing could have prepared the invitees for the main event: Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, paid tribute to the country’s 64th birthday by concluding his speech with a rendition of the Beatles’ “When I’m 64,” accompanied by an orchestra. -- Yifa Yaakov

To read more, click here.

The Story of the Vote to Create the State of Israel

Below is a video about the dramatic, behind-the-scenes events that took place in November, 1947, in order for the state of Israel to come into being.

To view video, click on image below

Madeleine Albright’s War Years

In a new memoir, Prague Winter, the former secretary of State explores her family’s World War II history and discovers the fate of those left behind
Madeleine Albright, flanked by grandmothers
Růžena Spieglová (left) and Olga Körbelová.
(Courtesy Madeleine Albright and Harper Collins)
In 1996, just as the Honorable Madeleine Korbelova Albright was confirmed as secretary of State—the country’s first woman to hold that post—revelations came to light that her Czech parents, neither of whom were living by then, had been born Jews.

Josef and Anna (née Spieglová) Korbel converted to Catholicism in 1941, when Josef was working for the exiled Czech government in London. The information, which Albright learned of just a few months before it was made public, raised many questions: Why had her parents converted, and why had they never told her? Why had she never figured it out? And what happened to the relatives who remained in Czechoslovakia during World War II and after? It was only when her term as secretary of State ended that Albright was able to pursue answers to these questions in earnest. In her new book, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, she chronicles her search and the answers she found. She joins Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry to talk about what it was like to learn of her family background at age 59, and about what she’s done with this knowledge in the intervening years. Albright also talks about why Hillary Clinton has a harder job than she did. -- Vox Tablet

To hear interview, click here.

Baltimore synagogue offers to share parking lot with mosque

A synagogue in a Baltimore suburb with a large Orthodox Jewish population has offered to share its parking lot with a mosque.

The Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in Pikesville, Md., has offered the use of its parking facilities to a fledgling congregation of Ahmaddiya Muslims that recently purchased a former mansion and assisted-living facility across from the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the Baltimore Jewish Times reported. The congregation is part of an international Muslim movement founded in 1889 in India that preaches universal peace.

The congregation of Ahmaddiya Muslims is made up of 40 families. Its leader, Dr. Agha Khan, a neurosurgeon at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, met recently with Rabbi Andrew Busch of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and other congregational officials in an effort to build good relations. Khan also met with Baltimore Jewish Council officials and leaders of the Pikesville-Greenspring Communication Coalition Community, according to the newspaper.

“Right from the beginning, because of his involvement with Sinai, he knew he needed to have some discussions with leadership in the Jewish community,” Dr. Arthur Abramson, executive director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, told the Baltimore Jewish Times.

The Ahmaddiya congregation plans to put in its own parking lot in the future. -- JTA

Israel at 64 stands 135,000 people stronger than last year, census stats show

Soldiers rehearse for an Independence Day ceremony on April 24
(photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
State population at 7,881,000, 75.3% of whom are Jewish -- Times of Israel

To read more, click here.

Israeli cardiologists denied visas for Dubai confab

Jewish and Arab Israeli cardiologists were denied visas at the last minute to attend a professional conference in Dubai.

Only two of the more than one dozen Israeli doctors invited to present talks at or participate in the World Heart Federation conference in Dubai last week were able to attend, The Jerusalem Post reported. Some 12,000 cardiologists attended the conference.

Each of the Israelis denied visas had paid $3,000 to attend the conference, including hotel and airfare. The conference, which had pledged to try to ensure that Israelis would be given visas to enter Saudi Arabia, reportedly would not refund the doctors' conference fees.

The Israelis who did attend the conference were confined to the hotel, The Jerusalem Post reported.

In January 2010, it was suspected that Israeli agents used foreign passports to travel undercover into Dubai in order to assassinate Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. -- JTA

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Opinion: Sixty-four things I love about Israel

In what has become something of an annual tradition, comedian Benji Lovitt lists 64 things he loves about Israel. -- Benji Lovitt, Time of Israel

To read more, click here.

