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Urgent tasks for Israel’s new government: Second coronavirus wave is only the beginning – Haaretz

Posted By on May 21, 2020

After almost a year and half of caretaker government, 33 new ministers came on board on Tuesday. Not all arrived with plans in hand. Most only learned which ministry theyll be leading a few days ago.

But all have their work cut out for them just reviving their institutions: the ministries have been effectively paralyzed since the dissolution of the 20th Knesset (which led to three fruitless elections, culminating in today's unity government). They couldn't make new appointments. They couldn't get funding for new projects.

It's a new day today, but the rigid coalition agreements are likely to constrain the freshly minted ministers and prevent them from forging ahead with appointments, legislation or an agenda that would peeve their peers in the rest of the government.

Yet some ministers who fielded jeers because of lame-duck portfolios cobbled together just to gratify them do mean to make important decisions in the coming days, if only in the hope that theyll finally make headlines for doing something.

At the Health Ministry: The coronavirus is still here

Brand-new Health Minister Yuli Edelstein will find his desk awash with tasks, but the coronavirus remains the most urgent. As he takes charge, the first wave of the virus seems to be ebbing, but the ramifications of the pandemic are still with us. His first mission is to take advantage of the hiatus in the virus spread in Israel to form a committee of experts to study the lessons learned from the crisis and make urgent recommendations, say within two weeks, how to prepare for what comes next: how to disseminate information better; tapping experts who had been sidelined; treating the sick the virus didnt evaporate overnight; make procurement plans; and factoring in the flu with the fight against the coronavirus this coming winter. (Ido Efrati)

At the Foreign Ministry: Reempowering the minister

Back when diplomacy still had international allure, the Foreign Ministry was considered a cherry. Now the best advice for the incoming foreign minister is to restore his status, which under Netanyahu bottomed out. The prime minister redistributed the ministrys roles and cut funding. Morale sank low.

Incoming Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi will first and foremost have to spell out to the international community and the ministry staff that he isnt there to stay in Netanyahus shadow. In recent years Netanyahu has taken over the role of foreign minister, both formally and informally, especially when it came to ties with the United States. Ashkenazis meeting last week with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who didnt bother meeting with Ashkenazis predecessor Yisrael Katz, was a good start in that sense.

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Meanwhile powers are still being stripped from the Foreign Ministry. As recently as Sunday, Netanyahu announced that he had upgraded Higher Education Minister Zeev Elkin by giving him responsibility to respond to action against Israel in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which is a core function of the Foreign Ministry.

So Ashkenazis job will include taking back authority and funding from no less than 35 unrelated entities (as the state comptroller reported), first and foremost the National Security Council, which advises Netanyahu. A good start would be for Ashkenazi to ask his colleagues in the Kahol Lavan party, Strategic Affairs Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen and Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich, to work together to restore those superfluous ministries to their natural status: branches of the Foreign Ministry. (Noa Landau)

At the Defense Ministry: First of all, plan

The incoming Defense Minister Benny Gantz probably has several goals for his term in office (before his rotation to prime minister comes around). The most important one should be revisiting Israels concept of national security, which has been left stagnant for years, making it hard for the army to plan with an eye to the future.

In Prime Minister Netanyahus previous terms, he had a fairly direct line to Israel Defense Forces chiefs of staff, reducing the influence of the defense minister. But now, Gantz is also deputy prime minister, and he should take advantage of this. Decisions he makes now can serve him when he becomes premier.

Also, while the defense budget will remain huge, it too will pay the price of the coronavirus. Money earmarked for big-ticket projects may have to be diverted to civilian support.(Yaniv Kubovich)

At the Finance Ministry: Getting a million people back to work

The new finance minister, Yisrael Katz, faces two chief missions: to create a national budget for 2020 Israel still doesnt have one and to get a million people back to work. The budget, always a hard nut to crack, will be a nightmare this year because 2020 may well end with Israel running a deficit of more than 10 percent of GDP.

On the bright side, the best time to drive actual reform is when theres no choice. In 1985 the Peres-Shamir unity government implemented an economic stabilization plan that worked, and led to growth that persisted for decades. It also laid the foundation for a more modern economy. But its success has to be seen in the context of the disastrous conditions preceding it: hyper-inflation, a huge deficit and massive government involvement in business. Companies belonging to the Histadrut labor union and banks were collapsing.

