Shorts: U.S.

Setback for couples in ‘Jerusalem’ case

washington (jta) | A U.S. court ruled against two couples seeking to have “Jerusalem, Israel” placed as their birthplace on American passports. The passports of U.S. citizens born in Israel’s capital have simply said “Jerusalem.”

In a Sept. 7 ruling, Judge Gladys Kessler said the federal court does not have jurisdiction over the matter of how Jerusalem should be identified on federal documents. She also said the couples suffered no injury from the fact that the documents read only “Jerusalem.”

A 2002 law said U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem could choose to have “Jerusalem, Israel” on their passports, but President Bush, in signing the legislation, said the measure would be taken as “advisory” because it interfered with the executive branch’s jurisdiction over foreign policy.

The case is expected to be appealed.

Let our students go

washington (jta) | Jewish groups launched a campaign to urge North American universities to remove barriers to study abroad in Israel.

The Israel on Campus Coalition brought together some of the top leadership of its member groups 26 Jewish organizations on campuses to give prominence to the campaign, launched Sept. 8 at Columbia University Hillel in New York.

Citing security concerns amid the ongoing intifada, some universities have “created obstacles that have impeded or at times prevented students from pursuing their desire to study in Israel,” the coalition said.

New motions in Pollard case

washington (jta) | Attorneys for Jonathan Pollard have filed new motions to vacate his life sentence.

The motions ask for Pollard’s life sentence, for spying on the United States for Israel, to be thrown out because of ineffective counsel and secret evidence.

The government has said Pollard’s case is beyond the statute of limitations, but a court agreed in June to review the issue. The court also is set to review whether Pollard’s attorneys have a right to see classified information that was considered relevant to the life sentence.

Oral arguments are set for Jan. 15, 2005, before a three-judge panel at the United States Court of Appeals.

New trial in killing of Chassidic Jew

new york (jta) | A federal judge ordered a new trial in the 1999 shooting death of a hammer-wielding Jewish man by New York City police.

Gidone Busch, a mentally unstable Chassidic Jew, was shot to death by police when he brandished a hammer on a Brooklyn street.

Police said Busch had lunged at officers at the scene, but Busch’s family rejected the police account and filed suit against the city.

A jury had cleared the city of responsibility in November 2003, but Judge Sterling Johnson Jr., of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, overturned the verdict Thursday, Sept. 9, saying it “would result in a miscarriage of justice,” according to media reports. The judge said he found credible witness accounts that described Busch as standing still when police opened fire.

Cincinnati museum takes out Israel photo

new york (jta) | A museum in Cincinnati recently removed a photograph showing two Israeli soldiers restraining a Palestinian boy.

The photo was up in an exhibit on current struggles against oppression at the Freedom Center, a new museum celebrating the Underground Railroad that brought slaves to freedom in the United States before the Civil War.

The removal of the photo followed complaints from members of Cincinnati’s Jewish community.

“They were very sensitive to what the Jewish community was saying,” said Brian Grossbard, the executive director of the city’s Jewish Community Relations Council.

Newman’s own

new york (jta) | Paul Newman has given half a million dollars to launch a camp for Israeli and Palestinian children suffering from life-threatening diseases.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the camp, to be called the Jordan River Village, was held Wednesday, Sept. 8.

It will be the eighth camp in the Hole in the Wall Camps association for ill children that Newman founded. The plan is to host Israeli and Arab children from Israel and neighboring countries at the Galilee camp, which will be open year-round.