Ryan Braun suspended by baseball for drug violations
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, the former Most Valuable Player of Major League Baseball’s National League, was suspended for the rest of the 2013 season by the league on Monday for “violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.” Braun’s father is Jewish and his mother is Catholic.
Braun’s suspension comes amid the league’s investigation of players allegedly tied to the Biogenesis laboratory. While Braun will not appeal the suspension, he has not addressed allegations about Biogenesis.
“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect,” Braun said in a statement released by Major League Baseball. “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.”
Last year, Braun got a 50-game suspension for high levels of testosterone overturned after successfully disputing the drug-testing process. This suspension will encompass 65 games and any possible postseason play.
Braun is a .312 career hitter, with 211 home runs in seven seasons. In 2011, when he won the Most Valuable Player award, he batted .332 with 33 home runs, 111 RBI, and 33 stolen bases.
Hezbollah ‘military wing’ placed on EU terrorist list
After resisting the requests of Israel and the United States for more than a year after the Burgas bus bombing for which Hezbollah has been implicated as the perpetrator, the 28-member European Union has agreed to place the “military wing” of the Lebanese group on the E.U.’s list of terrorist organizations, Reuters reported.
The move will freeze assets Hezbollah may hold within the E.U., but falls short of blacklisting the entire organization of Hezbollah as one entity. The E.U.’s designation means the body still considers the parliamentary faction of Hezbollah, which was not blacklisted, to be a separate political wing and not part of a terrorist organization.
“The E.U. action is a significant step forward in recognizing the true nature of Hezbollah,” American Jewish Committee (AJC) Executive Director David Harris said. “While AJC, like the U.S., Canadian and Dutch governments, considers Hezbollah a single organization, we applaud this decision and the spotlight it shines on Hezbollah terrorist activity.”
Blacklisting Hezbollah’s military wing required unanimous approval among the E.U.’s members, but nations such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Ireland had up to this point refused to back a British proposal to do so.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev last week offered his country’s latest affirmation that Hezbollah was behind the attack that killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver on July 18, 2012, at Burgas Airport. On the one-year anniversary of the attack, Yovchev said there are “clear signs that say Hezbollah is behind the Burgas bombing,” adding that Bulgaria’s new socialist government, since taking office in late May, has received more information implicating Hezbollah in the attack.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livini said, “After years of deliberations and going back and forth on the matter, the argument that Hezbollah was a political movement and their attempt to whitewash their terrorist activity has failed.”
In light of the move to blacklist Hezbollah, E.U. governments are likely to pledge continued dialogue with all political groups in Lebanon, Reuters reported.
“A few member states wanted to be reassured that such a decision [to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing] will not in any way jeopardize political dialogue,” said a senior E.U. official.
Bidding for Schindler’s physical list starts at $3 million on eBay
The original physical list compiled by German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved 801 Jews from being transferred to the Auschwitz death camp by employing them in his factory during World War II, was put up for public auction on eBay on Friday. The starting price for the list is $3 million.
The document, printed in 1945 and consisting of 14 pages, is one of four rare copies of Schindler’s list. Director Steven Spielberg used one of the copies during production of his Oscar-winning 1993 film, “Schindler’s List.”
The current owners purchased it from the nephew of Yitzhak Stern, Schindler’s accountant who typed each list, and whose family held on to the document in Israel throughout the years. The document is authenticated by the nephew’s signature and note of declaration.
California collectors Gary Zimet and Eric Gazin said they hope to sell the list for $5 million.
“We decided to sell the list on eBay because it has over 100 million worldwide members, and this is a global story,” Gazin told The New York Post.
El Al cancels package for Roger Waters concert
El Al Israel Airlines said it promptly canceled a promotional package that appeared on its website for an August concert in Budapest by Pink Floyd band member Roger Waters — a vocal activist in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel —when it learned of the “sensitive issue” on Wednesday.
“This matter was brought to my attention yesterday afternoon,” Sheryl Stein, an advertising/public relations/social media manager for El Al, wrote in an email to JNS.org on Thursday. “Our Head Office received my email this morning and I am pleased to say this issue was resolved in a timely manner. On a regular basis, EL AL offers passengers packages to cultural events around the world. As soon as this sensitive issue was brought to our attention, the package was canceled.”
Waters accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “international crimes” in a November 2012 address at the United Nations, and last fall he was also at the forefront of efforts to boycott an Israel Philharmonic Orchestra performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
Richard Allen, head of JCC Watch, an organization that is calling for the establishment of new guidelines to prevent Jewish funding of activity that gives BDS a platform, said he was “very pleased” by El Al’s quick removal of the Waters package. JCC Watch is organizing monthly protests until it sees new Jewish community guidelines on BDS, in response to the recent scheduling of events with Waters and “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker, another high-profile BDS activist. The Waters event that was scheduled for this spring was ultimately canceled, but Walker appeared at the Y — which receives $900,000 in funding per year from the UJA-Federation of New York — in late May.
“We hope that [El Al’s cancelation of the Waters package] is an indication that other Jewish organizations, such as the 92nd Street Y and the UJA-Federation of New York, will stop the promoting and offering of Jewish institutions to be used to proselytize the BDS movement against Israel,” Allen told JNS.org.
British MP Ward suspended over tweet calling Israel an ‘apartheid state’
British Member of Parliament David Ward was suspended by his Liberal Democrat party on Thursday over a recent message on Twitter calling Israel an apartheid state.
“Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle — how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?” Ward tweeted last Saturday.
Ward refused to apologize for the tweet, Reuters reported.
In January, Ward said he was “saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza.”
Suspended by his party until Sept. 13, Ward until then will sit in the parliament as an independent.
“[Ward’s] use of anti-Semitic language veiled in anti-Israel rhetoric has finally been dealt with by his party,” Paul Charney, chairman of Zionist Federation UK, said in a statement. “I applaud Lib Dem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP for taking this necessary action. Should Mr. Ward continue to abuse his position by using it as a platform to broadcast his prejudice against Jews and Israel, then his party should withdraw the whip permanently. This action sends a clear message that racially prejudiced language will not be tolerated in our society.”