The Trumpian Idiot Strikes Again

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Less than a day after President Donald Trump outraged many members of the Jewish community for his comments about their loyalty, he tweeted out the claim that Israeli Jews view him as the “second coming of God.”

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, Mr. Trump quoted conservative radio host and known conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root, who practically declared the president the Messiah during his show Tuesday night.

Quoting Root’s tweet, Mr. Trump shared the message that he is “the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world,” that “the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel” and even that “They love him like he is the second coming of God.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him….

35.7K people are talking about this

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..

27.8K people are talking about this

Mr. Trump said “Wow!” and thanked Root for the “very nice words.”

Root is a self-described “Jew turned evangelical Christian” and the author of a 2015 book titled “Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon Is Changing America,” which had a forward by now-indicted Trump associate Roger Stone.

Root is also known for promoting bogus right-wing conspiracy theories. He attended Columbia University while Barack Obama was also studying there, then later falsely claimed that Mr. Obama did not actually attend the school. More recently, he falsely said on Twitter that the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, which killed 58 people, was an act of Muslim terrorism. The gunman was not Muslim and investigators were unable to determine a motive.

The latest tweets come a day after President Trump criticized “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat,” saying it “shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Leaders in the Jewish community raised concerns that the president was promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes by casting Jews as disloyal. Such accusations have a long and disturbing history of being used against Jews, said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.

Polling shows that a majority of Jewish Americans identify as Democrats and did not vote for Mr. Trump in 2016.

Trump: King Of Israel?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday thanked a conspiracy theorist for saying Jews in Israel love the president “like he’s the King of Israel” and doubled down on his efforts to pit American Jews against one another, accusing Jewish voters of disloyalty if they voted for Democrats.

It was the second day in a row that Mr. Trump addressed Jews and loyalty, a theme evoking an anti-Semitic trope that Jews have a “dual loyalty” and are often more loyal to Israel than to their own countries.

“If you want to vote Democrat, you are being very disloyal to Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday at the White House.

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House on his way to Louisville, Ky., to address a veterans group, Mr. Trump said his remarks were not anti-Semitic.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Trump thanked the conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root for lavishing praise on Mr. Trump for his successful diplomacy with Israel. Mr. Root is a one-time vice-presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party who now hosts a radio show on Newsmax TV and often promotes conspiracy theories.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

“Thank you to Wayne Allyn Root for the very nice words. “President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him….

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God…But American Jews don’t know him or like him. They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for…..

23.5K people are talking about this

Broadcasting Mr. Root’s words to the president’s more than 63 million Twitter followers and repeating his provocative message to American Jews, Mr. Trump drew immediate accusations that he was fanning anti-Semitic views.

“It is the height of hypocrisy to use Christian theology to bully Jews and to push out some messianic complex — literally, it’s hard to think of something less kosher than telling the Jewish people you’re the king of Israel, and therefore, we should have some fidelity to you for that reason,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, said Wednesday on CNN. “I don’t know if he’s read the Bible, but in the Old Testament, that’s not what we believe.”

Last week, lawmakers were outraged that Israel, with Mr. Trump’s approval, barred two Muslim members of Congress from making an official visit because of their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which pressures Israel on Palestinian issues.

Mr. Trump has tried to make the two Democratic lawmakers, Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, the face of the Democratic Party after they made comments this year that were critical of American support of Israel. Though their views on Israel are far from representing the majority of the Democratic Party, Mr. Trump has seized on the divide and is trying to sell it to Jewish voters as a reason to support him.

Winning over Jewish voters would be a significant shift for Mr. Trump, as nearly 80 percent of Jewish Americans voted for Democrats during the 2018 midterm elections, according to the Pew Research Center.

Some of the president’s Jewish supporters defended Mr. Trump for the second day in a row.

The Republican Jewish Coalition said the organization takes Mr. Trump “seriously, not literally.”

In a Twitter post on Wednesday after Mr. Trump repeated his “loyalty” charge, the Republican Jewish Coalition wrote, “President Trump is pointing out the obvious: for those who care about Israel, the position of many elected Democrats has become anti-Israel.”

Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, a Republican who is Jewish, praised Mr. Trump for his support of the Jewish community and Israel. Mr. Zeldin said the president was right to push back on the “Omar/Tlaib wing of the Dem party.”

“He’s a fighter & wont back down. On these policy priorities, he’s correct,” Mr. Zeldin wrote in a tweet.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, also addressed Jewish Republicans on Wednesday, with a different message.

“To my fellow American Jews, particularly those who support @realDonaldTrump: When he uses a trope that’s been used against the Jewish people for centuries with dire consequences, he is encouraging — wittingly or unwittingly — anti-Semites throughout the country and world,” Mr. Schumer wrote Wednesday on Twitter. “Enough.”

