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US Jewish Leaders Discuss Evangelists' Aims


More than 10 U.S. Jewish leaders met in New York this week to discuss whether evangelists are trying to "Christianize" the United States. "It was not a 'damn the evangelicals and full speed ahead' sort of meeting," said Marc Stern, an executive of the American Jewish Congress. The leaders agreed that "there are elements of the evangelical community that, if unchecked and the trends continue, raise disturbing issues for the Jewish community." Stern said that everyone agreed they do not foresee an "imminent pogrom" but that there is enough concern of evangelism that the leaders should continue to study the issue.

Iranian President: Move Israel to Europe

By Reuters & Ha'aretz

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said last month that Israel should be "wiped off the map," suggested in Saudi Arabia on Thursday that the Jewish state should be transferred to Europe.

The official Iran news agency, IRNA, reported that the president told a news conference in Mecca that he rejects that the Holocaust occurred but that if it did, it is no reason for Europeans to support "the occupiers of Jerusalem." He added, "If the Europeans are honest, they should give some of their provinces in Europe -- like in Germany, Austria or other countries -- to the Zionists.

"Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan replied, "It just further underscores our concerns about the regime in Iran, and it is all the more reason why it is so important that the regime not have the ability to develop nuclear weapons."

The latest comments also provoked quick condemnation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called them "totally unacceptable" and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said, "I condemn them unreservedly. They have no place in civilized political debate."

Earlier in his speech, the Iranian president said: "The question is where do those who rule in Palestine as occupiers come from? Where were they born? Where did their fathers live? They have no roots in Palestine but they have taken the fate of Palestine in their hands?

"Isn't the right to national self-determination one of the principles of the United Nations charter? Why do they deprive Palestinians of this right?" he said.

Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said in Tel Aviv Ahmadinejad was voicing "the consensus that exists in many circles in the Arab world that the Jewish people ... do not have the right to establish a Jewish, democratic state in their ancestral homeland".

"Just to remind Mr. Ahmadinejad, we've been here long before his ancestors were here," Gissin said. "Therefore, we have a birthright to be here in the land of our forefathers and to live here. Thank God we have the capability to deter and to prevent such a statement from becoming a reality."

Israel accuses Iran of giving arms and funding to terrorist Palestinian groups such as Islamic Jihad and of building nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges. Tehran calls Israel a "terrorist state" and has developed missiles that can reach Israel. It says it would use them if Israel tried to bomb its nuclear facilities.

Israeli Strike Kills Two Terrorists in Northern Gaza

By Robert Berger (VOA-Jerusalem)
08 December 2005

Two Palestinian terrorists and an Israeli have been killed in a fresh wave of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel has suspended the latest round of negotiations.

Israeli warplanes and artillery pounded Palestinian terrorist targets in Gaza in response to rocket attacks across the border. One air strike killed two armed terrorists from the al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a State Department designated terrorist group.

The rocket attacks were in retaliation for Israel's killing of a senior terrorist in an air strike Wednesday. Israel resumed its controversial assassination policy after a suicide bomber killed five Israelis in the coastal town of Netanya on Monday.

"And I know of no country that will tolerate these kind of attacks, and therefore, you can expect a very harsh response to this attack, which [represents] a marked escalation on the part of the terrorist organizations," said Israeli government spokesman Ra'anan Gissin.

Israel also suspended talks to open a road link between Gaza and the West Bank for the first time in nearly five years. The so-called "safe passage" route was scheduled to open next week under an agreement mediated by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Israel said there is nothing to talk about until the Palestinians keep their commitment under the internationally backed "road map" peace plan and disarm militant groups.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said freezing the talks is a "flagrant violation" of an international accord. "I honestly cannot comprehend because we have a written agreement with them not to do that."

In the West Bank, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli in the neck and killed him at an army checkpoint. With the escalating violence, the 10-month-old cease-fire is unraveling.

UN Ceremony Includes Map of ´Palestine´ in Place of Israel


The United Nations held a "Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" last week. And a large map of "Palestine," with Israel literally wiped off the map was featured prominently in the festivities.

The ceremony was held at the UN headquarters in New York and was attended by Secretary General Kofi Annan and the presidents of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly.

During the festivities, a map labeled a "map of Palestine" was displayed prominently between UN and PLO flags. The map, with "Palestine" written in Arabic atop it, does not include Israel, a member of the UN for 56 years. The map does not even demarcate the partition lines of November 29, 1947, marking a Jewish state alongside an Arab state. The UN General Assembly itself dictated the partition.

At the start of the ceremony, the dignitaries present asked attendees to observe a moment of silence. "I invite everyone present to rise and observe a minute of silence in memory of all those who have given their lives for the cause of the Palestinian people," the master of ceremonies said, "and the return of peace between Israel and Palestine."

Donald Trump Planning Complex in Netanya


Netanya Mayor Miriam Feierberg revealed Thursday that billionaire Donald Trump is planning a $500 million beachfront hotel complex in the coastal city. She said Trump associate Michael Dezer has visited Netanya three times and has proposed building several hotels on a 38-acre site on the Mediterranean Coast. The project will include a museum for antique cars.

The mayor added that Monday's suicide attack in the city has not altered the plans for the project. "The bombings are a part of life in Israel. We are used to it, and it doesn't change a thing," said Dezer, an Israeli living in the United States.

Mel Gibson's Holocaust Project Raises Eyebrows

By Reuters

Catholic actor and director Mel Gibson's latest project - a TV movie set against the backdrop of the Holocaust - is raising eyebrows before a single scene has been shot. His production company, Con Artist Productions, and two others are developing a miniseries for ABC television based on a memoir by Dutch Jew Flory van Beek, whose Catholic boyfriend hid her from the Nazis.

Gibson, whose film "The Passion of the Christ" was seen by some critics as anti-Semitic and whose father is on record as doubting the Holocaust, may not take an executive producer credit on "Flory." But his attachment to the project has attracted the attention of some Jewish groups.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles said the project would give "Gibson a chance to redeem himself from the controversy over 'The Passion of the Christ,' which did not portray Jews fairly." Hier said the project would also "provide a first-class education for his father, who is a Holocaust denier."

Gibson's ultraconservative Catholic father, Hutton Gibson, is on record as doubting the Holocaust, describing it last year as "maybe not all fiction, but most of it is."

Mel Gibson has denied blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus and has made clear he believes the Holocaust happened. The actor is in Mexico filming a Disney movie and his representatives could not be reached for comment.

Quinn Taylor, vice president of television movies for ABC, described "Flory" as a love story and said critics should "shut up and wait and see the movie, and then judge. I'm not about to rewrite history. I'm going to explore an amazing love story that we can all learn from and hopefully be inspired by," Taylor told the show business trade newspaper Daily Variety.

Several observers said Gibson might be trying to repair his image in the Jewish community. But Deborah Cohn, assistant professor of marketing at New York's Yeshiva University, said Gibson might have other intentions. "I think his aim is to portray Catholicism in the best possible light and to show the good deeds of Catholics in those times. Families did step up and those stories should be highlighted. I think this film is not going to address the things his father is denying," Cohn said.

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