WASHINGTON – An attorney for the whistleblower who sounded the alarm about President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine said Sunday that “multiple” whistleblowers have come forward, deepening a political quagmire that has engulfed the president as well as several of his Cabinet members.
The news comes as House Democrats are accelerating their impeachment inquiry and subpoenaing documents related to Trump’s efforts to push foreign countries to investigate one of his political opponents, former vice president Joe Biden.
“I can confirm that my firm and my team represent multiple whistleblowers in connection to the underlying August 12, 2019, disclosure to the Intelligence Community Inspector General,” the whistleblower’s attorney, Andrew Bakaj, said in a tweet. “No further comment at this time.”
Mark Zaid, who also is a member of the original whistleblower’s legal team, confirmed to the Washington Post that the team is now representing a second whistleblower, someone who works in the intelligence community. The second individual has spoken to the inspector general of the intelligence community and has not filed a complaint.
“Doesn’t need to,” Zaid said in a text message, adding that the person has “first hand knowledge that supported the first whistleblower.”
News that the original whistleblower’s team is representing a second person was first reported Sunday by ABC News.
Trump seized on the latest development in a Sunday night tweet.
“Democrat lawyer is same for both Whistleblowers? All support Obama and Crooked Hillary. Witch Hunt!” he said.
The crisis, which began last month with media reports revealing the original whistleblower’s complaint, has quickly metastasized across the Trump administration, ensnaring senior officials such as Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who came under further scrutiny over the weekend.
Trump largely stayed out of public view, spending Saturday at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, and Sunday at the White House. In tweets, he attacked Democrats and some Republican detractors, including Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, whose ouster he demanded Saturday after Romney criticized him.
He also appeared to directly link the 2020 presidential race to his efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Biden, contrary to a tweet on Friday declaring that “this has NOTHING to do with politics or a political campaign against the Bidens.”
“And by the way, I would LOVE running against 1% Joe Biden – I just don’t think it’s going to happen,” Trump tweeted Sunday, arguing that Biden and his family were “PAID OFF, pure and simple!”
“Sleepy Joe won’t get to the starting gate, & based on all of the money he & his family probably ‘extorted,’ Joe should hang it up,” Trump added. “I wouldn’t want him dealing with China & [Ukraine]!”
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates responded by calling it “puzzling” that Trump would claim to love the prospect of a matchup against Biden, “seeing as how he just sent his administration into a tailspin by trying to bully a foreign country into spreading a comprehensively debunked conspiracy theory about the vice president.”
Biden’s son Hunter served for nearly five years on the board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest private gas company, whose owner came under scrutiny by Ukrainian prosecutors for possible abuse of power and unlawful enrichment. Hunter Biden was not accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation.
As vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, whom Biden and other Western officials, including Republicans, accused of not sufficiently pursuing corruption cases. At the time, the investigation into Burisma was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and U.S. officials.
On Saturday, Perry’s discussions with Ukrainian officials came to attention amid reports that Trump told Republicans on Friday that he made the July 25 call with the Ukrainian president at the request of Perry.
Asked about Trump’s comments, which were first reported by Axios, Energy Department spokeswoman Shylyn Hynes said in an email that Perry encouraged Trump to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to discuss energy security.
Pompeo, who was scheduled to return to Washington on Sunday, is facing growing pressure from Democrats seeking Ukraine-related documents.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Pompeo, who had spent much of the past week in Europe, missed a Friday deadline to comply with a subpoena for information about the State Department’s dealings with Ukraine. Pompeo asserts that a letter sent to the committee constitutes the department’s initial response.
The whistleblower complaint accused Trump of asking the Ukrainian government to help him with his reelection bid by launching an investigation into Biden. Democrats are also probing whether Trump’s decision to withhold nearly $400 million in military assistance from Ukraine was linked to his push for the government there to pursue political investigations that could bolster the president’s reelection bid.
Text messages between State Department officials, revealed by House Democrats last week, show that there was at least some concern that Trump was pursuing an improper quid pro quo.
“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign,” diplomat William Taylor wrote on Sept. 9 to Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
Sondland, who has denied that Trump sought a quid pro quo, has agreed to meet privately on Tuesday with the three House panels – Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight – spearheading the probe, according to a committee aide.
On Friday, those three committees subpoenaed the White House for documents and wrote a letter to Vice President Mike Pence demanding that he turn over documents related to his talks with Zelensky.
Speaking at a Republican event in Louisiana on Saturday, Pence criticized Democrats but gave no indication about whether he would comply with their document request.
“Do-Nothing Democrats launched a partisan impeachment inquiry in a blatant attempt to overturn the will of the American people in the last election,” he said.
On Sunday, Trump’s campaign announced that the president would be traveling to Lake Charles, Louisiana, to hold a rally on Friday. The president will also have a rally on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
No White House officials made appearances on the Sunday morning news shows, leaving it up to congressional Republicans and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to defend the president in heated interviews during which they offered at-times-contradictory explanations for the president’s actions.
In a combative exchange on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd urged Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to explain why he told the Wall Street Journal about his concern in the summer that Trump had sought to link Ukrainian military aid to an investigation of the Bidens.
Johnson repeatedly declined to answer, instead raising a conspiracy theory and criticizing the media before finally stating that Trump had “adamantly denied” any quid pro quo.
Johnson also at one point said he does not trust U.S. intelligence agencies. “Something pretty fishy happened during the 2016 campaign and in the transition, the early part of the Trump presidency, and we still don’t know,” he said.
“We do know the answer,” an exasperated Todd responded, adding: “You’re making a choice not to believe the investigations that have taken place.”
Giuliani issued a defiant defense of Trump in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” in which he argued that the president “has every right to ask countries to help us in a criminal investigation that should be undertaken.”
Giuliani was named in the whistleblower’s complaint and in a rough transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky as being a key intermediary in back-channel efforts to pursue the allegations against Biden.
But other Republicans sought to play down Trump’s comments, including his exchange with reporters outside the White House on Thursday in which he urged China to investigate Biden.
In an interview on ABC News’s “This Week,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, echoed a suggestion on Friday by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that Trump’s China statement was not “a real request.”
“George, you really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family? … I think he’s getting the press all spun up about this,” Jordan told host George Stephanopoulos.
During the interview, Stephanopoulos repeatedly sought an answer from Jordan on whether he thinks it is appropriate for Trump to ask China and Ukraine to investigate Biden. Jordan dodged the question more than a dozen times.
Democrats on Sunday defended their party’s efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a member of the Intelligence Committee, supported Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s view that no vote by the full House is necessary for an impeachment inquiry to move forward.
She added that she thinks the House “will have to take a serious look at articles of impeachment” based on the evidence that has emerged.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, N.Y., a key member of House Democratic leadership, said on “This Week” that “the evidence of wrongdoing by Donald Trump is hiding in plain sight.”
“The administration, without justification, withheld $391 million in military aid from a vulnerable Ukraine,” he said. “The president then pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 elections and target an American citizen for political gain. That is textbook abuse of power.”
Monday, October 7, 2019. It's a snapshot that mentions Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, Gore Vidal, Iraqi protesters, Hunter Biden and the supreme idiot Alyssa Milano.
Let's start with the race in the US for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. And let's start with one of the country's biggest losers, Alyssa Milano.
She was a child actress, she was not a child star. No studio came rushing to her saying, "Let's build a film around you!!!" Not even a movie about a child who ends up in an adult body. Drew Barrymore was a child star. Movies were built around her. As a young adult, both Drew and Alyssa starred in films about Amy Fisher. Drew did a wonderful job portraying Amy and Alyssa played Alyssa before the cameras but they called her "Amy Fisher."
As an adult, Alyssa got by on her boobs. That's all she had to offer. She never took to the time to study acting and she still gives the sort of 'performance' you'd expect from a child actress. She can recite lines very well, she just can't create a character.
She's latched on to #MeToo -- though she didn't create it. Rose McGowen has rightly called her out as fake ass. We have called her that too. Yes, Ileana Douglas is a friend of mine and, yes, Martin Scorsese had told me years ago about what Leslie Moonves did to Ileana. So, yes, I had a reason to defend her (and I noted all of that when I noted it here). What's Alyssa's reason for not standing with Ileana? Oh, that's right, she wanted Leslie to greenlight a TV show for her.
The whore stayed silent -- while preening and posing as brave and pretending to lead on MeToo -- because she wanted a TV show.
So the whore needs to shut up. She won't though.
She has no career and that's all the more pathetic when you grasp that she's married to a William Morris agent who uses the agency to get her jobs. So these pathetic jobs she's had in the last few years? From using the agency. Clients who aren't working and aren't married to a William Morris agent should register that she's getting jobs while they aren't.
She can't act. She thinks doing what she did as a child qualifies as acting. She's a stupid hick who's gotten by on her breasts back when she was young and now depends on hubby to get her jobs.
She can't act.
She's tried to play 'activist.'
One of those attempts include her pushing "PatriotNotPartisan" and she hectors Republicans whom she finds lacking.
But if she truly believed in patriotism over party, she wouldn't reTweet crap like this.
They note how you don't reTweet Neera if you're a feminist. They note Neera is a two-bit bitch who outed a woman who was being sexually harassed at work (Neera was the one who should have stopped the harassment, not covered it up, not outed the female who came forward), they noted that Neera, as revealed in her own e-mails, knew that Hillary shouldn't have used a private e-mail and what a scandal that was, they noted Neera herself has assaulted an employee and so much more.
A polite society doesn't reTweet Neera. And no feminist should ever do it.
But here's the point I'm making, Alyssa, don't say you put country above party when you reTweet that crap.
Hunter Biden is the portrait of corruption. That doesn't mean Trumps can't be as well. But on the left, we police our own or we are nothing but partisans.
I know this is hard for you because you're not just a hack, you're also an uneducated hick. You never went to a real school, you never went to college, you're just a really dumb person who spits out what people tell you. You lack the energy to educate yourself, you lack the skill to analyze. It's why you're so tired and pointless as an actress. It's why your idea of being 'political' is a bigger joke than you are.
Take your botched plastic surgery and your Democratic Party talking points that you try to pass off as insight and just sit down. Don't stand up again until your lazy ass has gone to college. And forget anyone voting you into public office. You're an uneducated idiot. No one in California will want you to represent them and I will back your opponent in the primary and get everyone I know to back them as well.
You are a menace to the public square. You try to use your fleeting fame to promote the ideas of party hacks, you offer nothing original, you only repeat and steal.
I don't have time for you and, frankly, the country doesn't either.
Let me note thanks to ____ for typing this dictation.
I am literally spitting blood. I had a tooth crack last night and had to have surgery and, apparently due to the diabetes, the bleeding hasn't stopped yet.
But I am taking the time to call out Alyssa because she is a danger to the public square. She has an audience of desperate shut-ins.
Alyssa's nonsense gives the appearance of celebrity but she's a faded actress who couldn't make it in the real world of adult acting. She was miserable on MELROSE PLACE because the stars of that show didn't like her (nor did the fans). She went to CHARMED and promptly began causing problems. She was a producer for the last half of the show's run -- a producer of a show set in San Francisco. So why didn't 'woke' Alyssa ever insist upon a gay or lesbian character? There were none -- apparently Phoebe lived in a special part of San Francisco inhabited by straights only. In addition, all the African-American characters (really just two) were created before Alyssa was a producer. "Woke," my ass. When people note her cultural appropriation these days or her racist portrayals of Native Americans, they should grasp her history. CHARMED ended 13 years ago. Her 'acting' since? Everyone hated her on the set of MY NAME IS EARL. Her sitcom ROMANTICALLY CHALLENGED resulted in the suit that championed the show getting fired and was so bad that ABC only aired four of the six filmed episodes and issued an edict that Alyssa wasn't to be cast in any ABC sitcoms. On MISTRESSES, she tried to pull the crap she pulled on CHARMED and get people fired but ABC backed KJ Steinberg and Tina Mimoun and told Alyssa she could leave. (Which Alyssa then pretended was her decision and was a result of the series moving to Canada. Did no one notice that "I can't leave my children" Alyssa now films in Georgia?) She was a witch on that set and all the actresses were thrilled when Alyssa was let go. Her current show? The actual stars of INSATIABLE are pretty damn tired of Alyssa billing herself as a star of the show. Not only is it a show about a teenage girl, but adult Alyssa isn't even in every episode. She is not a star of the show.
Alyssa and her shut-ins need to grasp that Alyssa's career ended some time ago and that's there's something deeply disturbing about a 46-year-old woman who delivers the same performance -- over and over -- that she did as a child.
The standard lines from Democrats about Hunter Biden and his business dealings in China and Ukraine have been consistent: Donald Trump has abused the office of the president by asking foreign leaders to investigate Biden’s son, and there is absolutely no proof that either Joe or Hunter Biden have done anything to break the law. Any questionable dealings by Biden’s son also pale in comparison to ethical breaches on the part of Ivanka, Eric or Donald Trump Jr, who have routinely blurred the lines between the extended Trump Organization – the family’s business empire –and their presence in the White House.
This is all true, and arguably these are the right lines vis-a-vis the long overdue impeachment proceedings. What’s harder to shake is the fact that Hunter Biden’s career is undeniably shady in the way that only the son of a longtime Washington insider could muster, failing upwards into positions of influence and power on the merits of his last name. And that should be considered a huge liability to Joe Biden, for months now considered heir apparent for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination.
It's interesting when educated women speak and write -- Sarah Chayes, Kate Aronoff. They're not screaming, "Say Trump! Say Trump!" No, educated women -- pay attention, Alyssa -- realize this is a real issue and that is needs to be discussed.
If you believe that Donald Trump and his family have done corrupt things since he became president, great, call him out on it. But grasp, it's going to be hard to call him out in a general debate -- to call him out on corruption -- if Joe Biden is the nominee. That's why you need a strong nominee -- and, yes, strength does include (and always has) integrity.
Behold the $50k/month international business genius: “Hunter...asked a homeless man in Pershing Square where he could buy crack. Hunter said that the man took him to a nearby homeless encampment...He returned to buy more crack a few times that week.”
HunterBiden at least served in the military the great kids of Don have no experience, don’t know how the government operates and no degree related to government or defense. Throwing stones at glass houses can be quite dangerous.
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Poor, dumb Debbie.
Beau Biden served in the military. Hunter? He was in the Reserves, yes, but they kicked him out for cocaine use.
A phantom limb is the sensation experienced by many people who have had the misfortune to have an arm or a leg amputated, as if their limb were still painfully present. Rahul Gandhi right now serves as the Congress party’s phantom limb. He excised...
I am intellectually curious about Weiss’s thoughts on the fourth pillar of antisemitism that contaminates Western Europe: Guilt-defensiveness antisemitism.
The Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex famously remarked, with biting sarcasm, that “The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”
Based on my nearly 20 years of writing and analyzing contemporary antisemitism in Continental Europe, I posit that Rex’s formulation about German society punishing Jews because of the memory of the Shoah, which infuses pathological guilt into many Germans, needs to be updated.
In a modernized version of Rex, one might say that Western Europeans will never forgive Israel for the Holocaust. In short, that Western European countries such as France, Sweden, Austrian, Italy and others that were complicit in the Shoah are intensely focused on imposing discipline and punishment on Israel because of their guilt associated with Holocaust. What other plausible explanation exists for Western Europe’s relentless attacks on Israel and its singling out of Israel, only Israel, for a punitive demarcation of its products from the disputed territories in the West Bank and the Golan?
There has been progress recently in Germany in the fight against contemporary antisemitism, Weiss notes, for example the Bundestag decision to classify the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign targeting Israel as anti-Semitic.
However, there is still the problem that John le Carré described so forcefully in his novel The Little Drummer Girl (1983), when the Palestinain terrorist Khalil says, “We have many friends in Germany. But not because they love Palestinians. Only because they hate Jews.”
A 2017 German government study revealed that nearly 33 million Germans, out of a total population of 82 million, are infected with contemporary antisemitism–that is hatred of the Jewish state.
The report said, in a section titled “Agreement with Israel-related antisemitism,” that 40% of Germans who were polled approved of the following statement: “Based on Israel’s policies, I can understand people having something against the Jews.”
The two most powerful Democratic politicians in America, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, will headline the annual conference of J Street, the liberal Israel lobby.
The conference, which drew 3,000 people last year, is among the most prominent liberal Jewish gatherings of the year. It will take place in late October, and Pelosi and Schumer will speak on the night of Oct. 28. Pelosi recently launched an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Schumer’s presence at the conference is especially notable because he has established a reputation as a traditional pro-Israel voice in the Senate. He is a perennial speaker at the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, which is to the right of J Street. He also voted against President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement in 2015, a deal that J Street strongly supported.
J Street advocates for an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, and has been a frequent Trump critic. Its affiliated political action committee, JStreetPac, raised $5 million for more than 100 Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.
“At a time when many of our core values are under threat both in Israel and here at home, J Street is proud to stand with so many allies who are defending democracy and working towards a better future,” J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.
New Jersey is experiencing a “huge increase” in antisemitic activity and “every tool” needs to be used to combat the trend, the congressman representing the state’s 5th electoral district declared on Friday.
Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer was speaking on a conference call arranged to address a spate of swastika daubings and other antisemitic offenses in New Jersey public schools in recent weeks.