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Jewish leaders outraged by Trump saying Jews disloyal if they vote for Democrats

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Jewish leaders outraged by Trump saying Jews disloyal if they vote for Democrats

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats, saying “it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”

Trump was speaking to the press in the Oval Office about two Democratic congresswomen barred from entering Israel over their involvement in the movement to end international support for the country because of its policies toward Palestinians.
“Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this — even three years ago — of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people — I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation,” Trump added. “Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they’re defending these two people over the State of Israel?”
He added, “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.”
The remark led critics to argue the President was dabbling in the anti-Semitic trope of “dual loyalty,” which questions the loyalty of Jewish citizens.
“It’s unclear who @POTUS is claiming Jews would be ‘disloyal’ to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews. As we’ve said before, it’s possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims. It’s long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted later Tuesday.
Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, called the comments “yet another example of Donald Trump continuing to weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism.”
“If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism. If this is about Jews being ‘loyal’ to him, then Trump needs a reality check. We live in a democracy, and Jewish support for the Republican Party has been halved in the past four years,” Soifer added.
J Street, a liberal advocacy group focused on reaching a resolution between Israel and the Palestinian territories, said in a statement, “It is dangerous and shameful for President Trump to attack the large majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and ‘disloyal.’ “
The President has suggested that Jewish Americans, who are traditionally staunch supporters of the Democratic Party, are leaving it. But polling suggests that Jewish Americans continue overwhelmingly to be Democrats and opposed to Trump.
Jewish Americans voted for the Democratic Party by about a 3:1 margin in the 2018 midterm elections. And Jewish Americans are far more likely to call themselves Democrats than Republicans.
Trump has previously suggested Jewish Americans have a dual loyalty to Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, including when he told the Republican Jewish Coalition in April that Netanyahu was “your prime minister.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition defended Trump’s statement on Tuesday, tweeting, “President Trump is right, it shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion.”
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

Israel said bracing for likely Omar, Tlaib visit to flash point Temple Mount

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel said bracing for likely Omar, Tlaib visit to flash point Temple Mount

During secret meeting of National Security Council, senior officials agree to allow congresswomen onto holy site, but not accompanied by PA officials

In this photo from February 5, 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, left, is joined by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, at US President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this photo from February 5, 2019, Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, left, is joined by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, at US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Israeli officials are preparing for the likelihood that US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib may seek to visit the flashpoint Temple Mount in Jerusalem during their visit to the country next week, Channel 13 reported Wednesday.

A “secret meeting” was recently held on the subject in Israel’s National Security Council led by Deputy National Security Adviser Reuven Azar, according to Channel 13.

There, the network reported that Azar said there was a high probability that Omar and Tlaib, who are both Muslim, will seek to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine at the holy site.

The participants at the meeting agreed that if the congresswomen choose to do so, it is vital that the Israel Police not permit their visit to be accompanied by officials of the Palestinian Authority, which would serve as symbolic backing by the US lawmakers for Palestinian claims of sovereignty at the site, the holiest place in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam.

Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and now claims all of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their capital in a future state.

in 2017 the US, under the Trump administration, shifted years of policy, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy to the city. However, the US said the move did not constitute and endorsement of specific borders.

Muslim worshipers perform the Eid al-Adha morning prayers at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Israeli officials were unanimous in their view that the two lawmakers, who have expressed support for the pro-Palestinian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, should be allowed to visit Israel and the Temple Mount, as preventing the visits could hurt relations with the United States, Channel 13 said.

As recently as Sunday, tensions at the flash point site boiled over into all-out riots after Muslim worshipers objected Israel’s allowing of some 1,700 Jewish visitors on the site during the Tish’a B’av fast day, which fell this year during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.

At least 61 Muslim worshipers were injured in the clashes, according to the Red Crescent. At least four Israeli officers were also lightly to moderately wounded, police said.

Last month Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, said that she would visit Israel and the West Bank with Tlaib, a Palestinian-American congresswoman from Michigan. Omar and Tlaib are the first female Muslim congresswoman.

Last Saturday, Axios reported that US President Donald Trump criticized the Israeli decision to allow Omar and Tlaib to visit the country.

Trump said that if Omar and Tlaib wanted to boycott Israel, “then Israel should boycott them,” Axios said, quoting a source with direct knowledge.

However, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham denied Trump ever gave any kind of directive to the Israelis. “The Israeli government can do what they want. It’s fake news,” Grisham told Axios on Saturday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) with Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, at the president’s guest house, in Washington, DC, February 14, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Last month Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer said Israel would not prevent the lawmakers from coming to Israel.

“Out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel,” Dermer told The Times of Israel in a statement.

