Einstein and other stories

July 30, 2002


1. "Two Israelis killed, several injured in shooting, suicide bomb attacks" (News wire services, July 30, 2002)
2. "Spain allows family to join hosted Palestinian terrorists" (DPA, July 30, 2002)
3. "Security fears scupper Israeli orchestra's US trip" (Guardian, July 30, 2002)
4. "Saudi Arabia sentences Briton and Canadian to death in bombing trial" (AP, July 28, 2002)
5. "Israel cancels Einstein exhibit in China over request to remove references to Judaism" (Yediot Ahronot, July 30, 2002)
6. "12 injured in brawl between Christian sects" (Itim news agency, July 28, 2002)
7. "Jesse Jackson to meet with Hamas Sheikh Yassin" (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2002)
8. "NJ shul to name school after Daniel Pearl" (AP, July 30, 2002)
9. "Explosive device with anti-Semitic slogan detonated in Moscow" (AP, July 28, 2002)
10. "Swastikas drawn on luggage of French passengers traveling to Israel" (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2002)
11. "Shin Bet warns Maccabi Haifa not to fly to game in Cyprus" (Jerusalem Post, July 29, 2002)
12. "Wesley Clark: 'Some credit has to be given to the Israeli actions'" (July 30, 2002)
13. "719 immigrants arrive in Israel this week" (Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2002)


I attach news about today's terror attacks, and 12 other short items relating to Jewish and Arab affairs.

-- Tom Gross



Two Israelis killed, several injured in shooting, suicide bomb attacks
News wire services
July 30, 2002

A suicide bomber blew himself up by a felafel stand on Hanevi'im street in the center of Jerusalem two hous ago, wounding seven people. The al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of the Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority claimed responsibility for the attack. Israel Radio said it appeared the bomber drew the attention of police officers at the stand and that he set off the explosion prematurely, thereby avoiding greater loss of life.

In a separate incident, masked Palestinian gunmen hiding behind olive trees shot and killed two Israeli brothers today who had gone to a Palestinian village in the West Bank for business.

In another incident, a resident of Itamar, near Nablus, is in moderate condition Tuesday, after a Palestinian terrorist broke into his home, stabbing him and his wife. The attack comes just 6 weeks after the last Itamar attack, in which five Israelis were killed, including three brothers, aged 15, 12 and 5, and their mother.

Israeli Channel One TV reported Tuesday night that security forces had arrested in Ramallah a female suicide bomber, in possession of an explosive device, and her dispatcher. Shin Bet Chief Avi Dichter said that in the past week Israel had succeeded in thwarting twelve suicide bombings.



Spain allows family to join hosted Palestinian terrorists
DPA (German Press Agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
July 30, 2002

Three Palestinian terrorists who are being hosted by Spain after being expelled by Israel have been allowed to bring in family members, press reports said Tuesday. The Palestinians were part of a group of 12 militants who were taken in by the European Union in May after Israel ended a 40-day siege of the Church of Nativity where they had been holed up in Bethlehem.

Immigrants normally have to wait a year to be joined by family, but the Palestinians had been granted a special permission, reports said. It was thought possible that more of their relatives could follow.



Security fears scupper Israeli orchestra's US trip
By Duncan Campbell
The Guardian
July 30, 2002

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has called off its concert tour to the US, saying that it has been unable to get insurance cover for its musicians because of concerns of terrorism. "We did not cancel the tour, they cancelled us," the orchestra's chief executive, Avi Shoshani, said.

Mr Shoshani told Reuters that organisers had said the insurance company had announced it could not provide cover because of "terrorism problems".

The chairman of the orchestra, Zeev Dorman, told Israel Radio: "We have never before experienced a cancellation of this kind." He said the orchestra performed in the US in January without any problems.



Saudi Arabia sentences Briton and Canadian to death in bombing trial
The Associated Press
July 28, 2002

A Saudi court has sentenced a Briton and a Canadian to death and ordered four Britons and a Belgian imprisoned for their roles in fatal bombings in 2000, a lawyer for some of the defendants said Sunday. The Saudi Justice Ministry refused comment.

Canadian William Sampson and Briton Alexander Mitchell were sentenced to death, while Britons James Lee, James Cottle, Les Walker and Peter Brandon and Belgian Raf Schyvens were given prison sentences, according to lawyer Michael O'Kane. O'Kane is working for the Saudi al-Hujeilan law firm representing the Canadian and British defendants.

Those sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded in public by a sword-wielding executioner under the Gulf kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam.



Israel Cancels Einstein Exhibit in China over request to remove references to Judaism
Yediot Ahronot
July 30, 2002

Israel has cancelled a major cultural exhibition in China about the celebrated Jewish scientist Albert Einstein because the Chinese demanded deletion of any mention that Einstein was a Jew and a warm supporter of the Zionist movement who was asked to become Israel's first president. "We cannot be reconciled with 'correcting' history, which would represent a humiliation to the State of Israel and the Jewish people," said Beijing Embassy spokesman Amir Saguy.



12 injured in brawl between Christian sects
Itim news agency
July 28, 2002

Twelve people, including a policewoman, were lightly injured in a brawl between Ethiopian and Coptic worshippers at the Deir el-Sultan Church in Jerusalem's Old City yesterday. The two sects have long been at odds over rights to the church. Police managed to restore order, and an effort to reach a compromise is under way.



Jesse Jackson to meet with Hamas Sheikh Yassin
The Jerusalem Post
July 30, 2002

The Reverend Jesse Jackson will continue his personal diplomatic mission to the Mideast by meeting Wednesday with Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The meeting will take place in the Sheikh's home in Gaza.