A Disappearing Delicacy

Making ptcha at home. (Tablet Magazine)
As ptcha—a classic Ashkenazic dish made from jellied calves’ feet—disappears from deli menus, American Jews lose a culinary link to past generations -- Grace Bello, Tablet

To read more, click here.

Seth Greenberg, Maccabiah basketball coach, is out at Va. Tech

Seth Greenberg, who will coach the U.S. men's basketball team at the 2013 Maccabiah Games, was fired by Virginia Tech.

The Atlantic Coast Conference school made the announcement on Monday in a news conference.

"We needed to go another direction in our men's basketball program," athletic director Jim Weaver said, USA Today reported.

Greenberg, 56, led Virginia Tech to a record of 167-117 in nine seasons. The Hokies made the NCAA tournament in the 2006-07 season and the NIT five times.

Weaver said Greenberg was "shocked" when told he was being fired Monday, USA Today reported. The athletic director also said that the rest of the athletic department had a "family environment" -- and the basketball program didn't.

Greenberg, a member of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Commack, N.Y., has won nearly 400 games as the head man at Virginia Tech, South Florida and Long Beach State.

At the Maccabiah Games, the U.S. team under Greenberg will be trying to win its second consecutive gold medal. Greenberg served as an assistant coach for the 1989 men's basketball team -- an experience he has called "life altering."

In a statement earlier this month on being named coach of the Maccabiah team for the July 2013 Games, Greenberg said, “This volunteer position is important to me because any time you can represent your country and your faith in the same event, it’s something very special.”

Little Herzliya: Israeli ex-pats reshape South Bay Jewish life

Navigating the narrow aisles at Oakmont Produce Market, Dana Leiba can’t avoid bumping baskets with fellow shoppers. It’s OK, though. Odds are they will all end up chatting in Hebrew anyway.

The Cupertino store includes a 6-foot-tall display for Bamba, the Israeli peanut-flavored corn-puff snack, and many of its shelves are lined with packaged goods imported from the Holy Land, such as pickles, olives and couscous.

1_jcover4.27.12These are the comfort foods of home for Leiba and her fellow expatriate Israelis.

The greater Silicon Valley is home to tens of thousands of Israelis like the Leibas. For the most part, they have found each other and made a community for themselves. -- by dan pine, N.CA. Jewish News Weekly

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Memorial to Israel’s fallen soldiers, terror victims gets go-ahead

Israel's Cabinet approved the establishment of a memorial on Mount Herzl to Israel's fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.

The Hall of Names memorial approved Sunday will list the 22,993 names of those who have been killed fighting in Israel's declared and undeclared wars and those slain in terrorist attacks. The names of the dead will be inscribed on bricks.

Also Sunday, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz visited the graves of three soldiers who recently died while in uniform, including 2nd Lt. Hila Bezaleli, who was killed last week when the lighting scaffolding collapsed onto the stage set up during a rehearsal at Mount Herzl for the annual Memorial Day/Independence Day ceremony. Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Bezaleli's parents.

The memorial hall, which is expected to cost nearly $11 million, also will serve as a venue for state ceremonies and official visits, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has been talking about a central hall to enshrine the memories of the fallen for decades and "the time has come to make a decision."

"We are a people that overflows with memory," he said. "We are doing this out of deep recognition of the contribution of the fallen, and I hope that such places will no longer be necessary."

According to official figures released in advance of this week's Israel's Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism, the total number of fallen security personnel and terror victims from 1860 to 2012 stands at 22,993, with 126 killed since last  Remembrance Day. There are 10,524 bereaved families of security personnel, 2,396 orphans and 4,992 widows of the Israeli military and the defense establishment. -- JTA

Op-Ed: Monitor hate crimes, as promised

How much homophobia is there? And how much anti-Semitism? How many Muslims are beaten up because of who they are?

The only accurate answer today is, “We don’t know.” Organizations that combat hate and bigotry do not know how many crimes were committed with a hateful motive because such incidents are not being monitored properly.

