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"National Month" Observances in April

Posted By on April 23, 2018

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Updated February 19, 2018

Many countries adopt causes or special interest groups to highlight and promote during given calendar months. The U.S. is particularly prolific at creating “national month” events to promote business and other interests. April is one of the few months that doesn’t have a long list of ridiculous observations, although there are a good many national month observances in the spring.Compare this to July, which actually honors Lasagna Awareness Month.

The following events, industries, causes and emotionsyes, emotionsare observed month-long in April unless otherwise indicated. Even cannabis, Florida tomatoes,celery and soft pretzels are honored…all month long.

Lest we forget the participation of other countries, here are a few international honorees, as well as some causes that are observed elsewhere:

Is there a way your business can benefit from promoting itself during “April is” National Month? April offers more than enough causes and interests to choose from. There’s something here for just about any business. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to best to use the observance or event.

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"National Month" Observances in April

Kat Graham Ethnicity of Celebs | What Nationality …

Posted By on April 22, 2018

Birth Name: Katerina Alexandre Hartford Graham

Place of Birth: Geneva, Switzerland

Date of Birth: September 5, 1989

Ethnicity:*Americo-Liberian (father)*Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

Kat Graham, also credited as Katerina Graham, is an American actress, singer, model, and dancer. She is famous for appearing on will.i.ams track I Got It From My Mama. She was born in Geneva, Switzerland, and grew in California, U.S. She is able to speak four languages.

Kats s father, Joseph Hartford Graham, is Americo-Liberian. Her mother, Natasha, is Jewish (from a family that emigrated from Poland and Russia). Kat was raised in her mothers faith, and attended Hebrew School.

Americo-Liberians have Liberian ethnicity and African-American ancestry. Americo-Liberians trace their ancestry to free-born and formerly enslaved African-Americans (who called themselves Americo-Liberians) who immigrated in the 1800s to become the founders of Liberia.

Kats paternal grandfather was Joseph Graham, a U.N. Ambassador, serving for 40 years in the Netherlands, Sweden, Romania, and Kenya.


profile by mzpreciousz

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Tagged as:African, African American, Americo-Liberian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Jewish, Liberian, Polish Jewish, Russian Jewish

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Ashkenazi | Judaism | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Posted By on April 21, 2018

17th century German depictions of an Ashkenazi man and woman from the city of Worms.

Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim are Jews descended from medieval Jewish communities that lived along the river Rhine in Germany. Many later migrated to the east, forming communities in countries including Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine between the 11th and 19th centuries CE.

Most Jewish communities with long histories in Europe are Ashkenazi, except for those in Mediterranean countries which are usually Sephardi. In 1931, Ashkenazi Jews accounted for 92% of the Jewish population of the world and account for 80% of it today. The majority of the United States 5.3 million Jews are Ashkenazi.

The name is derived from Ashkenaz, a Hebrew word for Germany which was often used in medieval rabbinic literature. In theTanakh Ashkenaz appears in Genesis 10.1,[1] as the name of a grandson of Japheth, the son of Noah. Ashkenaz was taken to be an ancestor of the German people.

1901 image that depicts American Jews welcoming new Jewish immigrants from Russia.

Jewish communities were well established in what is now France and Germany by the year 1000 CE and came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066 CE. There were Jewish settlements in many cities along the river Rhine by the end of the 11th century CE.

Jews were expelled from England in 1290 CE, from France in 1394 CE and from parts of Germany in the 15th century CE, consequently the Jewish community was pushed steadily eastwards into Lithuania, Poland and Russia. In Eastern Europe, Jews lived largely in isolation from their gentile neighbors, maintained a strong education system for boys and placed great score in the leadership and wisdom of rabbis.

In response to anti-semitic pogroms and better economic prospects in other parts of the world, large numbers of Ashkenazim began to migrate westwards from the 18th century CE onwards. Ashkenazim have made up the majority of American Jews since 1750 CE.

More than two thirds of the Ashkenazi Jews in Europe were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. Many of the survivors would leave Europe and emigrate to Australia, Argentina, Canada, Israel or the United States after the end of the Second World war.

Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews traditionally pronounce Hebrew in different ways. The Ashkenazi also have various customs and traditions that differentiate them from the Sephardim and other Jewish communities. The following are some examples of how Halachah is interpreted differently by Sephardim and Ashkenazim.

Curca 1920 Rosh Hashana greeting card, printed in Germany for the American market, with text in Yiddish and English.

The language traditionally associated with the Ashkenazi community is Yiddish, which for most of its history was the mother tongue of the majority of Ashkenazi Jews and the language that they normally used for every day communication. It remains the first language of Hasidic Jews today.

Ashkenazi Jews in North America and, to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, began to mix English and Yiddish in their speech. As a result English has borrowed a number of Yiddish words, some of which have become well known even in areas where the Jewish community is relatively small. This mixture of Yiddish and English is humorously documented in Leo Rosten’s 1968 book, The Joys of Yiddish.

The first language of the majority of Ashkenazi Jews today is the official language of the country in which they were born, consequently the most widely spoken languages amongst Ashkenazi Jews today are English, Modern Hebrew and Russian. Some Ashkenazim choose to use an occasional Yiddishism in order to assert their cultural identity.

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Ashkenazi Jewish Disorders | Sarnoff Center for Jewish …

Posted By on April 18, 2018

Providing support through education and genetic counseling is central to the mission of the Norton & Elaine Sarnoff Center for Jewish Genetics. From the knowledge gained through carrier screening, individuals are better prepared to make informed decisions for themselves and their future family.

The Sarnoff Center currently screens for 56 disorders found more frequently in the Jewish community.While these genetic conditions vary in severity and age ofonset, most of the Jewish genetic disorders are debilitating, and some arefatal. Many of the disorders lack effective treatment at this time. Geneticcounseling and carrier screening is therefore invaluable in planning for afamily.

In addition to screening for 56 Jewish genetic disorders, the Sarnoff Center’s carrier screening program includes more than 125 other recessive disorders. Ourpanel also includes an additional 12 X-linked conditions for women, includingFragile X syndrome.Our genetic counselor is available at every step of the screening process to make sure that all of your questions and concerns are addressed.

This screening process is called carrier screening. Carriers are healthy adults who have the genetic mutation that can potentially be passed on to a child if both parents are carriers for the same gene. This video explains how healthy carrier parents may have a child with the disorder.