NJ shul to name school after Daniel Pearl
The Associated Press
July 30, 2002

A synagogue is naming its Hebrew school in honor of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Pearl's relatives said they would attend the October ceremony to name the school affiliated with Temple B'nai Shalom, a Reform synagogue with a congregation of about 600 families. The school will also add courses on tolerance and music and an annual Daniel Pearl Lecture. Pearl's parents welcomed the temple's initiative to establish the center in East Brunswick, a few miles from where Pearl was born.



Explosive device with anti-Semitic slogan detonated in Moscow
The Associated Press
July 28, 2002

A homemade explosive device planted in a metal pipe bearing an anti-Semitic slogan exploded in a Moscow residential area this morning, officials said. The ITAR-Tass news agency reported that the device was planted in a piece of metal pipe inscribed with an anti Semitic slogan. Russia has seen a number of high-profile racist and anti-Semitic acts recently. In May, a booby-trapped sign reading "Death to Jews" exploded in the face of a woman who tried to remove it from a roadside outside Moscow. Since then, several copycat signs have appeared, wounding those who tried to remove the booby-trapped messages. Other signs, with dummy packages resembling explosives have also sprouted up around the country.



Swastikas drawn on luggage of French passengers traveling to Israel
The Jerusalem Post
July 30, 2002

French charter airlines Aires has been asked to follow up on reports that swastikas had been painted on the luggage of passengers traveling to Israel, Israel Radio reports. The airlines issued a statement that noted that passengers that flew with the airline last Saturday complained they found swastikas drawn on a number of their suitcases. The airline noted that because of security arrangements for flights to Israel, the luggage which arrives at the airport is handled by people who are not employees of the airline.



Soccer: Shin Bet warns Maccabi Haifa not to fly to game in Cyprus
The Jerusalem Post
July 29, 2002

Maccabi Haifa scheduled to fly to Cyprus this morning ahead of their Champions League second qualifying round with Belshina Bobruisk of Belarus on Wednesday were unsure if the match would take place after receiving warnings from the Shin Bet Security Service not to go.

Israel Radio reported that the Shin Bet warned the team that there were problems with the security arrangements for the team, advising them not to fly. The first leg of the tie is to take place at Nicosia's 25,000-capacity GSP Stadium, following UEFA's ruling that Israel should not host matches due to the security situation.



Wesley Clark: "Some credit has to be given to the Israeli actions"
July 30, 2002

Wesley Clark, a former commander of NATO, expressed his understanding for Israel's military strategy, Israel Radio reports. He told CNN that reoccupying the territories has reduced the number of suicide bombing attempts.

"If the Israelis had done nothing and the suicide bombings had gone forward, where would we be today?" Clark asked during the interview. "I think the answer is we would probably have more suicide bombings. I think some credit has to be given to the Israeli actions. They have had an impact on the suicide bombings."



719 immigrants arrive in Israel this week
The Jerusalem Post
July 30, 2002

The Jewish Agency reports that 719 immigrants are expected to arrive in Israel this week, including 157 from France, 126 from Russia, 111 from Argentina, 105 from the Ukraine, 97 from the Central Asian republics of the Former Soviet Union and the southern Caucasus, 47 from the USA, 25 from Ethiopia, 14 from the UK, and the remainder from South Africa, Brazil, Uruguay and India.


The Daily Telegraph had the following story a day after the dispatch was sent.

-- Tom Gross

Israel enraged by China ban on 'Jewish' Einstein display
By David Rennie
The Daily Telegraph
July 31, 2002

China has forced the cancellation of an Israeli exhibition about Albert Einstein because it referred to the physicist's Jewish identity.

Beijing, a supporter of Arab nationalism and one of the few world powers to recognise a sovereign state of Palestine, told the Israeli government to remove any references to Einstein's Jewishness from the travelling exhibition, which has been drawing large crowds across the Asia-Pacific region. It is currently in New Zealand.

Israel has now cancelled the exhibition's planned visit to China and is sending it to Taiwan. The Israelis formally told Beijing that they regarded the demand to suppress Einstein's Jewish identity as an insult.

"We were dumbfounded," said an Israeli official. "We did point out to them that Einstein was an American citizen, and that this was likely to cause controversy in America, too."

The incident follows another diplomatic row when Beijing served pork and shrimps both forbidden to religious Jews to an Israeli delegation to punish their country for an arms deal that had fallen through.

Einstein is one of several historical scientific figures including Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale held up by Beijing as an example for Chinese students to study and revere.

The exhibition includes original writings and artifacts from the Einstein archives of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The attempt at censorship may have been intended to prevent students from linking Einstein to the Zionist cause, which they are taught to regard as racist and imperialist. Beijing may also have wanted to avoid complaints from Muslim allies.

China, though harshly repressive of its own Muslim population, has long sold advanced weapons to a series of Muslim states, including Iran and Pakistan.

An Israeli official said: "Ironically, Einstein is regarded by every Chinese person as a symbol of Jewish cleverness, together with Freud and Karl Marx. When this was pointed out to the Chinese Ministry of Culture, they just said, 'Well, then, you don't need to say he's Jewish'."

Communist officials, who censor all foreign films, books and displays arriving in China, ordered Israel to suppress a section of the exhibition which said that Einstein had a "lifelong commitment to the problems of the Jewish people and their quest for national and cultural revival in the land of their forefathers", and described his pride in his "Jewish identity and heritage".

When Israeli envoys asked the Culture Ministry to explain their demand, Chinese officials repeatedly stated that their reasons were an "internal affair" of China's, adding that any failure to resolve the issue would be entirely Israel's responsibility.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.