Things are different now. The economys underpinnings are strong. That said, Israel needs reforms that will lower the cost of living, improve the quality of public service and boost productivity. And that was before the advent of the coronavirus, which has devastated tens of thousands of businesses at the cost of hundreds of thousands of mostly lower-income jobs. Katz will have to change focus from driving the economy to reining in the debt-GDP ratio and the budget deficit.

His first decision was to cut his own salary by 10 percent, indicative of where he thinks belt-tightening is needed: in the public sector. The private sector already paid the price of the coronavirus. Now his attention should be directed at jobs for all those people who had to be let go.(Sami Peretz)

At the Justice Ministry: Prepare for annexation

Among the important tasks the new justice minister Avi Nissenkorn faces are forming a search committee for a new state prosecutor; reviving the Judicial Appointments Committee; arbitrating the dispute over civil law regulations; and advancing in the project to put the courts system online, a drive that began during the time of the coronavirus.

But if Netanyahu keeps his promise to annex parts of the West Bank, the Justice Ministry will face one of its greatest challenges in years. It faces a lot of work.

Besides applying Israeli law to these areas, the registration of land will have to be regulated; and a solution must be found for the legal status of the Palestinians in the annexed areas. That could be complicated because the High Court of Justice has already criticized the status of non-citizen residents applied to East Jerusalem Arabs. Annexation will also almost certainly lead to a probe against Israel in the International Criminal Court, which will likely become the Justice Ministrys greatest challenge. (Netael Bandel)

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Urgent tasks for Israel's new government: Second coronavirus wave is only the beginning - Haaretz

Florida Reports Anti-Semitic Incidents: Anti-Defamation League

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Image via Shutterstock The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2019 spiked to the highest level in at least 40 years. Here's a look at some incidents in DC and Virginia.

FLORIDA Anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2019 spiked to the highest level in at least 40 years, with a record 2,100 acts of assault, vandalism and harassment against Jews reported across the United States, including in Florida, according to a report released last week by the Anti-Defamation League. Niney-one such incidents were reported last year in the state.

Anti-Semitic incidents increased 12 percent in 2019 from the prior year, including a 56 percent increase in the number of assaults against Jews more than half of them occurring in New York City, the report said. All U.S. states except Alaska and Hawaii reported at least one anti-Semitic incident last year.

The report speaks to the lived experience of Jewish people in the United States, Aryeh Tuchman, the associate director of the Anti-Defamation Leagues Center on Extremism, told Patch.

The 2,107 incidents of anti-Semitic incidents dont mean that every Jewish person needs to look over their shoulder all the time, Tuchman said. In terms of victims affected directly, thats a very small percentage of the population. But at the same time, because of reporting, social media and word of mouth, that can have an outside impact on the sense of security, sense of confidence and the possible fear of American Jews.

The audit includes both criminal and non-criminal acts of intimidation and harassment. In the 61 assault incidents, 95 people were harmed and five were killed. Those attacks included the 2019 shooting at Chabad of Poway in California, where one person was killed; the shooting at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey, where six people, including three Jews, were killed; and a stabbing during a Hanukkah celebration in which one person died of his injuries and several others were wounded.

The assaults also included the really concerning state of violent attacks on Jews that took place in Brooklyn at the end of the year, Tuchman said.

In general, the assaults we documented in 2019 ranged from confrontations not involving weapons pushing, punching and throwing of objects with evidence of anti-Semitic intent to the really alarming deadly use of weapons, such as guns and knives, Tuchman said.

On average, there were as many as six anti-Semitic incidents in the United States each day in 2019, the highest level of anti-Semitic activity since the Anti-Defamation League began collecting statistics in 1979.

In Florida, incidents included:

The Anti-Defamation League report showed 1,127 harassment incidents, 919 vandalism incidents and 61 assault incidents. The five states with the highest number of anti-Semitic reports were:

Combined, those states had 45 percent of the total number of anti-Semitic incidents last year in the United States. More than half of the assaults nationwide occurred in the five boroughs of New York City, including 25 in Brooklyn alone, the report said.

The report does not draw conclusions about the motivation behind the anti-Semitic incidents. Tuchman said its important not to generalize.

