HAGEE THE ‘STALKING HORSE’: The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent’s Jonathan Tobin argues that critics of John Hagee are using the controversial pastor as “a stand-in for the smear that the tens of millions of Christian conservatives who love Israel are closeted Jew-haters.”
FLIP-FLOP FOR FREE SPEECH: The proprietor of D.C. literary hub Politics and Prose is opening her bookstore to an academic who advocates a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — after she initially withdrew an invitation that had been extended to him. The Washington Jewish Week reports that bookseller Carla Cohen attributes her prior decision to ban UCLA English professor Saree Makdisi — which drew e-mail protests — to “dumbness” on her part. She explained her latest turnaround by saying that people “can listen to him, can make their own decisions [and] debate whether they agree or disagree with him.”
RELIGIOUS LICENSE: The Washington Jewish Week doesn’t approve of a new official South Carolina state license plate option featuring a cross and the words “I Believe.”
DAVID DUKE’S CONTRIBUTION TO JEWISH LIFE IN ATLANTA: An article in the Atlanta Jewish Times begins as follows: “David Duke is a former Ku Klux Klan leader and neo-Nazi. He also played an important role in making Jewish Atlanta the thriving community it is today.”
JUSTICE DEFERRED?: Seattle Jews are still waiting for justice in the wake of the mistrial of the gunman who rampaged through the offices of the local Jewish federation two years ago, killing one woman and wounding six others. Seattle’s Jewish Transcript reports on the trial’s aftermath.
GIANTS’ ‘RABBI’ SPEAKS: Brian Horwitz of the San Francisco Giants has started his big-league career with a hot bat — and he already has been given a silly nickname by his teammates: “the Rabbi.” But, San Francisco’s J. learns, the rookie outfielder doesn’t mind his moniker. “I’m kind of used to it, always being the only Jewish guy on my team and getting noticed for that,” he tells the paper. “So if that’s what makes them happy, I’m not going to be a buzzkill. It’s all in good fun. I enjoy my teammates and being in their company. I don’t think it’s being rude to the religion of Judaism.”
DEBRA WINGER SPEAKS: San Francisco’s J. chats with silver-screen star Debra Winger, who shares her thoughts on prayer (“Having a conversation or an argument with the God I am sure doesn’t exist keeps me a Jew.”) and explains that Internet rumors about her serving in the Israeli army are false (“This was just an Internet snowball. I was just on a typical Israel program for young people. Actually I’m a peacenik. My biggest action is between the sheets.”).
FRAUD DOWN UNDER?: Jews in the southern Australian city of Adelaide are reeling after police accused a local rabbi of fraud over Hebrew school funding applications. “The Adelaide Jewish community is struggling…,” one local Jewish communal leader tells The Australian Jewish News, “there is a general level of distaste keeping people away from shul and from involvement in Jewish community affairs.”
INDIGENOUS FOR ISRAEL: The Canadian Jewish News reports on the founding of a new group, World Indigenous Nations for Israel, with the motto, “Wherever we stand, we stand for Israel.” “No one in the aboriginal community has ever done this before,” explains the Rev. Raymond McLean, the group’s founder and the pastor of the First Nations Family Worship Centre in Winnipeg. “We will go from church to church, and I believe that within two years we can have one million people registered as members.”
LONG-LIVED JEWS: Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reports on a new study that found British Jews are more likely than their countrymen to live long lives. “I would estimate that, proportionately, there are nearly three times as many Jewish centenarians as there are in the general population of England and Wales,” David Graham, a demographer with British Jewry’s Board of Deputies, tells the J.C.
EAST END DOESN’T END: Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reports on the revival of Jewish life in London’s historic East End.
KABBALAH CENTRE TARGETS KIDS: Two Orthodox rabbis are sounding alarms over efforts by the celebrity-chasing Kabbalah Centre to introduce its ideas into Britain’s schools through its Spirituality for Kids program. “It was quite a shock to read that these people are being allowed into schools,” Rabbi Barry Marcus tells Britain’s Jewish Chronicle. “They have an agenda which is getting to the adults and their money through the children. They have become a lot more sophisticated since they started in the 1990s and are exploiting the naïvete of schools, which are playing with fire.”
FAIR TRADE: Britain’s third-largest union has rejected calls for a boycott of Israel. Britain’s Jewish Chronicle has the story.