Highlighting the growing threat posed by white supremacist groups across the state, Gottheimer emphasized that his office was actively assisting security enhancement at religious institutions.
“We’re working together with our communities and our religious institutions by providing them with non-profit security grants,” Gottheimer said.
Grants of over $1 million this year have assisted synagogues, mosques, temples and other religious buildings with extra lighting, better locks and other safety measures.
Misogynist thinking and actions exist in America today but not only among right-wing conservatives. It is also flourishing among our media and academic elites. Such thinking is flying high under the banner of “free speech,” “multi-cultural relativism,” “anti-racism,” and “political correctness.” Dare to question this elite’s right to silence and shame those who challenge their views—i.e., that the West is always to blame, that jihadists are freedom-fighters, that the Islamic face veil is a free choice or a religious commandment, that polygamy encourages sisterhood, that Islam is a race, not a religious and political ideology—and, as I’ve noted many times, one is attacked as a racist, an Islamophobe, and a conservative, and swiftly demonized and de-platformed.
While MGM/Hulu’s TV series is dramatically compelling, part soap opera, part horror movie, part Warrior Queen fantasy, the series is radically different from Atwood’s 1985 novel. For example, Atwood’s narrator, Ofglen, is not an increasingly daring, crazed, female assassin, as Elizabeth Moss brilliantly plays her. She is hardly heroic at all; under totalitarianism, heroism, collective or individual, is quickly ferreted out and destroyed. It exists but is rare.
Contemporary viewers are hungry for multi-racial characters, interracial and same-sex couples, “badass” women. Hulu gives them to us. Hulu’s Canada is a multi-racial, politically correct refuge for Gilead’s escapees; same-sex couples and feminists are government leaders. This is not true in the novel. On the contrary, in her 1985 Epilogue, Atwood has Canada rounding up and returning all Gilead escapees.
Atwood the divine novelist is absolutely entitled to depict whatever she wishes. But the current crop of reviewers as well as the filmmakers are playing partisan politics with her original vision and are refusing to see other and larger global dangers contained in her work.
Women’s freedom and women’s lives worldwide are under the most profound siege. To focus solely on the United States or on the Caucasian, Judeo-Christian West is diversionary. It scapegoats one country, one culture, for the far greater crimes of other countries and cultures.
The confidence of 1967 had turned out to be arrogant pride in 1973; its optimism, the folly of wishful thinking. Although there had been ample indications of the impending Egyptian and Syrian attack, Israel’s leadership had refused to believe it would happen and had not taken the necessary precautions. Menachem Begin, then the leader of the opposition, was speaking for all Israelis when, shortly after the war’s end, he declared in the Knesset: Grief over the terrible mistake [of not calling up the reserves in advance and/or undertaking a preventive strike] . . . will never cease to haunt us. All would have been different, militarily and politically, were it not for the New Moon to the Tenth’s blindness.
Begin, a master rhetorician, had chosen his words carefully. “The New Moon to the Tenth,” beyn keseh l’asor, is a traditional rabbinic phrase for the ten “days of awe” from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur; the literal meaning of keseh (based on Psalms 81:4) is “covering up,” that is, the disappearance of the old moon at the month’s end before the new moon is sighted. Furthermore, the literary term used by Begin for “blindness,” likuy m’orot, which in Hebrew signifies more a judgmental or moral loss of vision than a physical one, also means “eclipse.” The intended parallelism was painfully apparent: as the light of the moon is eclipsed at the beginning of the ten days preceding Yom Kippur, so was the judgment of Israel’s leaders.
Ever since 1973, Yom Kippur has had a significance in Israel that it does not have in the rest of the Jewish world. Besides being a day of judgment for the sins of the individual, it has been seared into Israeli consciousness as a day of judgment for the nation—one on which a whole country was found guilty of the sin of hubris and made to pay a terrible price for it.
In colloquial Israeli speech, the words yom kippur have come to denote any shocking comeuppance, so that saying that something was someone’s “Yom Kippur” is like saying in English “It was his Waterloo.” There will never again be a Yom Kippur in Israel without this double sense of it, and the day’s heavy somberness is felt even by those who do not relate to it religiously. It will indeed always continue to haunt.
Israel is the only country in the world that lives in a status called “the war between the wars.” Since it is surrounded by enemies who seek its destruction, even when not in official wartime, it is constantly dealing with small scale attacks from those enemies. The greatest example of this status is the three-year period from 1967 to 1970, a period which is now referred to as the “War of Attrition.”
One would have thought that Israel’s resounding victory over all the neighboring Arab countries in the June 1967 Six Day War would have given the Jewish state a few years of peace and quiet.
But this wasn’t the case.
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was determined to do whatever possible to win back the Sinai Peninsula which Israel captured during the war that ended on June 9, 1967. While the Six Day War was over, it wasn’t long until the War of Attrition began.
As early as July 1, Egyptian commandos moved to within 10 miles of the Israeli position on the eastern side of the Suez Canal. Israel, working under a plan to prevent Egyptian forces gathering in the area, attacked the commandos and lost one soldier with 13 wounded. The next day, the Israeli air force bombed the Egyptian artillery that was providing cover for its commandos. That led to an Egyptian air force strike against Israeli forces in the Sinai and, for all intents and purposes, the June 9 ceasefire was no longer relevant. Skirmishes between the two sides continued throughout July with numerous Egyptian fighter jets shot down by Israel and Israel sinking two Egyptian torpedo boats.
There was relative quiet during August, September and most of October but then on October 21, 1967, the Egyptian Navy sunk the Eilat, an Israeli naval destroyer, in international waters off the coast of Port Said, killing 47 Israeli sailors. Israel retaliated with extensive bombing of Egyptian oil refineries and depots in the region, resulting in significant artillery battles between the two sides, with the Egyptians suffering civilian casualties.
Microsoft said Friday that it believed that hackers linked to the Iranian government have recently targeted a US presidential campaign, as well as government officials, media targets and prominent expatriate Iranians.
Overall, the hackers attempted to penetrate 241 accounts — four successfully — though none of those penetrated was associated with presidential campaigns or current or past US officials, Microsoft said. A company spokeswoman declined to identify those targeted, citing customer privacy.
Reuters and The New York Times reported that the attacks targeted US President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, but this could not be independently confirmed.
A review of publicly available internet records by AP showed that the Trump campaign’s official website is linked to Microsoft’s email service.
The campaign website is the only major candidate’s site connected to Microsoft’s cloud email service, and his campaign has spent tens of thousands of dollars on the company’s products, Reuters said.
The New York Times report saying Trump was targeted cited two people with knowledge of the attacks who were not allowed to discuss them publicly, and said it wasn’t clear if the campaign had been compromised in any way.
Israel is reportedly negotiating with several Gulf states on a “non-aggression pact” between them as they face off against an increasingly emboldened Iran. The deal, which Channel 12 news described as potentially “historic,” aims to put an end to the state of conflict between these states and Israel.
Advancing the Israeli initiative, Foreign Minister Israel Katz met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month with several foreign ministers from Arab Gulf states, Channel 12 news reported Saturday night.
There was no immediate comment from the Foreign Ministry, but Katz himself on September 23 tweeted that he had held talks with an unnamed counterpart from an Arab country with which Israel does not have formal relations, and said they discussed “ways to deal with the Iranian threat” and a process for boosting “civilian cooperation.”
Katz, who is leading the effort with the backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agreed with his Gulf Arab interlocutors to set up working teams to take the non-aggression pact forward, the TV report said. Foreign Minister Israel Katz and his Bahraini counterpart Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa (R) pose for a photograph at the State Department in Washington on July 17, 2019. (Courtesy)
Katz presented his Gulf counterparts with a draft text of the intended pact, which was drawn up by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the TV report said. It reportedly highlights the opportunity to advance common interests in the context of the threat posed by Iran, and is drafted in accordance with principles of international law. Among other elements, the TV report said, the draft text specifies cooperation in the fields of war, the fight against terror, and economic interests.
Sensing US reluctance to respond forcefully to Iranian aggression in the region, and following the devastating September attack on its oil facilities blamed on Tehran, Saudi Arabia is quietly moving toward possible rapprochement with the Islamic Republic, according to multiple media reports.
The New York Times reported Friday that the Trump administration’s failure to react militarily to the September 14 missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities, which jolted global oil prices and temporarily knocked out nearly 6 percent of the world’s daily crude production, had led Riyadh to recalculate.
“The worst outcome for the Saudis is to move to a confrontation with Iran expecting the US to support them and find out they won’t,” Philip Gordon, a former White House Middle East coordinator told the Times. “This administration has shown it’s not really ready to take on Iran.”
The strikes were claimed by Houthi rebels in Yemen, but Saudi Arabia, the US and other Western powers have said the attack was sponsored by Tehran. In its aftermath, US President Donald Trump was presented with a range of military options, including potential airstrikes on targets inside Iran. But he was also warned that military action against the Islamic Republic could escalate into war, according to US officials familiar with the discussions.
Trump during a White House meeting last Friday put off, at least for now, any immediate military strike on Iran, but approved a broader effort to beef up security in Saudi Arabia and the region. He told reporters that showing restraint “shows far more strength” than launching retaliatory strikes now.
Two projectiles fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday fell short of the border fence, landing inside the Hamas-held territory, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
The launches triggered incoming rocket sirens in the Gaza border community of Kissufim in southern Israel shortly before midnight.
The incident came hours after a Palestinian man was killed during riots along the Gaza-Israel border fence on Friday, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, as thousands took part in weekly protests.
Alaa Hamdan, 28, was shot in the chest by IDF soldiers in a clash near Jabalia in northern Gaza, the ministry’s spokesman said. The IDF had no immediate comment on the death.
Israel’s Channel 12 said the death may have been caused by a Palestinian grenade.
Five other demonstrators were wounded by gunfire, the Hamas-run ministry said.
Around 6,000 Palestinians took part in the day’s protests with some rioters throwing rocks and explosives at the security fence and troops along the border.
Youths from the village of Kober, northwest of Ramallah, posted a video and photos showing a camouflaged video camera that was hidden inside a concrete block by Israeli security forces in the village cemetery, Ma’an reported Friday.
According to Arab social network sites, the young men who found the spy device set it on fire after confirming it was a broadcast camera that transmits their movements.
In a video posted on the website of the journalist Tamer Barghouti from Kober, the young men appear to dismantle the device, which included a camera, a transmitter, and a battery, and celebrate their discovery with great joy.
On Tuesday, the IDF arrested three young men from Kober, out of whom it released two brothers and kept suspect Nassim Barghouti in detention.
According to Ma’an, the surveillance device was made by the Holon-based Israeli company AnyVision (“We build the future, Pixel by Pixel”), which specializes in facial recognition technology.
In June, Microsoft’s M12 venture fund announced its investment in AnyVision, just as soon as it is determined whether its products adhered to Microsoft’s tough AI ethics standards. Eventually, AnyVision reported that all its investors, including Microsoft, were satisfied it was a “tool for good.” But by mid-July, Haaretz reported that the IDF is using AnyVision’s face recognition technology at Judea and Samaria checkpoints as well as inside Arab communities, leading to a wave of criticism of Microsoft’s investment in AnyVision.
The Palestinian Authority has agreed to accept hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues collected by Israel, after months of declining them in protest over Jerusalem withholding money over payments to terrorists, Palestinian officials said Friday.
The transfers amount to some 600 million Israeli shekels (about $170 million) a month and are a key source of financing for the PA.
The PA had refused to accept the funds because Israel was withholding an amount equal to what the Palestinians pay to terrorists and their families, but the cash-strapped PA appears to be retreating in the face of an economic crisis.
Israel says the so-called Martyrs’ Fund rewards and encourages violence, while the Palestinians say it is a way to provide for needy families affected by the decades-old conflict.
Hussein al-Sheikh, an aide to Abbas, tweeted Friday that he had met with Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon the day before to discuss “all outstanding issues” and that committees would continue the negotiations on Sunday.
“The agreement was also on transferring a payment from the #PA’s financial dues. The dispute (remains) over the salaries of the families of #prisoners and #martyrs. We are determined to pay their dues at all costs.”
The speaker of Egypt’s parliament on Wednesday clarified his praise of Adolf Hitler a day earlier to justify spending on government construction projects.
At the opening session of parliament Tuesday, Ali Abdel Aal implored lawmakers to back Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi amid anti-government protests. According to the Middle East Eye news site, Aal asked lawmakers to observe a minute of silence as a sign of support for Sissi’s “project to build the modern Egyptian state.”
“Hitler had his mistakes, but what allowed him to expand eastward and westward was that he created a strong infrastructure for the German state that remains the source of its leading position in the First World,” Aal was quoted saying.
After the remarks were reported on, Aal said Wednesday that Hitler “has committed a lot of crimes” and that his praise was of German civilization and development, not the Nazi leader.
“Everybody is aware of what Adolf Hitler has done to humanity; hence no one with the minimum level of knowledge can praise him for his actions,” Aal said during a parliamentary session, Egypt Today reported.
Unexpectedly, on the margins of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, Arab League secretary-general Ahmad Abu Al-Gheit approached the Syrian delegation, greeted Syrian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Walid Al-Mu'allem and called him "brother," shook his hand and the hand of his deputy Faisal Al-Miqdad, kissed them both, and said he was happy to see them.
Apparently, this friendliness towards the Syrian leadership on the part of the secretary-general of the Arab League – which suspended Syria's membership on November 12, 2011 because of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's harsh repression of the Arab Spring protests in the country – is further evidence of an uptick in Syria's status in the Arab world and of the erosion of Arab opposition to the Syrian regime.
For some three years, a number of Arab states – including Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Lebanon, Algeria, and the Palestinian Authority – have been calling to allow Syria back in to the Arab League. UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash even stated, in a June 7, 2018 interview, that "expelling Syria from the Arab League was a mistake." In addition, the Arab Youth and Environment Union, which belongs to the Arab League, announced on October 2 that it would reinstate Syria as a member in the next few days.
A variety of videos coming out of Baghdad show security forces shooting at protesters. Over the last twenty-four hours, as Friday turned to Saturday, the number of reports of snipers gunning down activists has grown. The elephant in the room cannot be ignored: Someone in Iraq’s government told a section of the security forces to use live-fire to kill protesters. It wasn’t a mistake, it wasn’t because police were outnumbered, and it wasn’t isolated incidents.
Why would Iraqi forces shoot the protesters from the same cities and southern provinces that many of the security forces or Popular Mobilization Units are drawn from? The question may is worth asking because there have been various rumors and claims about the protests in Iraq that have posited that those doing the killing and using the most heavy-handed measures are Iranian-linked groups. This creates an easy narrative of “Iran suppressing protests in Iraq,” as part of the larger Iranian goal to control Iraq for its own purposes.
To support the narrative of Iran’s role there have been stories about “Farsi speakers among the security forces” and “units changing uniforms” before attacking protesters. There are stories about plain-clothes officers among the security forces which leads to claims those in plain clothes are outsiders. In this narrative, spread in Arabic on social media, an “Iranian Revolutionary Guard Brigade” was permitted to enter Iraq by Fatah Alliance leader Hadi al-Amiri. Evidence? Some people tweeting about it.
The claim of foreign interference goes both ways. Others have pointed out that a concerted social media effort has been made to fuel protests and some of the accounts are located abroad. Lastly voices in pro-Iranian media have portrayed the protests as directed by foreign powers. None of these stories present a full picture of what happened. Like the proverbial elephant, they all only capture one part of what happened. From the first moments of the protest the security forces that were sent used heavy-handed tactics. Video showed men in camouflage uniforms, heavily armed, involved in clashes, as well as other police-style units in darker uniforms.
Farsi-speaking Iranians, not Iraqi forces, have been firing on protests in Iraq in which 65 people have died, said one protester interviewed by Reuters, according to Al Arabiya.
"There is no work, you come to protest, they fire at you. Live gunfire,"said the unnamed protester."They are all Iranian-speaking in Farsi. You want to speak to them, they answer in Farsi. The Iraqis would not fire at you."
The Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) milita in Iraq is backed by Iran.
Witnesses at the protests in Baghdad said that pro-Iranian security forces opened fire on protesters.
Protests broke out throughout Iraq against the deterioration of living conditions and health services, government corruption, unemployment and Iranian interference in the country.
The protests have no clear leader and seem to consist of gatherings of angry protesters.
In a possible swap, an Australian-British blogger and her fiancé returned home Saturday after being freed from a three-month detention in Iran.
The couple, Jolie King and Mark Firkin, returned to Australia after all charges against them were dropped.
At the same time, Iran’s state TV reported that an Iranian scientist, Reza Dehbashi, who was detained for 13 months in Australia over purchasing a defense system for his country from the United States, had returned home.
“We are extremely happy and relieved to be safely back in Australia with those we love,” the Australian couple said in a statement. “While the past few months have been very difficult, we know it has also been tough for those back home who have been worried for us.”
They thanked the Australian government for helping secure their release.
There was no immediate acknowledgment Saturday by Iranian officials or in the country’s state media of the couple’s release. However, that has happened in previous cases.
Iranian TV said that the Australian judiciary had planned to send Dehbashi to the US but that he was released through Tehran’s diplomatic efforts.
A man armed with a knife attempted to run into a synagogue in central Berlin Friday evening, German media reported Saturday.
