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Extremism, Anti-Semitism In Maryland: 53 Incidents In 2019 – Annapolis, MD Patch

Posted By on February 17, 2020

MARYLAND In 2019, there were 53 incidents of extremism and anti-Semitism in Maryland, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The figure for 2019 decreased from the 74 incidents reported in our state during 2018.

The occurrences in Maryland were among the 4,015 examples of extremist and anti-Semitic incidents that happened nationwide in 2019. The figure reported for 2019 is up almost 32 percent from the 3,052 incidents reported in 2018, according to the ADL.

Here is a sampling of the incidents in Maryland that the non-governmental organization included in its registry:

Anti-Semitic Incident - Vandalism: November 2019

Anti-Semitic Incident - Harassment: July 22, 2019

Anti-Semitic Incident - Harassment; White Supremacist Propaganda: July 22, 2019

Anti-Semitic Incident - Harassment; White Supremacist Propaganda: March 3, 2019

Anti-Semitic Incident - Harassment: May 2019

Related:

The Anti-Defamation League tracks the incidents through news and media reports, government documents (including police reports), victim reports, extremist-related sources and the Center on Extremism investigations, according to a "Frequently Asked Questions" section on the ADL's website.

The Anti-Defamation League's interactive map includes information on incidents involving anti-Semitism, white supremacist propaganda, white supremacist events, extremist-police shootouts, terrorist plots and attacks and extremist murders.

Along with providing the first-of-its-kind interactive and customizable map detailing extremist and anti-Semitic incidents around the nation, the ADL also provides information on the annual quantity of white supremacist propaganda that gets spread throughout the country.

The Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism reported 2,713 cases of circulated propaganda by white supremacist groups in 2019, compared with 1,214 cases in 2018.

Oren Segal, director of the League's Center on Extremism, pointed to the prominence of more subtly biased rhetoric in some white supremacist material, emphasizing "patriotism."

By emphasizing language "about empowerment, without some of the blatant racism and hatred," Segal told the Associated Press, white supremacists are using a "tactic to try to get eyes onto their ideas in a way that's cheap, and that brings it to a new generation of people who are learning how to even make sense out of these messages."

The Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism as well as other biases, describes its mission as "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all."

You can find the complete interactive map on the ADL's website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Extremism, Anti-Semitism In Maryland: 53 Incidents In 2019 - Annapolis, MD Patch

ADL: Reports of white supremacist propaganda tripled in NJ last year – Burlington County Times

Posted By on February 17, 2020

White supremacists have also become more active on college campuses, according to the report, which called that trend "alarming."

Reports of white supremacist flyers, posters and other propaganda more than tripled in New Jersey last year, putting the Garden State near the forefront of a troubling national surge, the Anti-Defamation League said.

The ADL's Center on Extremism documented 143 reported cases of supremacist material in New Jersey in 2019, up from 41 the year before.

It was the third straight steep increase in New Jersey, which ranked fifth-highest among states in the U.S. for such incidents. Nationwide, distribution of supremacist literature more than doubled, the group said.

"The barrage of propaganda, which overwhelmingly features veiled white supremacist language with a 'patriotic' slant, is an attempt to normalize the white supremacists' message and bolster recruitment efforts," said Oren Segal, the ADL's vice president for the Center on Extremism.

The materials typically targeted minority groups including Jews, African Americans, Muslims, non-white immigrants and the LGBTQ community, he said. Among their messages: Immigrants must be deported, diversity is bad for America and the Holocaust "didn't happen but should have."

White supremacists have strengthened propaganda efforts across the nation, with the highest number of incidents reported 2,713 since the ADL began tracking the distribution of such materials three years ago.

White supremacists have also become more active on college campuses, according to the report, which called that trend "alarming." The groups targeted 433 college campuses in 43 states with the propaganda last year, including eight campuses in New Jersey, the report said. The materials often aim to direct students to social media, the ADL said.

While dozens of white supremacist groups distributed information last year, three were responsible for about 90% of activity in New Jersey and beyond, the ADL said: the Texas-based Patriot Front, the American Identity Movement and the New Jersey European Heritage Association.

Efforts to reach the European Heritage Association through its website were unsuccessful on Wednesday. The group's message, according to the site: "The White European peoples in America and abroad are racing towards the cliff of extinction," facing low birth rates and "a tide of third world immigration."

"The future of our world is a dark one, literally and figuratively," says the site. It also says the association is opposed to violence and seeks "peaceful political change through the education of the masses."

