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Legacy of Empire Britain, Zionism and the Creation of Israel – Middle East Monitor

Posted By on September 25, 2020

The Black Lives Matter protests have brought to the fore the issue of slavery upon which many British fortunes were built. This has led to calls for schools to take another look at their approach to the British Empire and its consequences. In many respects, this is a taboo subject, none more so than Britains colonial approach to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Britain, Zionism and the Creation of Israel by Gardner Thompson is, therefore a timely publication. As the author points out, Britain was one of the Great Powers which worked secretly with the early Zionists to create a Jewish state on land largely inhabited and owned by Palestinian Christians and Muslims.

At its height in 1922, the British Empire covered a fifth of the worlds population and a quarter of the land. Although its proponents say that the Empire brought economic progress across the world, its critics point to massacres, famines and exploitation. It was the British, remember, who introduced the concept of concentration camps to the world during the Boer War in South Africa.

As a major colonial power with a toe-hold in the Middle East, therefore, it was almost inevitable that Britain would be given the mandate to prepare Palestine for independence by the League of Nations as from 1923. In this, The British record is one of failure, Thompson points out, because the intention was always to create a Zionist state, not an Arab Palestinian state in Palestine. Perhaps some British supporters of Zionism in the period 1917 to 1922 would have regarded as success the emergence by the late 1930s of a national home in Palestine of around 400,000 Jews, writes Thompson. But the costs for example, in money, lives and reputation had been considerable, and there was every prospect that Britains legacy would be an ungovernable country. Although for the time being the British remained in power, the government had lost the consent of the governed.

This book has been shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards 2020, please click here to read the full review on the Palestine Book Awards site

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Legacy of Empire Britain, Zionism and the Creation of Israel - Middle East Monitor

Why this is the ideal time for a Zionist Spring – Heritage Florida Jewish News

Posted By on September 25, 2020

Israel-haters must not be very happy these days. All of a sudden, the big lie that nourished their anti-Zionist venom for so long is slipping away.

For more than 50 years, diplomatic geniuses kept telling the world that the key to peace in the Middle East is to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The convenient corollary was that the solution was all in Israels hands, which kept the Jewish state constantly on the receiving end of global condemnation.

This brilliant maneuver sought to camouflage the plain truth that the deepest ills of the region have absolutely nothing to do with Israel or the Palestinian conflict.

Consider just a few: centuries of conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims; brutal dictatorships that have led to general misery and despair; a predatory Iranian regime seekingdomination of the region; civil wars in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; the rise of terror groups like ISIS; and a gross absence of civil liberties that results in the routine jailing of dissidents.

When the Arab Spring erupted in 2011 and millions poured out onto the streets to demand those very liberties, many of us thought the big lie would be exposed. After all, what were these desperate protestors demanding if not the same rights, freedoms and opportunities that their Arab and Muslim brethren already enjoyed in Israel?

Turns out it took a little longer, about nine years.

One cant overstate the paradigm shift represented by the decision of the United Arab Emirates to go public with its open relationship with Israel. Here is the dreaded Zionist enemy, the scapegoat exploited by countless dictators over the decades to distract from their own failures, being publicly legitimized and validated by a powerful Arab nation.

No wonder Israel-haters are unhappy. Their lie is crumbling. The Zionist state is suddenly turning into a source for solutions and hope rather than hatred.

For anti-Zionist groups like the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, this is a disaster in the making. How can they continue to undermine Israel if Arab countries announce that its good for the health of their societies to do business with the Zionist state?

You can bet they wont stop trying. They will be helped by ever-eager activists who will continue to parrot the worn-out mantra about the importance of ending Palestinian oppression and resolving the Palestinian conflict.

But if these activists look a little deeper, they will realize that the conditions for resolving the conflict are actually better now, when corrupt Palestinian leaders no longer hold a veto on progress in the region. That veto gave these selfish leaders an incentive to maintain a lucrative status quo, one that nourished their victim status while leaving Israel as a dark force worthy only of boycotts and condemnations. Without that veto, maybe they will focus more on what is good for their people.

After all, it wont be easy to push for boycotts of Israel now that some Arab countries are itching to do the very opposite. These countries will reasonably ask: Why not emulate the UAE and take advantage of Israeli innovation in areas such as desalination, cybersecurity, medicine, food security, renewable energy, and, not least, defense against common threats?

This is the nightmare of Israel boycotters everywhere the rise of a Zionist Spring in the Middle East.

As long as the big lie prevailed, the global BDS movement had the field to itself, throwing poison on the Zionist idea. On college campuses across America, it has been so successful that the mere mention of the Z-word has become controversial.

As more college students show pride in their Zionist identity, we can expect the BDS movement to double down on its anti-Zionism. Their foot soldiers will do all they can to suffocate any chance of a Zionist revival. They will continue to use the Palestinian cause to malign Zionism, even though their movement has always been about bashing Israel rather than raising Palestinians.

But now, they will have a major new force going against them Arab states that want to follow the UAE.

These states have the credibility to expose the big lie and reveal a simple truth: Israel is not the enemy of the Arab world and has plenty to offer its Arab neighbors to help improve peoples lives. No one not even the Palestinians can call that a lie.

How ironic if, in the end, it is Arab countries seeking real peace and real hope that will create a Zionist Spring.

David Suissais editor-in-chief and publisher of Tribe Media Corp and Jewish Journal.

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Why this is the ideal time for a Zionist Spring - Heritage Florida Jewish News

The confession of an ardent Zionist – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on September 25, 2020

For the sins we have committed...

If the sins I am asking forgiveness for are those of the community, Im not necessarily guilty of having committed any of them myself. That, in turn, allows me to declaim a litany of moral shortcomings with neer a thought as to personal accountability.

But that, of course, would be missing the point. And quite contrary to the emphasis on introspection and soul-searching leading up to this most momentous day, which, in turn, is meant to engender resolve to alter our wayward behavior.