Watch this YouTube Videoto learn more about Autosomal Recessive Inheritance

Learn more about carrier screening and the disorders on our screening panel.

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Ashkenazi Jewish Disorders | Sarnoff Center for Jewish …

Catholic League (U.S.) – Wikipedia

Posted By on April 15, 2018

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

Logo of the Catholic League

Region served


Official language



The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, often shortened to the Catholic League, is an American Catholic anti-defamation and civil rights organization. The Catholic League states that it “defends the right of Catholics lay and clergy alike to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.”[3] The Catholic League states that it is “motivated by the letter and the spirit of the First Amendment…to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics whenever and wherever they are threatened.”[3] According to the Encyclopedia of American Religion and Politics, the League “is regarded by many as the preeminent organization representing the views of American lay Catholics.”[4]

Founded in 1973 by Jesuit priest Virgil Blum, the Catholic League was formed to counter discrimination against Catholics in the U.S. government and in popular culture. The low-profile group initiated public education campaigns and some lawsuits. In 1993 the group became much more aggressive with a new president, former sociology professor Bill Donohue, who also increased its size to become the largest Catholic advocacy organization in America.[4] The Catholic League is known for press releases about what it views as anti-Catholic and anti-Christian themes in mass media.

The Catholic League has taken a stand against anything they perceive as anti-Catholic, including the entertainment industry, certain art exhibits, school programs for sex education, government-funded contraception and abortion, media bias, restrictions against pro-life activism, and restrictions on religious schools.[5] It publishes a journal, Catalyst, and operates a website.

The League under Donohue’s leadership is criticized for its conservatism and for its combative responses to high-profile media stories.[4][6] Besides education campaigns, the group issues condemnations, initiates boycotts and protests, defends priests against accusations of child sexual abuse, fights proposed legislation and threatens legal action against what it sees as bigotry against Catholics, irreverence against religious figures, and attacks on Catholic dogma.[4][7] However, the Catholic League stresses that “it does not speak authoritatively for the Church as a whole.”[4]

The League was founded in Milwaukee in 1973 by Virgil C. Blum S.J.[3][8] Blum served as president of the Catholic League until 1989.

Since 1993, the League has been led by its Board of Directors president, Bill Donohue, who works with a small number of organizational staffers including Kiera McCaffrey, the League’s director of communications, who has also made media appearances for the group.[9] In a 1999 New York Times article, a reporter said Donohue is pragmatic in regards to religion, “media savvy” and “steers clear of divisive debates on theological doctrines and secular politics”.[1] The article said Donohue “fans simmering anger with inflammatory news releases, a Web site and newsletter”[1] with “scathing attacks on the blasphemous and the irreverent”.[1] In a 2007 interview, Salon Life staff writer Rebecca Traister discussed Donohue with Frances Kissling, former head of the organization Catholics for Choice, which opposes Catholic teaching on abortion, who characterized Donohue as “abusive”, and stated she avoided doing media interviews with him for this reason.[10]

The League is organized under a Board of Directors chaired by Philip K. Eichner, a Marianist priest and educator in Long Island, New York. The League also has Board of Advisors, consisting of prominent lay Catholics like Brent Bozell, Linda Chavez, Mary Ann Glendon, Alan Keyes, Tom Monaghan, Michael Novak and George Weigel.[3] The League issues a journal, Catalyst, as well as reports, such as Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, books, brochures and an annual Report on Anti-Catholicism.

The League is not part of the Archdiocese of New York, though it does rent an office on the same floor as the headquarters of the Archdiocese.[1] According to a New York Times interviewer, the organization “maintains close ties to the [archdiocesan] leadership. Several bishops make personal donations. Cardinal O’Connor spoke at the group’s 25th anniversary reception in 1998 and vacated part of his suite for its expanding operations, said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.”[1] The League includes on its website endorsements from such prominent clerics as Cardinal Edward Egan (former Archbishop of New York), Cardinal Roger Mahony (former Archbishop of Los Angeles), Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, and Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore, as well as Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., all of whom have endorsed the League’s activities and exhorted Catholics to become members.[3]

The New York Times reported that the group had 11,000 total members when Donohue took over the Catholic League in 1993. This grew to 233,333 paying members in 1999, a figure which the League allegedly multiplies by 1.5 to account for non-paying members in the households of paying members, resulting in a League estimate of 350,000 members.[1] This 1999 estimate is the last statement about overall membership numbers that the League has made. The League’s 2003 statement about membership claimed 15,000 members in Nassau and Suffolk counties of New York alone.[11] Annual donations entitle members to home delivery of the print version of Catalyst, the group’s monthly journal, which is also available for free on the Catholic League’s website.

The Catholic League claims political neutrality, which is mostly required of non-profits. The website states, “The League wishes to be neither left nor right, liberal or conservative, revolutionary or reactionary.”[3] Although often characterized as conservative[12][13][14][15] the League has at times been at odds with conservative figures and organizations. For example, they criticized the anti-illegal immigration group, the Minutemen, for opposing a San Diego priest’s facilitation of employment for Latino immigrants and for condemning the Church as a whole in public statements about the matter.[16] The Catholic League also condemned pastor and televangelist John Hagee for what they called “anti-Catholic hate speech” and called upon John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign to renounce this alleged bigotry.[17]

Christian Leftist John Swomley criticized the Catholic League as the “most dangerous of the far-right organizations.”[4] Donohue has been called “right-wing”[18] and “a conservative reactionary who wants to undo the work of Vatican II and suppress varying opinions within the Church.”[19]

In 1996, Donohue took issue with Joan Osborne over her song “One of Us”, which explores the question of what it would be like if God were a human being.[20] Donohue questioned the point of the song and brought up her activism calling for support of Rock for Choice and other pro-choice groups stating, “It is no wonder that Joan Osborne instructs her fans to donate their time and money to Planned Parenthood. It is of a piece with her politics and her prejudices. Her songs and videos offer a curious mix of both, the effect of which is to dance awfully close to the line of Catholic baiting.”[21] Religious educator Paul Moses stated that Donohue’s was a “tortured reading” and he saw Osborne as having “the Catholic imagination” with the song “awakening…spiritual hunger”.[22] Osborne said, in a letter to fans, that “the church’s attitudes toward women and gays make the pope look far more ridiculous than any pop song could” and that she did not write the song, which “speaks of the pope only with respect.”[22] Donohue also admitted that he was treating the issue in a “kind of a prophylactic approach” because “cultures are changed as a result of patterns.”[22]

