Weekly Top 10
WASHINGTON, D.C. September 28, 2018

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Aleksander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Dear Friend,

Please see below for the links to this week's news updates. 

Mark B. Levin
NCSEJ Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
Washington, D.C. September 28, 2018

President Trump Backs 2-State Solution for Israel in Meeting with Netanyahu
By Zeke Miller & Jonathan Lemire
Time, September 26, 2018

President Donald Trump waded into thorny Middle East politics while at the United Nations on Wednesday, endorsing the two-state solution to bring an end the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians while poised to denounce the dangers posed by Iran.

Trump, a day after being greeted with laughter by world leaders still uncertain how to manage his “America First” ideology, explicitly backed Israel, leaned in on the importance of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and suggested that he saw progress on the horizon for long-delayed hopes for Middle East peace.

“I like two-state solution,” Trump said in his most clear endorsement of the plan. “That’s what I think works best.”

Netanyahu Rejects Invitation to UN-Sponsored Anti-Semitism Conference
JTA, September 27, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel rejected an invitation to participate in a United Nations conference on anti-Semitism.

The conference was held Wednesday at U.N. headquarters in New York under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, on the sidelines of the world body’s General Assembly.

“While I commend all efforts to combat antisemitism, I have decided not to participate in this week’s UNESCO conference on antisemitism due to the organization’s persistent and egregious bias against Israel,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Since 2009, UNESCO has passed 71 resolutions condemning Israel and only 2 resolutions condemning all other countries combined. This is simply outrageous.”

Nazis' Aerial Photography Is Helping Map and Preserve Jewish Cemeteries
By Cnaan Lipshiz
JTA, September 26, 2018

When German air force pilots took aerial photographs of western Ukraine in 1941, they did it to help Nazi Germany defeat the Soviet Union in a war that saw the genocide of 6 million Jews.

But in a twist of fate, the German government has recently started funding an effort that uses the photographs to identify and preserve Jewish cemeteries.

The effort, in which the Luftwaffe archives are only one of several ingenious tools, began in 2015 with the establishment of an organization called the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, or ESJF. The largest-ever international project of its kind, ESJF has since fenced more than 100 Jewish cemeteries in seven countries on a modest annual budget of approximately $1 million.

Russian Ties with Israel under Strain
By Pavel Felgenhauer
Jamestown Foundation, September 27, 2018

Several Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) F-16 jets bombed and destroyed an industrial warehouse in the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, on September 17. According to Israeli sources, the warehouse contained Iranian military equipment earmarked for the militant group Hezbollah. The Russian airbase of Hmeymim is located about 25 kilometers from the destroyed target. No Russians were present at the bombed site. But just about 20 minutes after the Israeli airstrike, a Russian Il-20 electronic intelligence–gathering turboprop plane was hit and downed by a Syrian anti-aircraft S-200 missile over the Mediterranean, as it was approaching Hmeymim. All 15 Russian officers onboard the Il-20 were killed and awarded Russian state medals posthumously. Despite the intelligence aircraft being downed by a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) antiaircraft battery, the Russian military has unequivocally blamed the IDF pilots and command for deliberately provoking the attack on a Russian plane, of undermining Russian trust, and of threatening Russian servicemen in Syria by their aggressive actions (Interfax, September 25).

From Russia with Love
By Jonathan Schwartz
The Detroit Jewish News 
, September 27, 2018

Jonathan Schwartz’s surprise trip fortified his appreciation of Jewish law and informed his worldview.

In early 2018, I received an invitation from Professor Howard Lupovitch, director of the Cohn-Haddow Center for Judaic Studies at Wayne State University, and U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn to attend the Jewish Law Association’s (JLA) 20th International Conference in Moscow, Russia.
The JLA is an international organization of lawyers, legal scholars and judges (including Cohn) that works to promote the study and research of Jewish law. A few years prior, Judge Cohn expressed an interest in connecting the Jewish Bar Association of Michigan (JBAM), an organization I co-founded in 2014 and currently serve as president, with the JLA to help form bonds between Michigan’s Jewish legal community and others across the world.

Polish, Israeli Leaders Talk Military Cooperation, Syria
Radio Poland, September 27, 2018

Bilateral ties and Polish-Israeli military cooperation and the war in Syria were the main talking points during a meeting between Polish President Andrzej Duda and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The pair met while at the United Nations in New York.

Netanyahu gave Duda his opinion about the situation in the Middle East, especially about migration threats as the war in Syria continues, according to the Polish president's chief of staff, Krzysztof Szczerski.

U.S., Ukrainian Officials Discuss Efforts to Counter Russia's 'Malign Influence' 
RFERL, September 26, 2018

A top U.S. official has met with the Ukrainian foreign minister in New York to discuss “cooperative efforts against Russia’s malign influence,” among other things, the State Department says.

A statement said the September 25 meeting between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly also touched upon Russia’s “use of energy projects to extort and intimidate Ukraine and other European allies,” as well as Kyiv’s progress in implementing political and economic reforms.


Former SS Guard, 94, to Go on Trial over Deaths of Hundreds of Prisoners at Stutthof Camp
JTA, September 25, 2018

A former SS guard, now 94, will go on trial on charges of complicity in the mass murders of several hundred prisoners at the Stutthof Nazi concentration camp.

The regional court of Muenster in western Germany on Friday ordered the unnamed man to be tried before a juvenile court beginning on November 6. He was not yet 21 at the time of the murders.

He is accused of complicity in the murders of several hundred camp prisoners between 1942 and 1945.

This includes more than 100 Polish prisoners gassed to death on June 21 and 22, 1944, and “probably several hundred” Jewish prisoners August to December 1944, the French news agency AFP reported.

Pope Francis Says Snuff Out 'Any Whiff' of Resurgent Anti-Semitism
Haaretz, September 24, 2018

Pope Francis said on Sunday that society should be vigilant for "any whiff" of resurgent anti-Semitism, calling for new generations to be taught the horrors of the Holocaust.

He made his appeal in Kaunas, Lithuania's second city, on the 75th anniversary of the wartime liquidation of the ghetto in the capital Vilnius. Two years of Nazi oppression in which tens of thousands of Jews were killed or deported culminated on Sept. 23-24, 1943.

"The Jewish people suffered insults and cruel punishments," Francis told a crowd of about 100,000 at an open-air Mass.

From Russia with Love-Hate: Israel Ties with Moscow have Always been Complex
The Times of Israel, September 25, 2018

From a honeymoon in the years after Israel’s founding, to strained ties after the mistaken downing of a Russian plane in Syria, relations between Israel and Russia have gone through several periods of tensions.

These have mainly revolved around disagreements on Middle Eastern issues.

In November 1947 the Soviet Union’s government accepted the United Nations plan to split the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish, the other Arab.

It became one of the first countries to recognize the State of Israel after its creation in May 1948.

[Link to pdf of full articles]
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.