The question is particularly pertinent this year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many of us will be praying alone, apart from our congregations of fellow sinners. Ironically, in our seclusion, I have no doubt that we will be marking the day with a heightened sense of the individual responsibility each and every one of us bears for the well-being of the society we are a part of. And, in the case of Israel, for the country as a whole. More than that, for the success or failure of the Zionist enterprise altogether.

I mean that seriously. With all the recrimination, allegation, reproach and blame being carelessly cast about, tearing our society apart, I fear, as this New Year begins, that we may well be approaching a point of no return, a juncture beyond which it will no longer be possible to forge a society unified in purpose even if not in thought.

For the sins we have committed by forsaking the ideals that brought us hither, and on whose altar we have sacrificed so many, And for the sins we have committed by abandoning the values championed by those who inspired our homecoming, bequeathing our children a society less just and less cohesive than that with which we were entrusted.

For the sin of casting out in their old age those whose strength has failed them, And for the sin of inattention, allowing so many to die before their time.

For the sin of shunting aside survivors of the

vilest cruelty humankind has ever contrived,

And for the sin of adding to their suffering through institutionalized neglect.

For the sin of not feeding and clothing the malnourished and poor,

And for the sin of putting a third of our children to bed hungry at night.

For the sin of insulting the deaf and causing the blind to stumble,

And for the sin of indignity inflicted on those challenged and disabled.

For the sin of closing our gates to those yearning to return, barred due to pedigrees deemed deficient, And for the sin of turning away those who,

of their own free will, would choose to join their fate with the Children of Israel.

For the sin of prohibiting those in love to marry,

And for the sin of discrimination on the

basis of sexual orientation.

For the sin of not eradicating sexism

and gender-based degradation,

And for the sin of not excoriating

the violation of women.

For the sin of domestic violence,

excessive force and abuse of power,

And for the sin of neither lifting up the downtrodden nor comforting the fallen.

For the sin of dismissing the gravity of

bribery and exploitation of trust,

And for the sin of making light of

falsehood and fraud.

For the sin of not remembering that once we were strangers in a strange land, And for the sin of maltreating those seeking refuge

within our borders, deporting children from

the only home they have ever known.

For the sin of hardening our hearts

to the disenfranchised,

And for the sin of causing the marginalized to experience daily the humiliation of feeling unequal.

For the sin of false promises, leaving our brethren to languish in faraway lands, And for the sin of broken promises not to discriminate

on the basis of race.

For the sin of contempt in underpaying our

teachers and social workers,

And for the sin of unfair demands imposed upon those looking after our health.

For the sin of egoism and selfishness in disregard

of the public good,

And for the sin of pandemic indifference to the

welfare of others.

For the sin of callousness toward those

whose lives have been shattered

and livelihoods lost,

And for the sin of not sharing fairly the burden

theyve borne.

For the sin of baseless hatred and the failure to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, And for the sin of harboring hatred even when it emerges not without cause.

For all these, there is none to pardon us, forgive us or atone for us.

For all these, there is only us.

Kol Yisrael arevim zeh lazeh.

Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bzeh.

Two renditions of the verse, one advising us that all of Israel are responsible for one another, the other reminding us that all of Israel are in this together. Both commanding mutual responsibility. Who shall live and who shall die? As individuals and as a collective, we in part shall decide.

May we, and the State of Israel with us, be inscribed for a year of healing, and may we all be sealed in the Book of Life.

The writer serves as deputy chairman ofthe executive of the Jewish Agency.

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The confession of an ardent Zionist - The Jerusalem Post

Pro-Israel group calls on Tufts to investigate dental student over hate-filled anti-Jewish tweets – Cleveland Jewish News

Posted By on September 25, 2020

StandWithUs sent a letter on Thursday toTufts Universitys president and the dean of its dental school expressing concern about a third-year dental student over his history of anti-Semitic tweets.

In its letter to Anthony Monaco and Nadeem Karimbux, StandWithUs wrote that Adam Elayans tweets, which date back as far as 2012 and have since been removed from Twitter, should raise immediate concern, and that these apparent sentiments are egregious for a student aspiring to provide dental-health services to the public, and to Jewish or Israeli patients in particular.

StandWithUs warned that Elayans online posts present an apparent obsession with conveying hatred for Jews, relaying anti-Semitic tropes about Jews and posturing about a desire to harm Jews physically.

In a 2014 tweet, Elayan reportedly posted: I will f***in cremate you Jewish b**ch.

In another tweet that year, he reportedly posted, LEMME F*** THIS YAHOOD [Jewish] B**CHES UP YO.

He also reportedly that year tweeted, YAHOOD [Jews] RIGGED THE GAME.

In 2015, Elayan reportedly posted tweets that included Cant stand the yahood [Jews] here; Talk is cheap, its like all of yall grew up in a Jewish home; Hate how Israel currency is all coins stupid Yahood [Jewish] f***s; and The only difference between Jews and Muslims is that Jews never like to spend money and Muslims never have any money to spend.

StandWithUs also expressed alarm about Elayan expressing hatred of Zionism, which is a core part of Jewish identity, citing tweets including Every certain trait I hate about people stems from the average personality of Zionists; I do not refer to Zionists as human beings. They are of primitive standards, comparable to the Neanderthal; and, They steal your whole country, thats a Zionist.

A duty to promote the patients welfare

StandWithUs warned that since Jews are an identifiable category of patients whom he undoubtedly will encounter during his practice of dentistry, if Elayan graduates from dental school, he will be able to make significant health-care decisions for a population he appears to detest and desires to harm.

The vile, discriminatory and anti-Semitic tweets attributed to Mr. Elayan make it nearly impossible to believe that such an individual could serve as a competent dental professional, stated StandWithUs. Mr. Elayans allegedly repeated behavior highlights an obvious fixation with and contempt for Jews. It also raises serious doubts about whether he possesses the competence and compassion necessary to practice dentistry.

The pro-Israel group called on the Tufts administration to immediately investigate whether Mr. Elayan may have violated, at a minimum, the following applicable rules and provisions and, if he has, to institute immediate repercussions.