In 1997, Donohue declared the ABC show Nothing Sacred as deeply offensive to Catholicism, although not anti-Catholic in the traditional sense.[23][24] Calling for a boycott, he stated that the show portrayed Catholics with a traditional view as cold or cruel while glorifying more the maverick, irreverent voices in the community. However, the show was defended by some Catholics and had been written with the consultation of Jesuits, from which it later won the Humanitas Prize. Many Catholics agreed with him that the show was hostile to the beliefs and values of the Catholic Church, and ABC canceled Nothing Sacred after less than a season, reportedly for poor ratings. Observers think Donohue may have played a significant role in the show’s rapid demise as advertisers often become leery of shows deemed “controversial”.[25][26] With regard to the controversy, Henry Herx, director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Film and Broadcast (successor to the National Legion of Decency) emphasized that the Catholic League is not an official agency of the church.[27]

The year 1999 saw the release of Kevin Smith’s controversial film Dogma. Despite the fact that Smith is a practicing Catholic, as Kevin Smith confirmed in an interview on the film’s DVD, several religious groups, especially the Catholic League, said the film was anti-Catholic and blasphemous, and organized protests, including one that took place at the November 12 premiere of the film at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Smith noted that several of the protests occurred before the film was even finished, suggesting that the protests were more about media attention for the groups than for whatever was controversial about the film.[28] The Catholic League’s main complaints were that the film’s main character is supposedly a descendant of Mary, who happens to work in an abortion clinic, which were seen as ironic conventions for a Catholic.[citation needed] The film’s distributor, Miramax, removed its name from the production, and hired attorney Dan Petrocelli to defend it publicly. Petrocelli accused Donohue of trying to stir a violent reaction to the film.

According to Smith, “[Donohue] actually invited me out to have a beer after making my life hell for six months.”[29]

Donohue is a staunch defender of Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ. On the December 8, 2004 broadcast of Scarborough Country, he stated:

Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, OK? And I’m not afraid to say it. That’s why they hate this movie. It’s about Jesus Christ, and it’s about truth. It’s about the Messiah.[30]

After U.S. President George W. Bush used the term “Holidays” instead of “Christmas” on the White House 2005 Christmas cards, Donohue stated “The Bush administration has suffered a loss of will andthey have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture.”[31]

“I was scheduled to be on with Mike Savage the day he savaged the Catholic Church and made bigoted comments about Latinos”, Donohue said.

“But in the pre-interview which occurred just a half hour before Savage went ballistic I let a producer know that I did not share the host’s position; after he checked with Savage, I was told they would not have me on the show. That was fine, but what is not fine is Savage’s diatribe about the ‘greedy pigs’ in the Catholic Church and how ‘the institution is rotten from the top to the bottom.’ He owes all Catholics an apology.”[32]

Donohue demanded that former Sen. John Edwards fire two presidential campaign staffers in February 2007, charging that they were “anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots.” He cited a blog written by Amanda Marcotte regarding the Church’s opposition to birth control, saying it forces women “to bear more tithing Catholics”. He also cited another posting called “Pope and Fascists”. Donohue also objected to one of the staffers describing President Bush’s “wingnut Christofacist base”.

Donohue called the statements “incendiary” and “inflammatory”, saying, “It’s scurrilous and has no place being part of someone’s resume who’s going to work for a potential presidential contender.” On February 8, John Edwards addressed the writings of the staffers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, saying ‘that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it’s intended as satire, humor or anything else.'[citation needed] Donohue insisted that Edwards fire the pair immediately.

After the complaints, Marcotte wrote, “The Christian version of the virgin birth is generally interpreted as super-patriarchal where God is viewed as so powerful he can impregnate without befouling himself by touching a woman, and women are nothing but vessels.” After Marcotte parted with the campaign, Donohue stated, “It is not enough that one foul-mouthed anti-Christian bigot, Amanda Marcotte, has quit. Melissa McEwan must go as well. Either Edwards shows her the door or she bolts on her own. There is no third choicethe Catholic League will see to it that this issue won’t go away.” He continued, “The Edwards campaign is in total disarray and the meltdown will continue unless McEwan is removed from his staff. The fact that Marcotte had to quit suggests that Edwards doesn’t have the guts to do what is morally right.” McEwan resigned on February 13, 2007,[33] citing the hostility of the Catholic League and emails threatening rape and murder.[34]

On September 8, 2007, Kathy Griffin won her first Emmy for season two of reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Griffin stirred up controversy with her acceptance speech, saying that “a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. He didn’t help me a bit.” She went on to hold up her Emmy and say, “Suck it, Jesus, this award is my god now!”[35]

Her remarks were quickly condemned by Donohue, who urged the TV academy to “denounce Griffin’s obscene and blasphemous comment.”[36] After the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences decided to censor Griffin’s remark, Donohue said, “The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences reacted responsibly to our criticism of Kathy Griffin’s verbal assault on 85 percent of the U.S. population. The ball is now in Griffin’s court. The self-described ‘complete militant atheist’ needs to make a swift and unequivocal apology to Christians. If she does, she will get this issue behind her. If she does not, she will be remembered as a foul-mouthed bigot for the rest of her life.”[37]

In a statement issued by her publicist, Griffin responded to the denouncement by the Catholic League with a question: “Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?”[38]

As part of a two-month protest campaign, Donohue called for a boycott of the film The Golden Compass, believing that while the religious elements of the film would be “watered down” from the source novels, the film would still encourage children to read the series, which Donohue says “denigrates Christianity” and promotes “atheism for kids”,[39] citing author Philip Pullman as saying that he is “trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.”[40] Donohue hopes that “the film [will fail] to meet box office expectations and that [Pullman’s] books attract few buyers.”[41] The call for a boycott resulted in action by some Catholic groups in the US and Canada, and a Catholic school board in Ontario has ordered the source novel removed from its library shelves. Pullman has since said that the books do not have a religious agenda, saying of Donohue’s call for a boycott, “Why don’t we trust readers? Why don’t we trust filmgoers? Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world.”[42] Pullman described the Catholic League as “a tiny, unrepresentative organisation,” suggesting that “the only person Bill Donohue represents is himself.”[43]