Increased awareness may partially explain the increase in incidents, the ADL said in a statement Wednesday. But extremists also are "more emboldened by the current environment," said Evan Bernstein, the ADL's Northeast Division vice president, "and flyering and stickering provides an easy and anonymous way to spread their hateful message to a large audience."

He urged New Jersey residents to push back.

University leaders should speak out against the white supremacist messages and reject messages of hate that spring up on their campus, said the ADL's Segal.

He pointed to the prominence of more subtly biased rhetoric in some of the white supremacist material, emphasizing patriotism, as a sign that the groups are attempting to make their hate more palatable for a 2020 audience.

By emphasizing language about empowerment, without some of the blatant racism and hatred, Segal said, white supremacists are employing a tactic to try to get eyes onto their ideas in a way thats cheap, and that brings it to a new generation of people who are learning how to even make sense out of these messages.

The propaganda incidents tracked for the report encompassed 49 states and occurred most often in 10 states: California, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington and Florida. Only Hawaii had no reports.

This article contains material from The Associated Press.

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ADL: Reports of white supremacist propaganda tripled in NJ last year - Burlington County Times

A gesture to honor Monsey hero ended up in controversy; here is why – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on February 17, 2020

A few weeks ago, Joseph Gluck made headlines as the hero who stopped a horrifying antisemitic attack that targeted a Hanukkah party in Monsey, New York. Gluck threw a table at the attacker as he was stabbing multiple people at Rabbi Chaim Rottenbergs home-synagogue, known as Rabbi Rottenbergs Shul. He also managed to write down the numbers of the attackers license plate, allowing the police to identify the suspect.Five people were stabbed in the attack, one critically, and the event become a moment that seem to be able to bring together Jews from all across the spectrum, reunited in the solidarity with the victims and in denouncing the rampant antisemitism that in the past two years has grown exponentially in the United States.

For many, the spotlight on the ultra-orthodox community that followed the attack was also an opportunity to denounce how antisemitic attacks at a lower intensity such as insults on the street had too often targeted ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are very easily identifiable, without an adequate response.

However, a gesture that might have been considered the result of this general solidarity, a $20,000 prize granted to Gluck for his heroism by the Jewish Federation of Rockland County and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), ended up in controversy after he decided to turn it down in light of the Zionist values embodied by the organizations.

I was not willing to offer my soul for $20,000," Gluck told News 12 Brooklyn last week. "My identity for $20,000 was not for sale.

His decision should not come as a surprise.

Rabbi Rottenberg and his followers belong to the Kosov Hassidim, a group that originated in Hungary, moved to America between the Wars and shares its origin with the far-larger and better known Vishnitz Hassidim.

Hassidism refers to a Jewish movement that was originated by the teachings of Rabbi Yisrael Ba'al Shem Tov in the 18th century. Over the generations, the followers of the movement split into communities led by different spiritual leaders, known as rebbes. Today, traditional hassidic groups and their followers live an ultra-Orthodox lifestyle, while ultra-Orthodox Jews who do not follow hassidic teachings are usually called Litvaks or Lithuanians, from the country where the counter-movement to hassidism spread.

The Kosov is a very small group. When it comes to Zionism, they follow a mainstream hassidic position they are not pro, but they are not especially anti as other communities. However, I think this episode sheds light on the status of hassidic communities in America at large, Rabbi Levi Cooper who teaches hassidism at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem and has written his doctoral dissertation on the interaction between hassidism and halacha, told The Jerusalem Post.

The biggest and most influential [hassidic sect] in America is Satmar, and they are very anti-Zionist, often setting the tone for the others, he added.

For example, the Vishnitz community in Israel takes money from the state and is involved, but the Vishnitz in Monsey identify more as anti-Zionist.

The ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist attitude depends on the fact that for these communities, Jews are supposed to be brought back to Israel by God at the time of redemption. Moreover, Israel should be a state fully governed by halacha.

However, as Samuel Heilman, a professor of Sociology at Queens College of the City University of New York and an expert on contemporary Orthodox movements, told the Post, even in America the anti-Zionism attitude might have to do more with the optics than with the reality.

In the ultra-Orthodox world, political Zionism is problematic, explained Heilman. We also have to keep in mind that this is a community where the pressure to conform is extremely high.

According to Heilman, the public nature of Monsey attack and what followed is a key to understand also Glucks decision to turn down the prize.