The man, apparently a Syrian refugee, was tackled by security personnel at the entrance to the Neue Synagogue. According to the Bild website, he was heard calling out “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great” in Arabic) and “F##k Israel.”
German police said the man, identified as Murad M., was hit with pepper spray by guards and then subdued and disarmed.
Officials said he carried documentation identifying him as 23 years old, originating from Damascus and with a residency permit, which ends in December 2020.
The incident occurred at around 5:30 p.m. according to Bild, likely shortly before the start of Friday’s evening prayer service.
Police said the assailant had no prior record and was not known to authorities.
The investigation was ongoing, but German media said that the man was released from police custody on Saturday morning.
The Government’s new antisemitism adviser has warned that between overstatement and understatement of antisemitism, “the biggest danger is that we will understate the problem.”
Speaking after his first public engagement in his new job, John Mann MP, who has resigned from the Labour Party and will become a crossbench peer in the House of Lords, explained that he accepted his new advisory role to prevent “good people, young people” from deciding to emigrate from the UK because of rising antisemitism.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer has shown that 40% of British Jews have considered leaving the country due to antisemitism.
If action were not taken against antisemitism, he warned, “the reality will be that good people will leave. Not necessarily quickly — but good people will not see their future on the continent of Europe or on the UK because they are Jewish, and they wish for their identity to be proudly held at all times. We are not going to accept – and government is not going to accept — that impingement on civil liberties in this country.”
Observing the rise of antisemitism on university campuses, Mr Mann noted too the “pernicious, silent, isolating disdain” shown towards Jewish students “from hostile elements in their universities,” adding that he would be pushing for the adoption and application of the International Definition of Antisemitism by “our major institutions, football clubs, universities — this is achievable.”
The University of Nottingham has defended a decision to invite Chris Williamson MP to speak on its campus.
Mr Williamson was suspended from Labour and then readmitted, only to be resuspended following a public outcry after claiming that Labour has been “too apologetic” over antisemitism.
The disgraced MP is scheduled to speak on 11th October as part of a series on “British Politics in Crisis” at the Centre for British Politics.
Jewish students at the university have reportedly called for the invitation to be withdrawn, citing Mr Williamson’s “history of Jew baiting.”
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “It is a damning reflection on the University of Nottingham that it chooses to invite a politician suspended from the Labour Party over his attempts to minimise the Party’s antisemitism crisis and who has a record of praising antisemites to give a lecture. If the university wishes to teach its students why British politics is in crisis, it might start by exploring why leading institutions are so ready to legitimise Labour antisemitism by inviting one of its chief defenders to speak.”
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Emma Dent Coad, who was elected as a Labour MP in 2017 for Kensington, ‘liked’ a comment on Facebook by another user that read: “I’ve always been a Bevanite — my ultimate political hero…and as a Jew, the current Israeli apartheid regime disgraces all of us Jews worldwide.”
The comment was posted in response to a post by another user that criticised “Blairite” MPs and “members of the Netanyahu fan club”.
Following media attention, Ms Dent Coad apologised and ‘unliked’ the comment.
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In recent months, twelve MPs and three peers have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.
Over 55,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”
The Conservative MP Crispin Blunt made a reference to “the demand for special status” on the part of British Jews in an interview on the sidelines of the Conservative Party Conference this week.
Mr Blunt made the comment following a fringe event at the Party Conference in his capacity as patron of the Conservative Humanists group. At the event, which was held in conjunction with Humanists UK, the chair of Conservative Humanists protested previous comments by the Chief Rabbi, who had apparently suggested that some humanists were becoming intolerant of religion.
Asked for his reaction to the chair’s comments, Mr Blunt suggested: “I think what he was saying was regarding the demand for special status…what’s required is for everyone to have tolerance of other people’s position and not to impose unfair views.”
The notion, however casually expressed, that Jews demand or receive special status in British society is baseless and offensive. Any dispensations that Jews do receive, for example in the workplace, are also shared by other faith groups and protected classes.
Late last month, a musician named Alison Chabloz was sent to prison in the United Kingdom for violating the terms of an earlier court decision prohibiting her from using social media — a decision stemming from her dissemination of videos featuring songs she wrote that mocked the Holocaust. In the UK, this story made many of the major papers, but it has hardly registered at all in the United States.
But here’s why it should: This case was a watershed decision in the battle against antisemitism. The UK has laws expressly forbidding hate speech that tries to incite hatred of other groups or is grossly offensive in nature. As such, and in light of her social-media malfeasance, Chabloz — who has posted content on her website alisonchabloz.com with headlines such as “In Defence of a Myth–‘Holocaust’ lobby shifts into top gear” and “Hear the Jew cry out in pain as the White lady sings” was incarcerated for a couple of days before being released pending her appeal hearing. That is scheduled for late October.
Chabloz, who has remained unrepentant despite her losing cause, has become something of a symbol of resistance to anti-hate speech legislation. Her supporters argue that Chabloz shouldn’t have been put in jail just for singing songs. They claim that regardless of the fact that Chabloz perpetuated an utterly repellent ideology through her music, the idea of instituting such a harsh punishment for posting content on social media is extreme in light of a person’s right to self-expression.
The University College Union in the United Kingdom sent an email to branches that excluded mention of Jews among the groups persecuted during the Holocaust. According to The Jewish Chronicle, the UCU has since apologized. However, in a review of several websites connected to upcoming commemorations of Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, which will be held on January 27, references to Jews appear to be too often missing.
In the case of the UCU, a long list of those persecuted were mentioned, just not Jews. This included members of “trade unions” and “Roma” and “black people,” as well as gays and lesbians and “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” In addition, “non-Jewish Poles,” were mentioned – but not Jews. The UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, Eric Pickles, said the incident sends a “chilling message.”
But the problem is much larger than just the UCU. Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 is already being wrapped into the easier to pronounce acronym “HMD 2020,” which in itself removes the word “Holocaust.” On some websites, such as the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s page devoted to “75 memorial flames,” it is clearly noted that the Holocaust was “the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews of Europe.” However, a press release from April about the “HMD 2020” theme, called “Standing Together,” doesn’t mention the word Jew. The press release, also at the Trust’s website, notes that “HMD 2020 will also include marking the 25th anniversary of the Genocide in Bosnia.” It is interesting that while Bosnia is mentioned, the place that the Shoah began in Germany is conveniently left out, lest anyone recall it was Germany that began the Holocaust and was largely responsible for it.
The April press release of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust notes that it is “calling people to Stand Together in memory of the millions of people affected by the Holocaust, Nazi persecution and more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.” The UCU seems to have used similar language as part of the Stand Together campaign.
I well up with emotion when I hear of Jewish kids being subjected to physical assaults, bigoted stereotypes and insults, exclusion, degrading text messages and social media lynching. The day is not too far off when young people will have to hide their Jewish faith so as not to be singled out and vilified by their classmates. The victims are traumatised, filled with feelings of despair and abandonment, convinced that the system has failed them. And they are right.
Not infrequently, distraught parents are concerned that the anti-Semitic abuse will escalate if they notify the school since their child will become an even-bigger target. Some remain silent believing that the school leadership will not be sympathetic to their complaint. In fact, some administrators trivialise the attacks as a childish aberrations, as "kids being kids", or blame the victims ("it's your child's fault since they provocatively choose to exhibit their Judaism" or "we are a non-Jewish school so if you don't like it, leave"), are very slow to respond, and do not impose the appropriate punishment. In effect, they are enabling the wrongdoers by sending a crystal-clear message that Jewish pupils are fair game.
The elephant in the room is that very few of our elected representatives are actually speaking out about the darkening clouds that are gathering. And so, this cancer of intolerance, which is spreading like wildfire, must end. All of it. Because we literally have no choice and because that is not who we are as a nation. Good intentions and words are not enough. We now need bold action by the state and federal governments that matches the scale of the runaway problem we face, and which effectively tackles this menace at every single step. One solution is to institute mandatory reporting so schools are obliged to notify the Education Department when such incidents occur. Such reporting will then necessitate the investigation of each individual case and if warranted, appropriate penalties for the perpetrators.
Countering religious bigotry in the long run also hinges on making anti-bias and Holocaust education compulsory in every class. One example is the Anti-Defamation Commission's Click Against Hate program, a free, groundbreaking educational program, which equips students with the skills to respond to the hate they encounter in schools, urging them to action when it happens to them or when they see it happening to others. Further training for teachers and headmasters is also urgently needed so they understand that antisemitism is a threat to our way of life and that inaction is not an option. It's time for the adults in the room to stand up and protect the defenceless and vulnerable - our children.
Victoria’s Education Minister James Merlino has ordered an immediate review into the way two Melbourne schools dealt with separate "appalling and shocking" cases of sustained anti-Semitic bullying earlier this year.
Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg also weighed into the "completely unacceptable" incidents, calling for lessons on the Holocaust, in which about 6 million Jews were killed in Europe, to be included in the Australian curriculum.
Mr Merlino said he would also meet with the parents of the two Jewish boys; a 12-year-old year 7 student who was at Cheltenham Secondary College, and a prep student at Hawthorn West Primary School. The meetings are scheduled to take place on Monday. James Merlino has ordered a review into how two schools handled separate cases of anti-Semitic bullying.
James Merlino has ordered a review into how two schools handled separate cases of anti-Semitic bullying. Credit:AAP
Both boys have since left the schools where they were bullied, after their parents lost confidence in the schools' handling of the matter.
The year 7 boy was made to kneel and kiss the shoes of a Muslim boy in a public park, under threat of being bashed by several other boys who were watching on.
The humiliating act was filmed and published on social media.
The boys who were watching on were not Muslim, the victim’s mother said. She sought out the offender’s parents, who were horrified.
Oslo - Vandals painted black over Holocaust memorial brass plates right outside Oslo’s synagogue on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. A Stolperstein (literally “stumbling stone”)a 10 by 10 centimeters concrete cube bearing a brass plate name and life dates of victims of Nazi persecution pic.twitter.com/i270NDkb5g
Five physicians from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center recently brought medical equipment to Kathmandu and shared their expertise on women’s and children’s health with the medical staffs of two local hospitals.
Sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in Nepal, the Israeli team led a week of workshops and continuing medical education courses in neonatology, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology. They taught the Nepali medical professionals how to use the new lifesaving technologies they donated.
Senior gynecologist Dr. Ronit Almog said this was the fifth such foreign delegation sent out by Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in the past year.
“Our aim is to reduce fetal and maternal morbidity and mortality in developing nations,” she said. “We met warm and welcoming medical teams and had a great cooperation. We saw a very good health level and system in Nepal and look forward to future mutual cooperation.”
Dr. Shyam Sundar Dhaubhadel, founder and president of Siddhi Memorial Foundation – which provides accessible healthcare services for women and children through Siddhi Memorial Hospital– compared the two nations to siblings. “Nepal is a toddler; Israel is a grown-up sister that has to share her expertise.”
Eric Pleskow, who escaped the Nazis to become a film executive whose movies won the Academy Award for best picture seven times, has died. He was 95.
Pleskow was the president of the United Artists studio when it took home the best picture Oscars for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall” in 1975, 1976 and 1977, respectively — an unprecedented three-peat for a movie studio.
Later, as the co-founder of Orion Pictures, he oversaw four more winners for top film: “Amadeus” (1984), “Platoon” (1986), “Dances With Wolves” (1990) and “Silence of the Lambs” (1991).
Pleskow was born Erich Pleskoff in Vienna in 1924. He escaped the city with his family in 1939 after the SS had seized their home, which was blocks away from Sigmund Freud’s office, according to The Washington Post.
After arriving in New York City, he briefly worked at a film company, and was later drafted into the U.S. Army, where he was tasked after the war with reviving a film studio in Bavaria. From there he was hired as an executive at United Artists’ foreign department.
Pleskow rose to become president of the studio in 1973, and raised its profile by working with directors such as Woody Allen and Jonathan Demme. He broke off to co-found Orion in 1978.
While Demi Lovato apologized for her trip to Israel — after receiving backlash — her mother won’t be following suit.
Dianna De La Garza, who accompanied Lovato on the free trip this week, said their visit was one of “only love” and that she will “unapologetically go again.”
Along with a photo of their two hands touching the Western Wall, De La Garza wrote that stop in the Old City of Jerusalem “was the highlight of my trip.” She said she will “never forget that day... or that trip as we celebrated life and Christianity as we learned about the Jewish faith while listening to the Muslim call to prayer. There was no fighting, no judgement, no cruel words...only love.”
De La Garza made it clear that there will be no apology coming from her, adding, “And I will undoubtedly, unapologetically go again one day.”
On Wednesday, Lovato found herself apologizing for the free trip — during which she was baptized in the Jordan River and had a spiritual awakening — amid criticism that she was taking a side in the country’s longstanding conflict with Palestine. Lovato apologized to those she offended in a message on social media, saying the trip was not mean to be “a political statement.”
When Ceen Gabbai argued with her first-grade teacher about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, she didn’t realize how big of a risk she was taking.
The year was 2000 and students across the world held strong opinions about the Second Intifada, an outbreak of violence that claimed thousands of lives and began in September of that year. But Gabbai’s situation was different: She was one of the few Jewish students in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Standing up for Israel in a Baghdad elementary school was not an advisable move.
“Saddam was all crazy about Palestine,” she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I go to school and they’re talking about what a horrible thing that is and how Israel was horrible. And I go and I’m like, ‘I think that’s a lie.’”
Gabbai was called to the school office, took a letter home to her mother and her parents had a meeting with the principal. Soon after they moved homes and she switched schools. Following the episode, her parents did not talk with her about Israel or Judaism.
Gabbai has had a dangerous life. Born a Jew under an Iraqi dictatorship, she endured constant anti-Semitism from a young age, then survived the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the years of war that followed.
In 2015, Gabbai received asylum in the United States. She is now living in an Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn, raising a child, teaching elementary school and writing children’s literature. She does not look back fondly on the hardships she endured, but feels they taught her to persevere no matter the situation.
You may have heard that Sir Moses (Moshe) Montefiore was the force behind Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the first Jewish neighborhood outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls. But were you aware that the wealthy English knight visited pre-state Israel seven times, most often with his wife, Lady Judith?
Dr. Louis Loewe, a linguist and author who was not only intimately acquainted with the couple but had even accompanied them on journeys around the world, greatly admired Sir Moses and Lady Judith. In a book, the “Diaries of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore,” which he published in 1890, he depicts them as a compassionate, caring, and observant Jewish couple that lived life to the full. They were also quite the wine connoisseurs. In fact, wine is mentioned in the diaries 24 different times.
One of their most interesting trips to the Holy Land, described in detail in Loewe’s book, took place in 1839. The volume abounds with descriptions of their overnights in tents, palaces and elegant homes. They rode horses atop mountains, along easy roads and atop barely discernible paths. The Plague was rampant that year, and they were careful to stay away from infected towns and villages.
Wherever the Montefiores went they distributed money and gifts, all the while taking the time to find out what their fellow Jews needed in order to improve what was very often a miserable existence. Quite possibly it was this trip that planted the seed for the eventual establishment of Mishkenot Sha’ananim in 1860.
That pioneering neighborhood came equipped with a windmill produced in Canterbury, a copy of one that stood near the Montefiore estate. With its help, the residents were meant to grind wheat into flour and become self- sufficient. In 1892, more buildings were added and the new neighborhood was called Yemin Moshe.
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In his sermon for Rosh Hashanah, Ammiel Hirsch, the rabbi of a prominent Reform synagogue in Manhattan, urged his congregants not to lose sight of “the central Jewish principle [that] all Jews are responsible one for the other.” It is impossible, he argued, to “live a full Jewish life” without feeling that “the pain of a Belgian Jew is our pain; the fear of an Israeli child terrorized by rockets is our fear; the insecurity of Orthodox Jews attacked repeatedly on the streets of Brooklyn is our insecurity.” Yet, in the face of the anti-Semitic threats that come from so many different directions—which Hirsch went on to analyze—Jews must not lose their sense of pride, or begin to see Judaism as a burden rather than a privilege.
In the war against BDS, the most recent development in academia was the Department of Education censure of Duke University and the University of North Carolina for the misuse of Federal Title VI funds, prompted by complaints over a BDS related event in the spring. Title VI of the Higher Education Act is intended to support foreign language instruction and US national security needs, but has become a slush fund for tendentious Middle East Studies education and programming aimed at college students and K-12.
The Education Department’s letter to the Duke-UNC Center for Middle East Studies complained that fewer than 1,000 students were taking Middle East language courses, while almost 7,000 were enrolled in Middle East Studies courses with “little or no relevance to Title VI.” The complaint also criticized the lack of focus on religious minorities in the Middle East and the near exclusive emphasis on Islam, particularly for K-12 teachers.
The schools were instructed to respond with a compliance plan. In the interim, however, predictable complaints were voiced by academics regarding the alleged “chilling effect on academic freedom” and by BDS advocates, who characterized the move as “anti-Palestinian.”
The investigation comes after a recent study demonstrated that Arab and Muslim countries had donated billions of dollars to American colleges and universities in the past decade, with over $1.5 billion from Qatar alone. The impact of these donations is difficult to measure, but the deference and obsequiousness shown by universities and academics to donors generally is well known.
