Shorts: U.S.

YouTube restores access to IDF video

YouTube says it has restored full, unrestricted access to several videos uploaded to its site by the Israel Defense Forces. The videos, which were part of a public relations offensive and featured aerial footage of airstrikes on suspected Hamas targets, had been removed after users flagged them as inappropriate content.

Google, which owns YouTube, once again has come under increasing criticism for its alleged censorship. Victoria Grand, the head of policy for YouTube, implied that the company had made a mistake in removing the videos.

“With 13 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube, we count on our community members to know our community guidelines and to flag content they believe violates them,” Grand said in a statement. “Occasionally a video flagged by users is mistakenly taken down [after a quick review by YouTube staff]. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, which may include restoring videos that had been removed.” — jta

Sderot rocket hits near U.S. delegation

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed about 20 yards from a delegation of top American Jewish leaders on a solidarity visit to Israel. The group from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations had arrived just three hours before on a three-day mission to show support for the government and people of the beleaguered south.

On Jan. 1, a Code Red alert sounded, warning of a missile launched from Gaza heading in the direction of Sderot. After the Jewish leaders took shelter in a protected police station, the missile landed about 20 yards from that building, according to publicist Amiram Fleisher.

On the same day, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) were on a one-day solidarity mission to Sderot and Ashkelon. They also had to take cover in a bomb shelter during a Code Red alert. — jta

Reform leader raps J Street’s stance

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, has criticized J Street over its opposition to Israel’s attacks against Gaza. An early supporter of J Street, Yoffie wrote in the Forward that the year-old liberal pro-Israel lobby had “misread the issues and misjudged the views of American Jews.”

Yoffie specifically cited one statement by the group which said that “while there is nothing ‘right’ in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing ‘right’ in punishing a million-and-a-half already suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them.” — jta