It also alleged that Elayan has violated at least four of the American Dental Association Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct, including the dentist has a duty to refrain from harming the patient, the dentist has a duty to promote the patients welfare, the dentist has a duty to treat people fairly and the dentist has a duty to communicate truthfully.

The pro-Israel group also alleged that Elayan may have violated four of the values of the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, including professional excellence and integrity in living, learning and practicing with the highest ethical and clinical standards; commitment to advance dentistry through the integration of education, research and collaboration; respect for each others rights, opinions and beliefs in a diverse, culturally sensitive and supportive environment; and a culture of open communication that fosters a sense of community.

Tufts University spokesperson Patrick Collins told JNS, We have received the letter and are reviewing it. We find the comments, which were posted to a private account unaffiliated with the university several years ago, to be abhorrent and contrary to the inclusive environment that we strive for and are known for at Tufts.

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Pro-Israel group calls on Tufts to investigate dental student over hate-filled anti-Jewish tweets - Cleveland Jewish News

Saying goodbye to the Israeli one-state prophet – +972 Magazine

Posted By on September 25, 2020

Meron Benvenisti died last week on Rosh Hashanah at the age of 86. He was a passionate, brilliant, and charismatic iconoclast, a bold and energetic researcher, and a prolific and powerful writer. His visceral attachment to the whole country, his knowledge of and sense of responsibility for Palestinian suffering, and his comfort with confronting conventional wisdom with inconvenient truths, gave his work a compelling urgency that sometimes obscured its lack of nuance.

He was a political organizer, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem in the 1970s, an archeologist, a scholar of the Crusaders, a land dealer, a public policy researcher, and a journalist. But he will be remembered primarily as a prophet a tormented, hyperbolic, anguished, but, in the end, undeniably accurate prophet. Prophets only need to be right about some things to be remembered for their prophecy.Meron was right about one big thing:that the future of Palestine, the future of the Land of Israel, will grow out of a one-state reality from the river to the sea a reality he identified as such earlier than almost any Jewish Israeli.

Merons life, as he described it, was a long process of disillusionment with the conventional Zionism that he absorbed as a youth. His father, who cared not a whit for the countrys Arab inhabitants, was a distinguished geographer who was obsessed with the Zionist principle of Yediat Haaretz (knowing the land). Meron took that principle to its logical extension, loving not only the land but the Palestinian Arabs inhabiting it. Their natural comfort in the landscape and their tenacious human attachment to the places of their habitation not simply to the map image of a politically designated space was his model for what it meant to be what he claimed to be: a native of the country. Intimately exposed to Palestinian suffering and the injustices imposed upon them, he came to see the Zionist project not as building the land, but the obliteration of the landscapes of my childhood.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Israeli scholars and journalists covering the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank began talking about approaching the point of no return echoing the warnings of their Palestinian counterparts. The savviest observers, such as Danny Rubinstein, Yehuda Litani, and Amos Elon, contended that within a few years, or even months, the Gush Emunim settlement movement, and the right-wing parties and governments that supported it, would make the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible.

Meron was the most articulate, most fervent, best informed, and most effective voice among them. Armed with detailed plans and information about this strategy made available to him by the Land Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, which worked hand in glove with the settlers and Likud government ministers, Meron was able to stimulate a vivid and, for liberal doves, terrifying sense of closing opportunities for peace. It was, he told journalist Thomas Friedman in 1982, five minutes to midnight.

At first, his warnings were hailed by Israeli politicians such as Abba Eban and Lova Eliav. But as time passed, as settler leaders and government ministers praised his findings as proof of the success of their project, and as the number of settlers passed threshold after threshold, Merons former political allies turned on him. Suddenly, he was vilified for supporting the settlement of the entire Land of Israel, secretly hoping to unite the country under a Jewish government by undermining the will to resist annexation with his thesis of irreversibility.

View of the separation wall and Al-Aqsa compound in the background on February 2, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

When I was a young professor at Dartmouth College, I hosted Meron and was in contact with him irregularly over the decades. He found my approach irritating, focusing as it did on the implicit theories undergirding his idea of a point of no return, and on whether the data gathered from Gush Emunim and government planners was reliable. We were, in that sense, intellectual rivals, but I greatly respected him. While other analysts and politicians would regularly forecast the passing of a point of no return as a way to mobilize support from worried doves (only to renounce the existence of such a point after it had passed), Meron was faithful to his analysis.

Without any attractive alternative to a two-state solution available, and therefore without being able to reassure his audience that their fondest dreams would not be dashed, he was, except for one brief period during the First Intifada, consistent in his argument that there never would and never could be an independent Palestinian state. He believed that the peoples living in the land, trapped in an intercommunal conflict, would simply have to find a way to live with one another in the same country and in the same state.

I grieve Merons passing. He was not only one of the most dynamic and interesting people I have ever met, but also, even from a distance, one of my most important intellectual and political interlocutors. In the early 1970s, we were both shocked at the hubris and shortsightedness of Israeli policies toward Palestinians. We each developed interests in British rule in Ireland as a case holding warnings and opportunities for Israel and Palestine. His arguments and data gave urgency and definition to my work in the State Department in the Carter administration, on whether the Camp David Accords could be used to advance a land for peace deal or not. In a series of articles and books, I sharpened my thinking on his arguments, which always provoked and deserved rigorous evaluation.

Although I do not believe Meron was right in the late 1980s that the failure of the two-state solution was inevitable, I have come to the bitter but liberating conclusion that, in the world as it did develop, that option is no longer available. That acceptance of the one-state reality, and of the fact that the future will be determined by its dynamics, not by negotiations, required a long and wrenching process of disillusionment and learning. In that way as well as in others, I feel that, with age, I have come to understand Meron better. For as he emphasized in his later writings, throughout his intellectual, political, and spiritual journey from fervent Zionist to a quasi-Canaanitish democrat, he too learned via processes marked more decisively by disillusion than enlightenment.

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Saying goodbye to the Israeli one-state prophet - +972 Magazine

This Rosh Hashanah I remember hiking in Israel when I still believed the myths – Mondoweiss

Posted By on September 25, 2020

It was a beautiful fall day here in Chicago this year on Rosh Hashanah, so I did what I do during most of these pandemic daysI took a walk around the north side of Chicago. On this crisp, cool day, the light turning from summer yellow to fall white, I remembered missing days like these when I lived in Israel. I used to write letters to my mother explaining how much I missed the fall. In a loving gesture, she sent me photos of fall days like this one in a care package along with peanut M&Ms, soap opera updates from the Sunday paper, and a 20 dollar bill.

Walking in Chicago on the Jewish New Year, I began to think about the first time I took a hike. It was 1986 on my first trip to Israel. I was 16, with dozens of other young 16-year-olds on the same high school summer program, walking in northern Israel over a span of several hours. Youre going to hike the width of the country! our enthusiastic leader told our eager group. Donning faded cut-off jean shorts, a pink fanny pack, and my canteenYoull need the water for the hike, we were told before the trip I forged a bond with the ground with each step I took across the tiny country. My teenage feet sunk into the earth, mud sticking into the ridges of my shoes.

Some teens on the hike later removed the mud from their shoes with a stick, but not me. Its embarrassing to admit now, but that day, I fantasized about licking the holy dirt from the bottom of my shoe with my tongue when no one was looking, for we had been taught for weeks (and for years back in the U.S.) that it was holy. At age 16, I was a virgin, but I felt drawn to the Israeli earth like a lover. Later, I fooled around on that earth camping in the Israeli wilderness, a menage-a-trois with a man and the dirt.I had grown up with parents who often said that Jews dont camp. My father used to tell me that the closest wed ever get to camping would be spending a weekend at the Holiday Inn Holidome off Highway 94 in Wisconsin. So the hiking I did in Israel, while obviously a Jewish ritual given where I was and who I was with, felt exotic and different.

When we removed the mud from our shoes with a stick on that hike at age 16, I put some of the earth in an empty wine bottle, corked it, and brought it home to Chicagoa souvenir and holy relic at once.

The walk we did is called a tiyul, which also means a hike or a journey, in Hebrew. Throughout the several-hour tiyul across the nation-state, we walked up and down hills, climbed through forests, paused at the hot springs, pushed each other into the Jordan River. We teenagers flirted, some hooked up, and a couple got married a few years later and made aliyah, returning to the place where they first fell in love.

The ground itself we young Zionists walked through on the tiyul had been altered to appear native, carefully designed precisely to feel primal and spontaneous and organic, the actual indigenous Palestinian land destroyed to make way for this false, fake appearance of indigenousness. Forests and parks we teens hiked through used to be Palestinian villages: Amuqa, Ayn al-Zaytun, Firim, Mughr al-Khayt, Qabaa, are just a few. Pine trees now grow where the villages once stood.

On the tiyul, we walked outside all day with sweat dripping off our bodies, absorbed by the holy dirt. Some took a piss on the side of the path like dogs claiming their territory. One teen had filled his canteen with lemon vodkarelishing that there was no drinking age in Israelbut once he was hot, he dumped the liquor on the ground, which quickly drank that, too. The entire experience was designed to feel like we were discovering it ourselves, but of course, these encounters took place against a manufactured backdropa Zionist playground created entirely on top of Palestinian life and culture.

As I walked through the forest on the tiyul, I remembered the allowance money I put in the Jewish National Fund (JNF) blue box at a young age. We made the desert bloom, my mother said when I was ten years old. How did we do this, I asked from our home, from the other side of the world? My mother pointed to the blue JNF box full of loose changea pretty sky blue, I remember, and in the foreground of the box a tall, good looking man held an ax and stared towards the sunwhile I sat on our 1970s green kitchen counter. Thats how, she said. And then I felt a selflessness in me, learning to give to others who required help, like Israel, who I believedbecause my mother believedneeded money to help make the empty forest grow. Only five cities are listed on the blue box, the only cities that matter to young Zionists: Haifa, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, and Eilat. The hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948 dont enter a Zionists consciousness.

The tiyul became a forced consummation of years of foreplay spent dreaming of walking across the land. Later, I read about this colonial tactic masked as a light-hearted walk in Orit Ben-Davids essay, Tiyul (Hike) as an Act of Consecration of Space, in Eyal Ben-Ari and Yorum Bilus 1998 book, Grasping Land: Space and Place in Contemporary Israeli Discourse and Experience. There, l learned that the tiyul is a declaration of territorial claim, and a means for the legitimization of personal and national identity. The hikes are just another territorial method to get young Zionists to fall in love with the land, a way to claim national possession:

Hikes and tours were basic constituents of the Zionist ethos, and were popular from the 1920s. The aim of these excursions was to develop a close familiarity with the landscape and to encourage a concrete bond to the features of the homelandThe Zionist hike was therefore constructed as a return; a search for the familiar names and places from the Jewish past.

This tiyul is a fabricated experience that felt real to me, designed to reconnect me to a Jewish past.

It worked, for unbeknownst to me, the epiphanies I had about Israel had already been anticipated by political leaders, conditions already created to sexualize and fall in love with the land, purposefully manufactured, deliberately outlined by other, older Zionists sitting somewhere in large offices with millions of dollars to ensure young Zionists fall in love with the country. I believed, as I was taught, that it was a legitimate countryfought for and defended, needing my help.

On Rosh Hashanah the other day in Chicago, I walked through the campus of Loyola University and sat on a bench near Lake Michigan. I received my Masters in Education there in 2000. Its a beautiful campus along the lake. Black Lives Matter, Vote Trump Out, and Justice for the Indigenous, messages dotted the cement path in pink and yellow chalk. The lake that day was a still, brilliant blue. I needed to return home soon, to plan my remote classes that now consist of students logging onto Zoom from their homes. Some of my students are homeless, and they try to connect to our class on their phones. They keep their video off. Others sit in their backyards or on the roofs of their homes. Some are in bed. Most evenings after dinner, I walk along Broadway Avenue in my neighborhood. Since April, the amount of homeless people on the street has steadily increased.

On the tiyul up north in Israel in 1986, I rested at one point during the long day. We teenagers were tired. I needed to refill my canteen with more water. The teen whose canteen had been filled with vodka was drunk. I ate lunch on a wood bench in a park that looked like it had always been there. A structure with limestone on the bottom and glass on the top stood out. What a beautiful fusion of old and modern, I said to the enthusiastic leader. It was a bathroom for the hikers who ate their lunches on the wood benches in the park that was designed to appear native. I asked what the building used to be before it was a bathroomclearly it was something before it was a place to pee in. The leader of our tiyul told me, Ancient ruins, with a faraway look in his eye, with a modern update!

Leaving any political system behind is also deeply personal. For years, my mother and I suffered an ideological alienation from each other. The values I was taught as a child were, when taken to their logical conclusion, precisely what caused me to abandon the Zionist ideology. Even now, I feel a twinge when I return to my mother, who is agingI am aging, toobecause things have never quite been the same between us since I separated Israels myth from its reality. Weve been confused by each other, my mother and me, for it was she who taught me to be selfless and to help others when I put my allowance in that pretty blue box.

I still feel nauseous when I remember when I sat, in lovefor it felt as authentic as a real love could feelon a wood bench in a park that used to be a Palestinian village, where Zionists on a tiyul took a piss and snuck alcohol and fooled around near the building of glass fused to limestone that used to be a Palestinian home.

But these are just memories and musingsstirring, I suppose, during these Days of Awe when we are asked to reflect. Here on a fall day in Chicago, the leaves have not yet turned brown or fallen. Zionists in synagogues all over the U.S. are askingover Zoomfor donations to Israel. Little Zionists fill their JNF blue boxes to help the forests grow in Israel, looking up to and learning from their mothers.

On my walk through Loyola, I saw some boats out on Lake Michigan, clustered in a group. The water was calm and peaceful, the blue not unlike the color of the JNF blue box. I thought of the beginning of one of my mothers favorite books, Zora Neale Hurstons 1937 novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God:

Ships at a distance have every mans wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.

Now, women forget all those things they dont want to remember, and remember everything they dont want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.

I remember seeing this book around our house when I was young. My mother, also a teacher, was using it in her classes. She had discovered Hurston, who grew up in Eatonville, Florida, in the 1970s, when we lived in Gainesville. For decades, she recommended that I read the book. I promise youll love it, she said to me many times. I scoffed with a youthful bravado, not wanting to be told what to read, tired of seeing it all over the house. I finally did, in college, in one of my literature courses. You were right, I wrote her in a letter after I finished.

On Rosh Hashanah, as she and my father participated in their temples services on Zoom, she sent me a text wishing me Shana Tova. She also sent a photo of her computer screen of the Rabbi and Cantor up on the bimah without the congregation. They were separated by plexiglass. Lonely clergy, she wrote in her text, but at least its one of those nice fall days you used to miss when you lived in Israel.

I got up from the bench, but wasnt ready to go home. I decided to walk a bit longer along the path.

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This Rosh Hashanah I remember hiking in Israel when I still believed the myths - Mondoweiss

A misguided analysis of the Jessica Krug affair (letter) – Inside Higher Ed

Posted By on September 25, 2020

To the editor:

I am disappointed and dismayed at the editorial process that led to the publication of Peter C. Hermans LAffaire Krug and Contemporary Wokeism.

What standing does Herman have to write on this topic? He appears to be a scholar of the Renaissance. I am confident that if Inside Higher Ed sought to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Jessica Krugs decision to pass as Black, you could have found any number of scholars who specialize in ethnic studies or fields more closely related to contemporary race identification questions.

It is reflective of Hermans lack of facility in the questions he engages that he cites Shakespeare but fails to account for some of the ideas raised in The Merchant of Venice. Shylock, yes, asks questions that point to the social construct of race. But the point that Herman leaves out here is one that historians and scholars of race raise as well (and do so without falling back on anti-Jewish stereotypes): What is the purpose of the construction of race? See, for example, scholar Barbara Fields on this question.

The construct of race was not formed to offer people a broader variety of socially determined performances but the subjugation of groups of people for the consolidation of economic and political power. The determination of individuals, such as Krug and Rachel Dolezal, to present themselves as belonging to racial and ethnic groups to which they do not belong, reinforces this dynamic. Those determinations donot, as Herman suggests, contribute to some sort of eliding of problematic segregation. The case of Krug is particularly egregious as her identification allowed her access to resources specifically marked for people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

Herman makes a dangerous equation between gender -- a characteristic that is individual -- with race -- a social construct, yes, but one reinforced by familial heritage, physical appearance, and societal recognition. Racial and ethnic identity is rhizomatic, with vertical and lateral roots; gender identity is often assigned at birth, but that assignment is sometimes incorrect or incomplete, and it is healthy and good that people can later take steps to embody the gender identity that is right for them. Many thinkers -- Crissle West, Meredith Talusan, Samantha Allen -- publishing on a range of platforms have articulated the reasons that this equation is wrong.

Rather than returning to the outdated idea that recognizing racial differences creates further segregation and oppression such that we should just start ignoring race -- a convenient strategy for a white man, who has almost certainly benefitted from the privileges whiteness affords -- thinkers such as Ibram X. Kendi suggest that we should instead recognize the ways that racism is upheld through policy. We need to then take steps to dismantle those racist policies, such as housing segregation, school segregation, preference for legacy students and high test scores (even on tests that have been recognized to have racial bias) in higher education admissions, and replace them with antiracist policies.

Hermans concluding call that we ignore race in addressing issues of class and global climate change misapprehends these problems as separate when they are intrinsically linked. We know, for example, that the wealth gap between white and Black households is approximately tenfold (Brookings); that is, white households have an average net worth of $171,000 while Black households typically have $17,150. Stanfords Open Policing Project finds significant gaps in police stops of white people versus Black people. The Sentencing Project documents longstanding disparities in criminal justice outcomes for African-American and Hispanic people compared to white people ( And did we not learn after Hurricane Katrina that natural disasters, on pace to occur with increasing frequency, will disproportionately affect nonwhite people because of historical instantiated policies on housing and segregation?

