Cleveland’s Jewish Past, and Jewish Present

Currently the city of Cleveland has a Jewish population of about 80,000, which has remained relatively stable over the past decade or so. Perhaps its most famous Jews are the Cleveland native Jerry Siegler and the Canadian-born Joe Shuster (who moved to the city as a child), who together created the original Superman comics. Becky Raspe speaks with the local historian Sean Martin about the city’s Jewish history and current demography:

There were Jews who were in and out of Cleveland in the 1830s, and there isn’t really any evidence of a Jewish presence earlier than that,” [Martin] said. “But by the 1830s, Jews were coming in and out of the community. One in particular, Simson Thorman, a fur trapper and trader from a small town in Bavaria, chose to settle in the city of Cleveland and brought his friends and family with him.”

That group settled in 1839, Martin said, essentially founding the community that would become the one we know today almost 200 years later. Within 25 years, the population of Jews in Cleveland grew to 1,200.

“They brought with them the people they needed for a complete community, including a ritual slaughterer, for example,” he said. “And from there, the community grew. Until that point, there were no permanent Jewish settlements.”

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Read more at Cleveland Jewish News

More about: American Jewish History, American Jewry

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism