News Briefs: Jewish Political Guide Launched and More

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Jewish Political Guide Launched

The American Jewish Congress announced the creation of its Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics (jewishpoliticalguide.com).

The platform will summarize the voting records and positions of the 2020 presidential candidates and all senators. It will be continuously updated through the 2020 elections.

“The Jewish Guide to U.S. Politics is all about civic engagement and education. We are at a point in our history where maximum information can make maximum impact on the way we vote — as individuals, and as members of the Jewish community,” AJC President Jack Rosen said. “We are also letting our politicians know we are paying attention to what they do, what they say and how they vote.”

The guide does not endorse candidates.

Museums Return Nazi-Looted Paintings to Holocaust Survivor’s Descendants

Two paintings looted by the Nazis during the Holocaust will be returned to descendants of a survivor by two museums in the Netherlands, JTA reported.

“Pronkstilleven” by Jan Davidsz will be returned by the Central Museum in Utrecht to the family of Jacob Lierens. He had been forced to sell the painting. Lierens died in 1949.

In addition, the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem will return “Banquet with Musicians and Bench Players in an Interior” by Dirck Hals and Dirck van Delen to the same family.

The Advisory Committee on the Assessment of Restitution Applications for Items of Cultural Value and the Second World War recommended that the paintings — worth thousands of dollars — be returned.

Hate Crimes Nearly Double in NYC in 2019

Hate crimes reported in New York City have risen 83% through May 19 — and more than half were anti-Semitic in nature, JTA reported.

Of the 176 hate crime complaints received, 59% (103) were anti-Semitic, according to Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt.

“We have an anti-Semitism crisis in New York,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said. “It’s a national problem, but New York accounts for way too many incidents.”

In 2018, out of 353 hate crime complaints in New York City, 186, or about 53%, had anti-Jewish bias.

Netflix Show Mocks Anne Frank

Netflix series Historical Roasts faces a backlash for an episode that mocks Anne Frank, JNS.org reported.

The episode features three Jewish performers — Rachel Feinstein as Anne Frank, Gilbert Gottfried as Adolf Hitler and Jon Lovitz as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“Everyone knows you as a hero and a bestselling author, but to me you’ll always be little number 825060,” Gottfried said, as Hitler, to Anne. He added, “Of all the accounts that I’ve read, Anne, your book is by far the most flammable.”

Show host Jeff Ross, who also is Jewish, wore a yellow Star of David armband and said, “If you’re offended by anything you see tonight, just do what FDR did — and look the other way.”

Reaction was swift.

“This is beneath contempt. Irrelevant that Jews are involved,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “At a time of raging anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, there is zero that is humorous about mocking Anne Frank.”

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam called it “tasteless satire.”

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