Jewish group on Brussels attacks: ‘Shots at the heart of Europe’
Jewish groups expressed shock and anger following a series of attacks that left at least 34 dead in the Belgian capital.
Kenneth Bandler, director of media relations for the American Jewish Committee, linked the attacks to the slaying of four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in May 2014.
“What began with the jihadist fatal attack on the Jewish Museum nearly two years ago has now reached the airport and metro,” he wrote in an email about the Tuesday morning attacks in Brussels.
Two explosions at Zaventem Airport, including one by a suicide bomber, killed at least 14 people, and was followed by an explosion at the Maelbeek metro station, where another at least 20 died, the Het Laatste Nieuws daily reported on its online edition.
Mehdi Nemmouche, a French national in his 30s who is said to have fought with jihadists in Syria, is currently on trial in Brussels for the May 2014 museum shooting.
“This is yet another shocking, appalling and deadly attack on innocent Europeans by radical terrorists,” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said in a statement. Kantor called the attacks “shots at the heart of Europe” that he said should galvanize counterterrorist actions.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said his organization is “united in prayers at this hour with the families of the victims and the injured.”
Goldschmidt called the attacks, whose perpetrators have not yet been publicly identified, the “latest act of war of Islamic fascism against the capital of Europe,” adding: “As in the biblical story of Esther, which will be read in all the synagogues later this week, evil can and will be destroyed only by recognizing it and fighting it.”
Sources from a Belgian intelligence agency said the attacks may have been carried out as revenge for the arrest Friday in Belgium of Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French Islamist whom authorities suspect had a key role in a series of deadly attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in November. An unnamed intelligence source told the Het Laatste Nieuws daily that the attacks must have been planned a long time ago but may have been carried out earlier than planned to retaliate for the arrest.
Time updates article that inaccurately portrayed Palestinian terrorist
Time magazine updated an article criticized by Israel for depicting a Palestinian assailant who killed three Israelis as a victim of Israeli security forces.
Last Friday, one day after Israel’s Government Press Office issued a statement about the Oct. 15 article lamenting the magazine had not corrected “a serious factual error” despite repeated requests, Time said the story titled “The desperation driving young Palestinians to violence” was “updated to give a fuller account of the attack.”
The article spotlights Bahaa Allyan, one of two Palestinians who attacked an Israeli bus in Jerusalem. One of the fatalities was an American-Israeli teacher, Richard Lakin.
Allyan, who was killed by police during the shooting and stabbing attack, is described in the article as a “graphic designer” who was “killed by Israeli security forces after allegedly trying to carry out an attack in Jerusalem.” The original article did not mention the three deaths.
According to the updated article, Allyan was carrying out an attack on a Jerusalem bus, and three people, including the U.S.-born teacher, died as a result.
The statement on providing a fuller account did not include an apology.
The press office in its statement March 17 said it had reached out shortly after the article was published to the Time correspondent, Rebecca Collard, and a Time International editor in an effort to have the language changed.
ADL redirects $56,000 in Trump donations to anti-bias programs
The Anti-Defamation League has redirected $56,000 in donations from Donald Trump — his total contributions over the past decade — to fund new anti-bias and anti-bullying education programs.
The announcement in a statement released Sunday came a day before Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential race, addressed the largest gathering of American supporters of Israel at the AIPAC annual policy conference in Washington.
“These undoubtedly were sincere gifts,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO. “But in light of the recent campaign, we have decided to redirect the total amount of funds that he contributed to ADL over the years specifically into anti-bias education programs that address exactly the kind of stereotyping and scapegoating that have been injected into this political season.”
ADL also called on other groups, philanthropies and nonprofits to consider redirecting charitable funds given to them by Trump into similar initiatives “to combat hate, promote tolerance, and build a stronger American community,” the statement said.
The Trump money will go to expand ADL’s national No Place for Hate initiative by enabling schools in 10 regions — New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, Houston, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco, Arizona and Las Vegas — to increase their anti-bias and anti-bullying work.
“We are taking this step to demonstrate that, even as the campaign has surfaced ugly rhetoric, we can reach higher,” Greenblatt said. “Even as his campaign has mainstreamed intolerance, we can push back on the hate and evoke our better angels not just with words, but with deeds.”