First Read For July 19


Council candidate will end talk of ‘greedy Jewish landlords’

New York City Council candidate Thomas Lopez-Pierre, who had been accused of making anti-Semitic statement, says now that he will no longer the term “greedy Jewish landlords.”

The Times of Israel reports that he tweeted that “After discussions with my Jewish supporters, I have agreed to NO longer use the words: ‘Greedy Jewish Landlords.’”

Lopez-Pierre, who is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Mark Levine, who is Jewish, in a September 12 primary election, has run on a platform against “greedy Jewish landlords.” Despite his recent tweet, his YouTube “still had a number of recently upload videos in which he uses the term,” the Times reports. “He did appear however to remove the term from his campaign website, which previously stated that “Jewish Landlords [own more than 80%] of the privately owned rental apartment buildings in Harlem/Washington Heights and are at the forefront of ethnic cleansing/pushing Black/Hispanic tenants out of their apartments.”

Second night of clashes on Temple Mount

Violent clashed broke out Tuesday night between Muslim worshippers and police outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, according to Haaretz. “The Palestinian Red Crescent claimed that some 14 Muslim worshipers were wounded, with one reportedly in critical condition. According to the Israeli police, the Muslim worshippers threw stones and bottles at the officers, who used various means to scatter them. Two officers were said hurt in the clashes.”

The Fatah movement called for protests Wednesday and processions throughout the West Bank toward checkpoints.

Buenos Aires Jewry marks anniversary of terrorist bombing

The president of the AMIA Jewish Center in Buenos Aires yesterday linked the death of Alberto Nisman, the special prosecutor who died under mysterious circumstances in 2015 while investigating the building’s 1994 terrorist bombing, with the attack.

“We know the truth about the AMIA massacre due to the investigation by a prosecutor who honored his work, even surrendering his own life,” Agustin Zbar said at a commemoration marking the bombing’s 23rd anniversary, according to JTA.

Zbar, a lawyer, said the judiciary file on the case points to Hezbollah and Iran as the culprits, but no one has been brought to justice for an attack that killed 85 and injured hundreds. The cause of Nisman’s death — murder or suicide — has not been determined.

Pence: President still plans to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Vice President Mike Pence has pledged that the Trump administration will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, JTA reports.  He told Christian supporters of Israel, who have become increasingly restive at President Trump’s failure to make good on his campaign promise, that “To the men and women of Christians United for Israel, this president hears you,” Pence said at the annual CUFI conference in Washington.

“I promise you that the day will come when President Donald Trump moves the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is only when,” Pence said.

Trump in June renewed a waiver on a law passed in 1995 mandating the move, as all of his predecessors have done, and has backed away from his pledge.

Hungarian leader pledges to ‘protect’ Jewish community

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has promised to “protect” Hungary’s Jewish community, The Guardian newspaper reports. During an appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Hungary this week, Orban apologized for his country’s collaboration with the Nazis during World War II.

He told Netanyahu, “We decided in World War II, instead of protecting the Jewish community, to cooperate with the Nazis. This will never happen again.”

“I made it clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the government will secure the Jewish minority and that we have zero tolerance to antisemitism,” he added. More on that here.

Germany postpones submarine sale to Israel

The signing of a memorandum of understanding on the German sale of three submarines to Israel has been postponed, Haaretz reports. According to the paper, a National Security Council announced that Germany postponed the signing of the memorandum “in light of Israel’s investigation into possible corruption in the deal.”

Several senior Israeli officials have been placed under house arrest on suspicion of bribery and fraud in the affair, dubbed Case 3000. The case involves two transactions to enlarge Israel’s navy: one for the purchase of three submarines, the other for the purchase of missile boats to protect Israel’s natural gas platforms at sea.

Israel, Hamas may exchange prisoners

Israel and the Hamas terror group have reportedly put forward new demands in ongoing indirect talks about a possible prisoner exchange deal, according to Israeli media. In the talks, “which are said to be mediated by Egypt,” Israel offered to release an undisclosed number of female prisoners, minors and Hamas representatives, in exchange for video proof of the fate of three Israelis believed to be held by the terror group, the paper reports.

In exchange for information on the fate of Israeli captives, Hamas also has demanded the release of a number of prisoners arrested during the wave of terror attacks that began in October 2015, according to the Times.