Underscoring the impact of BDS and biased pedagogy on campus, another report also indicated that Israel-related antisemitism on campuses increased dramatically between 2017 and 2018. Strong increases were seen in accusations of “genocide” against Israel, along with justifications for terrorism. Most important were dramatic increases in faculty-led BDS activities including sponsored events and individual boycotts of Israel and supporters.
Finally, it was announced that the National Students for Justice in Palestine conference would be taking place at the University of Minnesota at the beginning of November. The announcement also touted the election of Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). The conference is designed to train BDS activists, many of them already on record espousing violence, as well as expand “intersectional” alliances of those “who struggle against state violence, settler-colonialism, and imperialism — from Palestine to Turtle Island, from the Philippines to Mexico and beyond.”
The majority of recent reports on the connection of the BDS movement to both terrorism and antisemitism make many different recommendations on how to stop the growing antisemitism of our era. One recommendation of particular note is that countries should accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, uphold its principles and outlaw the BDS movement.
The IHRA’s working definition is a concise description of a complex hatred that takes many forms. It reads: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The people who lead the BDS movement bring many different kinds of antisemitic hatred into our public conversation, and the IHRA definition helps identify the sort of bigotry they spread. It defines antisemitism as accusing Jews or Israel of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust; accusing Jews of dual loyalty; using blood libel to criticize Israel; comparing Israel to the Nazis; and holding the Jewish state to a double standard – or, in one of its purest forms of hate, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination. Now that many in the world are finally acknowledging just how evil BDS is, our Jewish community and fellow Americans must follow suit. Governments and NGOs must adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism. Our local, state and federal governments must pass laws and resolutions that condemn and delegitimize the vile hatred of BDS. Politicians and bureaucrats should stop funding educational programs that include BDS bigotry. Financial platforms should not be allowed to provide services to BDS organizations that publish antisemitic content or have links to terrorism. And we shall all demand that social media platforms remove antisemitic BDS content.
After a decade of excuses and inaction about BDS, it seems that some people are finally waking up to the danger this movement poses – not only to the Jewish people, but also to the basic values of the liberal societies in which we live.
It is the responsibility of our leaders to build on the recent momentum to inform the public about the BDS movement’s antisemitic agenda, its shadowy funding sources, its true aim of denying Jewish self-determination, its lopsided and underhanded tactics, and its connection to terrorism.
BDS is the new face of the old antisemitism, and when it comes to fighting antisemitism, the old adage “better late than never” is particularly apt for our moment. It’s time for us all to get to work.
Chief Rabbi of UK Speaks of BDS and the Rise of Antisemitism
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis of the United Kingdom spoke with Jordana Miller on the rise of antisemitism and the effects of the BDS movement in the UK.
Dozens of neo-Nazis marched through the German city of Dortmund on Monday, calling for Palestinian support to eradicate Israel.
The demonstration, which came on the heels of an anti-fascist protest in the western German city, involved approximately seventy neo-Nazi activists marching through the streets, holding flags of the Third Reich flag and chanting, "Palestine help us, Israel still exists" and "Israel no more."
Israel's Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff posted condemned the neo-Nazi rally, writing on Twitter: "Disgraceful to see neo-Nazis openly on the streets of Dortmund just as we celebrate the Jewish New Year, my wife’s great grand parents were from Dortmund and were murdered by the Nazis, where there is no remorse there can be no forgiveness."
Dortmund is considered to have the biggest neo-Nazi presence of any city in western Germany, with the majority of them living in the Dorstfeld quarter.
Dorstfeld is littered with graffiti of Third Reich's flag, symbols and writings.In September, anti-fascist activists arrived with police backup in Dorstfeld, where they covered the hateful graffiti with colors and messages calling for unity and tolerance.
When the neo-Nazis pledged retaliation for the clean-up, the anti-fascist activists vowed to march against them every Monday for the next 13 weeks.
The creation of the State of Israel was an act of racism, imperialism, and colonialism. Eleanor Roosevelt supported it, which means she was not the humanitarian everyone believes her to be, but rather a racist, imperialist, and colonialist. That is the central thesis of Geraldine Kidd’s dissertation-turned-prosecutorial brief against the most influential first lady in American history.
Readers will have no trouble surmising where Kidd (who teaches at University College in Cork, Ireland) stands on the Arab–Jewish conflict, and why she is so disappointed in Mrs. Roosevelt’s sympathy for Zionism. Arab violence in Mandatory Palestine was merely a response to “incursions by the land-hungry Zionists” (p. 90) and “the insidious and ever-growing [Jewish] colonization” (p. 91), Kidd asserts. Arab leaders who violently opposed the creation of a Jewish state of any size were merely “vigorously defending Palestinian rights in the face of Jewish imposition” (p. 80). As for Mrs. Roosevelt, she “aspired for a Jewish-occupied Palestine” (p. 240) and her “growing interest in Palestine as a Jewish state bade ill for the indigenous people, whose land the Zionists coveted” (p. 54).
“Indigenous,” incidentally, is a term invoked by Kidd with almost comic frequency. She applies it to the Arab residents of Mandatory Palestine no less than eleven times in the first 100 pages of her book, yet never feels it necessary to explain the basis for that assertion. For Kidd, it is self-evident that the Arabs have been the rightful owners of every inch of the country since time immemorial, while “the foreign, migrating Jewish minority” should be regarded as usurpers and criminals (p. 31).
As she chronicles Mrs. Roosevelt’s views and record on Palestine, Kidd has trouble letting her have the last word. Again and again, she cites some remark by the first lady, then quickly follows with a rebuttal of her own. The book at times resembles a meeting of a debate club. Mrs. Roosevelt states that Palestine did not belong to Britain; Kidd interjects, “She was ignoring the fact that the Mandate granted them legal authority to govern it” (p. 123). Mrs. Roosevelt alludes to illegal Arab immigration into Palestine; Kidd retorts, “This statement is an extraordinary reversal of the facts, for it was not the Arabs who had moved into the Jewish orbit but instead it was the Jews who had steadily encroached on the Arabs” (p. 123). The former first lady finds fault with the Palestinian Arabs who fled in 1948; an incensed Kidd responds, “This argument is weak, as obviously the Palestinians, in their panic, had no way of knowing what the future might hold for them.” Kidd adds, for good measure, that Mrs. Roosevelt’s point “neatly coincided with contemporaneous Zionist thinking” (p. 174).
In his Conservative Party Conference speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson lambasted “the fratricidal antisemitic Marxists who were in Brighton [at the Labour Party Conference] last week.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism reported multiple instances of antisemitism or concern over anti-Jewish abuse at the Labour Party Conference, and has warned that the Labour Party is now institutionally antisemitic.
"Let's get #Brexit done!"@BorisJohnson reiterates his promise for the UK to leave the EU on the 31 October.
He also hits out at Labour saying he wants to win an election "against the fratricidal anti-semitic Marxists".
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In recent months, twelve MPs and three peers have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.
British Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid reiterated his support for the Jewish state at a Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) event on Tuesday.
Addressing the gathering, which was attended by six cabinet ministers as well as a slew of other prominent figures, Javid said, “When I look at Israel… it is a country that aligns with all of our values… it’s great to see how strongly this party supports the values of Israel at every level.”
Javid also condemned antisemitism in the UK, declaring, “Everyone in this room has a duty to stop it.”
“Anyone with a sense of history knows full well why the Jewish community feels uneasy now, and nowadays we don’t have to look to the past to learn, sadly you just have to look around you,” he continued.
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Mark Regev told Javid, “You can be proud… that under this Conservative government, the Israel-UK partnership is stronger than ever before. Our trade is growing beyond the £8.6 million we had last year, we have just signed a trade agreement so that trade will continue to grow in the years to come. That’s prosperity and that’s jobs.”
Jeremy Corbyn sparked outrage for releasing a Rosh Hashanah video that features an activist who last year led a public Jewish mourning prayer for dead members of Hamas.
In the clip posted on Twitter ahead of the Jewish holiday, Corbyn visits a grocery store with Jewish Labour Party members to discuss the symbolism of honey and apples for the Jewish new year and promote Labour’s “Green Industrial Revolution” program.
Alongside him is Rob Abrams, a Jewish anti-Zionist activist who in May 2018 led the Kaddish prayer in Parliament Square for 62 Palestinians killed on the Israel-Gaza border, at least 50 of whom were Hamas operatives, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Israel activist David Collier wrote in response to the clip, “There is no way you are not aware much of the Jewish community were outraged when this person explicitly led a prayer service for dead Hamas terrorists. Which makes your actions here deliberate. Your spiteful nature highlights you are a real danger.”
Also in the video is Labour counselor Sue Lukes, who tweeted an article titled the “Jewish ‘War against Corbyn’ risks bringing real antisemitism to Britain” and wrote a piece to “honor” Malia Bouattia, the former National Union of Students president who was accused of antisemitism.
A local UK Labour party branch is planning a no-confidence vote against a Jewish MP on the eve of Yom Kippur.
Dame Louise Ellman, the Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is Jewish, has been active in Jewish Labour groups and critical of antisemitism in her party.
Labour has been beset by series of antisemitism scandals since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015.
Ellman has held leadership positions in the Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, and is currently vice president of the Jewish Leadership Council.
The proposed motion by the St. Michael’s Labour branch states, “This Branch is fully behind Jeremy Corbyn,” and cites a statement by Ellman in which she said that she understood “why Jews would seriously consider leaving Britain if Corbyn became PM.”
As a result of her statement, says the motion, “We have no confidence that our MP Louise Ellman will carry out the wishes of our [Constituency Labour Party] and the Riverside constituency, or that she will follow Labour Party policy.”
“This Branch therefore calls on our Riverside MP, Louise Ellman, to resign,” the motion concludes.
The motion will be taken up at a meeting to be held at 8 p.m. next Tuesday, which is the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
Stephen Marks, a member of the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour, has been re-elected to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, the Party’s disciplinary body.
Mr Marks signed a 2017 petition in support of Jackie Walker, a former vice-chair of Momentum and one of those exemplifying the institutionalisation of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Mr Walker was repeatedly suspended by Labour and finally expelled earlier this year. She has persistently claimed that complaints of antisemitism are part of a plot to destabilise the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and has rejected the International Definition of Antisemitism.
Last year Mr Marks also reportedly shared a petition in support of David Watson, who was suspended from Labour in 2016 for allegedly sharing claims on social media comparing the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad with the Nazis and accusing Israel of genocide. Mr Marks is reported to have written in respect of Mr Watson: “It is cases like this which ‘bring the party into disrepute’. Those responsible are the ones who should be suspended!”
Earlier this month Mr Watson reportedly called for the abolition of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which launched a full statutory investigation into Labour antisemitism on 28th May following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Jenny Manson, the co-chair of the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), is scheduled for a speaking engagement on Kol Nidrei, the night of Yom Kippur.
The event, titled “Resisting the rise of the racists and fascists”, will feature Ms Manson on a panel with Weyman Bennett, a member of the Socialist Workers Party’s central committee. The panel is part of a larger “West London stand up to racism” event at St Mary’s Church Hall in South Ealing on 8th October. It is anticipated that there will be debate on far-right extremism and antisemitism.
Although Ms Manson has previously admitted that JVL was founded in order “to tackle allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party”, she has reportedly been “hurt” by suggestions that question her Jewishness and the organisation has also stressed its Jewish credentials (including in its name). Some have suggested that this stance is somewhat undermined by undermined by Ms Manson’s decision to participate in a speaking engagement at a church on Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar and is marked by most Jews with fasting and synagogue attendance. Communal organisations are shut and work or public engagements are generally discouraged.
Labour’s MP for Kensington has apologised for liking a Facebook comment claiming Israel “disgraces all of us Jews worldwide.”
Emma Dent Coad, who was elected in 2017, ‘unliked’ the comment within hours of Jewish News reaching out for comment.
A spokesperson for the MP said: “Emma liked this in error and apologises.”
A comment posted by online user Earl Okin on Monday evening read: “I’ve always been a Bevanite – my ultimate political hero….and as a Jew, the current Israeli apartheid regime disgraces all of us Jews worldwide.”
It was reported to Jewish News by the anti-racism Twitter account GnasherJew.
The post was a response to another post by online user Bob Pandy critical of “Blairite” MPs and “members of the Netanyahu fan club”.
On Monday, former pogrom leader and current Democrat kingmaker Al Sharpton boasted on his Facebook page the fact that he was “being presented to speak at the Rosh Hashanah Services of the East Side Synagogue by Rabbi Perry Berkowitz and Rabbi Leah Berkowitz.”
For the record, the ESS informed its members that “this year our worship space of many years, the All Souls Sanctuary, is undergoing extensive renovation and is not available for our use. We are blessed that services will be held instead at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church at corner of 73rd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan. This is a beautiful and awe-inspiring space that will deepen our High Holyday (sic) experience.”
Like the old joke says, “The synagogue is closed for the holidays.”
By now practically every Jewish newspaper in New York has condemned the notion that Sharpton, who is identified more than anyone else with the August 1991 Crown Heights Pogrom, should be preaching to Jews on the “High Holyday.” Sharpton marched through Crown Heights and in front of the 770 Eastern Parkway headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch shortly after the riot, leading some 400 rioters who were chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “No justice, no peace!” Sharpton himself notoriously called Jews “diamond merchants,” which was his personal contribution to the anti-Semitic vernacular.
Remember New York State Senator Julia Salazar? She’s the Democratic socialist who lied about being an immigrant and a Jew. This will probably come as a major shock to you, but it seems that the kind of person who would lie about being Jewish doesn’t actually have a whole lot of respect for Jews.
On September 30, teenage thugs threw large objects (reportedly milk crates) through the window of the Rivnitz synagogue in Brooklyn during a Rosh Hashanah service:
Two nights ago, some young people apparently threw objects into a window of a building at Throop & Bartlett St, where neighbors were gathered for Rosh Hashana prayers.
We need to care for each other and protect each other. This isn’t acceptable in our district or in our city.
Pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA (TPUSA) announced this week that it has severed ties with one of its brand ambassadors following a picture of her at a dinner over the weekend with accused antisemites and white nationalists.
A spokesperson confirmed on Monday to Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, which monitors far-right activities and content, that Ashley St. Clair is no longer part of TPUSA.
“TPUSA is a large national organization that touches hundreds of thousands of people all across the nation,” said the spokesperson. “Ashley is no longer one of our thousands of volunteer activists and ambassadors. [Founder and executive director] Charlie [Kirk] and TPUSA have repeatedly and publicly denounced white nationalism as abhorrent and un-American and will continue to do so.”
The spokesperson also noted that St. Clair wasn’t representing the organization while she was photographed.
St. Clair, who is Jewish, attended a dinner held after a debate between antisemitic and white-nationalist podcaster Nicholas Fuentes, who attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., and conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl.
St. Clair, who wasn’t at the debate, attended what she told Right Wing Watch was a “diverse dinner.”
Grammy-nominated American singer and actress Demi Lovato’s love affair with Israel on her recent visit here seems to have come to an abrupt halt.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday that was then deleted, Lovato apologized if her trip offended anyone.
Lovato’s visit initially appeared to have gone well, so the controversy that followed came as a surprise. The pop singer, who has more than 74 million Instagram followers, posted photos of herself at the Western Wall, being baptized in the Jordan River, touring Yad Vashem, and visiting the Shalva National Center for people with disabilities.
“There is something absolutely magical about Israel,” she gushed. “I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God… something I’ve been missing for a few years now... I’m grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to be able to fill the God-sized hole in my heart. Thank you for having me, Israel.”
But on Wednesday, she wrote in an Instagram story: “I’m extremely frustrated. I accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. With that being said, I’m sorry if I hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention. Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return. This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT, and now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry. Sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience. Going against all advice right now and apologizing because it feels right to me and I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people. I love my fans, all of them, from all over.”
The BDS backlash began as soon as Lovato posted photos of her Israel visit on Instagram. Angry fans responded with scathing comments that she was ignoring the plight of the Palestinians and that she should boycott Israel.
Lovato then deleted the comments on a photo showing her Jordan River baptism where she praised Israel as “magical.” Her detractors took to Twitter to criticize the singer. Among the comments, Nouran Ahmed wrote: “Hey, Demi... actually, you need to read more about the history of this land because it’s called Palestine, not Israel, and the magical feeling that you felt, it’s back to the history of the land (Palestine) not Israel.”
While BDS supporters have long campaigned to persuade celebrities to cancel planned trips to Israel, the controversy over Lovato’s visit is unusual in that the pressure came following her visit. Apparently, the singer was taken by surprise by the criticism. But why she then removed her apology – which lives on in screen grabs – is unclear.
Meanwhile, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin took credit for inviting her as an initiative of his ministry. (h/t Esty)
Just fyi, one pic she posted I saw yesterday was her meeting with special-needs kids.
This is what she's feeling made to apologize for. Bringing smiles to the faces of Jewish children with special needs.
BDS is a genuinely cruel way to express hatred of Jews.
On Monday, the German city of Aachen announced that it had withdrawn a decision to give a prestigious art prize worth €10,000 (roughly $10,900) to artist Walid Raad, citing his alleged support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, a pro-Palestine movement. But, according to a new report, that move is not the end of the story.
The German news network WDR reports that Raad will receive the award after all, via the Ludwig Forum for International Art, a museum in the city that facilitates the award, the Aachen Art Prize. The museum’s board reportedly made the decision on Tuesday night.
