U.N. official pins blame on Tel Aviv for Boston attack

Richard Falk, an official for the U.N. Human Rights Council, in an online commentary blamed the Boston Marathon bombing on “Tel Aviv.” “(A)s long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy,” Falk, the council’s special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, wrote in an Op-Ed posted to the online Foreign Policy Journal on April 23.

Falk, who has said the George W. Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks, also called the Boston attack “retribution” for the actions of the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. In recent months, Falk published an anti-Semitic cartoon on his blog and called for a boycott of Israel. B’nai B’rith International called for Falk’s removal from the Human Rights Council, saying that his “latest string of inflammatory remarks — whether it be on the Internet or in one of his ‘reports’ to the council — has no place in the United Nations and his continued presence at the UNHRC further undermines the credibility of the system.”   

Giffords addresses gun check issue

The U.S. senators who defeated a bill that would toughen background checks for gun purchasers “brought shame on themselves,” former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said. “The senators who voted against background checks for online and gun-show sales, and those who voted against checks to screen out would-be gun buyers with mental illness, failed to do their job,” Giffords wrote in an Op-Ed appearing April 18 in The New York Times, a day after the measure earned 56 votes — four short of the necessary 60 in the 100-member chamber. Giffords, who was shot in the head in January 2011 in an assault that took the lives of six others, had joined President Obama and the families of 20 first-graders and six adults massacred in December in Newtown, Conn., in condemning the vote.

Legislation calls for stable P.A.

Two U.S. congressmen have introduced legislation calling on the Palestinian Authority to prevent a Hamas takeover of the West Bank. Reps. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) introduced a resolution April 23 urging the Palestinian Authority to work for political stability and calling on President Mahmoud Abbas to create a presidential succession plan. The two politicians also spelled out the need for expanded political freedom in the West Bank. “Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with any government that doesn’t acknowledge its fundamental right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state,” said Roskam, a co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus. “Allowing extremists like Hamas to overrun the Palestinian Authority would be a fatal blow to prospects for peace in the region.” The resolution calls on Abbas to create a succession plan that includes those committed to a peace process with Israel. It also calls upon Abbas to enact reforms that allow a fair election, and ensure freedoms of speech, the press and the right to assemble.  

Two Jewish newspapers to close

The Jewish Chronicle, a nearly 90-year-old newspaper in central Massachusetts, will stop publishing in June. The newspaper, founded in 1926, has had a circulation of about 5,000 for many years. It changed from a weekly to a monthly several years ago. It is delivered free to area synagogues and stores. Mar-Len Publications, owned by Philip T. Davis, publishes the Chronicle. Advertising has dropped significantly and the newspaper has not made any money in the last five years, Davis told the Worcester Telegram. On April 19, the Canadian Jewish News announced that it will cease publishing in two months. The newspaper, which is based in Toronto, was founded about 42 years ago. “If The CJN is to be a vibrant part of the future, it will only be as an enhanced and expanded digital edition,” Donald Carr, president of The Canadian Jewish News, said in a statement. “That is our hope. However, The CJN will disappear from your mailboxes and the newsstands.”    

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