The hassidic communities here receive funds from federal and local institutions, and many of its members work, so they are wealthier than in Israel. But they do also accept money from Jewish federations and similar Jewish institutions connected to Israel they just do it quietly, he added.

Within the spectrum of hassidic communities, including in the US, there are different nuances.

The most notable exception is represented by the most well-known hassidic group in the world: Chabad-Lubavitch, who fully cooperate with the State of Israel and its institutions, even though Heilman notes that at the core of its ideology, Chabad also presents an anti-Zionist position, very evident in all the Rebbes teachings.

As the line between Modern and ultra-Orthodox becomes more pronounced, another kind of movement has developed, the so called hardali from the merging of the Hebrew word haredi and dati leumi, national-religious who are ultra-Orthodox in lifestyle but Zionist in ideology.

Moreover, it is important not to forget that in Israel, the vast majority of ultra-Orthodox groups have reached some form of acknowledgment, if not cooperation, with the state, in some cases even as members of Knesset or ministers sitting in coalition with Zionist parties, such as the case of Health Minister Ya'acov Litzman, a member of the Gerrer Hassidim.

After turning down the prize from the Federation and the ADL, Gluck still received an equivalent sum raised by his community at an event to honor him in Williamsburg last Thursday according to Yeshiva World.

The report added that Rabbi Dovid Feldman, a man known for his ferocious anti-Zionism, which has brought him to meet with figures such as former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also attended the event.

According to JTA, he gave a statement to News 12 saying that the ADL and Jewish Federation were about to issue a statement to encourage and promote the Zionist idea of Jewish self-defense, of fighting back, of fighting our enemies, which happens to be contrary to our tradition.

With the rising of antisemitism in America and in most of the Western World, fighting back like Gluck did when he chased out the perpetrator of the attack in Monsey may instead become more and more of a necessity, not only physically or with weapons but also with a higher level of solidarity and support across the political and religious divides in the Jewish community. The spirit of cohesion that was raised after Monsey should not be lost.

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A gesture to honor Monsey hero ended up in controversy; here is why - The Jerusalem Post

Report Finds Texas Led The Nation In White Supremacy Propaganda Incidents In 2019 – KUT

Posted By on February 17, 2020

Displays and demonstrations in support of white supremacy doubled in the United States last year, according to a new study, and Texas led the country in incidents.

In 2019, there were just over 2,700 instances nationally in which white supremacists demonstrated or distributed material that was racist, anti-Semitic or anti-LGBTQ, according to the Anti-Defamation League's report.That's more than a six-fold increase since 2017.

The ADL, a nongovernmental organization that monitors hate speech, says two-thirds of those incidents involved the Texas-based group known as Patriot Front, which formed out of a group that helped organize theUnite the Rightrally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

Renee Lafair with ADL in Austin says that because of the group, Texas is atop the list of states when it comes to incidents of racist propaganda, with 228 incidents in 2019.

"Patriot Front is the reason that Texas has the highest activity for any state in 2019," she said.

Despite that activity, she says the group's recruitment and its overall influence are inflated. There are just a few dozen members in Texas and a few hundred nationally, and outside of their attempts to propagandize racism, their communications are largely limited to online chat services like Discord.

The study's authors say hate groups are continuing propaganda campaigns on college campuses.

There were 630 documented instances of that last year. Lafair says the campaigns present a challenge for universities, which must walk a fine line in protecting people's right to free speech, while trying to combat hate speech.

"The approaches we've seen on campuses that have been effective have been when administration says, you know, you have a First Amendment right to do what you want," she said, "but understand that that is not a part of our culture that we're building at this campus and that everyone is welcome here and this is an inclusive campus."

UT Austin and Texas State have both seen a handful of incidents involving neo-Nazis and white nationalists over the last year, but overall the report says white nationalists have "failed to gain a foothold" on campuses.

Got a tip? Email Andrew Weber at aweber@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it. Your gift pays for everything you find on KUT.org. Thanks for donating today.

