Report: Attackers saw off Jewish man’s finger, beat his brother near Paris

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JTA

    An armed French police officer in Paris

Two Jewish brothers said they were abducted briefly and beaten by several men in suburban Paris in an incident that ended with one brother having his finger sawed off by an assailant.

The brothers were hospitalized in what was described as a state of shock following the incident Tuesday night in Bondy. A case report published Thursday by the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, or BNVCA, based on a police complaint by the alleged victims did not specify their medical condition.

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Pence pledges Trump will keep Iran from going nuclear, walks back Jerusalem promise

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JTA

    Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence pledged to Jewish Republicans that the Trump administration would “never allow” Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, but walked back President Donald Trump’s promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

“We told the ayatollahs of Iran they should check the calendar, there’s a new president in the Oval Office,” Pence said Friday addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership conference during Shabbat dinner.

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Israel walks back barring Human Rights Watch worker from country

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Times of Israel

    Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir

Israel said an American employee of Human Rights Watch may enter the country on a tourist visa and should reapply for a work visa, days after barring his entry for alleged anti-Israel bias.

“This is to clarify that the HRW representative may enter Israel with a tourist visa,” said Itai Bar-Dov, the spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington. “With regard to the working visa, this may be reconsidered if the organization appeals the Ministry of Interior decision.”

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Tom Perez elected to chair DNC, names defeated Keith Ellison as his deputy

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Times of Israel

    Tom Perez

Former labor secretary Tom Perez was elected as the Democratic National Committee’s new chairman Saturday, narrowly defeating his chief rival, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, after a contentious campaign. Perez immediately named Ellison his deputy.

The four-month race drew controversy over the Minnesota legislator’s past record of associations with known anti-Semitic figures and critical stances on Israel. His alliance with much of the progressive wing of the party threatened to divide the Democrats as they seek to revitalize themselves after tough losses in the 2016 election.

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6 members of Congress, 4 MKs, 1 Palestinian negotiator, no top Republicans at J Street confab

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Times of Israel


J Street’s national conference, which formally gets under way on Sunday after a gala opening on Saturday night, will host a slew of prominent liberal Democrats, numerous members of Congress, a handful of Knesset members and no Republican speakers.

The speaking lineup for the liberal Jewish lobby group’s sixth confab — which runs from February 26-28 at the Washington Convention Center — includes three senators and three House members; four Knesset members and one Palestinian Authority official; one former US secretary of state and one former US negotiator on Israeli-Palestinian peace; many Democrats but no members of the Trump administration. Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were invited but did not respond. (Secretary of state John Kerry and vice president Joe Biden spoke at last year’s conference.)

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3rd Spanish municipality reverses own BDS vote following legal action

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JTA

The Spanish municipality of Petrer, which is known internationally for hosting mock battles celebrating crusaders, rescinded its support for boycotts against Israel following legal action against the city.

The City Council of Petrer, a city of 95,000 located 200 miles southeast of Madrid, voted Thursday to withdraw its support, which was given in a resolution from 2016, for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, or BDS, according to a statement by the pro-Israel ACOM group Friday.

ACOM has launched dozens of successful lawsuits in recent months against institutions that adhered to BDS principles, arguing their actions are discriminatory and infringing on the principle of equality as well as the jurisdiction of local authorities.

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Citing ‘bias,’ Israel denies visa to Human Rights Watch regional director

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JTA

Israel is refusing to issue a visa to an American employee of Human Rights Watch over his group’s alleged bias against the Jewish state, the Guardian daily reported.

The Israeli decision on one of the world’s most prominent nongovernmental organizations in its field emerged after Israeli authorities turned down a visa for its new Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir, who is a U.S. citizen, The Guardian reported Friday. The rejection had been advised by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the report.

In a letter rejecting Shakir’s visa application seen by the Guardian, Israel accused the New York- based group of “public activities and reports [and being] engaged in politics in the service of Palestinian propaganda, while falsely raising the banner of ‘human rights’.’’

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US senator to reintroduce bill cutting funds to PA for payouts to terrorists

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Times of Israel

    Senator Lindsey Graham

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham will reintroduce legislation next week that would cut US funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to provide monetary support to the families of those who commit acts of terror against Israelis and others.

The bill, known as the Taylor Force Act, was first introduced last year by Graham with former Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats and Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt. It was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time, but never came up for a vote.

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Israel successfully tests improved version of Iron Dome

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Times of Israel

The Israeli Defense Ministry completed a series of successful tests of an improved version of the anti-rocket Iron Dome missile system, the ministry said on Wednesday.

The Missiles Defense Agency, along with the main contractor for the project, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, successfully put the system through its paces with a series of complex tests, a statement said. The system passed with flying colors.

The Iron Dome fires Tamir interceptor missiles to engage and destroy incoming rockets. The latest iteration of the interceptors were made with components manufactured by US defense contractor Raytheon under Israeli supervision.

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