A recent study by CEJI-A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe shows that most hate crimes watchdogs in Europe do not know how many incidents there are. They are working with anecdotal data culled from the media and the occasional phone call. Such sources, while important for their illustrative value, are neither consistent nor usually as detailed as they should be. (Full disclosure: I used to work for CEJI and helped launch this study.)

Indeed, the 56 participating states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international organization of which the United States is a founding member, promised in 2003 in Vienna to start gathering data on hate crimes, including anti-Semitic ones. Today, nearly a decade later, a meager five of those states submitted data on anti-Semitic incidents, according to the latest OSCE report. The United States was not one of them.-- Gidon Van Emden, JTA

To read more, click here.

Egypt cancels gas agreement with Israel

Egypt canceled its natural gas agreement with Israel, reportedly abrogating the original Egypt-Israel peace treaty of 1979.

The unilateral announcement was made Sunday by Egypt's national gas company EGAS, according to The Marker, an Israeli business daily.

The 2005 deal between the governments of Israel and Egypt promised that Cairo would allocate 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Israel for 20 years, with an option to double the amount.

The 1979 peace treaty had required Egypt to supply Israel with oil; it was later amended to natural gas.

"We don't see this cutoff of the gas as something that is born out of political developments. It's actually a business dispute between the Israeli company and the Egyptian company," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. "But alongside that I have to say that we have, as I said, the reserves of gas to make Israel totally energy independent, not only from Egypt but from any other source, and have Israel become one of the world's large exporters of natural gas. So we're quite confident on that score."

Egypt's pipeline in the Sinai supplying natural gas to Israel was attacked earlier this month for the 14th time since uprisings began in February 2011 against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed. No arrests have been made in any of the attacks.

The supply of gas to Israel has been halted numerous times in the last year, leading to a scramble to find alternate fuel sources to produce electricity that are more expensive.

Egypt supplied Israel with more than 40 percent of its natural gas needs to produce electricity; electricity prices have risen by more than 20 percent in Israel since the attacks began. -- JTA

With Tony Curtis profile, documentariess shine at Jewish fest

Sir Martin Gilbert and Stephanie Nyombayire in “The Rescuers.”
For its opening night on May 3, the Jewish Film Festival appropriately returns to one of Hollywood’s golden ages and to one of its most celebrated Jewish stars, Bernie Schwartz, aka Tony Curtis.

The documentary “Tony Curtis: Driven to Stardom” covers a lot of ground, much of it rocky, in 96 minutes.

Also being screened are:
"Wartime" which profiles Israeli violin maker
"Rescuers" which pays tribute to World War II gentile diplomats -- Tom Tugend, Jewish Journal

To read more, click here.

The First Lady of Fleet Street

Rachel Beer

Rachel Beer was editor of two British newspapers and exposed the forged documents behind the Dreyfus affair. What exactly drove this maverick career woman, mental patient, and Jewish convert to Christianity? -- Susan Hertog, Jewish Ideas Daily

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Innovative packaging keeps open carton of milk fresh – for a month

Oplon makes packaging materials that kill germs
and keep food fresh without refrigeration or freezing.
Now, it has signed a huge deal with a multinational food manufacturer
(Photo credit: Nati Shohat/FLASH90
Consumers in the U.S. and Europe could soon benefit from the fruits of an Israeli technology that can prevent microbacterial infestation of foods and beverages. Ness Ziona-based Oplon has signed an agreement with a large multinational food manufacturer for the development of packaging materials based on Oplon’s technology. The 3-year deal is worth $8 million, not including royalties that may accrue based on the products developed, the company said. -- David Shamah, Times of Israel

To read more, click here.

Israeli judge says antiquity inscriptions weren’t forged

Two stones with inscriptions that may date back to First Temple times are not fakes, according to an Israeli judge and a panel of experts.

An Israeli antiquities dealer, Oded Golan, had been accused of faking an inscription on an artifact called the “Jehoash Inscription,” a stone tablet describing renovations of the First Temple in Jerusalem. The First Temple stood from 957 to 586 B.C.E.

Golan was also on trial for allegedly faking an ancient burial box with the inscription "James, brother of Jesus."

