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  • White House conference marks first step in reducing hate crimes

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 (JTA) – When President Clinton convened a White House conference this week aimed at countering the scourge of hate-driven violence, a major breakthrough was achieved: A president had put the weight of his office behind such efforts. But activists involved in the fight against racism, bigotry and prejudice say the more important…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS China’s pledge on Iran welcomed although many remain skeptical

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (JTA) – Middle East military analysts and pro-Israel activists are welcoming China’s pledge to forgo new nuclear dealings with Iran, but remain skeptical about whether Beijing will honor its commitment. President Clinton last week concluded an agreement clearing the way for U.S. firms to sell nuclear reactors to China, provided that Beijing…

  • Swiss fund’s first payments to Holocaust survivors delayed

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (JTA) – Needy Holocaust survivors in Eastern Europe will have to wait a little longer. Jewish officials had previously indicated that the first payments from Switzerland’s Holocaust Memorial Fund would be made this month, but now they say it will be the end of November before the checks are in the mail….

  • Sanctions law backers dismayed by stance on French energy firm

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (JTA) – The Clinton administration’s decision to defer sanctions against a French energy firm that signed a multibillion dollar gas deal with Iran has raised serious concerns among Jewish groups. Faced with trenchant opposition from the European Union, the administration decided to delay imposing sanctions required by a 1996 U.S. law against…

  • WJC claims a third of Nazi gold looted from individual sources

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (JTA) – Nearly one-third of all gold looted by the Nazis came from individual victims and private businesses, according to a new report issued by the World Jewish Congress. The report, released Tuesday, claims that the amount of such privately held gold amounted at current valuations to $2.6 billion out of a…

  • Supreme Court upholds ruling on college graduation prayers

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (JTA) – The Supreme Court has rejected a constitutional challenge to Indiana University’s custom of having a clergy member offer prayers as part of its official commencement ceremony. The justices, without comment, turned away arguments Monday that the state school’s custom violates the constitutionally required separation between church and state. The high…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES New Supreme Court session includes case involving AIPAC

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (JTA) – After a tumultuous end to the Supreme Court”s last term, the next session could mean trying times once again for the Jewish community. In June, the court dealt the Jewish community its most stunning legal blow in recent years when it invalidated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that…

  • U.S. Senate moves to assure residency for religious workers

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (JTA) – The U.S. Senate has voted to amend U.S. immigration law to grant permanent residence status for foreign workers who come to this country for religious activities. If passed by the House of Representatives and signed into law, the Religious Workers Act would assure that yeshiva teachers, mohels, cantors, ritual slaughterers…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Religious persecution measure poses dilemma for Jewish groups

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (JTA) – Republican leaders in Congress are pushing ahead in their campaign to fight religious persecution abroad. But it remains to be seen whether legislation now pending, which was inspired by the movement to free Soviet Jewry, will have substantial Jewish support. Some religious groups and lawmakers have been actively seeking that…

  • BEHIND THE HEADLINES Rabbi goes to China, seeking freedom for imprisoned pastor

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (JTA) – Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein could not get Pastor Peter Xu Yongze out of his head. The leader of the underground house church movement in China, Pastor Xu was imprisoned by the Chinese government earlier this year for heading what the state has labeled a “heretical cult.” His Protestant church, located in…