Under a controversial law that Israel enacted in 2017, the state can prohibit any foreigner from entering the country who “knowingly issues a public call for boycotting Israel.”

Since then, the Interior and Strategic Affairs ministries have used the statute to deny visas to a handful of students, activists and artists upon their arrival to Israel.

The Foreign Ministry, however, can recommend the law be waived for visiting politicians or government officials out of diplomatic concerns.

Israeli security forces walk past the Dome of the Rock as they arrive at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019, as clashes broke out during the overlapping Jewish and Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha and the Tisha B’av fast (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Omar last month introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by Tlaib, ostensibly aimed at pushing back against laws seeking to clamp down on boycotts of Israel. The resolution, which does not explicitly mention Israel or the Palestinians, affirms the right of Americans to participate in boycotts as an expression of free speech under the First Amendment, citing boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the USSR and apartheid South Africa.

It currently has three sponsors — Omar, Tlaib and Democratic Georgia Rep. John Lewis, an icon of the US civil rights movement.

Omar, Tlaib and other BDS supporters say that in urging businesses, artists and universities to sever ties with Israel, they are using nonviolent means to oppose unjust policies toward Palestinians. Israel counters that the movement masks its motivation to delegitimize or destroy the Jewish state.

Omar has said she supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; Tlaib, however, has advocated for a single-state outcome.

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Israel: Temple Mount status quo should be changed so Jews can pray there

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Minister says Temple Mount status quo should be changed so Jews can pray there

Gilad Erdan stresses new arrangement should come from ‘diplomatic agreements and not by force’; draws criticism from Jordan

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks during a ceremony for the outgoing Jerusalem police chief at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on February 7, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan speaks during a ceremony for the outgoing Jerusalem police chief at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on February 7, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Tuesday said Israel should push to change the status quo at the Temple Mount, days after clashes at the Jerusalem holy site.

As part of an arrangement in place since the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel captured the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan, non-Muslims are barred from praying at the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam.

Erdan, whose ministry oversees police responsible for security at the Temple Mount, voiced support in an interview for changing the existing arrangements there.

“I think there is in an injustice in the status quo that has existed since ’67,” he told Israel’s Radio 90. “We need to work to change it so in the future Jews, with the help of God, can pray at the Temple Mount.”

He clarified that he opposes introducing such a change unilaterally.

“This needs to be achieved by diplomatic agreements and not by force,” Erdan said.

Muslim worshipers perform the Eid al-Adha morning prayers at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The remarks drew a rebuke from Jordan, whose foreign ministry warned any change to the status quo at the Temple Mount could have serious consequences.

A ministry spokesman said Jordan, which Israel recognizes as custodian of the Temple Mount as part of the 1994 peace treaty between the countries, sent a letter of protest over the public security minister’s remarks through diplomatic channels.

Talk or even rumors of changes to the status quo arrangement at the holy site are typically met with vociferous protest from the Muslim world, which has accused Israel of attempting to “judaize” the site or expand access for Jewish pilgrims.

Some Jewish activists have pushed for Israel to allow Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount as part of the country’s commitment to freedom of religion. On Sunday Tamar Zandberg, a lawmaker from the left-wing Meretz party, tweeted that Jews have a right to pray there but the best way to guarantee freedom of worship is through a diplomatic arrangement.

The compound was the site of clashes between Muslim worshipers and police on Sunday over the entry of Jews during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, which this year coincided with the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av.

On Sunday, Jordan’s foreign ministry slammed Israel for using force against Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount after clashes erupted there.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as the Palestinians, also condemned Israel over the clashes.

Israeli security forces clash with Muslim worshipers at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on August 11, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

According to Erdan, 1,729 Jews entered the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av, a new record high for a single day.

Initially, police announced Sunday that non-Muslims would be barred from entering the Temple Mount, where tens of thousands of Muslim worshipers had arrived during the morning. Hundreds of Jews had gathered at the gates leading to the holy site on Sunday morning.

But following an uproar from right-wing ministers and lawmakers, a first round of Jewish visitors was allowed to enter the site. Several dozen visited under close police escort, but Muslim worshipers began throwing chairs and other objects at the group, and the Jewish visitors left the compound shortly thereafter.

With fewer Muslim worshipers on site than there were in the morning, the second round of visits by Jews took place largely without incident.

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Top pro-Israel group in Australia lauds police recommendation to indict Litzman

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Top pro-Israel group in Australia lauds police recommendation to indict Litzman

Zionist Federation of Australia calls on Israeli deputy health minister to step down over suspected efforts to prevent extradition to Melbourne of alleged sex abuser Malka Leifer

Protesters demonstrate on March 13, 2019, outside the Jeursalem District Court during extradition hearings for Malka Leifer, a former girls school principal wanted for sexual abuse in Australia. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Protesters demonstrate on March 13, 2019, outside the Jeursalem District Court during extradition hearings for Malka Leifer, a former girls school principal wanted for sexual abuse in Australia. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A prominent Australian Jewish organization on Wednesday welcomed news that police had recommended the indictment of Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman for allegedly pressuring officials in his office to prevent the extradition of suspected sex predator Malka Leifer to Melbourne.