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Report Finds Texas Led The Nation In White Supremacy Propaganda Incidents In 2019 - KUT

Promoting Jewish learning is the greatest revenge against our enemies – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on February 17, 2020

It is an undeniable fact that antisemitism is rising around the world. Again.Earlier this week, it was reported that antisemitic attacks in Britain rose by 27% from 2018 to 2019. Antisemitic vandalism rose by 11%.An Anti-Defamation League survey of 9,000 adults in 18 countries showed that one in four people have strongly negative opinions of Jews. These people admitted to believing that Jews were responsible for war, disease and other troubles.France has a large Jewish population, and is home to the most Jews outside of Israel and the United States. France saw a 74% rise in antisemitic incidents in 2018 from 2017, according to French officials.Here in the United States, from 2013 to 2018, there was a 150% increase in antisemitic incidents.These incidents range from people hurling antisemitic insults to hurling bricks, people polluting Jewish prayer spaces with swastikas to polluting Jewish prayer spaces with bullets and knives.Many historians agree that antisemitism is reaching levels globally not seen since the Holocaust.But I am heartened to see the Jewish community, our neighbors, standing tall despite this hatred. Despite the attacks, vandalism and terrorist actions, the Jewish community is still celebrating its faith.Last week, more than 25,000 Jews journeyed to Newark, New Jersey, for a celebration of Jewish study. Dirshu, the largest Jewish education organization in the world, hosted three events concurrently, celebrating the culmination of the Daf Yomi (daily page) Talmudic cycle of study.Already, Dirshu had held 10 such celebrations in Israel, England, France and more. Thanks to Dirshu and its leadership under Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter, Jews around the world gathered to celebrate their pride and Judaism.These events featured song, dance, keynote speakers and fellowship. Jews around the world proclaimed that they will not be silenced by hatred and will not change their way of life. I admire this greatly and stand with them. I especially wish to make special mention of Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter, whom I greatly admire and respect. It is thanks to Rabbi Hofstedter and his vision some many years ago that out of the darkness and ashes of the Holocaust, the largest Torah organization in the world was conceived.The celebration this past week in New Jersey was so large that it had to be expanded to three venues: the Prudential Center, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Newark Symphony Hall. Despite recent acts of hatred meant to sow more hatred and fear, tickets sold out in record numbers, prompting the need for securing two additional venues.THE NORTHEASTERN area of the United States, which is home to the nations greatest percentage of Jews, has also recently been rocked by several antisemitic incidents. In early December, a gunman killed four people in a kosher grocery store in Jersey City. During the final days of Hanukkah, a man entered a rabbis home in Monsey, New York, and stabbed several celebrants. New York City has seen a marked increase in antisemitic incidents, from vandalized Jewish cemeteries to Jews being randomly assaulted on the streets.Nevertheless, my Jewish neighbors are not hiding, though some people have advised them to do so. They are remaining proud and open, showing that they will not allow fear to alter them, their beliefs or their actions.This message is well in line with Dirshus message as well. Through Dirshu, hundreds of thousands of Jewish men around the world study Jewish scripture and teachings. This in turn makes them more connected to the community, to God and to their families.I first became aware of Dirshu a few years ago through its outreach arms Day of Jewish Unity. Each year, Dirshus outreach arm, Acheinu, organizes the Day of Jewish Unity to encourage people globally Jewish and otherwise to come together and pray for peace.Additionally, all participants are asked to refrain from gossip and to really consider the impact their words can have on the world, all in line with the teachings of a rabbi named Chofetz Chaim (desires life).The Day of Jewish Unity is about peace, kindness and civility. It is a reminder that hatred can never make the world better, and that civility, even in the face of disagreement, is a virtue.As someone who has been involved in politics and heavily criticized by both sides of the aisle, I know how powerful words are. I appreciate the Day of Jewish Unitys message of civility, both because it is a message I deeply want conveyed to my detractors, and because it is a message that I myself sometimes have a difficult time embodying.Dirshu teaches that regardless of the struggles you endure, the cruelty you face or the doubts you experience you must fight to keep your integrity. Your moral compass should always point north, even when the compasses of those around you point elsewhere. Plaudits are due to Rabbi Hofstedter for his vision, continued leadership and commitment to spreading the light of Judaism around the world.The writer is an American financier and entrepreneur who served as White House director of communications.

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Promoting Jewish learning is the greatest revenge against our enemies - The Jerusalem Post

Riverside teens pose with swastika, Confederate flag in photo shared at school – Los Angeles Times

Posted By on February 17, 2020

A photograph of a group of Riverside teenagers posing with a Nazi symbol in front of a Confederate flag that began circulating on social media last week has prompted backlash from students and parents.

The photo shows eight Martin Luther King High School students some smiling with a Confederate flag and a Trump 2020 banner. One of the students is holding a representation of a swastika. Another is flashing a hand gesture tha white supremacist groups claim represents the letters WP, for white power, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The image, which was taken off-campus, was circulated among the student body last week. The situation has sparked fear and anger on campus, principal Michael West said.

