Shorts: U. S.

U.S. labor denounces British boycott

Labor leaders in America are signing on to a statement being circulated by the Jewish Labor Committee, an alliance of Jewish union leaders and supporters, expressing staunch opposition to British boycott efforts.

Several British unions, including the U.K. Transport and General Workers Union, are endorsing economic, cultural and academic boycotts of Israel to protest “treatment of the Palestinian people.”

“Their resolutions have no purpose other than demonizing Israel,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Jewish Labor Committee.

Jewish groups, including the American Jewish Congress and the American Jewish Committee, praised the U.S. labor leaders for opposing the boycott. Among those that have signed on to the Jewish Labor Committee’s statement are the presidents of the AFL-CIO, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the American Federation of Teachers. — jta

WJC official helping Clinton on gay issues

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has named an outgoing World Jewish Congress official to a steering committee of leaders and activists in the gay and lesbian community. WJC Secretary General Stephen Herbits, 64, who was named to the committee, was a lightning rod during the last few years of infighting at the WJC.

“I am proud to have the support of such distinguished leaders in the LGBT community,” Clinton said in a press release. “Together we can move our nation closer to the promise of fairness and equality that all Americans deserve.” Herbits reportedly will be replaced at the WJC by the executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, Dan Mariaschin. — jta

Board member sorry for Nazi slurs

A member of a school board in Massachusetts apologized for calling a Jewish colleague Hitler and allegedly giving him the Nazi salute.

At a meeting last week of the Taunton school committee, Alfred Baptista, who has a history of berating colleagues at meetings, said “Yes, heil Hitler, sieg heil!” to committee member Barry Cooperstein, who had admonished him for yelling at the school district’s superintendent, according to the Boston Globe.

Baptista issued a formal apology this week, saying he deeply regretted his remarks and had not meant any harm.

“It was a very unfortunate choice of words, and I feel terrible about it,” Baptista told the Globe. “I’m not a racist, I’m not an anti-Semite.”— jta

N.Y. Jewish paper to cease publishing

A suburban New York Jewish newspaper will cease publishing after its August issue.

The monthly Westchester Jewish Chronicle, formerly the Yonkers Jewish Chronicle, has been funded by four local Jews for the past five years. The newspaper, which has been published for 40 years, claims a circulation of about 40,000.

“For the past five years, we have committed ourselves wholeheartedly to the Jewish community and the Westchester Jewish Chronicle,” co-owners Robert Friedland, Gene Lubin, Roy Stillman and Alan Weisman said in a statement that will appear on the final issue’s front page. “Unfortunately, the costs associated with producing and distributing the paper have become unsustainable.”

“It was a feel-good newspaper, and that will be missed in Westchester,” said editor Steve Schloss. — jta

Petitioners want activists recognized

More than 100 scholars and Jewish leaders are calling on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to acknowledge the work of U.S. activists in its permanent exhibition.

A petition delivered to the museum’s chairman, Fred Zeidman, urges greater recognition of the Bergson Group, a collection of American activists whose rallies and newspaper advertisements calling attention to the plight of European Jews earned them the scorn of Jewish leaders at the time. The petition notes that the Bergson Group is mentioned on the museum’s Web site, but calls for its inclusion in museum’s permanent exhibition. — jta

Jews for Jesus meet with Christians

Jews for Jesus met last week at a conference in Virgina in an effort to build ties with Christians.

The Road to Jerusalem conference, held Friday, July 20 in Hampton, Va., aimed to strengthen ties between Christians and so-called Messianic Jews, who share the Christian belief that Jesus is the messiah. Among the conference speakers were Bill McCartney, founder of the Promise Keepers Christian men’s association. — jta

B’Tselem opening office in D.C.

B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, is opening an office in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1989, B’Tselem endeavors to “document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the occupied territories,” reduce denial of human rights violations in Israeli society and foster human rights culture in Israel. The group also regularly urges the Israeli government to ease roadblocks in the West Bank. — jta