I also take issue with several statements in this piece that reflect sloppy, sometimes racist, logic on the part of the writer:

His biography on the NYU website:

I ask that you revisit the process by which this piece was approved for publication, and consider what steps might be appropriate to correct some of the issues in this piece, as well as to take steps to publish work that better reflects the conclusions that scholars in identity studies have reached.

With best regards,

Carolyn Caine

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A misguided analysis of the Jessica Krug affair (letter) - Inside Higher Ed

US Muslim groups face pressure over ties to Israel-friendly Emgage – The Electronic Intifada

Posted By on September 25, 2020

Democratic Party activist Linda Sarsour urges Muslim Americans to vote for Joe Biden, during Emgage Michigans virtual gala on 20 September. (via YouTube)

Muslim American and Palestinian rights groups are under growing pressure to cut ties with Emgage, the US Muslim organization whose leaders maintain cozy ties with Israel lobby groups.

On Tuesday, American Muslims for Palestine broke its official silence on the matter, saying that it was aware of and is addressing the grave allegations about Emgage.

This comes two weeks after The Electronic Intifadas expos of Emgage leaders connections with anti-Palestine organizations.

AMP takes a simple, strong, and principled position prohibiting covert and overt alliances and normalization with Islamophobic or Zionist organizations and elements, as well as any hateful individuals and groups, American Muslims for Palestine said.

All members of the US Council of Muslim Organizations adhere to these principles and this was made patently clear to Emgage when it sought membership in the USCMO, AMP added.

Both Emgage and American Muslims for Palestine are members of the US Council of Muslim Organizations.

AMP said it would wait until an official report by USCMO about Emgage, but that in the meantime it would continue to impose a prohibition on a collaborative relationship with Emgage.

It is unclear when this report will be issued.

As The Electronic Intifada has reported, Emgage leaders have collaborated closely with Israel lobby groups that are waging a relentless campaign against Palestine solidarity activism, especially the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

These groups include AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee.

Emgage board members and personnel have participated in the Muslim Leadership Initiative junkets to Israel operated by the Shalom Hartman Institute, an organization which has close ties to the Israeli military and shares a major funder with some of the most Islamophobic organizations in the United States.

Emgage has endorsed Joe Biden and its longtime board member and former Pentagon official Farooq Mitha serves as the Democratic nominees Muslim engagement adviser.

Raja Abdulhaq, executive director of Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York, welcomed AMPs statement as a powerful and principled position and urged other national Muslim organizations to follow.

But for many, American Muslims for Palestine and other USCMO members have not moved fast or far enough.

On Sunday, Hatem Bazian, American Muslims for Palestines board chair, published a note on Facebook reacting to the Emgage controversy.

Bazian said he had been involved in discussions with Emgage leaders and was unsatisfied with their responses thus far.

Bazian has been a leading voice warning about the dangers of faithwashing projects like the Muslim Leadership Initiative that co-opt US Muslim activists into pro-Israel propaganda.

But now Bazian is urging that the best approach is to postpone further discussions about Emgage until after the November election.

This drew a sharp response from commenter Laila al-Arian, who called it stunning that asking Muslim American groups to dissociate from Israel lobby organizations is seen as such a tall order.

Al-Arian added that it is clearly a strategic blunder to wait until after the elections to hold Emgage accountable and have them disassociate from Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian groups.

The Drop Emgage campaign is also pushing for stronger action.

On Wednesday, the campaign said American Muslims for Palestine had taken a critical step towards dropping Emgage USA entirely.

Drop Emgage called AMPs move a step in the right direction.

More than 200 Palestinian and Muslim activists have signed Drop Emgages open letter demanding that Emgage sever all ties with Israel lobby group and respect the Palestinian BDS call.

Drop Emgage is now urging the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society and others to immediately suspend all collaboration until Emgage meets demands to end its normalization activities with Zionist groups.

CAIR is among several Muslim American groups taking part in Emgages voter mobilization drive.

In August, CAIR redacted criticisms of Emgages ties to Zionist groups made by Palestinian scholar Sami al-Arian from a video of an online seminar.

A request for comment was acknowledged by CAIR, but no response has been received.

Another group partnering with Emgage is MPower Change, led by Linda Sarsour, a high-profile Palestinian American activist in the Democratic Party.

Sarsour participated in a virtual gala hosted by Emgages Michigan chapter last Sunday.

I came here to support the leadership of Nada al-Hanooti and her work as the Emgage executive director of the Michigan chapter, Sarsour began offering praise while deftly avoiding a full-throated endorsement of Emgage as a whole.

But Sarsour did not address any of the controversy surrounding Emgages connections to anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic groups, focusing instead on urging Muslim Americans to vote for Biden no matter what misgivings they may have.

Give me Joe Biden. Joe Biden is a neoliberal, he is a conservative Democrat, and yes he does not align with us on many issues, Sarsour said.

In return for electing Biden, Sarsour promised to stay on these streets and fight harder than I ever have, even harder than I fought under the Trump administration.

Sarsour offered a version of the perennial election-time pitch: Vote for the Democrats now because this is the most important election in our lifetimes. Well hold Obamas/Clintons/Bidens feet to the fire later.

But according to Black Agenda Reports Margaret Kimberley, We will hold their feet to the fire, is one of the saddest or perhaps funniest of all quadrennial proclamations.

Anyone who actually votes for a Democrat yet ends up pushing back against them is in a very distinct minority, Kimberley adds. Most Americans have been so bullied by the system that their political activity is already limited to voting.

Liberation cant come from electoral politics, Kimberley writes. The mass movement comes first and electoral successes may follow.

One conclusion is that if voting gives people any leverage at all, it is by demanding concessions from politicians before the votes are cast, not after.

Another, as the Emgage debacle shows, is that trying to build a mass movement around Muslim American identity cannot succeed if it fails to adopt and abide by clear principles on the question of Palestine.

Sarsour and MPower Change have not responded to requests for comment.