“This is a very welcome step forward in a frustratingly long and drawn out process to achieve justice for Leifer’s victims,” the Zionist Federation of Australia, an umbrella organization of pro-Israel groups, said in a statement.

The ZFA also called for Litzman to step down from his post while the legal proceedings against him continue.

Developments in the Leifer case have been closely followed by the Jewish community in Australia and Tuesday’s police recommendation made national headlines down under.

“These are extremely serious allegations and it is simply untenable for anyone in a position of public trust and responsibility to continue in their position while under
investigation for fraud and breach of trust. There should be zero tolerance for an elected official who sabotages the rule of law – a democratic principle which is foundational to the State of Israel,” the ZFA added.

The Australian umbrella group went on to express solidarity with Leifer’s alleged victims, specifically Dassi Erlich, Elly Sapper and Nicole Meyer, who have led a campaign to push Israel to extradite their former high school principal.

(R) Deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman seen during a press conference after meeting with president Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on April 15, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90); (L) A private investigator tagged Malka Leifer as she spoke on the phone, while sitting on a bench in Bnei Brak, on December 14, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Police on Tuesday recommended that Litzman be charged with fraud and breach of trust for the case involving Leifer, a former ultra-Orthodox girls’ school principal charged in Australia with 74 counts of child sex abuse. Since February, authorities have been investigating the deputy health minister on suspicion that he had pressured employees in his office to alter the conclusions of psychiatric evaluations that had deemed Leifer fit for extradition.

In addition, police also recommended that Litzman, who is also chairman of the United Torah Judaism party, be charged with bribery for attempts to influence officials in the Health Ministry to prevent the closure of a Jerusalem deli that he frequented — a closure that had been ordered due to “serious sanitary findings found that led to the sickness of a number of people who ate from its products.”

Litzman, who possesses many authorities of a full minister despite serving as a deputy, denied any wrongdoing, maintaining in a response to the police recommendation that his office has a “clear open-door policy for assisting members of the public. This is without discrimination between populations and without clarifying the status of those who call for assistance. The deputy minister expressed confidence that no charges would ultimately be filed.”

In the wake of the police recommendation, it will be up to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to determine whether to indict the deputy health minister.

The Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday that the State Prosecutor’s Office is slated to hand down its recommendation to Mandelblit by the September 17 elections and said the attorney general may even reach a decision to indict — pending a hearing — before the vote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, speaks with Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, left, in the Knesset, on March 28, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Leifer is known to have links to the Gur community, of which Litzman is a member, having once taught at a school in Israel affiliated with the Hasidic branch.

A Justice Ministry official told The Times of Israel in February that police had recordings of Litzman and officials in his office speaking to Health Ministry employees and pressing them to act on Leifer’s behalf.

In 2000, Leifer was recruited from Israel to work at the Adass Israel ultra-Orthodox girls school in Melbourne. When allegations of sexual abuse against the mother of eight began to surface eight years later, members of the school board purchased a red-eye plane ticket back to Israel for Leifer, allowing her to avoid being charged.

After authorities in Melbourne filed charges against her, Australia officially filed an extradition request in 2012. Leifer was arrested in Israel two years later, but released to house arrest shortly thereafter. Judges deemed her mentally unfit to stand trial and eventually removed all restrictions against her, concluding that she was too ill to even leave her bed.

Jerusalem District Psychiatrist Jacob Charnes in 2016. (Facebook photo)

She was rearrested in February 2018 following a police undercover operation that cast doubts on her claims regarding her mental state, and has remained in custody since. The operation was launched after the Jewish Community Watch NGO hired private investigators who placed hidden cameras in the Emmanuel settlement, a Haredi community in the northern West Bank, where Leifer had been living, which showed the alleged sex abuser roaming around the town without any apparent difficulty.

Despite the seemingly damning footage, the trial has dragged on for an additional year, as the court continues to debate her mental fitness. The Jerusalem district psychiatrist responsible for evaluating Leifer, Dr. Jacob Charnes, has changed his mind three times regarding whether Leifer was fit for extradition, ultimately signing off on a legal opinion in which state psychiatrists found her fit for extradition.

However, when the psychiatrist was cross-examined by the defense on the evaluation late last year, he told the court that he recommended an additional evaluation of Leifer be carried out — a proposal that both sides have rejected.