But a panel of unpaid experts, including New York-based paleontologist Howard Feldman, determined that the stones were not forgeries -- though the judge’s ruling stopped short of calling them authentic.

“All evidence indicates that the production of the tablet and the carving of its inscription occurred essentially at the same time,” Feldman said in a press release. “It was not forged.” -- JTA

Thousands Run the Jerusalem Marathon 2012

Thousands of runners from all over the world came to Jerusalem in order to participate in last month's marathon, which included four categories: the public race of 4.2 km, the 10 km marathon, the 21 km marathon and the full marathon (42 Km).

What was it like? Watch and see for yourselves! -- Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To view video, click on image below.

Taken for a Ride in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s light-rail system was designed in part to force Arabs and Jews to interact. Now that it’s running, commuters share one thing: discontent.
A ride on the central line of Jerusalem's new light-rail system.(Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
Jerusalem is not known for its high-functioning infrastructure. With a rapidly growing population squeezed between sacred sites, and as ground zero for an intractable territorial conflict, it’s pretty much an urban planner’s worst nightmare. To wit: Jerusalem’s plan to build a light-rail system to ease congestion and unify the city. In addition to facing a host of logistical obstacles, the proposal prompted considerable opposition because the trains would cross borders that many people have fought hard to define and defend, separating East Jerusalem from West, Arab from Jew. After nearly a decade of construction, at a cost of over a billion dollars, the system finally opened several months ago. But if there’s one thing that unites these commuting Jerusalemites, it’s their frustration with the train’s deficiencies. Daniel Estrin filed this report. [Running time: 15:02.] -- Vox Tablet

Jewish movements renew Pollard clemency appeal

Representatives of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements renewed their appeals to President Obama to grant clemency to Jonathan Pollard.

The calls over the weekend for Pollard's release came from the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Rabbinical Assembly, the National Council of Young Israel, Agudath Israel of America and the Orthodox Union. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the central coordinating body representing 51 national Jewish organizations, also called on Obama to grant clemency for Pollard.

In their clemency appeals, the Jewish leaders threw their weight behind the official request from Israeli President Shimon Peres to Obama to release Pollard, according to a statement from the Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization.

"We join President Shimon Peres and scores of American intellectual, religious, political, and civic leaders in appealing for his prompt release," wrote Richard Stone and Malcolm Hoenlein, the chairman and executive vice chairman of the Presidents Conference. "Given his clear expressions of remorse and pledges regarding his activities upon release, we believe the commutation of his unprecedentedly long sentence to the 27 years he has already served is warranted.

"President Peres is a cautious and judicious person and his letter comes only after much deliberation," they wrote.

Peres' letter, sent earlier this month, cited Pollard's reportedly severe health situation in requesting that he be released from Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, where he is serving a life sentence for spying for Israel. Peres has not received an official reply to his letter.

Obama announced last month that he would award Peres with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in June; a petition signed by more than 35,000 Israelis has called on Peres to use his influence with the White House to ensure that Pollard is released prior to the medal ceremony. -- JTA

Monday, April 23, 2012

Are women better leaders than men? Harvard Business Review piece gets whirlwind of response

Powerful women in Washington:
From the American Red Cross to the Supreme Court,
more and more institutions of power in the nation’s capital
are seeing women take the lead.
“Are women better leaders than men?” That’s the provocative question Joseph Folkman and Jack Zenger raised last month in a blog post on Harvard Business Review’s Web site, where they first published the results of their study based on the performance evaluations of more than 7,000 leaders.

In it, they analyzed thousands of their clients’ “360 evaluations,” which pull together the opinions of a leader’s performance by their bosses, their peers and their underlings. Their study found that women outscored men on 12 of the 16 attributes Folkman and Zenger have found to be most associated with great leaders. On average, the study found, women were more likely to outscore men on everything from “displaying high integrity” to “driving for results.” In fact, the only competency on which men had a more positive score was “developing strategic expertise.” That led Folkman and Zenger, who run an eponymously named leadership development firm, to title their study even more provocatively: “Women do it Better than Men.” -- Jena McGregor, Washington Post

To read more and to see accompanying slideshow, click here.