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US Muslim groups face pressure over ties to Israel-friendly Emgage - The Electronic Intifada

Hispanic Heritage Month: Exploring The Connection Between Latin Americans And Judaism – CBS New York

Posted By on September 25, 2020

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with the Jewish High Holidays.

CBS2s Steve Overmyer reports on the complex history of the two cultures intersecting.

Something thats pretty unique about being a Latin American Jew is that we tend to always connect with each other very easily, said Judith Ghitman, whos from Venezuela and moved to New York in March.

She said it was a challenge to find the citys Latin American Jewish community during the coronavirus pandemic.

I got a chance to connect with a few people and I got their phone numbers, and were in touch. That makes me a little more excited for what my social life will look like in a couple months, she said.

Latin America is home to the 3rd largest Jewish community in the world.

It was tough to find that community in New York until 12 years ago, when Rabbi Mendy Whiteman founded the Jewish Latin Center.

We have this Latin American community that has the warmth and the values and the traditions coming from South America to create a home and a community where they can bring that culture, that warmth and incorporate it with Jewish traditions, celebration and values. It really makes an amazing experience, said Rabbi Mendy Shuchat, who is Venezuelan.

During the Spanish Inquisition, those of Jewish faith were forced to flee. Their new home was in Latin America.

Today, one out of every four Latin Americans has at least 5% Jewish DNA.

Were talking about Jews that immigrated from Spain, starting to Brazil and later came to New York, said Rabbi Shuchat.

In fact, the first synagogue in New York was founded by a Jewish Brazilian refugee of the Spanish Inquisition.

Past the layers, past the colors, past the passports, theres an essence within each and every single one of us a godly essence and thats what were trying to reach and celebrate, said Rabbi Shuchat.

Discovering that shared ancestry helps to understand and embrace the history.

Click here for more Hispanic Heritage Month coverage.

You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Exploring The Connection Between Latin Americans And Judaism - CBS New York

Manchin Section 230 bill inbound – POLITICO – Politico

Posted By on September 25, 2020

With help from Cristiano Lima and John Hendel

Editors Note: POLITICO Tech is a free version of POLITICO Pro Tech's morning newsletter, which is delivered to our subscribers each morning at 6 a.m. The POLITICO Pro platform combines the news you need with tools you can use to take action on the days biggest stories. Act on the news with POLITICO Pro.

Liability legislation incoming: A soon-to-be-released bill would compel internet companies to report major crimes online to federal authorities by hitting them where it hurts: their prized legal immunity.

Facebooks year-long dilemma: CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last year that his social network should not regulate political ads. This month, it started regulating some political ads. Heres why.

TikTok countdown: A federal court has given the Trump administration a choice: delay or defend its move to ban video-sharing platform TikTok from U.S. app stores. A decision is due today.

ITS FRIDAY. WELCOME TO MORNING TECH AND THE WEEKEND! Youve got co-hosts Alexandra Levine and Steven Overly today. Were bidding adieu to our Morning Cybersecurity colleague, Tim Starks, who signs off today after five years at the helm of that newsletter.

Got a news tip? Write to Alexandra at [emailprotected], or follow along @Ali_Lev and @alexandra.levine. An event for our calendar? Send details to [emailprotected]. Anything else? Full team info below. And don't forget: Add @MorningTech and @PoliticoPro on Twitter.

A message from Ericsson:

5G will accelerate innovation and provide transformative use cases across multiple global sectors. It will also bring new security challenges with broader attack surfaces, more devices and increased traffic loads. We must have networks that are trustworthy, resilient, and secure by design all on day one. Learn more.

SCOOP: INCOMING MANCHIN BILL TARGETS CRIMES ONLINE, SECTION 230 Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is set to unveil a long-awaited bill as early as next week aimed at curtailing major crimes online such as the sale of illegal drugs by amending the internet industrys legal liability protections. The so-called See Something, Say Something Online Act, would require companies shielded under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to report to the Justice Department suspicious activity by users that could be linked to major crimes, or lose their immunity over third-party content, according to a new dispatch by Cristiano.

A bid for bipartisan Section 230 reform: Its the latest proposal in Washington to set its sights on the legal shield. As the Internet rapidly changed, we failed to keep up. Now we must amend Section 230 to reflect the way the Internet impacts our lives today both good and bad, Manchin told POLITICO. Thats why I am planning to introduce bipartisan legislation that would require companies to say something when they see something illegal online.

A concept years in the making: Manchin first raised the specter of tweaking Section 230 to hold social media platforms more accountable for the sale of opioid drugs online at a 2018 hearing. Manchin told MT last September he had a bill prepared and ready to go and would release it if he felt online platforms hadnt done enough to curtail drug sales. The proposal also raises the prospect that if companies fail to exercise due care in reporting criminal activity, Congress intends to look at removing liability protections under the Communications Decency Act of 1996 in its entirety.

HOW FACEBOOK SHIFTED ON POLITICAL ADS For nearly a year, Facebook stuck steadfastly to CEO Mark Zuckerbergs position that it should not police political ads. Then, that suddenly changed. This month has been an about-face: First, Facebook announced that it is banning new political ads in the week before Election Day to prevent last-minute attempts to deceive voters. Then this week the company took it further, saying it will reject ads that claim victory prematurely as worries rise that President Donald Trump might do just that, Nancy reports.

But the move wasnt as sudden as it seemed. Those involved in the discussions over political ads say Facebook officials spent nearly a year wavering between its founders declarations on free expression and a desire to avoid becoming a presidential-election villain yet again. Read more about how Facebook came to change its mind.

TIKTOKS LEGAL TICK TOCK The Trump administration must decide today whether to delay its order banning TikTok from U.S. app stores or defend the move before a federal judge this weekend. In a hearing Thursday, District Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, gave the government until 2:30 p.m. to choose. If the administration opts not to delay, Nichols said he plans to rule on TikToks request for a preliminary injunction before the app gets booted from U.S. app stores at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Postponing the ban would mark yet another blow to President Donald Trumps efforts to hobble Chinese tech companies. It also comes as a deal allowing TikTok to continue to operate in the U.S., which seemed settled over the weekend, remains up in the air.

