Shorts: U.S.

U.S. undecided on racism confab

The Bush administration is delaying a decision on whether to participate in the second U.N. World Conference Against Racism.

“There has been no decision as to future participation because it will be held in 2009,” said Gregg Rickman, the top U.S. official dealing with anti-Semitism.

Canada formally opted out of the 2009 reconvening of the conference, pointing out that the inaugural conference in 2001 devolved into an anti-Semitic shouting fest hijacked by states hostile to Israel, notably Iran.

The United Nations has yet to decide on a venue for the conference, known as Durban II. The first conference was held in Durban, South Africa. — jta

Kucinich denies AIPAC meeting

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) denied an Internet rumor that Jewish officials had offered to help him win re-election if he dropped impeachment efforts against President Bush.

The rumor, which has gained traction in recent days on left-wing blogs, alleges that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and several representatives of AIPAC met with him.

According to the account, Kucinich threw them out of his office. An official in Kucinich’s office said the rumors were baseless.

“It never happened,” the official said. — jta

Paper rejects Jewish-sponsored ad

The Seattle Times refused to run a print ad for “Vagina Monologues” performances sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women.

The paper’s vice president of advertising said the ad features inappropriate artwork — namely, a vagina-like center.

That didn’t stop the Seattle Weekly and Washington state’s Jewish paper, the JT News, from running the ad. Several synagogues displayed event posters.

Illinois synagogue is voted greenest

A Chicago-area synagogue was rated the greenest synagogue in America.

The Jewish Reconstructionist Congre-gation in Evanston, Ill., earned the highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

The “platinum” rating was awarded for features such as using recycled concrete and sensor-controlled lighting, and having a parking space reserved for a hybrid car.

The Reconstructionist synagogue’s energy costs will be about 45 percent less than a typical synagogue of the same size. — jta

Judge sets date for AIPAC staffers

An April 29 trial date has been set in the classified information case against two former AIPAC staffers.

Judge T.S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court in Arlington, Va., told prosecutors and defense lawyers that the date he set was final, sources said. Ellis’ office confirmed the date, at least the fifth such date since Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s former foreign policy chief, and Keith Weissman, its former Iran analyst, were indicted in August 2005.

Rosen and Weissman are accused under a 1917 statute that criminalizes the receipt and dissemination of classified information. — jta

Airports feature kosher vendors

Two New York-area airports are installing kosher food vending machines.

The machines will be at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey.

Kosher Vending Industries in Valley Cottage, N.Y., has the contract with the airports.

Four machines will be installed at Kennedy Airport in the pre-security area. Two will sell Nathan’s Famous hot dogs. The other machines will sell a variety of kosher fast food. The Newark airport will have two machines. — jta