Other evangelical groups, such as The Christian Film and Television Commission, adopted a “wait-and-see” approach to the film before deciding upon any action,[44] as did the Roman Catholic Church in Britain.[42]

Some commentators indicated that they believed the criticism would prove ultimately impotent and that the negative publicity would prove a boon for the film’s box office.[45][46]

In July 2008, a controversy arose surrounding a Communion rite altercation involving Webster Cook, a student and member of the University of Central Florida (UCF) student senate. Cook attended a Catholic Mass on campus and was given the Eucharist but walked out without consuming it. This action was allegedly related to his protest of the use of public funds for organized worship in the student union hall. According to Donohue, Cook’s actions were a form of desecration of the sacrament. Cook was proposed for censure by the student senate and was criticized by local media. He also received numerous death threats.[47][48]

On Pharyngula, biologist and University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) professor PZ Myers publicly expressed support for Cook as well as outrage that Fox News appeared to be inciting readers to cause further problems for the student.[47][49][50] Myers invited readers to acquire some consecrated Eucharistic Hosts, which he described as “crackers”, for him to treat “with profound disrespect.”[51]

The Catholic League accused Myers of anti-Catholic bigotry and asked UMM and the Minnesota State Legislature to take action against Myers.[52][53] Myers then also received threats and hate mail.[54] The Catholic League also called for Cook to be expelled from the university, with Donohue describing his confiscation of the Eucharist as a hate crime as well as a form of kidnapping.[51] Donohue also accused those who supported Cook of anti-Catholic bigotry, and sent a letter to the UCF asking them to take legal action against Cook.[55] A week after the initial communion Cook apologized and returned the Host. The Catholic League, however, continued to lobby the university for his expulsion.[55]

In March 2007, a sculpture created by Italian-Canadian artist Cosimo Cavallaro was to be displayed at Manhattan’s Roger Smith Hotel. The sculpture, entitled “My Sweet Lord”, was of a crucified Christ, nude, in molded chocolate. Although the artist claims to be himself a practicing Catholic, Bill Donohue decried the work as “hate speech”, “garbage”, and “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever,”[56] describing Mr. Cavallaro as a “loser artist” and telling him in a television interview on Anderson Cooper 360, “You’re lucky I’m not like the Taliban, because you would lose more than your head.”

Under the leadership of Donohue, the Catholic League organized a boycott of the hotel aimed at forcing it to remove the statue. The hotel’s management stating that the protests “brought to our attention the unintended reaction of you and other conscientious friends”, eventually agreed to the League’s calls, prompting the curator of the gallery, Matt Semler, to resign in protest.[56] Semler claimed the six-foot sculpture was the victim of “a strong-arming from people who haven’t seen the show, seen what we’re doing. They jumped to conclusions completely contrary to our intentions.”[56]

Donohue said, in October 2009, that the Catholic Church has a “homosexual”, not a “pedophilia”, problem, citing the John Jay Report.[57] The Catholic League has blamed the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), for having “hired, hidden, defended, enabled, ignored and concealed the crimes of child molesters.”[58] The Catholic League defended attacking SNAP on the grounds that they were “a menace to the Catholic Church.”[59]

In a November 18, 2009, Politics Daily column about Smith’s research, David Gibson reported that sexual identity should be “separated from the problem of sexual abuse,” according to criminologist Margaret Smith. Smith said, “we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and an increased likelihood of sexual abuse.”[60] Nevertheless, Donohue says that this is a homosexual problem in the Catholic Church and not a pedophile one.[60]

On May 20, 2009, Reuters reported the results of a nine-year investigation by the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which looked into decades of endemic sexual abuse against children in Catholic-run reform schools in Ireland.[61] In reaction to this report, popularly known as the Ryan Report, Donohue issued a statement downplaying the seriousness of the cases, questioning the inclusion of voyeurism and “inappropriate sexual talk” as instances of sexual abuse along with the more serious charge of rape.[62] Donohue pointed out that rape constituted only 12% of the listed sexual abuse cases in the Ryan report, and that priests committed only 12% of the listed rapesthe other 88% were committed by lay persons and religious brothers.[62]

Since the Ryan Report was released, Donohue has been defending the Church and claiming that much of the outrage is ‘moral hysteria’. While stating that he agrees that rape and physical abuse are wrong and that he would not defend those actions, he says the report has conflated these abuses with ‘lesser’ forms of punishment and is therefore not as serious. He also says many of the purported forms of abuse found by the commission were present and acceptable in the time period.[63]

The Irish politician and child rape victim Colm O’Gorman was highly critical of such statements made by Donohue on the Irish radio show The Last Word.[63] O’Gorman later wrote that Donohue’s analysis was shockingly “simplistic”.[64]

When President Barack Obama named gay activist[65] Harry Knox to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009, Donohue termed Knox “an anti-Catholic bigot who has called the pope a liar.”[65]

In November 2010, a portion of a video by the late artist David Wojnarowicz, which was included in an exhibit focused on gay-themed art, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” at the National Portrait Gallery (United States), was removed after complaints from the Catholic League.[66] Columnist Frank Rich said of the intervention and removal that the Smithsonian had been “bullied by bigots” and quoted The Los Angeles Times”s art critic, Christopher Knight, to the same effect.[67] Tracing the evolution of the issue, Rich cited a piece by Kriston Capps which in turn said “the role of Penny Starr remains hazy. [However, a]…reporter and conservative advocate, [Starr] deserves much credit for both instigating” the negative attention to the piece of art amongst a number in the show.[68]

In 1997, David Carlin of Commonweal criticized Donohue and the Catholic League for being overly sensitive in the identification of anti-Catholicism.[69] In 1999, Jesuit priest James Martin, the associate editor of the Catholic magazine America wrote “Often their criticism is right on target, but frequently they speak without seeing or experiencing what they are critiquing, and that undercuts their credibility. Unfortunately, that type of response gives people the idea that the Catholic Church is unreflective.”[1]

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Catholic League (U.S.) – Wikipedia

Holocaust denial – Israel, 2018 – Israel National News

Posted By on April 13, 2018

Tonight, Wednesday, at eight o’clock, Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day events will open, and for 24 hours the Jewish people will unite with the memory of the six million, and the tragedy of the greatest massacre in history will be seen from every screen and through every radio program and in every ceremony.