Marcel Philipp, the mayor of Aachen, previously said in a statement, “According to research, we have to assume that the designated prizewinner is a supporter of the BDS movement and has been involved in various measures for the cultural boycott of Israel.” He added that, when the city of Aachen had inquired with him about his alleged support for BDS, Raad had been “evasive.” The city alleged that Raad “could not distance himself from BDS,” which it referred to as an “anti-Semitic” movement.
The Ludwig Forum’s board reportedly disagreed with the city’s of Aachen’s decision, however, and WDR said that its members could not find any evidence that Raad was an anti-Semite.
The Ludwig Forum and Raad did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In an interview with the German publication Deutschlandfunk, the Ludwig Forum’s CEO, Michael Müller-Vorbrüggen, said that the museum had obtained the funds to give out the award, and it was therefore it did not need to the city’s permission to offer Raad the prize.
The University College Union (UCU) has apologised after it left out Jews from a description of the different groups murdered in the Holocaust, an omission the chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust called “completely unacceptable”.
The UCU had sent out an e-mail to branch and local association secretaries, in which chapters of the union were encouraged to observe HMD 2020, which takes place on January 27.
It described how the Nazis had persecuted groups such as “trade unions, including social democrats and Communists”, “Europe’s Roma and Sinti people”, “Black people”, “disabled people”, “freemasons”, “gay and lesbian people”, “Jehovah’s witnesses” and “'asocials’, which included beggars, alcoholics, drug addicts prostitutes and pacifists” were persecuted by the Nazi regime.
It also specifically mentioned “non-Jewish Poles and Slavic POWs”. However, it made no mention of Jews, the primary targets of the Holocaust.
When the e-mail was publicised, Jews on social media attacked the “shocking” and “sickening” omission, with others suggesting that the mention of “non-Jewish Poles” showed the Union had clearly been thinking about who to include – and who to leave out.
A link in the e-mail led to a specific page on the UCU about HMD, which also neglected to mention Jews as victims of the Holocaust, while mentioning other significant groups.
In a subsequent e-mail from the union’s “equality support official”, the organisation apologised for what it called “drafting errors” in its initial message.
I want to give Mohamad credit on one score: He’s honest about his Jew-hatred. He doesn’t pretend he’s only attempting to champion Palestinian rights. He doesn’t pretend to be supporting boycotts just to encourage Israelis to withdraw from “occupied territories.” He doesn’t claim that he’s not anti-Semitic but merely anti-Zionist.
That last claim I find particularly misleading and annoying. Because, given a choice, I’ll take anti-Semites over anti-Zionists any day. Garden-variety anti-Semites – I’m not talking about neo-Nazis or Stalinists or Khomeinists or Salafi/jihadis – disparage Jews. They don’t want them working in their businesses, living in their neighborhoods, or joining their clubs. That’s nasty but disparagement is survivable, and alternative businesses, neighborhoods and clubs can generally be found.
Anti-Zionists, by contrast, seek a more consequential goal. They want to deprive Israel of its fundamental right to exist. They want to end Jewish self-determination in any part of the ancient Jewish homeland, a unique refuge for Jews who fled not only from Europe but also – and in larger numbers – from Arab and Muslim countries.
Were anti-Zionists to achieve their goal, were they to succeed in eradicating the Jewish state, what would happen to the more than 6 million Jewish Israelis who live there? I think you know. I think Mohamad knows too. Perhaps he’d be “very sympathetic to them.” If he’s still around, of course.
Last week, during a forum of world leaders held in my school, Columbia University, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad spoke.
The 94-year-old leader is probably the most anti-Semitic head of state. He doesn’t try to hide his anti-Semitism, he doesn’t just criticize Israel, he practices classic anti-Semitism, the kind that has been associated with various slurs against the Jewish people (they have long noses; they rule the world; they cause others to fight and die for them, and so forth).
Letting the Malaysian leader speak is only the latest example of the institution's problematic choice of speakers, having already let former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speak at the university about a decade ago.
The organization that I head, Students Supporting Israel (SSI), has refused to stay silent. Although we could not get Mahathir's speech canceled, we decided to generate a critical conversation so that the university won’t even consider inviting someone like the Malaysian prime minister ever again.
We were told that we would lose, that he would be welcomed with great honor at the university and that his anti-Semitic agenda would not be condemned.
But we did not relent. We created a petition that got more than 3,000 signatures, we sent a letter to the university president and to the professor who was to introduce the prime minister at the event, and we demanded that both university officials condemn Mahathir.
Websites that support the Iranian regime, state media in Turkey, and voices from authoritarian regimes and human rights abusers sought to cynically exploit the anniversary of the murder of former Saudi insider Jamal Khashoggi. Since last year, the genuine grief over the death of Khashoggi has been hijacked in some countries and media to use it for ulterior motives, talking about press freedom while journalists are jailed, expelled and harassed.
“Even as Turkish leaders call for an international inquiry into Saudi Arabian journalist Khashoggi’s murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists found the Turkish government to be the world’s biggest jailer of journalists for the third consecutive year,” ABC news noted last year.
Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders were on hand in Istanbul this year to commemorate the murder of Khashoggi. Amnesty published a special call to honor his legacy.
While Amnesty was commemorating Khashoggi, the human rights organization also pointed out the long list of abuses of freedom in Turkey. Yet Ankara’s state media outlets have sought to highlight Khashoggi’s death as an example of press freedom.
A scientist was sentenced to 15 months in prison just days before the Khashoggi commemoration for the apparent crime of publishing environmental findings. Amnesty has called for charges to be dropped against the academic, whom it describes as a whistle-blower.
Amnesty noted in August that Turkey carries out mass blocking of websites, a “full-frontal attack on freedom of expression.” According to the human rights organization, the Reporters Without Borders representative that attended the Khashoggi event was himself detained in 2016 “after symbolically guest editing a publication for a day as part of a solidarity campaign.”
A Sept. 25th op-ed at the Guardian (“Ousting Netanyahu isn’t enough for Israel’s Palestinians. They want equality”) by former +972 contributor Amjad Iraqi included the claim that Israel has “dozens of discriminatory laws”.
Iraqi’s claim that Israeli Arabs are afforded less rights than Jews links to a report by the radical-left NGO Adalah (where he works as its advocacy director) alleging the existence of at least “50 racist laws” in Israel. However, CAMERA and other watchdog groups have refuted Adalah’s claims of racism – a term used so carelessly by the NGO that even an Israeli public health law requiring that parents vaccinate their children is included on their list of “racist laws”.
Among the most comprehensive analyses of the “50 racist laws” claim was conducted by the Institute for Zionist Strategies (IZS), a policy and research organization dedicated to preserving Israel as a democratic Jewish state.
Here are the highlights from their detailed July 2016 report:
- The overwhelming majority of the laws featured in the list (53 out of 57) do not even relate to the citizens’ ethnic origins and those that do, are designed to prevent and avoid discrimination. For example, the Law and Administration Ordinance (1948) that defines the country’s official rest days, and the Law for Using the Hebrew Date, both explicitly exclude institutions and authorities that serve non-Jewish populations for whom the law provides for definitions and procedures appropriate for their specific needs.
- In 21 cases, Adalah’s claims of discrimination stem from the organization’s extremist stance that rejects the nature of Israel as a nation-state in general and as the nation-state of of the Jewish people in particular. For example, the Yad BenZvi Law is defined as a discriminatory law because of the institution’s objective of promoting Zionist ideals.
- 18 of the laws reflect customs in other Western democracies whose democratic character no one would disparage. For example, according to Adalah, the flag constitutes a discriminatory law. Needless to say, this unfounded reasoning would mean that any country, the flag of which bears a cross or crescent discriminates against its non-Christian or non-Muslim minorities. A more in-depth comparison between the laws frequently found that Israeli legislation is actually characterized by a higher degree of tolerance for its national minorities.
The overwhelming majority of American Jewry has a positive view of Israel. Yet, the overwhelming majority of opinion pieces and reporting from major U.S. news outlets doesn’t reflect this reality. Instead, the media promotes a small and unrepresentative minority. The Washington Post offers a case in point.
Ninety-five percent of American Jews have a “strongly positive” view of Israel, according to an August 2019 Gallup poll. The pollster noted that this was “significantly more pro-Israel than the overall national averages of 71% favorable views of Israel and 21% favorable views of the Palestinian Authority.”
Similarly, a 2013 Pew survey observed: “76% of Jews (identified by religion) said they were at least somewhat emotionally attached to Israel. In addition, almost half said that caring about Israel is an essential part of being Jewish (with most of the rest saying it is important although not essential) and nearly half reported that they had personally traveled to Israel.”
In short: American Jewry is, except for a miniscule minority, pro-Israel. Yet, the American media often chooses to give a megaphone to Jews that actively oppose, or are hypercritical of, the Jewish state.
The Washington Post, for example, gives inordinate column space to the tiny fraction of Jews, American and otherwise, who are against the right of Jewish self-determination. In a Sept. 20, 2019 tweet, Mairav Zonszein of +972 magazine cheered that her publication was “all up in The Washington Post opinion pages today,” with two pieces from the same organization appearing on the same day. Zonszein proudly noted that editors of “mainstream outlets” were no longer editing out or tweaking her use of the term “apartheid.”
As this city’s Jewish community celebrated Rosh Hashanah this week, the Tree of Life synagogue stood closed, its doors blocked by a chain-link fence.
A brown, wilted wreath hung on a tree near the synagogue, where a gunman killed 11 worshipers last year in the worst anti-Semitic attack in American history. Jewish stars bearing the names of the victims are taped to a glass door at the front entrance, behind a fence and under an Israeli flag and a sign thanking first responders. A makeshift wooden sign on a barricade next to the building reads “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
The synagogue is built to welcome hundreds of Jews. But the only person to enter regularly now is a custodian who maintains the building while the three congregations that meet there decide what to do. Tree of Life has been shuttered since the attack.
“I hope it’s torn down,” said Ellen Surloff, who was president of one of the congregations, the Reconstructionist Dor Hadash, at the time of the shooting. “I don’t think that I could ever go back in that building and not be continually reminded of what took place there.”
Signs of the attack remain everywhere in Squirrel Hill, the quiet, warm, tree-lined community that has been the home to Pittsburgh’s Jews for more than a century, and which otherwise feels idyllic as summer turns into fall.
Local businesses display a sign created shortly after the attack that reads “Stronger than Hate” alongside a yellow Star of David and blue and red diamonds — the city’s traditional colors. The kosher supermarket hangs a banner with the names of the 11 victims. The local Starbucks has three large hearts painted on its windows with the words “love,” “kindness” and “hope” painted in Hebrew and English on each one.
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD student began wetting himself in class after he was subjected to antisemitic bullying over the course of four months, while a 12-year-old student was forced to kiss the feet of a Muslim child and was physically assaulted.
Both Jewish students, who have asked to remain anonymous, had to leave their public schools because their families felt the principals did not provide them adequate support.
The first child, a prep student at Hawthorn West Primary School, started wetting himself in bed at night, and in class. He also became agitated, began using derogatory language and looked for an excuse each morning to avoid going to school. His parents knew something was wrong, but were unsure if it was all a part of the adjustment process from kindergarten.
Then, after spilling his cereal one morning, the five-year-old broke down. “He literally fell down on the floor,” his mother shared with The AJN, “and said, ‘Mummy, you shouldn’t love me. I’m a worthless, Jewish rodent. I’m vermin.'”
Mortified, his mother crumbled on the floor with him.
It was later revealed that the young boy was being bullied on a daily basis by five classmates in the school bathrooms. It started when he was questioned about being circumcised. Then came the barrage of antisemitic insults, including “Jewish vermin”, “the dirty Jew” and a “Jewish cockroach”.
But when raised with the school, the mother says they were “dismissive” of the antisemitic element. The school’s solution was to keep the student from using the regular bathroom, offering the facilities of another bathroom instead.
“But we felt uncomfortable because obviously you’re not addressing the issue,” remarked the student’s mother.
The parents called for an education policy about antisemitism to be rolled out. But the school declined.
According to the student’s mother, “they refused to accept there was an antisemitic issue. ‘It’s not antisemitism, it’s just bullying.’ The principal said, I don’t want to make other students feel uncomfortable”.
Back in 2012, I drew attention on this blog to a disturbing trend identified at schools in north-west England.
The repellent state of affairs had been revealed by the noted Anglo-Jewish historian Professor Geoffrey Alderman:
'Last November, in my capacity as a visiting professor at York St John University, I had the privilege of hearing a presentation by doctoral student Joy Schmack. Mrs Schmack, an extremely experienced teacher and inspector of secondary-school religious education, is researching the use of the word "Jew" in teenage classrooms in the north-west of England. She presented chilling evidence of the unmistakeable revival of the word "Jew" as a common term of abuse amongst teenagers, who apparently habitually use it as a synonym for "cheat" or "swindler", or "snitch". "Don't you dare Jew me", one Merseyside youngster might say to another - perhaps hardly realising the significance of these words.
Scarcely four months after hearing this presentation I received a communication from a retired gentleman whose family escaped from Nazi Germany in 1934 and who now devotes his retirement to talking about antisemitism to youngsters in schools in Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire. He had been moved to write to me because of his experience at one such school, where his presentation was discourteously received and where a teacher confessed to him that the word "Jew" had now replaced the word "gay" as a playground term of abuse. The teacher said: "If kids wish to insult each other, they now use (the word) Jew" [Emphasis added]....'
Now, the Australian Jewish News, in a scoop, reveals the antisemitic targeting that Jewish schoolkids at non-Jewish day schools in Melbourne have been enduring, causing them extreme anxiety and distress, and of the craven, odious response of the school authorities when the abused kids' parents (having tardily learned of the abuse from their persecuted offspring). That response was basically: "It's not antisemitism, it's bullying, and your kids should learn to toughen up".
They refused one set of parents' request to teach the school body about the realities and consequences of antisemitism.
Jacek Tchorzewski, an 18-year-old neo-Nazi Polish national staying in Buckinghamshire, has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Mr Tchorzewski was arrested at Luton Airport in February on suspicion of terrorism offences as he tried to board a flight to Poland, with police recovering an “enormous amount” of digital documents, including manuals on making explosives and weapons. In one voice recording, Mr Tchorzewski said it was his “dream” to “plan some terrorism” and carry out an attack, and he wrote in a notebook found while he was remanded: “Let’s fill our hearts with terror and London’s streets with blood.”
Other documents included extreme right-wing material which praised Hitler, neo-Nazism and Satanism and also featured antisemitic sentiments and even called for genocide. He was also said to be connected to convicted terrorist Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, who was jailed in June.
Mr Tchorzewski pleaded guilty on 21st June at the Old Bailey to ten counts of possession of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was sentenced on 20th September at the Old Bailey.
The trial of an alleged neo-Nazi terrorist cell accused of plotting violent political upheaval in Germany opened Monday amid reports the country’s far-right scene is growing more armed and radical.
Eight members of the so-called Revolution Chemnitz group aged between 21 and 32 will answer to charges of forming a right-wing terrorist organization, according to federal prosecutors.
Almost a year to the day after most of the suspects’ arrest in coordinated raids, the proceedings took place under tight security in Dresden, the capital of Saxony state, a stronghold of the extreme right.
Resentment runs deep in the region over Merkel’s liberal refugee policy that led to the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers to Germany since 2015.
The anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim Alternative for Germany (AfD) party scored 27.5 percent in a state election earlier this month, just shy of the 32 percent garnered by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
The suspects are accused of “coming together to achieve their political goals — to shake the foundations of the state — with serious violent acts,” a spokeswoman for the superior regional court said.
They allegedly sought to carry out “violent attacks and armed assaults” against immigrants, political “opponents,” reporters and members of the economic establishment.
The Museum of the Holocaust in Argentina’s capital on Wednesday took custody of the largest collection of Nazi artifacts discovered in the country’s history.
Federal police and Interpol agents found the more than 70 Nazi objects hidden behind a bookcase in a collector’s home north of Buenos Aires in 2017 as part of an investigation into artworks of illicit origins. The Nazi items include busts of Adolf Hitler, an instrument to measure people’s heads to supposedly determine their racial purity and statues of the Nazi eagle with a swastika under its talons.
Owning Nazi objects in Argentina can be illegal if it is determined that the items incite racial or religious hate in public, although they can be allowed in private. It has not been determined if the collector violated the anti-discrimination law, although he has been charged with owning pieces of illegal origin.
Agents with Interpol began following the collector and with a judicial order raided the house on June 8, 2017. A large bookshelf caught their attention and behind it agents found a hidden passageway to a room filled with Nazi imagery.
Police said Thursday a Jewish woman reported being harassed in Brooklyn on Rosh Hashanah.
The 22-year-old said that she was approached on Sunday evening by a female teenager who “pulled her scarf and wig from her head,” a New York Police detective, Annette Shelton, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an email.
The incident occurred in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and the perpetrator, who was described as being 16 years old, was accompanied by another teenager, the woman told police.
Shelton said that the police’s Hate Crimes Task Force was investigating the incident.
The incident is the second alleged attack that occurred on Rosh Hashanah in the borough. On Monday, the windows of a synagogue were broken in the Williamsburg neighborhood.
That incident drew condemnations from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
BREAKING: Jewish woman attacked in Williamsburg; headscarf yanked off her head.