Every case needs to be assessed on its own, he said. When we know who perpetuated a particular assault, we need to understand the motivation of that perpetrator may not be what motivated another perpetrator.

Typically, he said, the number of assaults in a given year range from 30 to 60, and 2019 is the latest high-mark year. Because the number of American Jews reporting anti-Semitic incidents is relatively small, its harder to extrapolate broader trends, he said.

In an earlier report, the Anti-Defamation League reported an uptick in extremism at stay-at-home protests urging governors to reopen states for business after coronavirus-related closures, but Tuchman said anti-Semitism isnt an overarching theme.

Its a very, very small number of people at these rallies who exhibit bad behavior related to ideological extremism, let alone anti-Semitism, he said. He pointed out that the presence of swastikas on some signs is more a condemnation of governors stay-home orders than anti-Jewish sentiment.

We view that as offensive, Tuchman said, but not necessarily anti-Semitic.

He said extremists find anti-government activity generally very attractive, so its not surprising a small number were able to glob on to these protests.

Anti-Semitic incidents may be reported on the organizations website.

The report doesnt cover 2020 anti-Semitic incidents, but the Anti-Defamation League keeps a running count as they are reported. In Florida this year, incidents include:

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Florida Reports Anti-Semitic Incidents: Anti-Defamation League

Anti-Asian Incidents on the Rise in Northern California – Livermore Independent

Posted By on May 21, 2020

The Anti-Defamation League reported this month that reports of xenophobic and racist incidents targeting members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are surging in Northern California cities and across the nation since the COVID-19 outbreak began, including reports of victims being threatened and harassed in the street.

The organization that tracks hate crimes said victims have been blamed for "bringing the virus" to the United States, told to "Go Back to China," and have been spat on, physically assaulted and called racial slurs.

"Statements by public officials referring to COVID-19 as the Chinese virus, Kung Flu or Wu Flu may be exacerbating the scapegoating and targeting of the AAPI community," the ADL reported May 4. "Meanwhile, extremists continue to spread antisemitic and xenophobic conspiracies about COVID-19, blaming Jews and China for creating, spreading and profiting off the virus."

The ADL created a list of about 100 incidents targeting Asians from media reports across the country. The incidents included Asians ordered to get off trains, shouted down with obscenities, and businesses hit with anti-Asian graffiti.

The list included these Northern California incidents:

April 22: In San Jose, five Asian-owned businesses were vandalized.

April 19: In San Francisco, an Asian American woman was harassed while walking her dogs. She was told to "Go back to whatever (expletive) country you came from" and that "nasty people should stay in (expletive) Asia."

March 24: In San Francisco, a man yelled at a Filipino-American man, using a derogatory term for Asians.

March 16: In Daly City, shoppers harassed an Asian man who coughed in a Target store.

March 9: In San Francisco, a woman told reporters that a man harassed her as she walked to a gym. He shouted obscenities about China and encouraged a passing bus to "run them over." He then spat at her.

Feb. 22: In San Francisco, an incident caught on camera showed people physically assaulting an elderly Asian man who was collecting recyclables near a housing project. One person said, "I hate Asians."

In response to the growing trend, San Francisco State University's Asian American Studies department, along with the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), started a center to collect and track incidents of anti-Asian American and Pacific islander hate violence.

First and foremost, we want community members to know they are not alone, Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of CAA, said in a statement. "They can speak out and help stop the spread of bigotry. Secondly, the collected data will allow us to assess the extent and magnitude of these incidents and to develop strategic interventions."

Russell Jeung, chairman of San Francisco State's Asian American Studies department, said elected officials, including President Trump, who labeled COVID-19 as the "Chinese Virus," fueled xenophobia.

"In our research on news articles, we see that following inflammatory comments, theres an increase of racist incidents against Asian Americans," Jeung said in a statement. "Clearly, with such political framing, Asians of different ethnicities are being racially profiled as a foreign threat.

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Anti-Asian Incidents on the Rise in Northern California - Livermore Independent

Facebook grows, unfazed by Washington – POLITICO – Politico

Posted By on May 21, 2020

With help from Cristiano Lima, John Hendel and Tim Starks

Editors Note: Morning Tech is a free version of POLITICO Pro Technologys 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.