During these 24 hours, candles will be lit in memory of the murdered and their stories will be read in tears throughout the country. Faded black and white photographs, and fast-paced videos will show us evil in all its ugliness and cruelty. We will see the torture, the humiliation, the persecutions, the fires, the murders, the mass graves, the death marches, the ghettos and the death camps. We will see and cry.

In the face of these scenes, it is fitting that all those who in the past year have made ridiculous comparisons between the fate of the Jews of Europe in the 1940s and the fate of the infiltrators from Africa, between Anne Frank and migrant workers, all those who in the name of the Holocaust dressed the government of Israel in Nazi uniform and described the struggle for migrant workers almost like that of the Warsaw Ghetto rebels, all these should take these 24 hours, and internalize what really happened there in Auschwitz, Birkenau and Sobibor. After they begin to try and understand the significance of those events, they should once again reflect on the significance of the comparisons they made over a whole year (even if, towards that purpose, they recruited Holocaust survivors to say similar things).

We will tell them simply, friends, that what you did was the simple definition of Holocaust denial. If you seek to hide migrant workers in your homes and compare your actions to those who hid Anne Frank and her family, then you either did not understand anything, or do you really think that what the Nazis proposed to the Jews was a dignified transition (with a few hundred or thousands of dollars in their pockets) to another country and not to death and destruction in crematoria and killing valleys, and those who think so are infected with Holocaust denial or lack of thought. Choose.

We want to argue about the moral character of the state, about a state of all its citizens, the plight of the Eritreans, the distress of the south Tel Avivians. No problem. Talk, argue, but leave the memory of the Holocaust outside.

Originally posted here:

Holocaust denial – Israel, 2018 – Israel National News

Confronting Holocaust Denial – The Jewish Chronicle

Posted By on April 13, 2018

There are few flat earthers these days and the majority of people no longer believe that the moon is made of green cheese. By contrast, denying the Holocaust, that is, claiming that the genocide of the Jews by Nazi Germany and its allies during World War II ever took place, seems to be flourishing.

It is an extreme example of an increasingly common phenomenon: rejecting facts when they happen to be inconvenient. At least when, in the middle ages, people thought that the sun orbited the earth, they had no proof to the contrary. Holocaust denial is a position consciously held not because there is no evidence but despite it. Like antisemitism, to which it is closely related, Holocaust denial is not based on evidence but is a position held because its adherents want it to be true. Unfortunately, it is not.

Just as antisemitism is a claim about Jews that rests ultimately on mythical thinking Jews as puppet-masters behind world events, for example so Holocaust denial rests on similar conspiracy theories that the Jews concocted the whole story to extract money from Germany and to promote Zionism, for example.

People with strongly-held antisemitic beliefs are rarely amenable to having their views changed by the presentation of evidence, and the same is true of Holocaust denial. What follows is not aimed at those who are unshakeable in their belief that the Holocaust never happened, although it would be nice to think that their minds could be changed (they probably do not read the JC, in any case). Rather, I want to show that, when people often youngsters are confused by the easily-accessible lies that proliferate on the internet, it is not hard to put them straight.

Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II were covered in camps. Everyone has heard of Auschwitz, and Holocaust denial often presents itself as the Auschwitz lie. But, according to recent research, there were thousands of camps all over Nazi Europe. By the end of 1944, there were a dozen main camps to which were attached about 1,100 sub-camps. This figure does not even include camps run by firms, by local councils and bodies other than the SS.

These did not only hold Jews: three million Soviet POWs were killed in Nazi camps, mostly by being starved to death, and tens of thousands of Gentile Poles, Soviets, Yugoslavs, French and others from across Europe were held as political prisoners in camps such as Buchenwald and Gross-Rosen. But Jews were targeted for murder, and the fact that there were Jewish survivors was only a result of the fact that the Third Reich, desperate for labour as the war turned against it, made use of Jewish camp inmates in larger numbers in autumn 1944.

At the start of the Holocaust, Jews were not killed in camps but were murdered about 1.5 million of them in pits on the edges of their villages and towns in eastern Europe. The work of Father Patrick Desbois and his Yahad-In Unum organisation in locating these gravesites is bringing ever greater certainty to where these people died.

I mention the Nazi camp system and the work of locating victims of the Einsatzgruppen to provide a sense of the continent-wide nature of the crime we now call the Holocaust. The point is simply that, from Amsterdam to Thessaloniki, from Klaipeda to Lyon, one can see basically the same thing happening. That is a lot of evidence to produce, in almost every European language. They are of course Holocaust institutions and, from a neo-Nazi perspective, invested in the very thing that is being denied, but a glance at the online photography and document collections of Yad Vashem, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, or the Wiener Library in London indicates that a fabrication on this scale is simply not possible.

There is no greater proof of this abundant evidence than the International Tracing Service. Based in Bad Arolsen in northern Hesse, Germany, the ITS was created after the war by the Allies in order to trace missing people. Run by the International Committee of the Red Cross after 1955, since 2007 it has been open to researchers and the general public.

It holds over 30 million documents, spanning 26 kilometres of shelving, and is the worlds largest archive of material relating to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. There are better things to do with this material than confront Holocaust denial but, if one is not already satisfied with the abundant scholarly literature or the remaining material evidence across Europe, then there is no shortage of documentation here, far more than could have been consciously produced as a fraud.

In December 1942, for example, an SS man, Untersturmfhrer Kinna, wrote a report on the transport of 644 Poles to Auschwitz that had taken place a few days earlier. He began by noting: that only those capable of work should be delivered, so as to avoid burdening the camp as well as the transport traffic as much as possible. Then he went on, very openly:

“The simple, idiots, cripples and sick people must be removed from the camp in the shortest possible time by liquidation. This measure encounters an obstacle insofar as in contrast to the measures ordered for Jews by the RSHA, Poles have to die a natural death. The camp leadership would thus prefer to avoid an allocation of those unable to work.”

His complaint was about non-Jewish Poles but he also quite casually referred to the fact that Jews were not dying a natural death. The ITS is full of such information and it is only one, albeit the largest, of many archival sources. Almost every local and national archive across Europe contains material relating to the Holocaust. Choosing to believe that this was all created by a vast conspiracy and that the Holocaust never happened is the neo-Nazi equivalent of a green cheese moon.