We cannot allow this to continue! The Jewish community is being terrorized!
Fliers bearing white nationalist language and hate speech were circulated to businesses in Whitefish, Montana.
The fliers were circulated on Monday, the first day of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
“The hate literature was not only offensive in relation to the Jewish holiday, but it is concerning as there is a recorded rise and mainstreaming of antisemitism in the United States, including the troll storm perpetrated from outside the community onto the Jewish people of Whitefish just two and a half years ago,” Rachel Carroll Rivas of the Montana Human Rights Network said in a statement.
The fliers included code words like the number “88,” which stands for “Heil Hitler” (because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet) and “14 Words” which represents a 14-word statement asserting white supremacy that was created by white nationalist David Lane, who is specifically named on the flier, according to the network.
Similar fliers appeared in Helena, Montana, over the weekend.
Neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin launched a campaign in December 2016 against Jews in Whitefish in which he published personal details and photos of Jewish residents, including a child. The campaign stemmed from a real estate dispute in Whitefish between Tanya Gersh, who is Jewish, and Sherry Spencer, the mother of white supremacist leader Richard Spencer.
Gersh said that anonymous internet users harassed her family after Anglin revealed her home address and phone number, her husband’s business contact information and her son’s Twitter handle.
Other Jewish families in Whitefish were also targeted. The Jewish population of the city is about 60.
Ride-sharing company Uber is set to expand its collaboration — first announced in February — with Israel-based public transit app developer Moovit App Global, the latter said Wednesday. The original partnership saw Uber leverage Moovit’s application programming interface to provide users in London and four other cities with public transportation information, so that riders can access real-time transit data and route planning in the Uber app. As part of the expanded partnership, Uber is set to expand its service to 15 additional cities globally, including Paris and San Francisco.
Moovit also announced that ride-sharing company Lyft is set to implement a similar service in New York.
Founded in 2012 and based in central Israel, Moovit develops and offers a free mobile navigation app providing real-time public transit information in 3,000 cities and 92 countries. Its app has over 500 million users, adding to the company’s database of over 7,000 public transportation operators, according to the company’s statement.
Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is negotiating a deal to acquire a 25 percent stake in web and mobile monetization company IronSource for $450 million, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to Calcalist on condition of anonymity. The deal, which values IronSource at $1.55 billion, is expected to be signed in the upcoming 24 hours, the people said, adding that the company is expected to hand out $100 million-worth of dividends to shareholders before the deal is complete.
The negotiations almost came to an unsuccessful end two months ago due to disagreements over IronSource’s valuation, which has since been resolved, the people familiar with the matter said. If completed, the deal is expected to be the biggest secondary deal of an Israeli company. CVC will become IronSource’s largest shareholder, but its founders will keep a controlling share with a 45-50 percent stake held between them, down from the 60 percent they currently hold, according to the people. The company’s employees, which hold options worth $25 million, will also take part in the sale.
The CVC sale is expected to be the last funding IronSource raises before its initial public offering, scheduled for the second half of 2020. The company, which is expected to see revenues of around $1 billion for 2019 with an EBITDA of $150 million, expected to see its revenues and profit grow by its IPO. Its net profit for 2019 is estimated at $120 million to $130 million for 2019, according to the people familiar with the matter, and the company has no debt.
Founded in 2009, IronSource was originally a download optimization software developer, which shifted its focus to rewarded ads following a series of acquisi
NEW DELHI (AP) — A senior leader of India’s main opposition Congress party says the party’s struggles are to the point where it may not be able to win key upcoming state elections or ensure its own future. The party is facing attrition because it is taking too long to come to terms with its […]
Florida Democrats want to energize the party base and defeat President Donald Trump in 2020, yet for the second time this year the state party will hold a major gathering without presidential candidates taking part.
The Florida Democratic Party has confirmed state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., as keynote speakers Saturday for the “Fight for Florida Gala,” a dinner at the party’s annual convention.
But as of Monday, not a single presidential candidate plans to attend one of the biggest Democratic events and fundraisers in the nation’s largest battleground state.
Instead, candidates late this week will take part in events such as The 20th New Yorker Festival in New York and an LGBTQ town hall in Los Angeles, hosted by CNN and the Human Rights Campaign.
“We tried to make it work, but he had confirmed these things in advance,” Marisol Samoya, a spokeswoman for presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, told The News Service of Florida on Friday about why the South Bend, Ind., mayor won’t be at the Florida convention.
CNN reported Monday that nine presidential candidates are expected to take part in the Thursday night town hall.…
The article below is rather coy about it but they are clearly trying to convey that children develop high math skills by the mere presence of parents with high math skills. They want to avoid the conclusion that a kid's intelligence is all due to that nasty genetics. There is something else there as well which can make you bright.
And it may well be true that having a bright parent cues you into strategies that are helpful in mathematics. But their research does not prove that. All they did was old stuff: They correlated parental math scores with offspring math scores. And there was, as usual, a strong association between the two. There was nothing in their findings that could not be explained by a wholly genetic transmission of mathematical ability.
We have known for around 100 years that mathematical ability is genetically transmitted so there was really no point to the study. Its only point was its "slant" towards a politically correct conclusion.
Parents' math skills 'rub off' on their children
First evidence found of intergenerational transmission of an unlearned, nonverbal competence in mathematics
Summary: Parents who excel at math produce children who excel at math. This is according to a recent study that shows a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to child. The study specifically explored intergenerational transmission -- the concept of parental influence on an offspring's behavior or psychology -- in mathematic capabilities.
FULL STORY Parents who excel at math produce children who excel at math. This is according to a recently released University of Pittsburgh study, which shows a distinct transfer of math skills from parent to child. The study specifically explored intergenerational transmission -- the concept of parental influence on an offspring's behavior or psychology -- in mathematic capabilities.
"Our findings suggest an intuitive sense for numbers has been passed down -- knowingly or unknowingly -- from parent to child. Meaning, essentially, the math skills of parents tend to 'rub off' on their children," said lead researcher Melissa E. Libertus, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and a research scientist in the University's Learning Research and Development Center. The Department of Psychology is within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. "This research could have significant ramifications for how parents are advised to talk about math and numbers with their children and how teachers go about teaching children in classrooms."
Within the study, Pitt's researchers found that the performance levels for early school-aged children on standardized mathematic tests could be reliably predicted by their parent's performance on similar examinations. Specifically, they observed major correlations in parent-child performance in such key areas as mathematical computations, number-fact recall, and word problem analysis. Surprisingly, the researchers also found that children's intuitive sense of numbers -- i.e. the ability to know that 20 jelly beans are more than 10 jelly beans without first counting them -- is predicted by their parents' intuitive sense of numbers. Researchers determined that such close result parallels could not have been produced through similar institutional learning backgrounds because their previous research showed that this intuitive sense of numbers is present in infancy.
The findings represent the first evidence of intergenerational transmission of unlearned, nonverbal numerical competence from parents to children. While separate studies have pointed to the existence of intergenerational transmission of cognitive abilities, only a select few have examined parental influences in specific academic domains, such as mathematics.
Libertus said the study is an important step toward understanding the multifaceted parental influences on children's mathematic abilities. Her future studies will examine why this transference of mathematic capability occurs.
"We believe the relationship between a parent and a child's math capabilities could be some combination of hereditary and environmental transmission," said Libertus. "We look forward to future research endeavors that will explicitly examine the degree to which parents pass down key genetic traits and create an in-home learning environment that is conducive to producing high-achieving math students."
For the present study, the math abilities of parents and children were assessed using the appropriate subtests from the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, a nationally recognized standardized examination of baseline math ability. Children completed three subtests designed to gauge their capabilities in mathematical computations, basic number-fact recall, and word problems with visual aids. Parents completed a math fluency subtest as a measure of mathematical ability, and they were surveyed on the importance of children developing certain math skills.
The study sampled 54 children between the ages of 5 and 8 as well as 51 parents -- 46 mothers and five fathers -- between the ages of 30 and 59. In terms of racial demographics of participating children, 45 were Caucasian, five biracial, three African American, and one Asian. Forty-six participating parents had at least a college degree, and all possessed at least a high school diploma.
A Pitt faculty member since 2013, Libertus' research focuses on the understanding of how children perceive and learn mathematical concepts. The long-range goals of her work seek to identify key factors in the successful learning of mathematics. Emily J. Braham, a doctoral student with a cognitive-neuroscience concentration in the Department of Psychology, assisted in this research study.
The study "Intergenerational Associations in Numerical Approximation and Mathematical Abilities" is available in the latest edition of Developmental Science.
UK: Now they want to outlaw non-violent political groups
A report from the Tony Blair Institute proposes some alarming new forms of censorship.
Our freedom from government interference – our freedom to speak, to campaign and to operate as we please outside of the reach of the state – is under constant assault today. A recent report from the grandly named Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, titled New Policy Responses to Stop Hate Crime, is just the latest example of this.
Its suggestions for further restrictions on what we can say about people’s religion are bad enough, and blur the line between anti-religious speech and blatantly racist speech. But the proposals about hate groups are even more disconcerting. Put bluntly, the report’s complaint is that the government does not have enough powers to make life difficult for organisations that promote views we don’t like, and so it ought to award itself some more.
The problem, as the institute sees it, is this: too many groups, such as Britain First or Generation Identity, promote odious ideas, but remain annoyingly non-violent. Which means they cannot just be summarily banned under current anti-terror legislation that allows for the censorship of violence-inciting speech. The institute’s modest proposal to deal with this alleged difficulty is a ‘new tier of hate-group designation’, which could be proudly announced as the ‘first of its kind in Europe’.
Available by Home Office fiat, such designations would be based on the fairly vague claim that a group might ‘demonise specific groups on the basis of their race, religious [faith], gender, nationality or sexuality’, or be guilty of ‘disproportionately blaming specific groups (based on religion, race, gender or nationality) for broader societal issues’. Or they might be regarded as ‘aligning with extremist ideologies, though not inciting violence’.
What would be the impact on a group that was designated as hateful? The report is short on detail, but it speaks in terms of such groups ‘not [being] allowed to use media outlets or speak at universities’, and not being allowed to ‘engage, work with or for public institutions’. They would be ‘suspended from the electoral roll’. (This is an odd phrase showing, perhaps, evidence of over-hasty writing. Presumably, it means the groups would be deregistered as political parties.) The designated groups would also be banned from holding any public marches at all.
This is all quite mild, the report insists. Group members would still, graciously, be allowed to meet in private. And any new offences to back up the proposed prohibition on hate groups would be ‘civil, not criminal’. Oh, and there would be an incitement to virtue, too. Groups might be given back their privileges, rather like errant schoolboys who showed good behaviour, if they mended their ways and became more enlightened.
Where to start with all this? The first thing to note is that these measures are envisaged as applying to organisations operating entirely within the law. What we are talking about here is the introduction of powers to impose severe restrictions on the activities of lawful groups; groups that are neither violent nor dedicated to criminal activity.
Despite the report’s protestations, the restrictions are severe. Preventing a group from taking part in any procession, excluding it from addressing students and banning it from democratic activity as a political party are essentially telling that group that it may only operate in private.
It gets worse. Consider the words ‘not allowed to use media outlets’. Are broadcasters now to be automatically penalised by Ofcom if they publicise the views of a government-disapproved body? Will we reach the position of old Eastern European dictatorships and punish newspapers for publishing material from specific groups? As for the comforting statement that any offences created would be civil not criminal, don’t be taken in. If anything, this would make it even easier to assert state control over certain political groups, as it would mean that fines could be levied and bans enforced without the need to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Think about what kind of activity might fall under the ban. What about a Christian evangelical group known for its strong views on transgenderism? Could it be driven from public life until it mended its ways? On the other side, what of pro-choice activists who regularly call out what they see as the medieval bigotry of the Catholic Church on reproductive matters, or a group of gay-rights supporters who attack the Koran for its uncompromising view on homosexuality? Might they be found guilty of disproportionately blaming a religious group for societal ills and find themselves banned?
We need to criticise and challenge proposals like these long before they become law.
Scotland’s ban on smacking is an assault on parental freedom.
Scotland has banned smacking. MSPs decided this afternoon, by a majority of 84 to 29, to make it a criminal offence for parents to discipline their children with a slap. What a nasty, authoritarian decision. This is an outrageous intrusion into the sovereignty of the family and into parents’ freedom to decide for themselves how to raise their children. It is yet another expression of the PC middle classes’ arrogant presumption that they know better than the rest of us how children should be brought up and how households should be run. Anyone who believes in freedom and good parenting should oppose this meddling law.
The quinoa mums and blogging dads who make up the commentariat and the political elite have always looked with snobbish horror at parents who smack. Smacking offends their parenting-manual worldview, in which kids must always be surrounded in cotton wool and must be told every five minutes that they are wonderful individuals, whose self-esteem is the most important thing in the world. To these people discipline itself is bad news. They might occasionally use the naughty step against their offspring, but a clip round the ear? A smack on the bum? A stern word in the ear of the kid who plays up in public? No way. That’s fascism, right?
They look upon working-class, immigrant and religious families that tend to use traditional methods of discipline as criminal, effectively. And now, in Scotland, they will be criminal. The new law forbids even ‘reasonable’ physical force against children. It is called the ‘equal protection’ act because it will give children the same protection from ‘assault’ that adults enjoy. A mum isn’t allowed to walk into Asda and smack an adult who is doing their weekly shop, so why should she be allowed to smack her own kid during a trip to Asda? That’s the infantile thinking behind this insidious ban.
The elitist anti-smacking crusaders make a basic error. They think the smacking of children is assault, that it is an act of violence. It absolutely is not. Parents smack their children out of love, not hate; out of concern for their welfare, not as an attack on their welfare. Yes, some parents beat their children, often badly, and there are laws in place to deal with these acts of violence. But a clip, a tap, a smack or an occasional whack with a slipper are not acts of violence – they are acts of disciplinarian concern and love.
The idea that you aren’t allowed to smack adults and therefore you shouldn’t be allowed to smack children is ridiculous. Adults do many things with children that they would never do with adults. They clean their bums, send them to their room, block adult content from their computers, forbid them from wearing certain clothes. We do these things to children because they are dependants – they need guidance and socialisation and sometimes control. And smacking is, or should be, a perfectly acceptable part of that process.
The anti-smacking zealots and so-called parenting experts claim that kids who get smacked will come to think that violence is an acceptable response to difficult situations. Nonsense. I was smacked. Regularly. I needed it, too. Virtually everyone I knew in the immigrant, working-class community I grew up in was smacked. Did we become violent maniacs? Of course not. In fact, we came to a clear understanding of how one should behave. We learned self-control and respect. Our parents hit us because they loved us and wanted us to be properly socialised as boundary-respecting adults. And they were successful.
Parents should use whatever methods of discipline work best for them and their families. It ought to be none of the state’s business. Scotland is effectively disciplining its own citizens, its own adults, and that is a far more horrible thing than a kid occasionally getting a smack from a parent who loves him.
Tony Abbott has stood by his decision to appoint knights and dames into the Australian honours system and suggests they be reintroduced.
In his first long post-election interview to mark the Liberal Party’s 75th anniversary, Mr Abbott recognised there were things that caused him “a lot of grief” when he was PM between 2013-15, including his captain’s pick of appointing Prince Philip a Knight.
But Mr Abbott stood by his decision for knights and dames in the Australian honours system, and suggested they be back on the agenda and reinstated.
“If we are going to have an honours system (then) I think that at the apex of the system we should have knights and dames,” Mr Abbott said.
“If you are a tradition-minded leader of a centre-right party, that’s exactly the kind of thing that you should do. At the heart of our centre-right tradition, it is not so much reform but restoration.
“I should have found a way of doing in this country what they did in New Zealand when John Key brought it back (by) upgrading the ACs to AKs. And I shouldn’t have made it the prime minister’s personal pick, it should have been the Council of the Order of Australia which did it.”
In 2014, Mr Abbott announced that up to four knights or dames would be appointed in any year, saying the honour would be extended to Australians of “extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit”. Mr Abbott then appointed Prince Philip a Knight on Australia Day, recognising him for his “contribution to Australia throughout the Queen’s reign.”
However, in 2015 Malcolm Turnbull dumped his predecessor’s system saying his “Cabinet recently considered the Order of Australia, in this its 40th anniversary year, and agreed that Knights and Dames are not appropriate in our modern honours system”.
Mr Turnbull said while knights and dames was “a long way from being the most important issue in Australia”, the decision reflected a modern Australia. “Knights and Dames are titles that are really anachronistic, out of date, [and] not appropriate in 2015 in Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.
In his exclusive interview, Mr Abbott conceded he made mistakes as prime minister but overwhelmingly blamed Mr Turnbull’s overweening ambition for his government’s demise four years ago.
Mr Abbott said he wished he had longer than two years as prime minister and did not rule out a return to parliament.
“It wasn’t that we had a divided government, it was more that there was one person who was determined to get to the top by hook or by crook,” Mr Abbott said. “Malcolm always thought it was his destiny to be prime minister and I happened to be the obstacle to that and so he dealt with me as best he could.”
While Mr Abbott said he had “mostly” forgiven those who had turned against him and had no “lasting enmities”, he would consider returning to parliament. “If the Liberal Party ever wanted me to do that, I would be more than happy to consider it, but I find it difficult to imagine the circumstances that they would want me,” he said. “I’m not ruling it out but I’m not expecting it to happen.”
