Israel won’t cooperate with FBI inquiry into death of Shireen Abu Akleh
Israel will not cooperate with an FBI investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist for Al Jazeera who died in May in an exchange of fire in Jenin between Palestinian and Israeli troops, said Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, reported JTA.
Gantz said via Twitter on Nov. 14 that “the American Justice Department’s decision to investigate the regrettable death of Shireen Abu Akleh is a grave mistake. I made clear to American representatives that we stand behind Israeli soldiers, we will not cooperate with any outside inquiry, and we will not allow interference in Israeli internal matters.”
Such an investigation is significant because the Biden administration’s State Department has already signed off on Israel’s finding that an Israeli soldier likely shot the fatal bullet and that there was no evidence that the killing was intentional.
The FBI may be ready to investigate whether the shooting was intentional, as have been alleged by Palestinian officials and Abu Akleh’s family. Gantz, who deleted and then reposted his tweets, stated that the Israeli inquiry was “independent and professional.”
Several Holocaust books yanked from Missouri schools amid state law
Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” along with six books about the Holocaust geared towards young readers, are among the hundreds of books that a handful of school districts in Missouri have reportedly removed from their shelves since the start of the academic year, reported JTA.
The list of books pulled was published on Nov. 16 by the literary free-expression advocacy group PEN America, along with a letter of protest signed by Spiegelman and other authors. “This is what happens when we are operating in a climate of fear,” said Jonathan Friedman, PEN America’s director of free expression and education programs.
The books were removed owing to an amendment to a new Missouri state law, largely dealing with child trafficking and sexual abuse, that also establishes a criminal penalty for providing “explicit sexual material” to students. The law orders possible jail time for any educators found to be in violation.
The vast majority of the affected books originated from one school district: Wentzville, a St. Louis exurb that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported had ordered its librarians to pull more than 200 books off its shelves at the start of the semester and place them under review.
Romania passes law guaranteeing right to kosher slaughter
Romanian authorities adopted a law that recognizes and gives specific protection to shechitah, or kosher ritual slaughter of animals, the Conference of European Rabbis said in a statement, hailing the move as a “landmark” example for other countries in Europe, reported JTA.
The new legislation, passed by the Romanian parliament on Nov. 15, comes roughly a year after the Court of the European Union upheld the bans of both the Muslim and Jewish traditional methods of slaughter of animals for food in two Belgian states.
Jewish organizations and leaders had decried the ruling, which the Israeli ambassador in Belgium called “catastrophic and a blow to Jewish life in Europe.” They have worked to lobby the European Union for protection and were heartened last month after it convened Muslim and Jewish leaders for the first time to discuss ritual meat production.
— Compiled by Andy Gotlieb