UJC Taps Tisch for Top Post

The United Jewish Communities (UJC) offered its top volunteer position to the president of UJA-Federation of Greater New York, according to a member of the UJC nominating committee.

The source said James Tisch of New York was asked to replace fellow philanthropist Charles Bronfman as chairman of the board, but has not yet responded.

Other UJC officials declined to confirm the nomination, saying they have been talking to “a whole host of people to see who’s interested.”

Shoah Denier Denied Platform

A student group at Oxford has canceled a debate on freedom of speech that was to feature Holocaust denier David Irving.

The Oxford Union debating society decided to call off the May 10 event at the last minute after intense pressure from a range of groups including the Union of Jewish Students, the Association of University Teachers and Oxford’s own Student Union.

High-Speed Train to Serve Tel Aviv

Israel’s rail authority inaugurated a double-decker passenger train that will serve suburban communities surrounding Tel Aviv. The train can seat 505 people and reach speeds of 87 miles per hour.

Shoah Deniers Meet in Jordan

The Simon Wiesenthal Center condemned a Holocaust deniers conference held Sunday in Jordan.

The meeting, sponsored by the Jordanian Writers Union, was “yet another step in a systematic effort under way in the Arab world to deconstruct Jewish history,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean.

Last month, Lebanon’s prime minister blocked Holocaust deniers from holding a similar meeting in Beirut.

Israel Nixes Panel Call

Israel rejected a portion of a United States-led commission’s report that called for the end of settlement construction.

Speaking last Friday after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he hoped the report could serve as the basis for an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire, Israeli Cabinet member Danny Naveh said ending construction meant to accommodate a settlement’s natural growth was “impossible.”

On Sunday, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Sha’ath said the Palestinians will not return to the negotiating table unless Israel halts all settlement construction.

In a separate development, Powell said he has not ruled out the idea of appointing someone to replace Dennis Ross, who served as President Clinton’s special envoy to the Middle East.

But Powell said that given the current state of Israeli- Palestinian violence, he does not see a reason to have someone “shuttle back and forth on a constant basis” between Washington and the Middle East.

Briefs courtesy of Jewish Telegraphic Agency.