A legal official told The Times of Israel that police suspected Charnes changed his medical conclusion after being contacted by officials in Litzman’s office. Though Charnes has been interrogated under caution in the case against the deputy health minister, police on Tuesday said they did not recommend he be tried.

The Jerusalem District Court will hand down a final decision regarding Leifer’s mental fitness for an extradition hearing on September 23. The Times of Israel learned last month that a separate court-appointed medical board is slated to officially conclude that Leifer has been feigning mental illness, in a ruling that would likely impact the Jerusalem District Court’s decision.

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Israel: liberal US Jews say Trump fueling white nationalism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

After El Paso massacre, liberal US Jews say Trump fueling white nationalism

Reform leader accuses president of emboldening mass shooters by ‘demonizing asylum seekers and immigrants’

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting August  3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting August 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

WASHINGTON — Liberal American Jewish leaders, fuming at another mass shooting allegedly carried out by a white supremacist, took US President Donald Trump to task on Sunday, saying he had fueled xenophobia and division in the country for three years, while failing to press for stricter gun laws.

Their condemnations came after a 21-year-old gunman, armed with a powerful rifle, walked into a crowded Walmart on Saturday in El Paso, Texas — a majority Hispanic city on the border with Mexico — and opened fire. Authorities identified the assailant as Patrick Crusius from Dallas, who stalked shoppers in the aisles of the retail giant as he riddled them with bullets, leaving at least 20 people dead and another 26 wounded.

Crusius is suspected of being the author of a manifesto posted online before the attack, in which he said was responding to “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said in a statement that the shooter was reciting language frequently used by Trump — a sign that his influence was evident in the motivation for the attack.

“The El Paso killer was a white supremacist who wrote a ‘send them back’ manifesto, echoing the words of President Trump,” Soifer said. “Trump is responsible for fueling a fire of xenophobia and hatred in our country, and Republicans are responsible for allowing it to occur.”

Pallbearers carry the casket of Poway synagogue shooting victim Lori Gilbert-Kaye during a graveside service on April 29, 2019, in San Diego, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)

Over the past year, two other mass shootings by white supremacists were preceded by similar manifestos — one written by John Earnest before the Poway synagogue shooting in April, and one authored by Brenton Tarrant before he opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand in March, killing 50 people.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, noted that the release of a manifesto before Saturday’s attack fit the same pattern.

“We have documented a rise in extremist activity, both online and in our communities,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “As with too many of these incidents, our experts have again been reviewing the apparent manifesto of an alleged shooter, as well as other elements of his online footprint, to evaluate potential extremist ties.”

Greenblatt went on to say that, if police confirm the manifesto’s authenticity, it will make the El Paso attack one of the deadliest acts of domestic terrorism in modern American history.

“If the suspect is the author of the manifesto, this latest act of domestic terrorism will be, according to the ADL’s Center on Extremism’s records, the third deadliest act of violence by a domestic extremist in over 50 years, and the second deadliest act of violence by a right-wing extremist in the same span, second only to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing,” he added.

US President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on August 1, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump has been frequently criticized for his tacit welcoming of support from white nationalists. During the 2016 campaign, he refused to immediately reject the support of David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

As president, he likewise refused to immediately condemn neo-Nazis and Klan members who marched in Charlottesville in August 2017, saying that “very fine people” were marching alongside them.

Most recently, he told four freshmen congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from. All four are American citizens, and three of them were born in the United States.

He has also implemented immigration policies that have been broadly condemned as inhumane — including the family separation policy of splitting up parents from their children at the border — to deter immigrants and asylum seekers from entering the country.

After the El Paso attack, Rick Jacobs, who heads the Union for Reform Judaism, lamented the inaction of politicians to effectuate stronger gun-safety measures.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, addressing delegates at its 2017 Biennial in Boston, December 7, 2017. (Courtesy of the Union for Reform Judaism/via JTA)

“It is not enough for elected officials to muster their ‘thoughts and prayers,’” he said in a statement Saturday. “Like millions of Americans I’m sick of the pathetic excuses offered by too many lawmakers for not passing strong and effective common sense gun laws.”

He then directed his indignation toward Trump. “And if we are to call on the leaders of our nation to address this epidemic of hate, a goal that, hopefully, almost all Americans cherish, we must ask: When will this president stop demonizing asylum seekers and immigrants, which serves to embolden those like today’s shooter?”

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Israel: Jews are the canary in the coal mine for humanity

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

JULY 27, 2019
CURRENT TOP STORIES
INTERVIEW‘WHEN MY FAMILY WAS IN TROUBLE THE JEWISH WORKERS BACKED US’

New UK anti-Semitism adviser: Jews are the canary in the coal mine for humanity

Labour MP John Mann hopes new PM will keep him in role he was given in one of May’s last acts as premier; no love lost between lawmaker and some Corbyn allies in his own party

Labour MP John Mann with German Premier Angela Merkel at the International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. (Courtesy)

Labour MP John Mann with German Premier Angela Merkel at the International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. (Courtesy)

LONDON —  According to British Labour MP John Mann, “when it comes to fighting anti-Semitism, it’s not enough for us to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Jewish community, when the anti-Semites are throwing the stones of hatred, of bitterness, of bile.”