Hadassah probe exonerates Falchuk, Natan

A Hadassah-commissioned probe has exonerated two top officials, Marcie Natan and Nancy Falchuk, of financial abuse allegations.

Natan, Hadassah's national president, and Falchuk, the organization's former national president, had been accused by Hadassah's chief operating officer, Larry Blum, of misuse of organizational assets. Blum outlined the charges in a Jan. 12 letter delivered while he himself was on administrative leave following allegations that he had misused his corporate credit card.

Hadassah responded by asking a committee of Hadassah board members to investigate Blum's charges, and the committee appointed attorney Dan Kurtz of the firm Skadden Arps to head up the probe.

“After performing an extensive investigation, the conclusion we reached regarding the Blum allegations was that none of them were supported by facts," Kurtz said in a statement released Thursday by Hadassah. "No volunteers, including Marcie Natan and Nancy Falchuk, breached any fiduciary duties owed to Hadassah in connection with the allegations. Hadassah does not need to take further action with respect to the Blum allegations."

Blum remains on a leave of absence while an internal staff investigation probes the allegations against him.

"We are pleased with the conclusions of the committee and the Skadden firm and we are thankful to everyone for standing by us during this time," Natan and Falchuk said in a statement released by the organization. -- JTA

Cooking Up Spain’s Jewish Past

Medieval Sephardic recipes come out of hiding at La Vara,
a new restaurant in Brooklyn that reconnects
Spanish cuisine with its Jewish roots.
Above Chef Alex Raij at La Vara. (Rachel Barrett)
Downstairs in the kitchen at La Vara, a 44-seat Spanish restaurant that opened in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood a few weeks ago, a line cook tosses hunks of marinated lamb into a pressure cooker. Nearby, another cook mixes preserved kumquat peel into a tub of olives before turning around to plate an order of beef tongue braised in tomato-caper sauce. As in all new kitchens, the pace is hectic as the staff learns its way around an unfamiliar space. But for chef Alex Raij, everything feels like it’s in exactly the right place.

La Vara joins a small but growing cluster of nouveau Jewish eateries in the neighborhood: The Montreal-style delicatessen Mile End, the appetizing store Shelsky’s Smoked Fish, and the egg-cream-pushing Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain are all a short walk away. But unlike its neighbors, La Vara’s culinary explorations are Sephardic—and Raij said she does not aim to “elevate nostalgic comfort food,” as many of her contemporaries are credited with doing.

La Vara is the newest venture for Raij and her husband, Eder Montero, who co-own two Spanish restaurants in Manhattan, the tapas bar El Quinto Pino and the Basque-inspired Txikito. La Vara is also Spanish (pork and seafood dishes are scattered liberally across the menu), but with a twist: Many of the restaurant’s dishes are inspired by the medieval Jewish and Islamic cuisines that shaped the food of southern Spain—a legacy that virtually vanished for centuries but is now being revived.  -- Leah Koenig, Tablet

To read more, click here.

US House votes unanimously for Wallenberg medal

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to award Raoul Wallenberg the Congressional Gold Medal.

The vote Tuesday, two days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, is part of an effort to confer the honor upon Wallenberg in time for the 100th anniversary of his birth in August.

“By sacrificing his personal safety, and ultimately his life, to protect the lives of a generation of Jews, Raoul Wallenberg exhibited the kind of noble courage that we prize in America,” said William Daroff, the director of the Washington office of the Jewish Federations of North America, which has led lobbying for the act that would confer the honor. “On behalf of the countless Jews saved through his mission, we are grateful for the House’s action today to permanently honor a global hero.”

Wallenberg, a neutral Swedish diplomat in Budapest during the German occupation in 1944, issued Swedish travel documents -- known as “Wallenberg passports” -- to at least 20,000 Jews and also set up more than 30 safe houses for Jews. Other neutral diplomats collaborated in the effort.

The details of Wallenberg’s fate have remained a mystery. He disappeared while being escorted out of Hungary toward the Soviet Union. The Soviets claimed that he died of a heart attack in 1957, but other evidence indicated that he was killed in Lubyanka prison or that he may have lived years longer.