At this time in our country, the frank reality is that political and social views are strongly held by individuals, West said in a video circulated Monday. Individual views, while people are entitled to them, may be in direct conflict with those of others, our school and our district values.

He suggested that teachers and school staff set aside time to talk with students about diversity, tolerance, respect and how to use social media in a positive way.

The school administration this year created an equity committee tasked with developing programs and events aimed at improving respect and racial harmony on campus. The school has also started a multicultural leadership class and is organizing what it calls synergy days to help students recognize and respect their differences, but also find value in and appreciation for their similarities, West said.

This teachable moment will not be lost on us, he said.

It is not clear whether the eight students in the photograph will face disciplinary action.

Timothy Walker, the Riverside Unified School Districts assistant superintendent of pupil services, said he could not discuss any possible punishment, citing privacy rights. He said the district is conducting an investigation.

Were trying to bring the community together. This is an issue of feelings out there in homes and communities that are brought to school, he said. We try to focus on educational programs and support our kids in a social, emotional realm. Part of that is to support them when controversies occur.

Of MLKs 3,000 students, the largest portion 38% are white, according to recent data from the California Department of Education, with Latino students making up about 36%, and Asian and black students just over 8% each.

Gray Mavheria, who is black and has two children in the school, told the Press-Enterprise that these are not new issues for the campus. His children have been referred to as cotton picking and have been told to sit at the back of the bus, he said.

I looked at the picture and said, Who does this? he told the newspaper. I call it Hell High School because of what theyve put my kids through and other minority kids through.

A report released Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation Leagues Center on Extremism showed an increase in white supremacist propaganda in 2019. The report showed 2,713 cases reported last year, which include the distribution of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ fliers, stickers, banners and posters. That number is more than double what the center recorded in 2018, the report states.

While the report showed propaganda touched every state except Hawaii, the highest levels were centered in 10 states, including California, data show.

The Riverside photo is the most recent in a series of incidents involving Southern California schools.

In May 2019, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District investigated a series of overtly racist messages shared among young people, including students from Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, in a private Instagram group.

One group member asked whether anyone wanted a souvenir while the person was in Alabama and Mississippi, noting, Ill get you a real confederate flag.

Another person in the group then asked: Do they still sell black people down there?

The person taking the trip responded: If they do, Ill get everyone a new plantation worker.

The same school made national headlines months earlier when a group of students at a party posed with red plastic cups arranged in the shape of a swastika as some stood with hands outstretched in Nazi salutes.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, said the photo and others like it are meant to be a bonding experience for young people who are ignorant and are trying to send a message to a changing society.

At a time when over 40% of Americans say whites are under attack, these young people are sending a shock message that theyre still relevant, and the biggest reverberation youll get is when you hook into tribal prejudice, Levin said. Some of this is youthful rebellion, but dont kid yourself: Its also another example of the sociopolitical mainstreaming of white supremacy and Nazi symbols.

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Riverside teens pose with swastika, Confederate flag in photo shared at school - Los Angeles Times

New Security Head Aims to Protect New York Jewish Institutions and Help Reduce Climate of Fear – Algemeiner

Posted By on February 17, 2020

Participants at the No Hate. No Fear. rally in New York City on Jan. 5, 2020. Photo: Rivka Segal.

JNS.org Mitchell D. Silber, former director of intelligence analysis at the New York City Police Department, started as the executive director of the Community Security Initiative at the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York on Feb. 3 to help secure Jewish institutions in the New York region.

The move was done in partnership with the Paul E. Singer Foundation, Carolyn and Marc Rowan, and several foundations, according to UJA in a statementannouncing the move.

In his new role, Silber, 50, will lead a team of an additional five new security professionals to help provide protection to Jewish religious and cultural institutions in all five boroughs of New York City, in Westchester and on Long Island. This will include developing the infrastructure to support and train professionals in synagogues, Jewish community centers and schools.

JNS talked with Silberby phone on Feb 11. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

February 17, 2020 4:52 pm

Q: What are your goals in your new position?

A:My goals are to vastly improve the security profile that covers Jewish life in the Greater New York City Area to include those institutions like synagogues, schools, camps, JCCs, as well as the Jewish security in the streets in and around those institutions. And really to reduce the climate of fear that unfortunately exists now.

Q: Why did you decide to take on this challenge?

A:Im not really a person who sits on the sidelines watching the action happen. Im much better as a participant. After 9/11, I left a career in corporate finance to get into the world of counterterrorism to protect in the city. I had a societal obligation to step up, so this was a very similar decision.