“We have to stand in front of [Jews] in this fight. This must not be only the responsibility of the Jewish community,” he said.

On Tuesday July 23, in one of her very last acts as prime minister, Theresa May appointed Mann as the government’s adviser on anti-Semitism. He joins Lord Tariq Ahmad as adviser on freedom of religion and belief, and Lord Eric Pickles as the special envoy on post-Holocaust issues. All three of the posts are performed pro-bono.

Mann, a tall, fit and burly politician with a well-founded reputation for plain speaking, knows what he is talking about. For the last 15 years he has headed the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against anti-Semitism, stepping down from his chairmanship only this week.

He co-founded, with Canada’s former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, the International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. Both bodies have consistently produced deeply researched reports into the nature and level of anti-Semitism, making recommendations to governments.

Perhaps the single act which brought him to national consciousness was his 2016 confrontation with former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who had just claimed on a radio program that Adolf Hitler was initially a supporter of Zionism. Not mincing his words, Mann rounded on Livingstone in a building crammed with TV cameras, calling him “a Nazi apologist.” It put him definitively out of kilter with many colleagues in Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle, but Mann did not care.

In his office — a more spacious part of the parliamentary estate than many backbench MPs enjoy — Mann is relaxed and confident as he talks to The Times of Israel about the background to his appointment, a newly-created role which he hopes the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, will continue.

But how is that Mann, 59, whose northern mining constituency of Bassetlaw is almost certainly home to few or no Jews, became such a vehement defender of the Jewish community?

The answer, as Mann himself told a Community Security Trust (CST) dinner in February, lies in his own family background. He is Labour through and through, a child of Labour activist parents, and even met his wife through the Labour Party.

Labour MP John Mann speaking at the Community Security Trust dinner in February 2019, after presenting red roses to four Jewish women MPs who had become the targets of antisemitic abuse. (Courtesy)

But it was the actions of his great-grandparents which set the scene for the Mann family.

“My great grandparents formed the Labour Party with Jewish workers in Leeds in 1906, and at every stage in their history, in their involvement in the Labour Party, stood alongside the Jewish community and defended the Jewish community,” Mann told the CST audience.

“When my family was in trouble, when my family was thrown out of work for forming the Labour Party in Leeds, the Jewish community, the Jewish workers, the Jewish Labour Movement, they stood and backed alongside my family,” he said.

Mann, who has been an MP since 2001, is still paying it forward in what he feels is a matter of moral principle.

“You cannot imagine how much hurt, how much shame, how much anger we have in what is defiling what has been not just my life, but my family’s existence. And many families’ existence down the generations,” said Mann. “That’s what’s at stake here. We’re not going to give in. We’re not going to hand over to these anti-Semites and those that stand by and encourage them and are silent.”

Labour MP John Mann in Hungary. (Courtesy)

For 15 years as chair of the APPG against anti-Semitism, Mann has been warning of the evils of Jew-hatred, which he describes as “the worst of racisms.” The genesis of his new role, he says, sprouts from a series of discussions that Jewish community leaders had with Downing Street.

“They wanted some sort of liaison person between the community and government,” said Mann.

In Germany the role is filled by a civil servant, while US President Donald Trump has just appointed a new special envoy, Elan Carr. Downing Street, says Mann, responded to the request from the British Jewish community and asked him to take up the post.

Though nominally the new job is a “point of contact between the Jewish community and government,” Mann is likely to step it up a notch. He is keen on practical consequences and points to the generous government provision of security finance for Jewish community institutions — including Jewish schools — as a direct result of the work and recommendations made by the parliamentary committee which he chaired. The new job, which is open-ended, will, he hopes, result in even more practical actions.

Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Britain’s opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism in the Labour party, outside the British Houses of Parliament in central London on March 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN)

His first target will be Jewish teenagers in the 16-19 age bracket.

“I have one overriding objective, and this I will say to the government: that Jewish teenagers feel secure and safe living here, that there is no impingement on their ability to be themselves and want to do well in this country, and to remain in this country, positively,” said Mann. “That’s the objective. But I don’t believe at the moment that it is the case.”

Jewish teens, says Mann, should be able to feel that they can prosper — not necessarily financially, but socially and culturally.

“A top priority will be to find out if my feeling on that is in fact accurate. So my first big piece of work will be to go and talk to those 16- to 19-year-olds, to get their perspective on how they see their position in our society,” he said.