Dan Stone isProfessor of Modern History and Director of the Holocaust Research Institute, Royal Holloway, University of London

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Confronting Holocaust Denial – The Jewish Chronicle

Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation

Posted By on April 4, 2018

Holocaust denial and minimization or distortion of the facts of the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism.

Holocaust deniers ignore the overwhelming evidence of the event and insist that the Holocaust is a myth, invented by the Allies, the Soviet communists, and the Jews for their own ends. According to the deniers’ logic the Allies needed the Holocaust myth to justify their occupation of Germany in 1945 and the harsh persecution of Nazi defendants. Holocaust deniers also claim that Jews needed the Holocaust myth to extract huge payments in restitution from Germany and to justify the establishment of the State of Israel. Holocaust deniers claim that there is a vast conspiracy involving the victorious powers of World War II, Jews, and Israel to propagate the Holocaust for their own ends.

Holocaust deniers assert that if they can discredit one fact about the Holocaust, the whole history of the event can be discredited as well. They ignore the evidence of the historical event and make arguments that they say negate the reality of the Holocaust in its entirety.

Some Holocaust deniers argue that, since there is neither a single document that outlines the Holocaust nor a signed document from Hitler ordering the Holocaust, the Holocaust itself is a hoax. To make this argument, they reject all the evidence submitted at Nuremberg. They denounce as fabrications the genocidal intention of the Nazi state and the thousands of orders, memos, notes, and other records that document the process of destruction. When they cannot sustain arguments that documents are forged, they argue that the language in the documents has been deliberately misinterpreted. Furthermore, some Holocaust deniers insist that the Allies tortured the perpetrators into testifying about their role in the killing process and that the survivors who testified about Nazi crimes against Jews were all lying out of self-interest.

Some Holocaust deniers claim that those few Jews who perished died from natural causes or were legitimately executed by the Nazi state for actual criminal offenses. They assert that Jews and the Allied powers deliberately inflated the numbers of Jews killed during the war. Holocaust historians have placed the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust between 5.1 and 6 million, based on legitimate available historical sources and demographic methods. Holocaust deniers cite uncertainty about the exact number of deaths within this accepted range as proof that the whole history of the Holocaust has been fabricated and that the number of Jewish deaths during World War II has been grossly exaggerated.

Some Holocaust deniers assert that the Nazis did not use gas chambers to kill Jews. They deny the reality of the killing centers. Deniers have focused their attention on Auschwitz and believe if they could just disprove that the Nazis used gas chambers in Auschwitz to kill Jews, the whole history of the Holocaust would also be discredited.

Holocaust deniers often mimic the forms and practices of scholars in order to deceive the public about the nature of their views. They generally footnote their writings by citing the publications of other Holocaust deniers and hold pseudo-scholarly conventions.

Holocaust denial on the Internet is especially a problem because of the ease and speed with which such misinformation can be disseminated. In the United States, where the First Amendment to the Constitution ensures freedom of speech, it is not against the law to deny the Holocaust or to propagate Nazi and antisemitic hate speech. European countries such as Germany and France have criminalized denial of the Holocaust and have banned Nazi and neo-Nazi publications. The Internet is now the chief source of Holocaust denial and the chief means of recruiting for Holocaust denial organizations.

Further Reading

Evans, Richard J. Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust, and the David Irving Trial. New York: Basic Books, 2001.

Gottfried, Ted. Deniers of the Holocaust: Who They Are, What They Do, Why They Do It. Brookfield, CT: Twenty-First Century Books, 2001.

Lipstadt, Deborah. Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. New York: Free Press, 1993.

Shermer, Michael, and Alex Grobman. Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Zimmerman, John C. Holocaust Denial: Demographics, Testimonies, and Ideologies. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2000.

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Holocaust Deniers and Public Misinformation

Judaism: The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

Posted By on April 4, 2018

The Oral Law is a legal commentary on the Torah, explaining how its commandments are to be carried out. Common sense suggests that some sort of oral tradition was always needed to accompany the Written Law, because the Torah alone, even with its 613 commandments, is an insufficient guide to Jewish life. For example, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, ordains, “Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy” (Exodus 20:8). From the Sabbath’s inclusion in the Ten Commandments, it is clear that the Torah regards it as an important holiday. Yet when one looks for the specific biblical laws regulating how to observe the day, one finds only injunctions against lighting a fire, going away from one’s dwelling, cutting down a tree, plowing and harvesting. Would merely refraining from these few activities fulfill the biblical command to make the Sabbath holy? Indeed, the Sabbath rituals that are most commonly associated with holiness-lighting of candles, reciting the kiddush, and the reading of the weekly Torah portion are found not in the Torah, but in the Oral Law.

Without an oral tradition, some of the Torah’s laws would be incomprehensible. In the Shema’s first paragraph, the Bible instructs: “And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.” “Bind them for a sign upon your hand,” the last verse instructs. Bind what? The Torah doesn’t say. “And they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.” What are frontlets? The Hebrew word for frontlets, totafot is used three times in the Torah always in this context (Exodus 13:16; Deuteronomy 6:8, 11:18) and is as obscure as is the English. Only in the Oral Law do we learn that what a Jewish male should bind upon his hand and between his eyes are tefillin (phylacteries).

Finally, an Oral Law was needed to mitigate certain categorical Torah laws that would have caused grave problems if carried out literally. The Written Law, for example, demands an “eye for an eye” (Exodus 21:24). Did this imply that if one person accidentally blinded another, he should be blinded in return? That seems to be the Torah’s wish. But the Oral Law explains that the verse must be understood as requiring monetary compensation: the value of an eye is what must be paid.

The Jewish community of Palestine suffered horrendous losses during the Great Revolt and the Bar-Kokhba rebellion. Well over a million Jews were killed in the two ill-fated uprisings, and the leading yeshivot, along with thousands of their rabbinical scholars and students, were devastated.

This decline in the number of knowledgeable Jews seems to have been a decisive factor in Rabbi Judah the Prince’s decision around the year 200 C.E. to record in writing the Oral Law. For centuries, Judaism’s leading rabbis had resisted writing down the Oral Law. Teaching the law orally, the rabbis knew, compelled students to maintain close relationships with teachers, and they considered teachers, not books, to be the best conveyors of the Jewish tradition. But with the deaths of so many teachers in the failed revolts, Rabbi Judah apparently feared that the Oral Law would be forgotten unless it were written down.