With the Liberal Party having governed nationally for 48 of its 75 years, Mr Abbott said it could reasonably claim to be Australia’s natural party of government.
“No party can represent the country as wholeheartedly as we can,” he said. “First, because no particular section owns us the way the unions own the Labor Party. And, second, because we have not succumbed to the siren song of globalism to anything like the extent that the political left has.”
Mr Abbott said the Liberal Party was the custodian of three principal political traditions — liberalism, conservatism and patriotism — but the key to Scott Morrison’s election victory was being more pragmatic than ideological.
“There’s the liberal strand, there’s the conservative strand and, above all else, there’s the patriotic strand,” he said about the Liberal Party’s philosophy. “Yes, we are the freedom party, yes we are the tradition party but above all else we are the patriotic party.
“What we always need to do is to ask ourselves what are the issues that are troubling people at this time and come up with feasible, understandable ways forward. We certainly looked the more practical and the less ideological of the two parties at the last election, and that’s why we won.”
The former prime minister, who was a guest at the British Conservative Party conference in Manchester last week, praised US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for putting their nations first.
“There has been a much greater sense of the nation state and of good old-fashioned patriotism in the approach of Trump and Trump’s Republicans and in the approach of Johnson and Johnson’s Conservatives,” Mr Abbott said. “I also think that one of the reasons why we succeeded in 2013 was because we had a no-nonsense approach to border protection which put Australia first.”
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
The Green party has tossed a candidate over social media postings about abortion. Marthe Lepine, pictured, was removed as the party’s candidate for Glengarry-prescott-russell in eastern Ontario following a party vote on her candidacy Sunday. A party...
When Donald Trump is impeached—as now seems increasingly likely—the Senate will weigh whether to convict him and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson will serve as one of the jurors. That could put Johnson in the most awkward position of any member of the chamber’s Republican Caucus. In order to retain his status as the president’s most inept defender this side of House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, Johnson will have to downplay evidence of his own concerns regarding the actions that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
Since he melted down on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, everyone’s been talking about Johnson’s wild-eyed performance, in which he spouted so many conspiracy theories that host Chuck Todd interrupted him to say, “I have no idea why Fox News conspiracy propaganda stuff is popping up on here.”
Actually, there’s an explanation for Johnson’s meltdown. It has to do with a desperate senator’s determination to stay on the right side of his party’s president after a week in which revelations regarding Johnson’s concerns about the Ukraine imbroglio did the president no favors.
Let’s get Johnson’s story straight.
In August, a US diplomat told Johnson, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, that the Trump administration was blocking $400 million in military aid to Ukraine as part of a scheme to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch the political investigations that the US president was demanding.
“At that suggestion, I winced,” Johnson told The Wall Street Journal. “My reaction was: Oh, God. I don’t want to see those two things combined.” After he was done wincing, Johnson called Trump.
“He said, ‘Expletive deleted—No way. I would never do that. Who told you that?’” Johnson told the Journal Friday. Johnson, arguably the most credulous member of the Senate, was apparently trying to help the president by recounting their conversation. However, as the Journal report on the August 31 phone call noted, “Mr. Johnson’s account, coupled with text messages among State Department officials released Thursday, show some Trump administration officials—including [US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland] and a top U.S. diplomat in Kyiv—believed there was a link between Mr. Trump’s July decision to hold up the aid to Ukraine and his interest in Kyiv’s launching new probes.”
Back in Wisconsin, Johnson explained that he was “surprised by the president’s reaction and realized we had a sales job to do.” By “we,” the senator meant the advocates for aiding Ukraine. But Trump wasn’t buying. “I tried to convince him to give me the authority to tell President Zelensky that we were going to provide that [aid]. Now, I didn’t succeed.” As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinelnoted in its report on Johnson’s comments, “Johnson made clear that he was aware of allegations Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine for political reasons weeks before the public knew of the accusation.”
Johnson failed to speak up. But, less than a month after the senator spoke with Trump, a whistle-blower came forward with evidence that the president had, indeed, pressured Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a leading Democratic challenger to Trump’s 2020 reelection bid. Then, in a move that shocked even his defenders, Trump released detailed notes from a July phone conversation that confirmed the whistle-blower’s report. With each passing day, the evidence of wrongdoing has mounted against the president.
The president now faces an impeachment inquiry, and responsible Republicans are acknowledging that things don’t look good for Trump. “By all appearances, the President’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling,” says Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who explained (after Trump upped the ante with a call for a Chinese investigation of Biden) that “it strains credulity to suggest that it is anything other than politically motivated.”
The group Republicans for the Rule of Law announced that “Trump may have suspected Joe Biden of corruption, but when the president pressured a foreign government to investigate an American citizen and political rival, he engaged in actual corruption. Whatever Biden did or didn’t do can’t excuse that.” Michigan Representative Justin Amash, who was elected as a conservative Republican but now sits as an independent, endorsed the impeachment inquiry and said of Trump, “He’s openly challenging our system of checks and balances. In plain sight, he’s using the powers of his public office for personal gain and counting on Republicans in Congress to look the other way.”
So what does Ron Johnson have to say now?
He spent last week making excuses for the man who any reasonable person would conclude had lied to him. Johnson called Trump the nation’s “chief law enforcement officer” and told a Wisconsin radio station, “We have proper agreements with countries to investigate potential crimes so I don’t think there’s anything improper about doing that.”
When asked about his involvement in another key issue related to the scandal, Johnson became very conveniently forgetful.
Trump alleges that Biden, as the vice president, abused his position to try to get Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin fired as part of an effort to shut down an investigation of a gas company with which Biden’s son Hunter was associated. But The New Yorker reminds us that this is “a repeatedly discredited conspiracy theory.” The reality is that Shokin faced allegations of corruption that troubled a lot of Americans—Republicans and Democrats—and that there was bipartisan support for his removal.
This is where Ron Johnson back comes into the story—as something of a character witness for Biden. In 2016, Johnson joined a bipartisan group of senators in signing a letter urging “urgent reforms to the Prosecutor General’s office and Judiciary.” So the Wisconsin senator knew the real story. Yet when he was asked about the letter last week, Johnson told a reporter, “I send out all kinds of oversight letters.… I don’t know which 2016 oversight letter you’re referring to so I will look at that and then we’ll issue a press release, statement, or something—but I don’t engage in hypocrisy. I’m looking at getting the truth.”
Johnson is engaging in hypocrisy, but it’s worse than that.
As NBC’s Chuck Todd said Sunday, after trying to get the senator to answer some basic questions: “Senator Johnson, please! Can we please answer the question that I asked you, instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you’re not criticizing him?”
Johnson has a long history of trying to keep on the right side of Trump. He proposed that they team up in 2016 and run as “the Ronald and the Donald.” And Johnson doesn’t want to get on the wrong side of a president who goes ballistic when Republicans like Romney cross him. Johnson really is trying to help. He’s just really bad at it. So bad that every time Ron Johnson opens his mouth, he makes the case against Donald Trump.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to make community and technical college free and federal college loan programs more generous as he charts a policy course that shifts leftward but not as far as some of his rivals.
The former vice president’s $750 billion higher education plan represents a major expansion of the federal government’s role in educating Americans beyond high school. But Biden’s pitch Tuesday is not as sweeping as proposals from his more progressive 2020 rivals Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom offer plans exceeding the $1 trillion mark.
The competing approaches reflect Democrats’ efforts to address spiking tuition costs in the United States and the $1.5 trillion-plus in student debt held by about 45 million Americans. The party’s education policy divide is similar to the gap that separates Biden from the two progressive senators on health care, with the former vice president proposing to expand the federal government’s role in the existing health insurance market, while Warren and Sanders propose a single-payer insurance system that would see the federal government essentially replace private insurance altogether.
Jill Biden, the candidate’s wife and a longtime community college professor, explained her husband’s approach.
“My students inspire me,” she said in a conference call with reporters, “and they ask for one thing in return: opportunity.”
The crux of Biden’s higher education plan is a federal-state partnership to cover community college tuition and technical training. Biden calls for the federal government to cover 75 percent of the tuition costs, with states covering the rest. That’s a similar financing concept to the Medicaid insurance program for the poor and the disabled, with states required to cover some costs to qualify for federal money to cover the majority of the program.
Biden proposes that the federal government cover 95 percent of the community college tuition cost at Native Americans’ tribal campuses.
Sanders and Warren propose universal, free access to all undergraduate public colleges and universities.
On student debt, Biden’s more limited approach calls for doubling the Pell Grant program for low-income Americans and cutting in half the income percentage caps on student loan repayments. Borrowers now must pay up to 10 percent of their discretionary income. Biden calls for capping payments at 5 percent of discretionary income, while also delaying payments for anyone making less than $25,000, with the borrower accruing no additional interest.
Biden’s plan would forgive any remaining debt after 20 years of payments and would allow borrowers to get out of their debts as part of personal bankruptcy.
Sanders, conversely, proposes eliminating all student loan debt, while Warren calls for broad debt relief based on income. Warren’s idea would cancel $50,000 in debt for each person with household income under $100,000, with additional proportional relief for those making up to $250,000 annually.
Biden and Warren have another noticeable split on for-profit colleges, which have come under scrutiny because their graduates have a much higher default rate on loans as they struggle to find quality jobs. Biden proposes tighter regulations on those colleges to stop them “from profiteering off of students.” Warren calls for banning such businesses from getting federal money altogether.
All three Democratic hopefuls point to proposed tax increases to pay for their spending. Sanders would tax Wall Street transactions. Warren points to her “wealth tax,” 2 cents on every dollar of a household’s net worth beyond $50 million. Biden calls for eliminating certain breaks in inheritance taxes and capping itemized deductions for the wealthiest Americans.
For two years now, Republicans have played the role of the dog that chases cars, in hot pursuit of a goal, but with no clear plan what to do once they attain it. But now they’ve caught it, or more accurately, it was handed to them, and now they have the burden of proving that they are worthy of the responsibility that the voters have assigned them. Up until now, the Republicans have profited primarily from their status as the default alternative to a Democratic Party that has given the voter every reason to turn them out.
And they don’t have a lot of time to present a plan. The landscape is not what it once was. It took 40 years of the Democratic Party’s arrogance and mismanagement to wear out the American people’s goodwill before they were thrown out of power in 1994. Republicans needed only 12 years to alienate America and return control to the Democrats. This time, the Democrats turned the trick in only four years. Clearly, Americans’ patience is not what it used to be.
One reason is that Americans have access to unfiltered information now. If we still lived in a world where Walter Cronkite and the New York Times held monopolistic control over information, there never would have been a Gingrich Revolution.
And this election should tell the Republicans what they need to do. After years of believing media advice that they needed to move toward the Democrats, the electorate demonstrated otherwise by tossing out moderates of both parties. On the day before the election a public opinion poll revealed that Nancy Pelosi’s job approval stood at 8%. Eight times that many disapproved of her work. Moderates rejected the Republicans in 2006 and 2008 because they failed to draw a significant distinction between themselves and the Democrats. Nancy Pelosi highlighted that distinction for them and independent voters rejected the Democrats’ vision.
The large majority of Americans have made it clear that they don’t want moderation. They want decisiveness. If Republicans are capable of learning, they could take lessons from what has worked. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell both won surprising victories by promising to govern conservatively. Both have grown in popularity by adhering to those promises. This is especially notable in New Jersey as that state is about as hostile to Republicans as any in the union.
If Republicans can demonstrate that they’ve learned their lessons and are willing to make the difficult choices necessary to steer America back on the right track, they are likely to be rewarded in 2012, because it’s unlikely that Democrats will be able to give Americans an affirmative reason to restore them to power.
Pennsylvania Governor Fast Eddie Rendell probably best summarized the fatal flaw in the Democratic Party on election morning as he predicted a better than expected result for the Democrats. He credited Barack Obama with appealing to the Democratic Party base to reinvigorate their enthusiasm.
Rendell identified the “heart and soul” of the Democratic base as “blacks, Latinos, gays and lesbians.”
The problem with having grievance politics as your strength is that even when you manage to win, your mandate is not the nationalization of one sixth of the economy, or an unprecedented intrusion of the federal government into every aspect of private life. You are only charged with retaliating against the dominant culture for the satisfaction of a few small slivers of the population.
Keeping that heart and soul enthusiastic also requires a constant refreshment of the culture of grievance. An outstanding example of just how difficult that cultivation has become can be found in columnist Eugene Robinson’s Election Day column in which he predictably exposed racism in the Republicans’ campaign battle cry: “Take back the government.”
Mr. Robinson inferred from this simple slogan that Republicans meant for white folks to take back the government from a black man. In fact the phrase is a call for a return to self government and away from the paternalistic path to serfdom that Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi sought to drive us down as though we were cattle.
Mr. Robinson could not possibly have found this slogan offensive if his grievance mentality had not overwhelmed his sense of irony and his long term memory. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi used those identical words in 2008.
An appeal to tribal grievance will never be a match for a defense of liberty.
The Green Party has tossed a candidate over social media posts about abortion. Marthe Lépine, pictured, was removed as the party’s candidate for Glengarry- Prescott- Russell in eastern Ontario following a party vote Sunday night. A party spokesman said...
Swedish rabbis and Jewish leaders have slammed a push by Sweden’s Center Party to ban circumcision. The party voted last week 314-166 at its annual meeting to oppose the non-medical circumcision of boys. The party’s head, Annie Loof, was among several...
We’ve all heard that there are 12 years left to act to avoid a climate catastrophe. What does this mean for Canada? Are any of the federal parties prepared to confront this challenge? To answer these questions, we first need to examine what that deadline does – and does not – mean. In the Paris […]
If I may put the point another way, the government accepts that in executing its political policy it must comply with the 2019 Act. That being the government’s clearly stated position before the court, there is no need for coercive orders against it or against the prime minister to be pronounced. The court should not pronounce coercive orders (or decree for interdict) unless it has been established on the basis of cogent evidence that it is truly necessary for such orders to be granted. In my opinion, that has not been done in the present case.
I would add only this. I approach matters on the basis that it would be destructive of one of the core principles of constitutional propriety and of the mutual trust that is the bedrock of the relationship between the court and the crown for the prime minister or the government to renege on what they have assured the court that the prime minister intends to do.
“Ulster says No,” is one of the historic cries of unionism. The DUP’s Sammy Wilson has inverted that in a statement - one of several we’ve had from the party recently - strongly criticising the Irish government for its stance on Brexit. Wilson said:
It seems the ‘not an inch’ approach in Dublin will lead to no deal. How times have changed. Its now a case of ‘Dublin Says No’.
The DUP has worked with the prime minister to place a reasonable proposal on the table. It may not be perfect but it’s a fair deal. It recognises our unique situation and respects the referendum result ...
In response to another urgent question Conor Burns, an international trade minister, has told MPs that the government will publish its plans for the tariffs that would apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit “shortly”. That may mean tomorrow.
Theresa May’s government published its own tariff schedule for no deal, but the new government will take a different approach.
In the Commons James Duddridge, the Brexit minister, has just said that his boss, the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, is going around Europe “whipping up support and enthusiasm” for the PM’s Brexit deal.
(If Barclay is supposed to be whipping up enthusiasm for the deal, there is precious little evidence so far that his mission is having any success.)
These are from Dale Vince, the businessman who took the case to the Scottish court of session calling for a ruling saying Boris Johnson would have to obey the Benn Act, along with Joanna Cherry and Jolyon Maugham.
It was always my understanding that we couldn’t actually lose this case, because; either the court would issue the injunction obliging BJ to uphold the law - or he would give clear undertakings to the court that he would do so. That’s what happened today…
In her question a few minutes ago Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, said the government’s refusal to publish the legal text would prompt fears that the government was prepared to lower standards. Surely the public had a right to know if the PM was prepared to sacrifice the quality of food on supermarket shelves, the rights of workers to take holiday and the rights of children to breath clean air?
James Duddridge, the Brext minister, replied:
Quite frankly, that’s a load of rubbish.
That is not our intention. And our constituents, if they are worried and scared as a result of what the Liberal Democrats say, that is a terrible thing.
The Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi asked if the DUP had seen the full legal text. Why would it be right for them to see it, but not the other opposition parties.
Duddridge said he would not comment. He said MPs who had been ministers would know that, in a negotiation, different people see different bits of text.
In the Commons Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Brexit committee, said something did not add up in relation to what James Duddridge said about there being no need for new infrastructure in Ireland. He said Boris Johnson told the BBC last week there would be a system of customs checks away from the border. But the plan published last week said customs checks would be carried out at traders’ premises, or other designated locations. And it said goods would be under customs supervision as they crossed the border. So how can you have customs checks with no customs infrastructure?
The government are looking for a tailored solution.
He says MPs have not seen the 44-page legal text. That means they have to guess, or, even worse, take the PM’s word for it.
Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has just asked his urgent question on when the government the legal text of its new Brexit plan
James Duddridge, the Brexit minister, is replying.
The SNP has today announced it is setting up a social justice and fairness commission, which it says will show how Scotland could use independence to create a fairer society. It is intended to complement the work of the SNP’s sustainable growth commission, which reported last year. Shona Robison, the former Scottish government’s health secretary who will convene the commission, said:
Independence is fundamentally about creating a better Scotland.