Such information, he believes, “will be absolutely pivotal” in framing what advice he will subsequently give to the government.

“If the teens tell me they don’t feel safe here, that is a problem,” he said.

In 2006, says Mann, the APPG identified three strands of anti-Semitism: “traditional right anti-Semitism, which was just as virulent, despite all the education that’s been around — and that remains the case today. So the far right remains a problem for the Jewish community, and young Jews — from neo-fascists to terrorism.”

“Then there was Muslim anti-Semitism,” he continued, “which the committee said had not been a problem in the past because there were very few Muslims in Britain.

“Now there is a significant presence and therefore Muslim anti-Semitism is a bigger problem — and that is a fact. We have seen Islamists committing murderous attacks on Jewish communities in France, Belgium, Austria, Copenhagen…” he said.

Such attacks have not so far taken place in Britain, observed Mann, “because in my view the UK is better prepared, through the work of the CST — and I’m proud that our committee [the APPG] has played an important role in strengthening governmental support for the Jewish community.”

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigns for Lisa Forbes in Peterborough, England, on June 1, 2019. (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

The third serious problem, identified in 2006, was far left anti-Semitism, thought dormant but now once again on the rise. Mann, no friend of Corbyn, says the Labour leader is the catalyst for some of the Jewish race hate, but warns that if Corbyn disappeared tomorrow, much of the anti-Semitism would still remain.

“The problem is deeper than Corbyn. Anti-semites within the Labour Party have been emboldened, and extremists have been attracted to the Labour Party,” he said.

To his great anger and disappointment, Mann has seen and charted an overlap between the three strands of anti-Semitism, with alt-right and far left groups using the same imagery, sometimes joined by Islamists. On some occasions, he says, it’s impossible to tell which of the three strands is driving the abuse.

“I’m not Jewish, but it hasn’t stopped people throwing vile anti-Semitic stuff at me, including violent threats. And some of the worst stuff, where police have been involved, I have no idea whether it is emanating from the right, the left, or Islamists,” he said.

Labour MP John Mann addresses press, speaking out on behalf of the children’s hospital ward in his constituency of Bassetlaw. (Courtesy)

Mann says that the increased use of the internet and social media is one of the biggest things to have exacerbated anti-Semitism, and warns that both the Jewish community and government must become a lot smarter and more savvy in dealing with online abuse.

As he takes up his new role, of one thing he is sure: “I represent a community that was comprised of coal miners. Coal miners who, when this country needed it, spent their lives underground digging coal. And what the coal miners in the colleries in my area did to warn against the impending doom was to take a small bird in a cage down the pit with them. A yellow canary,” he said.

“The Jewish community is the canary in the coal mine for humanity and for the safety and future of my grandchildren,” said Mann. “That’s why we have, whether we like it or not, no choice.”

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JEWISH, IMMIGRANT ACTIVISTS BLOCK ICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWS WEEK)

 

JEWISH, IMMIGRANT ACTIVISTS BLOCK ICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C. TO PROTEST IMMIGRATION POLICY

Protesters blocked access to the headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, calling for the agency to be shut down. The Jewish and immigrant demonstrators invoked the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, railing against the conditions of migrants detained at the border while calling for legislators to establish “permanent protection, dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.”

The protests were organized by Never Again Action and Cosecha Movement, two groups that have staged demonstrations across the country since holding an event at the privately operated Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey on June 30. The protest in Washington, D.C., is the fourteenth event calling for the dissolution of ICE and drawing attention to the conditions of migrants at the border, according to the website of Never Again Action. More events are planned in subsequent weeks.

Protesters occupied the front lobby of the ICE headquarters building and barricaded entrances and exits, Sophie Ellman-Golan, a spokesperson for Never Again Action, told Newsweek. She said that 12 people had been arrested inside the building and estimated that 1,000 people had attended the demonstration. The Metropolitan Police Department told Newsweek that the protesters had been arrested by the Federal Protective Service, which is part of the the Department of Homeland Security. DHS did not immediately respond when contacted by Newsweek. 

The president’s immigration policy, which court documents indicate has caused the separation of at least 2,654 children from their families, continues to generate public outcry. While many critics have focused attention on Republicans, Never Again Action and Cosecha Movement have also criticized Democrats, who they say have not acted forcefully enough to challenge the administration’s immigrant policy.

“While Republicans are stoking the flames of white nationalism, Democrats are letting them do it,” Brandon Mond, an organizer, told Newsweek at the action in Elizabeth last month. “We want to hold Democrats accountable — people who say in their words that they’re for immigrants but time and time again throw the 11 million undocumented people that already live in this country under the bus.”

Protesters at the D.C. event created a large banner, which said “Pelosi, never again is now.”