Facebook pushes scrutiny aside: The companys launch of Facebook Shops and acquisition of Giphy have made one thing clear: neither political headwinds nor competition from Silicon Valley neighbors have deterred the social networks expansion.

Back in action: The Senate Commerce Committee holds its first markup in more than two months today to address the FCC inspector general nomination and a bill to help the Commerce Department up its IT game.

POLITICO Q&A: E&Cs top Republican, Greg Walden, told POLITICO that lawmakers have all but missed their chance to move forward federal privacy legislation this Congress, accusing Democrats of not making it enough of a priority.


Whats happening in Washingtons tech circles? Drop me a line at [emailprotected] or @Ali_Lev. 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.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Due to the Memorial Day weekend, Morning Tech will not publish on Monday, May 25. It will return Tuesday, May 26.

FACEBOOK: SCRUTINY, WHAT SCRUTINY? If Facebook is sweating the intense scrutiny from Washington over its growing power, you couldnt tell from the social networks latest expansion decisions. The tech giant on Tuesday unveiled its biggest push into e-commerce to date, rolling out a new online storefront for business owners that could put it in direct competition with other industry titans like Amazon. The move follows Facebooks recent announcements that its buying animated images company Giphy for a reported $400 million and growing its virtual video conference offerings in a bid to challenge the upstart Zoom.

The view from Zuck in Silicon Valley: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touted the announcement as part of the companys efforts to help with the economic recovery around Covid-19. And while he acknowledged in an interview with Bloomberg that the move may bring political headwinds, he said that alone shouldnt stop them. Any new thing that we do is going to have scrutiny, Zuckerberg said. Thats certainly something we think about in everything we do. But at the same time, I dont think you can let the fact that there will be scrutiny and questions prevent you from doing things that you think are going to be good.

The view from Washington: The companys rationales for its recent expansions arent landing with critical lawmakers, who say the moves have troublingly given the tech giant more access to new troves of user data. These days Facebook is starting to look an awful lot like WeChat, a one-stop surveillance shop for the Chinese government, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) told MT in a statement. Only Mark Zuckerberg would think thats a good thing. Facebooks acquisition of Giphy was met by similar blowback in Washington.

IS COVID-19 FUELING SOCIAL MEDIA EXTREMISM? That question will be a key talking point at a virtual forum today held by the House Homeland Security Committee, whose leaders have grilled major platforms on their efforts to crack down on extremist content. Terrorists use of the internet has been magnified by this public health crisis, with social media and gaming platforms increasingly being used for recruitment and propaganda here and around the world particularly as people spend more and more time online at home, Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.), who is co-hosting the session, said in his prepared remarks for the forum, and which were shared with MT.

Conspiracy bingo all over again?: The event will also feature remarks from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and Soufan Group CEO Ali Soufan. Greenblatt in his planned remarks warns that extremists right now are using fear stoked by widespread anxieties about health and job security to amplify their dangerous, hateful messages, including online. The event follows a POLITICO report by Mark Scott and Steven Overly that outlined how the coronavirus outbreak is providing a global rallying cry for conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists on both sides of the Atlantic.

TECH QUOTE DU JOUR: PICHAI ON DORSEY Im glad Twitter is running a kind of one-end-of-the-spectrum experiment. So thanks, Jack. Its good to see that end of the spectrum, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an interview with The Verge, when pressed about whether he will follow Twitter CEO Jack Dorseys lead in telling his employees they can work from home forever. Pichai said productivity is down in some parts of Google, so were probably going to be conservative in it. We want to make sure things work well.

SENATE COMMERCE TO VOTE ON AIRWAVES, FCC IG In its first markup since March 11, the Senate Commerce Committee will vote this morning to advance the nomination of John Chase Johnson to be FCC inspector general as well as the committee leaders Spectrum IT Modernization Act, S. 3717, which they recently introduced with Armed Services Committee leaders.

The bill would require the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is at the center of various administration fights over 5G, to submit a plan to Congress for revamping NTIAs IT systems. Verizon senior VP Robert Fisher recently offered his endorsement, saying the bill strikes the right balance by seeking to update government agency tech tools without upending the U.S. regulatory model.