In the Mishna, the name for the sixty-three tractates in which Rabbi Judah set down the Oral Law, Jewish law is systematically codified, unlike in the Torah. For example, if a person wanted to find every law in the Torah about the Sabbath, he would have to locate scattered references in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Indeed, in order to know everything the Torah said on a given subject, one either had to read through all of it or know its contents by heart. Rabbi Judah avoided this problem by arranging the Mishna topically. All laws pertaining to the Sabbath were put into one tractate called Shabbat (Hebrew for “Sabbath”). The laws contained in Shabbat’s twenty-four chapters are far more extensive than those contained in the Torah, for the Mishna summarizes the Oral Law’s extensive Sabbath legislation. The tractate Shabbat is part of a larger “order” called Mo’ed (Hebrew for “holiday”), which is one of six orders that comprise the Mishna. Some of the other tractates in Mo’ed specify the Oral Laws of Passover (Pesachim); Purim (Megillah); Rosh haShana; Yom Kippur (Yoma); and Sukkot.

The first of the six orders is called Zera’im (Seeds), and deals with the agricultural rules of ancient Palestine, particularly with the details of the produce that were to be presented as offerings at the Temple in Jerusalem. The most famous tractate in Zera’im, however, Brakhot (Blessings) has little to do with agriculture. It records laws concerning different blessings and when they are to be recited.

Another order, called Nezikin (Damages), contains ten tractates summarizing Jewish civil and criminal law.

Another order, Nashim (Women), deals with issues between the sexes, including both laws of marriage, Kiddushin, and of divorce, Gittin.

A fifth order, Kodashim, outlines the laws of sacrifices and ritual slaughter. The sixth order, Taharot, contains the laws of purity and impurity.

Although parts of the Mishna read as dry legal recitations, Rabbi Judah frequently enlivened the text by presenting minority views, which it was also hoped might serve to guide scholars in later generations (Mishna Eduyot 1:6). In one famous instance, the legal code turned almost poetic, as Rabbi Judah cited the lengthy warning the rabbinic judges delivered to witnesses testifying in capital cases:

“How are witnesses inspired with awe in capital cases?” the Mishna begins. “They are brought in and admonished as follows: In case you may want to offer testimony that is only conjecture or hearsay or secondhand evidence, even from a person you consider trustworthy; or in the event you do not know that we shall test you by cross-examination and inquiry, then know that capital cases are not like monetary cases. In monetary cases, a man can make monetary restitution and be forgiven, but in capital cases both the blood of the man put to death and the blood of his [potential] descendants are on the witness’s head until the end of time. For thus we find in the case of Cain, who killed his brother, that it is written: ‘The bloods of your brother cry unto Me’ (Genesis 4:10) that is, his blood and the blood of his potential descendants…. Therefore was the first man, Adam, created alone, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life, the Bible considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Bible considers it as if he saved an entire world. Furthermore, only one man, Adam, was created for the sake of peace among men, so that no one should say to his fellow, ‘My father was greater than yours…. Also, man [was created singly] to show the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for if a man strikes many coins from one mold, they all resemble one another, but the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, made each man in the image of Adam, and yet not one of them resembles his fellow. Therefore every single person is obligated to say, ‘The world was created for my sake”‘ (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5). (One commentary notes, “How grave the responsibility, therefore, of corrupting myself by giving false evidence, and thus bringing [upon myself the moral guilt of [murdering] a whole world.”)

One of the Mishna’s sixtythree tractates contains no laws at all. It is called Pirkei Avot (usually translated as Ethics of the Fathers), and it is the “Bartlett’s” of the rabbis, in which their most famous sayings and proverbs are recorded.

During the centuries following Rabbi Judah’s editing of the Mishna, it was studied exhaustively by generation after generation of rabbis. Eventually, some of these rabbis wrote down their discussions and commentaries on the Mishna’s laws in a series of books known as the Talmud. The rabbis of Palestine edited their discussions of the Mishna about the year 400: Their work became known as the Palestinian Talmud (in Hebrew, Talmud Yerushalmi, which literally means “Jerusalem Talmud”).

More than a century later, some of the leading Babylonian rabbis compiled another editing of the discussions on the Mishna. By then, these deliberations had been going on some three hundred years. The Babylon edition was far more extensive than its Palestinian counterpart, so that the Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) became the most authoritative compilation of the Oral Law. When people speak of studying “the Talmud,” they almost invariably mean the Bavli rather than the Yerushalmi.

The Talmud’s discussions are recorded in a consistent format. A law from the Mishna is cited, which is followed by rabbinic deliberations on its meaning. The Mishna and the rabbinic discussions (known as the Gemara) comprise the Talmud, although in Jewish life the terms Gemara and Talmud usually are used interchangeably.

The rabbis whose views are cited in the Mishna are known as Tanna’im (Aramaic for “teachers”), while the rabbis quoted in the Gemara are known as Amora’im (“explainers” or “interpreters”). Because the Tanna’im lived earlier than the Amora’im, and thus were in closer proximity to Moses and the revelation at Sinai, their teachings are considered more authoritative than those of the Amora’im. For the same reason, Jewish tradition generally regards the teachings of the Amora’im, insofar as they are expounding the Oral Law, as more authoritative than contemporary rabbinic teachings.

In addition to extensive legal discussions (in Hebrew, halakha), the rabbis incorporated into the Talmud guidance on ethical matters, medical advice, historical information, and folklore, which together are known as aggadata.

As a rule, the Gemara’s text starts with a close reading of the Mishna. For example, Mishna Bava Mezia 7:1 teaches the following: “If a man hired laborers and ordered them to work early in the morning and late at night, he cannot compel them to work early and late if it is not the custom to do so in that place.” On this, the Gemara (Bava Mezia 83a) comments: “Is it not obvious [that an employer cannot demand that they change from the local custom]? The case in question is where the employer gave them a higher wage than was normal. In that case, it might be argued that he could then say to them, ‘The reason I gave you a higher wage than is normal is so that you will work early in the morning and late at night.’ So the law tells us that the laborers can reply: ‘The reason that you gave us a higher wage than is normal is for better work [not longer hours].'”