Q: Compared to late last year, whats the current safety situation in the New York Jewish community?

A:Thats a difficult question to answer because there are multiple elements to it.

On one side, its what the threat is.

After 9/11, we knew there was a threat from Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and their homegrown followers. Weve always known theres been an Iran, Hezbollah threat against Jewish institutions in the United States.

After Pittsburgh and Poway, our eyes were shocked open to see theres a right-wing extremist threat, a white-supremacist threat that now targets Jews. After Jersey City, we learned that there was afringe as they may beBlack Israelite threat against Jewish communities in New York, plus neighborhood antisemitism, which is the term I use to talk about the phenomenon that is happening in Brooklyn, like that Hanukkah week in December.

The security situation is based on the threats. The threats are a broad spectrum; there are lots of them, and theyre all very different.

And theres the question of what do we do on the defensive side to protect against them.

The Community Security Initiative is the first step in better safeguarding our institutions, hardening the targets and make our communities more aware of what they need to be doing to protect themselves. Were just starting this process.

Q: Are the threats against Jews more physical than verbal, vice versa or equally both?

A: Generally, when one looks at antisemitic incidents, whether its in New York or Europe, the pool of incidents when you include verbal is very large, and physical is a smaller subset of that, so thats just the nature of these type of things. Fewer people are actually going to act on their thoughts in a violent way. But those are the ones Im most concerned about.

Im concerned about the physical security of Jews in the Greater New York City area from attacks, from assaults. Preventing people from saying nasty things, I wish it wouldnt happen but thats less of a priority for me.

Q: But cant verbal attacks evolve into physical attacks in which we should stop the threats before they get worse?

A:That sounds good, but the truth of the matter is that you cant stop someone from a verbal threat. Thats not going to be a focus on my effort. If I focus on everything, Im not going to accomplish anything. So what were focusing on are the physical threats that hurt or damage people. There are other organizations like the Anti-Defamation League that fight antisemitism.

Q: In your experience, what has led to this uptick, specificallyin anti-Jewish crime? Have you seen other ethnicitiestargeted in New York as well these past two years?

A:I dont know the reasons to explain the uptick in antisemitism in New York. Id like to know whats driving it, where are the catalysts.

Countrywide, we live in a time when conspiracy theories run rampant. Jews are, one way or another, targeted as being responsible. Were in a national mood, post-2008 economic crisis, where its very much anti-economic elites, and Jews are nationally assigned a place among the economic elites even though thats not entirely true.

Were also in an anti-immigrant mood in the country and even though Jews arent the immigrants these days, Jews, as a community having been immigrants throughout our history, are sympathetic to immigrants, and we are often seen as the enabler of immigrants.

Robert Bowers struck out against the Jewish community in Pittsburgh because they were associated with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which was no longer helping Jewish immigrants in the United States, but other immigrants. In his apocalyptic race war, Jews were enabling the browning of America, and therefore, we were a feared target.

Q: Do you thinkthat New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are doing enough to protect the Jewish community?

A:Their actions since the end of the year are to be commended, whether its the governor forreleasing funds that had been allocated for Jewish security, as well as releasing new funds for houses of worship that the Jewish community was seeking. The mayor has been supportive in allocating additional police to the neighborhoods where a lot of these antisemitic events occurred.

There is more work to be done, but were certainly getting indications that Albany and City Hall realize the threat and want to be helpful in whichever ways they can.

Q: The newly implemented New York bail reform hascome under fire from the Jewish community for releasing suspects accused of committing antisemitic attacks. Whats your stance on the law?

A:The legislators and the activists who were for bail reform were all with the best intentions, but the way the legislation ultimately came out had flaws. Certainly, weve seen those flaws with examples of Tiffany Harris, who assaulted and cursed at three Jewish women in an anti-Semitic attack, and had to be arrested two more times before City Hall decided to intervene. Otherwise, she would have been released another time. So that cant be the way the designers of this legislation expected it to function.

The question is how can you reform the law in a way that keeps elements of it that were useful, but actually maintain some kind of law-enforcement deterrence that doesnt encourage people because they think theyre going to be released immediately.

Q: How would you reform the bail law?

A:One way that strikes me is if the infraction has anything to do with hate and if its any type of hate-related criminality, I would think there might be some kind of carve-out, and theres a higher threshold before someone is released and back on the streets.

Q: What more can our elected leaders do? Increase funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program?