The Congressional Gold Medal has been conferred since the American Revolution to honor "the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions." It was first awarded to George Washington.

Awardees need not be Americans. Past honorees include Simon Wiesenthal, the Nazi hunter; Natan and Avital Sharansky, who led activism on behalf of Soviet Jews; the Dalai Lama; and Burmese democracy movement leader Saw Aung Suu Kyi.

Bills proposing the medals need two-thirds sponsorship before they can be considered. So far, the Senate version of the Wallenberg bill only has 25 co-sponsors, well short of the 67 needed. -- JTA

Israel heads to Tribeca

The large and lively film festival in Manhattan is featuring some of our locally made movies.
Photo: Courtesy
Eytan Fox, one of Israel’s most acclaimed directors, has a new film premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan this week, which started on April 18 and runs until April 29. Fox’s Yossi is the opening night attraction in the World Narrative Film Competition, and this screening is also its world premiere. -- Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post

To read more, click here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Opinion: How to Stop a Bully

A scene from Bully. (The Weinstein Company)

Even as the Harvey Weinstein-produced film Bully falls flat, Jewish schools are trying new programs that do more than simply raise awareness -- Marjorie Ingall, Tablet

To read more, click here.

Conservatives to Ordain Gay and Lesbian Rabbis in Israel

Photo Credit: Sneakymoose
The Board of Trustees of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary voted Thursday night to accept gay and lesbian students for ordination beginning in the next academic year.

Affiliated with the “Masorti” movement in Israel and with the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, Schechter trains educational and spiritual, non-Orthodox leaders for positions in Israel.

“The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary views the serious process leading to this decision as an example of confronting social dilemmas within the framework of tradition and halachah,” Hanan Alexander, chair of the seminary’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “This decision highlights the institution’s commitment to uphold halachah in a pluralist and changing world.” -- Jewish Press

To read more, click here.

Bibi’s back on Time list of 100 most influential

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made Time magazine's 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world for the second year in a row.

Netanyahu is called an "iconic, strong and determined leader who has excelled during a lifetime of service to the state of Israel" in a profile written by U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader in the House of Representatives.

"At this perilous moment, Prime Minister Netanyahu is the right leader for Israel -- and the right partner for America," Cantor wrote.

Time's list of those who “inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world" features "breakouts, pioneers, moguls, leaders and icons.” It includes Harvey Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most successful producers, who recently contributed to the documentary "Bully." Anonymous, a hacker group that threatened a reign of terror against Israel and to systematically wipe the country off of the internet, also appears on the list.

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are on the list, as are Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (the former Kate Middleton, who is married to Prince William), and her sister, Pippa Middleton, and athletes Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin.

Syrian President Bashar Assad appears on the list as a "rogue." -- JTA

U.S. anti-Semitism envoy Rosenthal to raise Malmo mayor’s remarks

Hannah Rosenthal, the U.S. envoy to combat anti-Semitism, will meet with the mayor of Malmo, Sweden, who is accused of fomenting anti-Semitism.

"I will be meeting with the mayor, I am aware of his remarks and I will express my concern," Rosenthal told JTA on Wednesday just before her departure for a tour of Sweden and Latvia.

Ilmar Reepalu last month told a Swedish magazine that the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Sweden Democrats Party had "infiltrated" the city's Jewish community in order to turn it against Muslims. Reepalu later said he had no basis for his remarks and that he "shouldn't have said it that way."

He has also said that his city's tiny Jewish community bears some responsibility for physical attacks against it because the community has not condemned Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

Rosenthal had said she was planning to visit Sweden this year in any case to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg, the diplomat who saved tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews before disappearing under Soviet occupation. However, she was spurred to go now because of the Malmo controversy.

Rosenthal also will visit Latvia to observe its Holocaust commemorations and tour its Holocaust commemoration sites.

She said she will raise with Latvian leaders the issue of an annual march honoring that nation's veterans of the Waffen SS, the armed wing of the Nazi party. -- JTA