First Read For Jan. 25
News RoundupThe headlines American Jews are waking up to today.

First Read For Jan. 25

State Dept. nixes PA money; Israelis helping Syrians; London’s Muslim mayor decries anti-Semitic attacks; More taunts against Tottenham.

September 24, 2013, New York, NY, USA: President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after addressing the United Nations 68th General Assembly. JTA
September 24, 2013, New York, NY, USA: President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas after addressing the United Nations 68th General Assembly. JTA

The State Department will freeze the money promised by former President Obama to the Palestinian Authority, Arutz Sheva reports.

On Friday, just before leaving office, Obama released $221 million to the PA. Now, senior State Department officials have announced their intention to postpone the decision until a new secretary of state is appointed.

Texas Rep. Kay Granger, a Republican, said on Tuesday, “I worked to make sure that no American taxpayer dollars would fund the Palestinian Authority unless very strict conditions were met.”


While the government of Israel is officially neutral in Syria’s continuing civil war, the country’s civilians are reaching out to Syria’s growing refugee population, according to the Times of Israel. The news service reports that the “scale of destruction and death caused by the Syrian civil war has struck an old, dark chord in the hearts of many Israelis … More than 2,000 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013, according to the Israeli army.”

The Times profiles a pair of “civilian initiatives, driven by the oath of ‘never again’ — understood by Jews worldwide as a moral imperative to prevent any genocide after the Holocaust” that “are giving everyday Israelis a chance to help.”


The Muslim mayor of London has called for zero tolerance for hate crimes in the wake of a series of anti-Semitic incidents there, the Jerusalem Post reports. Sadiq Khan met Monday evening with genocide survivors, including from the Holocaust, as part of the city’s programming surrounding International Holocaust Memorial Day on Jan. 27.

“I ask all Londoners to report any form of hate crime, no matter how trivial,” Khan said. “A brick with a swastika on it thrown through a window of a Jewish home is not a trivial matter and needs to be addressed.”

The incidents included a brick with images of swastikas and anti-Semitic messages thrown through the window of a Jewish home in the Edgware neighborhood on Saturday morning. Hours earlier in the same neighborhood, a group of identifiably Jewish people were pelted with eggs while walking home from Shabbat dinner. Also, swastikas were discovered drawn on a property in the borough of Barnet; a city-owned garbage bin was defaced with anti-Jewish invective, and a poster for the film “Denial” was vandalized with graffiti. The film deals with Holocaust denier David Irving’s legal case against scholar Deborah Lipstadt, who won her case


An Austrian court has convicted a man under the country’s anti-Nazi law and sentenced him to prison for selling recorded songs with titles such as “Adolf Hitler Lives” and displaying Nazi tattoos, according to the ynetnewswebsite. Austria prohibits praise or propagation of Nazi ideology.

The 38-year-old was tried and sentenced to 33 months in prison Tuesday in the Upper Austrian city of Steyr. He was not identified, in keeping with privacy laws.

Recordings he sold online included a song referencing Hitler’s propaganda minister—entitled “Goebbels for All”—and another praising a death camp that was set to the melody of a popular children’s song.


A British soccer team with Jewish roots has again drawn anti-Semitic chants from “yobs” — the UK term for uncultured people — before a recent match, the Daily Mail reports. According to the paper, “shocking footage has revealed yobs singing vile anti-Semitic chants on a tram [trolley car] ahead of a game with Tottenham Hotspur, a club with traditionally Jewish links.”

Fans, the Daily Mail reported, “were heard singing ‘you’re getting gassed in the morning’ on a tram to Manchester City’s Etihad stadium ahead of their clash with the north London club. One man can be heard shouting: ‘F*** off you f****** y**s. F****** gas isn’t good enough for ya’ at around 5.10pm, just before the game kicked off on Saturday.”

Tottenham has always drawn support from the Jewish community of north London, and the club’s fans still refer to themselves as the ‘Yid Army’.

There was a surge in the number of Jews in the area from 1880, when many fled Russia, and again in 1905 and 1906, when the persecution they suffered in the region intensified.

From that point onwards, the established Jewish community attracted more Jews from other parts of London and many of the area’s flourishing businesses were owned by Jews.

For many, football was a simple way to integrate into British society, and Tottenham Hotspur became a way of life for Jews in Britain.

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