Your First Read For Sep 7


Rehearing sought in Touro Synagogue lawsuit

The congregation that worships in America’s oldest synagogue building yesterday asked a federal court to rehear for the case that gave control of its pricey artifacts to the building’s historic trustees. Lawyers for Congregation Jeshuat Israel, which is based in the 250-year-old Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., said the court’s decision last month giving control of Touro to Manhattan’s Shearith Israel ignored state law and made constitutional errors.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston also gave the Manhattan synagogue ownership of $7.4 million silver Torah ornaments called rimonim that the Newport congregation had hoped to sell to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to build an endowment.

The filing said the court’s ruling conflicts with past decisions on church property disputes and ignores state law, as well as findings by the Rhode Island state attorney general that the Touro Synagogue was held in trust for the benefit of the Newport Jewish community.

Berlin mayor slams BDS support

Berlin’s mayor said yesterday that he will block the use of city venues and funds by groups or event organizers that support the boycott movement against Israel, according to JTA. The move by Michael Müller followed pressure by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had threatened to put Berlin Mayor Michael Müller on its annual list of 10 worst anti-Semitic incidents for his alleged failure to strongly condemn BDS and other extreme anti-Zionist activities in the German capital.

Müller, in a statement co-released with the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said his decision was not a change of heart but an intensification of his already pro-Israel stance. He pledged to “continue emphasizing my clear stance for Israel and against anti-Semitism and racism.”

Berlin is now the third German city, after Munich and Frankfurt, to declare plans to stymie such activities.

Hamas leader: Ready for cease-fire with Israel

Hamas is ready to reach a long-term cease-fire deal with Israel, if Israel lifts its closure on the Gaza Strip, a senior Hamas official in the West Bank, Hassan Yousef, told the Jerusalem Post yesterday.

“Hamas is prepared to make a long-term cease-fire with the Israeli occupation, in return for it allowing the residents of Gaza to live like all other people in the world with everything that they need,” Yousef, who helped found Hamas, said.

His comments came less than a week after he was released from Israeli prison, where he had been held for 22 months under administrative detention. During the last six days, he has hosted local Palestinians at his home, attended a funeral of a Hamas leader in the northern West Bank and spoken on the telephone with senior Hamas officials in Gaza..”

Syrian army warns of ‘consequences’ after Israeli attack

The Syrian army has warned Israel of “serious consequences” after officially confirming media reports claiming that Israeli fighter jets carried out a strike yesterday on targets of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) near the city of Hama, reports. The site is responsible for research and development of nuclear, biological, chemical and missile technology and weapons.

“The Syrian army warns of the serious consequences of these kinds of aggressive activities against the security and stability in the region,” the army statement warned. “The army is determined to destroy terrorism and obliterate it in all Syrian territory.”

Neo-Nazi gang discovered in British army

A gang of British soldiers has been arrested after security services allegedly caught them preparing or instigating acts of terror as part of a neo-Nazi group that has been banned in Britain, The Daily Beast reports. The discovery of the alleged far-right terror group “threatens to undo decades of hard work and retraining that went into ending the stereotype of racist squaddies and institutionalized prejudice in the British Army,” according to the news site.

The four men were reportedly members of National Action, a racist and anti-Semitic organization that was proscribed as a terrorist group last year. Members have been filmed at rallies throwing Nazi salutes while dressed in black and waving banners proclaiming “Hitler was right.”

The four men, aged between 22 and 32, were arrested by a counterterror unit “on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation, and instigation of acts of terrorism,” a police spokesman said.