Among religious Jews, talmudic scholars are regarded with the same awe and respect with which secular society regards Nobel laureates. Yet throughout Jewish history, study of the Mishna and Talmud was hardly restricted to an intellectual elite. An old book saved from the millions burned by the Nazis, and now housed at the YIVO library in New York, bears the stamp THE SOCIETY OF WOODCHOPPERS FOR THE STUDY OF MISHNA IN BERDITCHEV. That the men who chopped wood in Berditchev, an arduous job that required no literacy, met regularly to study Jewish law demonstrates the ongoing pervasiveness of study of the Oral Law in the Jewish community.

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Judaism: The Oral Law -Talmud & Mishna

How The Left, The Anti Defamation League and Media Used …

Posted By on March 30, 2018

Immediately after the police identified the suspect in the Florida high school massacre, as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, the media began to scour social media, desperate to find any ties Cruz may have had to the Right. In the medias narrow minds, you cant be a gun ownerand not be tied to the Republican Party. The Republican Party and the NRA must be held accountable, and they must be held accountable at all costs, even at the cost of being accurate or truthful. When the media couldnt find any facts to report, they immediately began to scour social media for hints. What they got was a bunch of social media trolls who thought it would be funny to lead the mainstream media on with lies about the shooter. The mainstream media and the Anti Defamation League (who ironically, claims to defend people who are victims of discrimination, yet works overtime to demonize anyone whose views are to the right of theirs), had to settle for fake ties to the massacre suspect and white supremacist group in Tallahassee, Florida.

Unfortunately, both the media and the Anti Defamation Leagues stories quickly fell apart when they were outed for not having done their homework to properly vet the comments made on an open chat, social media platform called 4Chan.

On Thursday afternoon, the Anti-Defamation League reported that a white supremacist group claimed ties with Nikolas Cruz, who confessed to the shooting spree that killed at least 17 people, including many high-school students, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

From the Anti Defamation Leagues website:

A spokesperson for the white supremacist group Republic of Florida (ROF) claimed tothe Anti-Defamation League on Thursday, February 15, that Nikolas Cruz, the man charged with the previous days deadly shooting spree at a Parkland, Florida, high school, was associated with his group.

UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, following news reports of the alleged association between Cruz and the Republic of Florida, a member of an alt right discussion forum wrote that all of the claims were false and were part of an elaborate attempt to troll a network news reporter and other media outlets. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, the Broward County sheriff said aconnection was not confirmed at this time, but that law enforcement was still investigating.

Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, allegedly entered the school Wednesday, February 14 with an AR-15 and opened fire, killing at least 17 people and injuring 14 more. Cruz left the scene but was later captured by police and has been charged with premeditated murder.

Afterself-described ROF members claimed on the discussion forum 4chan that Cruz had also been a member, the Anti-Defamation League spoke with an ROF member who identified himself as Jordan Jereb.

Jereb, based in Tallahassee, is believed to be the leader of ROF. In 2016, he was arrested on charges of threatening a staffer in the office of Florida Governor Rick Scott because he was allegedly angry at the staffers son.

Jereb said that Cruz was associated with ROF, having been brought up by another member. Jereb also claimedthat Cruz had participated in one or more ROF training exercises in the Tallahassee area, carpooling with other ROF members from south Florida.

ROF has members in north and south Florida. The alt right white supremacist group borrows paramilitary concepts from the anti-government extremist militia movement (not itself a white supremacist movement). ROF describes itself as a white civil rights organization fighting for white identitarian politics and seeks to create a white ethnostate in Florida. Most ROF members are young and the group itself is only a few years old.

Jereb added that ROF had not ordered or wanted Cruz to do anything like the school shooting.

If Cruzs role is confirmed, the Parkland school shooting would be the second school shooting by a white supremacist in the past two months. In December 2017, another young white supremacist, William Atchison, engaged in a shooting spree at a high school in northwest New Mexico, killing two students before shooting himself.

What we know about ROF (the Republic of Florida):

A spokesperson for the white supremacist group Republic of Florida (ROF) told the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday, February 15, that Nikolas Cruz [.] was associated with his group, the ADL reported. The ADL quoted a man named Jordan Jereb, who runs the small group, which is based in Tallahassee.

Jereb added that ROF had not ordered or wanted Cruz to do anything like the school shooting, the ADL wrote in a blog post that was quickly picked up by ABC News and The Associated Press, and later percolated through dozens of other media outlets. Even The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, picked up the claim.

Some outlets reported they had their own conversations with Jereb or classmates of Cruz who allegedly corroborated the association of Cruz with ROF.

But a few hours later, after law enforcement agencies said they had no evidence linking Cruz to ROF, Jereb said his identification of Cruz was a misunderstanding and that he, too, had been the subject of a prank. On online forums and Twitter, trolls and white nationalists gloated at the disinformation they had sowed.

Politicoreports- All of our evidence seems to point to the ADL getting this wrong, said Joan Donovan, a researcher who tracks online misinformation campaigns for Data & Society, a think tank in New York City.The ADL subsequently revised its report, as did many news outlets.

ADL shared information from our experts on extremism and claims from white supremacist that we believed could be helpful to both law enforcement and the public due to the fluid and evolving nature of the events, an ADL spokesperson said in a statement on Friday. Confirmation of whether Cruz was part of ROF is now in the hands of law enforcement, and thats what the Broward sheriffs team is looking into.

The ADL traced its original tip to posts on 4chan, where researchers found self-described ROF members claiming that Cruz was a brother-in-arms. But many of those posts seem to have been written specifically to deceive reporters and researchers.

On Wednesday, an anonymous 4chan user posted about receiving a message on Instagram from an ABC News reporter after making a joke suggesting he knew Cruz.

Prime trolling opportunity, another user replied.

You have to take advantage of this, a third chimed in.

He asked for proof of the reporters identity, according to posted screenshots from their correspondence. The reporter provided an official email address and sent a photo of an ABC identification badge.

Some on the 4chan thread joked about sending back obscene photos, but others gave concrete tips for tricking the reporter: Keep talking to her so she gains your trust; Keep this going be realistic say you have known him for years you met him on a Liberal Facebook page years ago and you have kept in touch; Say you are scared to tell her in case you get blamed, it will get her excited you know something big.

This particular 4chan user seems to have sent the reporter a racist cartoon and was quickly blocked. Many on the forum ripped into him for missing a a golden opportunity.

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How The Left, The Anti Defamation League and Media Used …

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