MEET THE UNOFFICIAL REAL FACEBOOK OVERSIGHT BOARD A group of civil rights leaders, academics and big tech critics today are launching what theyre calling the Real Facebook Oversight Board an independent, unsanctioned alternative to the Facebook-approved organization, which will soon launch and be able to overturn the social networks content decisions. The group said in a statement that it plans to sound the warning about Facebooks role in the upcoming election and challenge Facebooks failure to launch its own Oversight Board. The announcement comes a day after Facebooks actual oversight board confirmed plans to launch ahead of Election Day.

Introducing the real board: The unofficial cast includes leaders of the #StopHateForProfit movement, which has organized boycotts of Facebook and its subsidiaries, among others, such as: the heads of the NAACP, Color of Change and the Anti-Defamation League, as well as Yael Eisenstat, former head of elections integrity ops for political advertising for Facebook; and Roger McNamee, an early Facebook investor-turned-prominent-critic.

Facebooks board wont provide sufficient oversight, they say. Facebooks Oversight Board is a distraction, not a real solution, McNamee said in a statement. No amount of spin can hide the damage Facebook does every day to public health and democracy through amplification of hate speech, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.

WICKER EYES TRUMPS NEW FCC PICK Senate Commerce Chair Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is planning on moving forward with Trumps recent nomination of Nathan Simington, a Commerce Department staffer that Trump chose to take over the seat of GOP veteran Mike ORielly, a senior Commerce Committee aide told John.

Wicker met with Simington Wednesday evening in a meeting that the senior aide called highly detailed. The nominee was scheduled to meet with Senate Commerces policy and legal teams on Thursday evening, and Wicker is urging all panel Republicans to meet with Simington, the aide added. No word yet on a possible confirmation hearing or vote.

Many observers question whether Congress will have enough time to process Simingtons nomination before the end of the year. Controversy lurks given the abrupt way Trump yanked ORiellys nomination this summer following his pushback about regulating social media companies. Simingon worked in a supporting role on the Commerce Departments summer petition seeking an FCC crackdown on online liability protections, a National Telecommunications and Information Administration spokesman told John.

TECH QUOTE DU JOUR At Facebook I believe we sought to mine as much human attention as possible and turn it into historically unprecedented profits. To do this, we didnt simply create something useful and fun. We took a page from Big Tobaccos playbook, working to make our offering addictive at the outset, Tim Kendall, Facebooks first and former director of monetization who appeared in the hit Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, testified Thursday at a House Energy & Commerce hearing on extremism on social media.

SCHAKOWSKY SOCIAL MEDIA BILL INBOUND Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), chair of the House E&C consumer protection subcommittee, teased plans Thursday to circulate a draft bill next week that will fundamentally alter [social media] companies' business models and give consumers and regulators the recourse when these compes fail in their stated basic commitments to consumers. Schakowsky, whose panel has jurisdiction over a range of key tech issues, did not elaborate on the scope of the bill. But for months she has signaled plans for legislation targeting the internet industrys legal liability shield, Section 230.

STOP THE POLITICAL ADS, AMERICAN VOTERS SAY More than half of U.S. adults believe social media platforms should make a blanket decision to stop running political ads, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. An even greater portion almost 80 percent feel that these tech firms should not be using users data (from what people do online) to target the political ads they see. Republicans and right-leaning Americans are generally more in favor of allowing political ads on these sites than are Democrats and left-leaning Americans. Facebook announced recently it would refrain from running any new political ads in the week before Election Day; Twitter almost a year ago decided to wipe political ads from its platform altogether.

LEGISLATION ON THE MOVE The Senate agreed Thursday to extend the SAFE WEB Act, which originally passed in 2006, for another seven years. The House passed its version of the SAFE WEB Extension Act, H.R. 4779 (116), in December, so the bill now heads to Trumps desk. That law gives the FTC greater power to fight online fraud and deception across borders.

Spotify, Epic Games, Match Group and Tile are among the members of the new Coalition for App Fairness, a group that launched Thursday to preserve consumer choice and a level playing field for app and game developers that rely on app stores and the most popular gatekeeper platforms.

POLITICO scoop: The Senate Commerce Committee will vote next week on Republicans' attempt to subpoena the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter, a committee aide told POLITICO. John has the details for Pros.

The Great Twitter Hack: Wired examines how Twitter survived a cyber attack that targeted some of its most-followed users, and how it is planning to stop something similar from happening on Election Day and beyond.

A message from Ericsson:

Network security = national security. With any nascent technology, security cannot be an afterthought. Networks must be trustworthy, resilient, and secure by design all on day one. Ericsson is working with the O-RAN Alliance and others to incorporate security best practices into our integrated and open network solutions built upon a flexible, high-integrity supply chain, which will allow our customers to deploy robust, secure and trusted 5G networks. Learn more.

Who sat out Voter Registration Day?: A new site launched by digital rights group Fight for the Future tracks which tech companies are using their reach to get Americans to vote and which did not promote voter registration efforts this week. Amazon and Apple were among those who sat it out, per the tracker.

Tech group blasts EO: The Information Technology Industry Council criticized Trumps recent executive order that prohibits government contractors from offering certain workplace training related to race and gender. CEO Jason Oxman called the order an affront to our industrys core values, an attack on free enterprise and, most importantly, an unacceptable step backward for racial equity. ITIs members include Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and others with federal contracts.

That Cambridge Analytica guy: Alexander Nix, the former Cambridge Analytica boss who got caught up in the global data scandal, has been banned from serving as director of another company for seven years, British authorities decided. More from The Guardian.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Send them along via email to our team: Bob King ([emailprotected], @bkingdc), Heidi Vogt ([emailprotected], @HeidiVogt), Nancy Scola ([emailprotected], @nancyscola), Steven Overly ([emailprotected], @stevenoverly), John Hendel ([emailprotected], @JohnHendel), Cristiano Lima ([emailprotected], @viaCristiano), Alexandra S. Levine ([emailprotected], @Ali_Lev), and Leah Nylen ([emailprotected], @leah_nylen).


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