A:Both in New York State and at the federal level, there at the Department of Homeland Security, there are security grants. Weve heard [NY] Senator [Chuck] Schumer talk about increasing the number in the Nonprofit Security Grant Program from $90 million to $360 million; that would be fantastic. Expediting that would be great. The state has already augmented its funding for houses of worship in New York. With law enforcement, special attention needs to be paid to Jewish institutions in jurisdictions these days. Its an unfortunate aspect of the environment that were in with Jewish houses of worship. Its unfortunately whats required right now.

Q: Recipients of the Nonprofit Security Grant Program can use up to 50 percent of funds for armed personnel. If they want to use more, they need a waiver from FEMA. Should Congress allow recipients to use up to 100 percent of the money towards such a purpose?

A:When youre protecting an institution, there are lots of elements. Armed guards are one element of it. Hardening a door, as basic as it may sound, is critical. We see in Germany, this individual attack the Halle synagogue on Yom Kippur. The reinforced door that had been paid for by Jewish organizations saved the day. Similarly, you want to have that blast-mitigation, bullet-resistant, shatter-proof film on the glass on windows.

So there are other elements to it besides armed guards that are as equally as important. We dont want to neglect infrastructure security.

Q: Besides the job requirements, how has your new role compared to being in the NYPD?

A:In some ways, there are a lot of similarities. Once again, its sort of protecting New York from a wide spectrum of threats and knowing as much as we can about what those threats look like will better inform our efforts.

Obviously, at NYPD, I was part of a 35,000-person small army.

Here, were a unit, a team of seven, so were going to have to punch above our weight to get it done. Its a little bit of a startup; the NYPD is obviously not a startup. We have our seed funding. If we can deliver results this early, well be able to increase the resources that we can draw upon and build out more holistically.

Many of the same threats that I dealt with at the NYPD in the counterterrorism world are similar threats we have to deal with in the Jewish security world.

Q: Besides the common If you see something, say something, what advice do you have for the Jewish community when it comes to being vigilant?

A:One of the things Id like to put in place is classes not only where people can learn Krav Maga as part of self-defense, but also situational awareness.

Everyone in the community is going to have to play a role in terms of their awareness, noticing things. If you see something, say something is great, but we actually need a higher level of understanding of what it is that people should be looking for.

Hopefully, well be able to roll out classes in the Greater New York Area that can provide guidance of what might be suspicious that you might not otherwise think and the mechanism for reporting it, so that we can have better situational awareness and maybe advanced warning if something comes our way.

Q: Is there anything else you wish to add?

A:In this new role, in the Community Security initiative, were going to need alliances because we cant do it all on our own, and there are two organizations that were working on setting up alliances with.

One is called the Community Security Service. Its an organization that provides volunteers who can augment the physical security of institutions where there are another set of eyes and ears that know about surveillance and counter-surveillance, and also little bit about self-defense. We plan on partnering with them in a big way in the Greater New York City Area because we think theyre an important force multiplier.

The second is the Anti-Defamation League and its Center on Extremism, which has a robust online analysis capability. Theyve helped contribute to the identification of half-a-dozen people in the United States since Pittsburgh who gave indications that they were preparing violent attacks against Jews and others. We want to be a beneficiary of their intelligence flow.

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New Security Head Aims to Protect New York Jewish Institutions and Help Reduce Climate of Fear - Algemeiner

Polarization Of Political Opinion Spurring Political Violence? – New University

Posted By on February 17, 2020

Photo By Jonathan Simcoe

Emergency dispatchers received a call from co-workers at the Florida Turnpike in Metro, Orlando, saying that Mason Trever Toney stabbed and killed his boss, William Steven Knight, with a trowel over a political debate. He was charged with first-degree murder and is currently being held in Orange County without bond. Such an occurrence exemplifies the harsh political divide currently plaguing the U.S. Political violence that has been on the rise since 2016, when a large polarization in political beliefs erupted throughout the country during Donald Trumps presidential election.

While Toney is strictly anti-government, Knight was a large supporter of President Trump. Toney is very outspoken about his beliefs that the government is bad and out to get him, according to his arrest affidavit. Co-workers said that, despite their political differences, Toney and Knight were friends outside of work.

A 2018 FBI report showed a 17 % increase in hate crimes compared to 2017. The following year, the Fragile States Index ranked the U.S. among the top five most worsened countries for political stability. In 2018, the Anti-Defamation League deemed the year the fourth deadliest year since 1970 for domestic extremist violence, ranking only behind 2015, 2016 and 1995, the year of the Oklahoma City bombing.