The social justice and fairness commission will explore in detail how we can use the powers of independence to end poverty, tackle inequality and improve the lives of families across Scotland.
@theSNP has announced the membership of a Social Justice and Fairness Commission to build the case for independence – showing how, with full powers, Scotland can tackle poverty and create a fairer society. pic.twitter.com/lDo7r0oTAS
Plaid Cymru has confirmed that it would support Jeremy Corbyn as leader of an interim administration to prevent a no-deal Brexit. A Plaid Cymru source said:
It’s not about who, but about how we stop a disastrous crash-out Brexit. This is about policies not personalities.
The focus now must be on ensuring that the anti-no deal legislation is enacted. We cannot afford to do anything to jeopardise that – that includes playing party political games over who should lead a caretaker administration.
These are from ITV’s Robert Peston.
UK is leaving EU on 31 October without a deal, that EU is poised to reject Johnson’s offer. Without the EU state aid constraints, Treasury could pump money into any businesses affected by no deal that need temporary support
Here is a bit more detail about this. A statutory instrument confirming that the UK would keep the existing EU rules on state aid was supposed to be pushed through tomorrow. This has now been pulled by Downing Street. What is now being debated by ministers and officials is...
"whether and when to pull the existing state-aid statutory instrument and effectively have no state aid regime from 31 October" - which would not need primary legislation, says government official. As I said earlier, this would give Johnson maximum flexibility to help...
businesses damaged by a no-deal Brexit. And Labour is unlikely to kick up a stink, since Corbyn and McDonnell have always been iffy about EU state aid rules, which they see as limiting the freedom of a Labour government to run an interventionist industrial policy.
As a result of this important court action, we have forced the Tory government to concede that the prime minister will comply with the law, and promise to send a letter requesting a Brexit extension and not frustrate the purpose of the Benn Act.
However, given Boris Johnson’s slippery track record of acting unlawfully, and the contradictory statements issued by the UK government - we do not trust the Tory leader or believe he can be taken at his word to obey the letter and spirit of the law. As such, we will appeal the decision, and expect that appeal to be heard tomorrow.
A senior member of the Home Office’s drugs advisory panel has quit, claiming political interference is undermining its independence. Prof Alex Stevens, who worked on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), has posted a thread on Twitter explaining his decision, which was revealed by the Guardian.
I have resigned from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Recent political vetting and exclusion of suitably qualified applicants to join means that the ACMD is losing its independence. A thread to explain follows…
Here is a Guardian video of the Extinction Rebellion protests around Westminster.
This is from Neale Richmond, an Irish senator and Fine Gael Europe spokesperson, explaining for the benefit of Boris Johnson (see 12.32pm) what the EU thinks the problems are with the UK’s Brexit plan.
1) Creates a Customs Border 2) Only partial regulatory alignment 3) Stormont veto (maj only needed in one community) 4) No legal guarantees 5) Technology isn’t in existence 6) Contrary to Dec’17 declaration 7) Far removed from backstop
Bruno Bonnell, a French MP for Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! party, told Emma Barnett on Radio 5 Live this morning that Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan was “almost like a joke”. He explained:
It’s not a final version - it’s almost like a joke. We don’t even understand it ...
This is not a genuine offer. This is clearly a political manipulation to put the responsibility of a no-deal Brexit on the EU’s side.
First of all, what he is suggesting right now is a very complex process, and even more complicated than what is proposed by the backstop.
Secondly, it’s again a last-minute proposal, as if he wanted to force the issue and put the responsibility of a no-deal Brexit onto the EU’s shoulders.
The European commission said it plans to “take stock” later this week in terms of making an assessment of the UK’s Brexit plan. At its regular, daily briefing, the commission’s chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said:
Talks will continue today and this week in order to give the UK the opportunity to present their proposals in more detail and then we will take stock with member states and the European parliament throughout the week.
And, as we have said before, everyday counts in these talks.
Labour MP Stephen Hepburn has been suspended from the party following a complaint of sexual harassment, the Press Association reports. It is understood his case has been referred to the national constitutional committee and he has been suspended pending that process.
Ian Jones from the Press Association has filed this, looking at four potential dates for the general election.
Time is running out for a general election to take place before the Christmas season.
The earliest date for polling day is probably Thursday November 28.
The Green party has proposed the legalisation of drug use in the UK and the establishment of a regulated market with tightly-controlled specialist pharmacies selling currently illegal substances.
It appears to be the first time a UK political party has gone so far as to call for the radical change in drug policy, and it comes amid heightened concern over the exploitation of teenagers by county lines drug gangs and record drug-related deaths. Dr Alex Armitage, the Green party candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington who is leading on the policy told the Guardian:
Our policy stems from the fact that we’re recognising more and more that the prohibition of drugs is a complete and utter failure, particularly for people marginalised in society.
It doesn’t matter if you’re dealer recruited into organised crime group after being excluded from school, or a person who was abused as a child who uses heroin to numb the pain or whether you live in an affluent area and worry about your home being burgled by people who need to steal to enable their drug use. It’s an issue that affects everyone in society in one way or another.
Here is some Twitter comment on the Scottish court judgment.
From the law lecturer and Times journalist Raphael Hogarth
The Court of Session holds there's no need for it to force the PM to comply with the Benn Act and seek an extension, given that his lawyers said he would. But it also fires a warning shot: the PM had better not renege and destroy "core principles of constitutional propriety". pic.twitter.com/c1ISLS0WdB
The Judge has decided that because the Government accepts that it will send the letter and not frustrate the purpose of the Act, it is "neither necessary nor appropriate" to make orders. pic.twitter.com/cTArzEkocC
The Judge adds that the Government's position is underpinned by the fact that the Advocate General for Scotland (the PM's 'man in London' if you like) is an officer of the court. pic.twitter.com/hfgFJ2E2hw
The true heart of the Court's reasoning can be seen in this passage. The true question raised by this case (see next tweet) is whether the Government is committed to this "core principle". pic.twitter.com/k7jYHlpwqz
I expressed this dilemma here (on Friday). I would rather live in the world the Court believes continues to exist. But I doubt we do. https://t.co/PVgXpPjlkl
As we have extracted promises from the Govt, the question whether this loss matters depends on whether you think I am right or the Court is right. But, on any view, there are now risks of an unlawful Brexit that would not, had the decision gone the other way, have existed.
I expect the Inner House of the Court of Session tomorrow to hear our appeal. /ENDS
Here is James Cleverly, the Conservative party chairman’s, take on the Brexit crisis.
Why “more time” doesn’t actually help “get a deal”.
We want a new deal, will leave with no deal if we have to, but no more delays.
I think everybody’s sympathies are very much with the family of Harry Dunn and our condolences to them for their tragic loss.
I must answer you directly, I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.
Anti-Brexit campaigners have failed in an attempt to force Boris Johnson to ask for an extension to article 50 if he is unable to get a Brexit deal through parliament, my colleague Severin Carrell reports. His story goes on:
Lord Pentland, sitting in the court of session in Edinburgh, rejected their request for a court order instructing the prime minister to seek an extension if he cannot get a deal passed by the Commons this month.
Boris Johnson has also restated his claim that the UK will definitely leave the EU on 31 October - even though MPs have passed the Benn Act, which is intended to stop that happening. Asked about the Scottish court case about whether he must send a letter requesting an extension in the event of there being no deal, Johnson said:
We will study any judgments, of course, very closely, as we always do. We will respect the law. And we will leave the European Union on October 31. Clearly, that’s what the people of this country voted for. I think most people just want just to get Brexit done.
The court of sessions judgement on Brexit will be out at 12.45pm, the lawyer Jolyon Maugham says.
Right. Have been sitting here wondering whether I dare 'go see a man about a dog'. Court has rescued me from my dilemma by saying the decision will be published at 12.45.
This is what Boris Johnson said at Watford hospital when a reporter asked him if his Brexit plan was “dead in the water”. He replied:
Our proposal is very fair, very reasonable. What it does is respect the Good Friday agreement, the peace process in Northern Ireland. It makes sure there’s no hard border, no checks at all at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. It also goes further in allowing Northern Ireland and Ireland in alignment, both for agrifoods, for cattle and so on, but also for industrial goods as well. That’s a big step forward, big advance, big compromise by the UK government.
What we are saying to our friends is, this is a very generous, fair and reasonable offer that we have made. What we would like to hear from you now is what your thoughts are. And if you have issues with any of the proposals that we’ve come up with, then let’s get into the detail and discuss them.
Well, I spoke to both Antti Rinne, the Finnish prime minster, and to Emmanuel Macron yesterday. And I think they can see that there is an argument now for pushing on and getting on with some substantive talks on the detail of what we are proposing ...
The issue is, what is the EU’s objection [to the UK plan]. We haven’t really heard the detail from them about what they think the problems are. It is time for use to get together and really thrash this thing out.
Boris Johnson has been visiting Watford general hospital this morning. Looking at the photographs from the visit, it seems that for the second time in a week he’s been engaging in mug politics - getting your chinaware to do your political messaging.
The lawyer Jolyon Maugham has a useful Twitter thread on what to expect from today’s court of session Brexit judgment. It starts here.
A short thread, in advance of the decision today, on where things are with the Scottish proceedings. THREAD
I’m just back from the Downing Street lobby briefing, and nothing was said by the prime minister’s spokesman to suggest that Boris Johnson thinks there is much chance of the UK reaching a Brexit agreement with the EU this week. Johnson is due to hold telephone calls today with the prime ministers of Sweden, Denmark and Poland, but the spokesman did not announce any plans for Johnson to hold face-to-face meetings with his EU counterparts and he would not deny a report saying a meeting with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has not taken place because Merkel’s office could not find a slot for him in the diary.
There was a stage when Johnson was claiming that the UK was making significant progress in its talks with the EU. But the spokesman was not using language like that this morning, although when pressed he said that the EU did view the publication of the UK plans last week as a “step forward”.
We are ready to talk with the EU at a pace to secure a deal so that we can move on and build a new partnership between the UK and the EU, but if this is to be possible the EU must match the compromises that the UK has made.
So believe it or not, the 21 Tory MPs expelled from the parliamentary Conservative party, plus Rudd who quit, today refused to support opposition MPs who wanted to put down an SO24 motion that would have allowed MPs to seize control of parliament’s business on any day between...
now and Brexit day on 31 October. Labour and SNP had ordered all their MPs to London to support the motion. But now it won’t be put on the order paper till next Tuesday, if at all. The point of the motion was to give MPs the power to pass whatever legislation they thought they...
need to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. But the Tory rebels apparently now buy the Johnson and Cummings argument that MPs flexing their collective muscles to stop a no-deal Brexit is undermining their chances of getting a deal. But as I reported earlier, there is next to...
no chance of the EU accepting Johnson’s offer anyway (see https://t.co/3D5abBMm2p). So Cummings and Johnson will be chortling into their coffees as we speak. And business in the Commons today will be of magnificent unimportance.
On the BBC’s Westminster Hour last night Lee Rowley, a Tory Brexiter who voted against Theresa May’s deal three times, said he did not think leave voters would blame Boris Johnson if Brexit were delayed. He explained:
I think the British people have more or less clocked what’s going on here. And I was out in my constituency, North East Derbyshire - 60% leave seat, formerly Labour-held for 80 years – this weekend. I lost track of the number of people who said to me on the doorstep –we know what’s going on, Boris is trying to get a deal and he is also trying to get us out. And if he doesn’t achieve that, and Boris is clear that he is going to do that, but if he doesn’t, we know where the problem will be. Because it’s the same problem that’s been there’s been for the last two years. Parliament doesn’t want to leave.
One of the key questions in British politics at the moment is whether pro-leave voters will blame Boris Johnson if Brexit has to be extended, and line up behind Nigel Farage’s Brexit party at the general election, or whether they will give Johnson the benefit on the grounds that at least he tried.
As Mujtaba Rahman says in his Eurasia briefing (see 9.57am), No 10 used to think a Brexit delay would be disastrous for the Tories electorally, but now they have changed their mind. Rahman says:
The election could turn on this question: how damaging will an extension be for Boris? His strategy is to make enough gains in Labour-held leave areas in the North and Midlands to offset likely losses to the SNP in Scotland and the pro-Remain Lib Dems in the South. This gamble would be compounded by an extension, which would likely play into the hands of Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, who would cry betrayal. To win a majority, the Tories need to further squeeze the Brexit party’s vote.
Initially, Boris allies were nervous about the impact of an extension. But during last week’s Tory conference they became confident that the “Farage factor” would not scupper Johnson’s chances of victory. They were cheered by opinion poll and focus group findings that the PM would not be blamed for the latest delay to Brexit. As one aide said: “The public see him as Mr. Brexit and the only one who can deliver it. They know who is responsible [for delay] and we will keep reminding them of it.”
So far, confidence in Mr Johnson’s handling of Brexit — and indeed his party’s standing in the polls which, according to Opinium’s latest poll, is, at 38 per cent, higher than at any time since last February, before Mrs May failed to deliver Brexit — has not suffered in the wake of what are already diminishing expectations among voters that Brexit will be delivered at the end of the month.
According to YouGov, at the beginning of September, three in five (60 per cent) Leave voters thought it likely that Brexit would have happened by October 31, while only about one in four (27 per cent) thought it unlikely. Now only about a half of them (49 per cent) expect Mr Johnson to meet the deadline.
My money is on Johnson and Cons losing blame game fwiw. BXP voters are low attention and low trust, when Farage announces “he has failed, he has betrayed Brexit” on Nov 1st that’s who they will respond to. https://t.co/7nGG00QJaS
BXP does best among white voters with low formal educational qualifications. Such voters tend to express lower interest in politics, score lower on political knowledge etc. Less likely to be following things day to day. Therefore less likely to know detail of why Boris faile..d
I'm just not convinced Brexit Party voters will abandon Boris Johnson if extension happens. Why?
78% approve of his handling of Brexit 75% say MPs SHOULD vote for deal 74% approve of job as PM 64% say "surrender" acceptable language 59% "more positive" of BJ since conference
Were Johnson and his team to successfully recruit Brexit party voters [at the general election] then they would likely win sizeable majorities. If Johnson won back half of the Brexit party vote then he might win a comfortable majority, with 348 seats to Labour’s 201. If he goes further and wins back three-quarters of Farage’s Brexiteers then the number of Conservative seats increased at around 370 to Labour’s 185 - a commanding majority.
Might this actually happen? We do think that the Brexit party vote is softer than some think, for a couple of reasons. First, when these voters are asked who would make the best prime minister - Johnson or Corbyn- they break 84% to 1% for Johnson. Lord Ashcroft asked a slightly different question, whether they would want to see a Conservative government led by Johnson or a Labour government led by Corbyn. 94% opted for a Johnson government. A campaign that inevitably presents voters with this simple binary choice would likely see many Brexit party voters conclude “Johnson”.
Mujtaba Rahman, the Brexit specialist at the Eurasia consultancy who produces regular briefing notes based on what he’s been told by insiders in London and Brussels, has issued an update on the state of play this morning. He says he thinks the chances of the UK and the EU agreeing a deal this week are now “close to zero”, and that the chances of a no-deal Brexit happening on 31 October are also “extremely small”. We’re heading for an election, he assumes.
Here’s an extract.
UK ministers admit privately there is little prospect of agreement. As one put it: “If the consent mechanism [on regulation] were the only problem, then a deal would be doable. But if we say Northern Ireland must be in the UK customs territory and the EU says it must be in the [EU] customs union, the problems are insurmountable. That’s where we are.”
Downing Street’s official line remains that the UK will leave on 31 October with or without a deal. At the same time, it insists the government “will obey” the Benn Act approved by parliament, forcing Johnson to seek an extension to UK membership if a deal has not been approved by parliament by 19 October. Ministers refuse to say how these contradictory positions will be reconciled. Some admit privately they do not know.
The lawyer Jolyon Maugham says he does not know what time the Scottish court judgment will be issued. I had been told 10am, but that may have been duff information.
A decision of the Outer House of the Court of Session is expected today but we are not expecting a hearing. It will be issued to the parties and published in the normal way. We do not, as matters stand, know the time at which it will be issued.
Politicians spend a lot of time in interviews dodging questions, but mostly they are not very good at it. They could all learn by watching Jennifer Arcuri, the American businesswoman at the centre of the scandal over claims that Boris Johnson improperly helped her company with grants and trade mission access when he was mayor of London because they had a very close friendship. She has given an interview to Good Morning Britain this morning, and she managed to give a non-answer that made her look strong and assertive, not weak and evasive. This is what she said when Piers Morgan asked her if she had ever had an intimate relationship with Johnson. She said:
Because the press have made me this objectified ex-model pole dancer, I am really not going to answer that question ... I’m sorry, I am not going to be putting myself in a position for you to weaponise my answer. I’m being used as a pawn. This entire thing is a crazy charade.
‘It’s really categorically no-one’s business.’
Tech entrepreneur Jennifer Arcuri refuses to answer any questions about the intimacy of her relationship with Boris Johnson over concerns her answer will be weaponised. pic.twitter.com/fg1fYcncqq
‘Boris never gave me favouritism.’
US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri says Boris Johnson never gave her preferential treatment and only knew her as an ‘extremely passionate entrepreneur of the London tech scene’. pic.twitter.com/Je4x1gWn2A