World briefs: Deborah Lipstadt gives first talk since confirmation and more

Deborah Lipstadt at confirmation hearing
Deborah Lipstadt (right) at a February confirmation hearing (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images via

Lipstadt: Antisemitism not taken seriously until deadly

Antisemitism is often not taken seriously until it becomes deadly, Deborah Lipstadt, the Holocaust scholar who is the State Department’s antisemitism monitor, said on May 12, JTA reported.

Lipstadt chose the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for her first talk since her Senate confirmation in March after contentious hearings.

She made good on her pledges to skeptical Republicans in the body that she would identify and target antisemitism on all sides.

“Antisemitism does not come from one end of the political spectrum,” Lipstadt said. “It is ubiquitous and is espoused by people who agree on nothing else or, better put, disagree on everything else.”

She spoke of the threat from the far-right, mentioning the 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville that convinced President Joe Biden, who named her to the post, to run for the presidency. But she also alluded to her frustrations with the left.

German police find antisemitic material in home of teen allegedly planning terror attack

German police found explosives and antisemitic, far-right literature at the home of a teenager they suspect of planning a terrorist attack at a school, JTA reported.

Officers took the 16-year-old suspect, who was not named, into custody on May 12, the Tagesschau news site reported. Police said he is suspected of planning to bomb a high school in Essen, a city about 250 miles west of Berlin.

Separately, German police are investigating a suspected arson at a Jewish cemetery near Cologne. Both incidents closely followed the release of a report indicating a 28% rise in antisemitic hate crimes in 2021.

In the incident in Cologne on May 11, an unidentified person poured a flammable substance on the wall around the Jewish cemetery of Bocklemünd, Rundschau Online reported. Police are investigating whether the incident was an antisemitic hate crime, the report said.

Lufthansa apologizes for expelling ‘large group’ of Chasidic Jews from flight

Lufthansa apologized for kicking identifiably Jewish people off a flight from New York City to Budapest after some Chasidic individuals had reportedly not worn masks on the flight’s first leg, New York Jewish Week reported.

Lufthansa said in a statement on May 10 that it “regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight.”

The statement said that the airline was still reviewing the incident and regretted that “the large group was denied boarding rather than limiting it to the non-compliant guests.”

The group referenced was 100-plus Chasidic Jews, many of whom did not know one another, flying to Hungary on a pilgrimage.

The statement said that the German carrier has a “zero tolerance” policy for racism, antisemitism and discrimination of any kind. “What transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values,” it said.

Israelis denied entry into Jordan because of tefillin

Israeli tourists were prevented from entering Jordan on May 10 after guards at the border crossing found tefillin in their baggage, The Times of Israel reported, citing Channel 12 news.

Seven men, who were with about 40 insurance agents planning on a two-day trip in the Hashemite Kingdom, returned to Israel.

One of the men delayed told Channel 12 about “the unpleasant feeling and what he said was the disrespect shown by the Jordanians to the tefillin.”

“We reached the border crossing and everything went relatively smoothly, and then they stopped us during the security check,” he said. “They asked us to open the suitcases, took out the tefillin and set it aside, took our passports and took us to a separate room.”

The man said that the guards told him that they couldn’t take the tefillin into Jordan because it was a religious sign, and that they “could be targeted for wearing it.”

Israel’s fiscal deficit below 1%

Israel’s fiscal deficit for the 12 months ending in April was 0.6% of gross domestic product, compared to a 1.4% deficit for the 12 months ending in March and 2.2% for the 12 months ending in February, Globes reported, citing Ministry of Finance Accountant General data.

That also compares to the 15.7% fiscal deficit in the 12 months ending April 2021; that high total is attributed to the pandemic.

With a surplus of $2.35 billion last month, April was the fourth consecutive month with a surplus. To date, Israel has recorded a surplus of $9.2 billion.

The 12-month deficit as a proportion of GDP is at its lowest level since 2008.

State revenues for January-March totaled $48.9 billion, up 25.6% from the same period in 2021.

— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb

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