The polarization of political opinions is further demonstrated by research conducted by scholars Nathan Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason, who found that in 2018, 20% of Republicans and 15% of Democrats believe that if members of the other party are going to behave badly, they should be treated like animals.

Their recent studies found that 3% of Americans believed that violence was justified if it advanced partisan goals while an additional 5% felt that such violence was moderately justifiable.

Political violence in 2019 was also carefully examined. ACLEDs U.S. Pilot Project collected data on political violence and protest events across the country from July to September 2019. The findings showed that nearly 3,200 political violence and protest events [occurred] during this pilot period. Such political violence was classified as lethal despite its limited nature; almost 50 fatalities reported were primarily due to mass shootings and excessive force by police.

Toneys alleged murder of pro-Trump Knight is far from being the first act of political violence to occur during Trumps presidency. A yawning chasm has divided members of the Democratic and Republican parties, and with the approach of the 2020 presidential election, tensions are brewing yet again.

It is crucial to remember that we are all humans. For one to have an opinion that differs from your own does not make them worthy of such violent acts. Each individual experiences life through their own unique lens. So, naturally, some will tend to form beliefs that could potentially contradict those of others. Instead of acting in a hostile manner, we should open our arms in a welcoming embrace. Diversity characterizes our humanity; to reject our differences is to reject what makes us human. Please, be civil throughout this election process. Not all will get their way as such is inevitable. Our best option is to grit our teeth, bear the results and attempt to better our lives accordingly.

Alessandra Arif is a City News Intern for the 2020 winter quarter. She can be reached at aearif@uci.edu

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Polarization Of Political Opinion Spurring Political Violence? - New University

March Drinking Liberally: Combating the Rising Tides of Hate – Patch.com

Posted By on February 17, 2020

In March, Drinking Liberally-Redmond is honored to have the local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, represented by Kendall Kosai, ADL PNW Associate Regional Director, to lead a conversation about combating the rising tides of hate in the nation, and in particular here in the Pacific Northwest.

There is no doubt that there has been a rise in hate crimes and extremism in Washington; to cite just one example, we have recently had a Washington state legislator accused of domestic terrorism. The ADL stands on the front lines in addressing these issues. Join us for a conversation around the rise of hate in Washington state and what you can do about it.

Kendall Kosai is the Associate Regional Director of the ADL Pacific Northwest Region. He spearheads the regions advocacy and community engagement work. A native to the Pacific Northwest, Kendall has worked in the civil rights space on a federal and local level for nearly a decade.

There is no fee for attending our meetings, but we do ask everyone who attends to 1) buy food and/or a drink to support the restaurant that supports us, and 2) contribute when the hat-is-passed to pay for our speakers' meal and operating expenses.

Drinking Liberally - Redmond gives like-minded progressives a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent in an informal, friendly environment.

"Building a Community of Progressive Action through Social Interaction"

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March Drinking Liberally: Combating the Rising Tides of Hate - Patch.com

Conservative movement apologizes for list of innovative rabbis that featured only men – Jewish Journal

Posted By on February 17, 2020

(JTA) The Conservative movements congregational umbrella group apologized for publishing an article about innovative rabbis that only included men.

The article by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism in the February issue of its Journeys publication featured five rabbis who meet people where they are. Among other things, the rabbis organized events in cafes and ice cream shops to engage Jews outside of the synagogue.

But the article, which is no longer available online, quickly drew criticism on social media for its lack of gender diversity.

One of the rabbis on the list, Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El in South Orange, New Jersey, even wrote in a comment Wednesday on his Facebook page that he was embarrassed and ashamed that he hadnt asked about who else was being featured on the list and that only male rabbis are represented.

Another Conservative rabbi, Daniel Novick, posted his own list on Facebook of five female rabbis meeting people where they are.

On Thursday, United Synagogue addressed the article in a Facebook post.

We apologize and take full responsibility, the organization wrote. We understand the kind of message this type of omission can send, and we are profoundly sorry.

United Synagogue also noted the many female speakers at its recent conferences and will continue to use this as an opportunity to look inward to further examine our internal processes for engaging, gathering, and sharing stories of our community.

The post Conservative movement apologizes for list of innovative rabbis that featured only men appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Conservative movement apologizes for list of innovative rabbis that featured only men

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Conservative movement apologizes for list of innovative rabbis that featured only men - Jewish Journal


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