Embedded video

✡️ Never Again Action ✡️@NeverAgainActn

BREAKING: , @CosechaMovement, immigrants and allies have been ARRESTED for blocking the entrances to @ICEgov HQ. We MUST in the way of business as usual, because

Join us: http://neveragainaction.com/campaign-call 

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has faced backlash since last month for capitulating on a bill to send $4.6 billion in aid to the southern border. The measure sparked dissent within the Democratic Party. She had previously pushed for more protections for migrants seeking refuge.

“In this moment of public reckoning, it’s time to put forward a new vision on immigration that recognizes the dignity of all immigrants,” Cata Santiago, a spokesperson for Cosecha Movement, said in a press release. “We won’t sit back and allow the decades long bipartisan attack on immigrants to continue. We are charting a new path forward and demanding those politicians who claim to be with us to join in the fight for dignity for all immigrants.”

julia reinstein 🚡

@juliareinstein

Hundreds of Jews, immigrants, and all sorts of allies are marching from the National Mall to protest ICE.

“Never again means close the camps.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

julia reinstein 🚡

@juliareinstein

The protest has marched all the way to ICE headquarters, and several protestors are already blocking the doors to the building

Embedded video

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Cosecha Movement, an immigrant rights organization, last week announced a platform calling for the Democratic Party to end all detention and deportation, reunify families that have been separated and offer “immediate legalization” for all undocumented immigrants in country.

ICE
Protesters march to offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 13 in Chicago, Illinois.NUCCIO DINUZZO/GETTY IMAGES

Israel: Intermarriage among US Jews ‘like second Holocaust’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel’s education minister: Intermarriage among US Jews ‘like second Holocaust’

ADL chief says Rafi Peretz’s remark ‘trivializes the Shoah’; Israel-Diaspora activist group calls Israeli discourse about US Jews ‘irresponsible and disrespectful’

Education Minister Rafi Peretz arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on June 30, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Education Minister Rafi Peretz arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, on June 30, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The rate of intermarriage among US Jews is “like a second Holocaust,” Israel’s new minister of education said.

Rafi Peretz made the statement at a cabinet meeting on July 1, Axios reported Tuesday, citing three people who were in the room.

Peretz, a former chief rabbi of the Israeli army, is the leader of the Union of Right Wing Parties bloc.

Peretz said the assimilation of Jews around the world and mostly in the US was “like a second Holocaust,” and also said that, due to intermarriages in the last 70 years, the Jewish people “lost 6 million people,” according to the report, which added that Peretz’s spokesman confirmed the account.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv on February 27, 2019. (Flash90)

The July 1 cabinet meeting included a briefing by Dennis Ross, chairman of the board of the Jewish People Policy Institute, on trends in Jewish communities around the world, especially in North America. The topic of intermarriage came up during the briefing.

Axios reported that Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) pushed back against Peretz’s remarks.

“First we need to stop disregarding and looking down on Jews in America that see themselves as Jews not only religiously but even more culturally and historically,” he reportedly said.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, was among the American Jewish leaders critical of Peretz’s remarks.

“It’s inconceivable to use the term ‘Holocaust’ to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews. It trivializes the Shoah,” Greenblatt tweeted. “It alienates so many members of our community. This kind of baseless comparison does little other than inflame and offend.”

Jonathan Greenblatt

@JGreenblattADL

It’s inconceivable to use the term “Holocaust” to describe Jews choosing to marry non-Jews. It trivializes the Shoah. It alienates so many members of our community. This kind of baseless comparison does little other than inflame and offend. https://www.axios.com/rafi-peretz-second-holocaust-intermarriage-jews-us-359a9bc6-ae75-46cb-8844-32da55c086d8.html 

Israeli education minister calls intermarriage rate of U.S. Jews “second Holocaust”

The remark was made during a cabinet meeting

axios.com

217 people are talking about this

The Ruderman Family Foundation, which has taken Israeli politicians on tours of American Jewish communities in recent years, condemned Peretz’s remarks as “irresponsible and disrespectful.”

“Israel’s government has a moral responsibility to maintain and improve the country’s relationship with Diaspora Jews in general, and with the American Jewish community in particular. It is irresponsible and disrespectful to talk about US Jews without talking with them,” the foundation’s president, Jay Ruderman, said in the statement.

“I call upon all of Israel’s leaders, and especially those in office, to dedicate time and resources to learn more about the American Jewish community, its life and its challenges. A conversation between the sides is needed. But this requires time and planning, not random comments detached from an ongoing, respectful discourse.”

The American Jewish Congress also condemned his remarks as “offensive and unhelpful.”

“Assimilation challenges Jewish continuity and Diaspora identification with Israel and must be grappled with. Minister Peretz’s comments, however, are offensive and unhelpful,” the AJC said.

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