INCOMING: MORE TECH TASK FORCE ACTION Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Tuesday designated technology as one of the pillars of his newly formed China Task Force, and named GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Chris Stewart (Utah), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Mike Gallagher (Wis.), John Joyce (Pa.) and Denver Riggleman (Va.) as tech co-chairs. Each of these pillars represents a key focus area where U.S. leadership and democratic values counteract Chinese Communist Party (CCP) malfeasance globally, McCaul said in a statement.

POLITICO Q&A: E&CS GREG WALDEN As the next many (many, many?) months remain in limbo in Washington and across the country, the House Energy and Commerce Committees top Republican, Rep. Greg Walden, spoke with my colleague Tim Starks about what more the Oregon congressman hopes to achieve before retiring at the end of this Congress. On the tech front, Walden said Congress almost surely missed its chance to move forward federal privacy legislation, and he criticized Democrats for not making it more of a priority. It's politics more than policy, Walden said of the hold-up on a nationwide data privacy bill.

Senator Wicker and I were committed to moving forward on bicameral and bipartisan legislation [in] this space, and doing it in early 2019, Walden told POLITICO. But guess what: I don't have the gavel. I have one on the shelf. And I'm going to be Chairman in exile. So, you know, we've tried to work with our colleagues, I just don't think they feel the urgency some of us do on setting national standards.

There's also a reluctance, if you're from California, to overturn what California has done, Walden said in reference to the states landmark Consumer Privacy Act, which took effect in January. I'm not saying you necessarily overturn it we could come together on improvements, or build off of it but I just don't see it happening during Covid, and given the short few legislative days ahead. I don't see it happening during the pandemic. They kind of got everything they want already.

Waldens grim assessment of a nationwide privacy bill comes weeks after top Senate Republicans and congressional Democrats floated separate privacy proposals tied to Covid-19.

Nicol Turner Lee was promoted from fellow to senior fellow at the Brookings Institutions Center for Technology Innovation. Leigh Ann Benicewicz, former senior communications manager at Reddit, has joined Cloudflare as director of public relations.

Tech activism: Google says it will no longer build custom artificial intelligence tools for speeding up oil and gas extraction, separating itself from cloud computing rivals Microsoft and Amazon, AP reports a move that follows a report from the environmental activist group Greenpeace documenting the tech giants work for oil companies.

Plus: Some GOP backlash.

Dispatch from Canada: Canadas top competition enforcement agency says Facebook Inc. will pay a C$9 million penalty after the watchdog concluded the company made false or misleading claims about the privacy of Canadians personal information on its platforms, POLITICO reports. (Thats a fine equal to nearly $6.5 million.)

Amazons biggest outbreak: A warehouse in the foothills of the Poconos has had more known Covid-19 cases than any of Amazons others after missing early opportunities to protect workers, NYT reports.

Palantir, please: The Department of Veterans Affairs is the latest agency to lean on Palantir to support its coronavirus surveillance efforts, FedScoop reports, using the companys software to monitor hotspots and make decisions accordingly.

While you were quarantining: Your face mask selfies could be training the next facial recognition tool, CNET reports.

Tech for good: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, donated nearly $5 million to NPR to create regional newsrooms and boost local coverage, NPR reports.

Podcast OTD: The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, an industry-friendly think tank, is getting into the podcast game with Innovation Files, which just launched and will explore the intersection of tech, innovation and public policy.

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).

TTYL and go wash your hands.

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Facebook grows, unfazed by Washington - POLITICO - Politico

Santee taking steps to address incidents of intolerance – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Posted By on May 21, 2020

The Santee City Council has decided to add four new members to the citys Community Oriented Policing Committee, a response to two incidents at local grocery stores in which individuals were wearing articles of clothing that could be considered racist or anti-Semitic.

Councilman Stephen Houlahan, at a meeting last week, said it was troubling that a man felt comfortable enough in Santee to don a KKK hood, and that two other individuals felt emboldened to affix Nazi swastika symbols over their facemasks.

12:16 PM, May. 20, 2020 This story has been updated to note that resident Michele Perchez believes that Santee has fostered a xenophobic culture because of its history.

Santee Mayor John Minto said it was time to take a deeper look into the citys history of racism and cultural bias to find out why it exists, in what areas most incidents have been documented, and how pervasive it is in the community.

Minto said he wants to create a plan that will include reaching out to schools and the business community, and possibly hold community meetings designed around the topics of racism.

The skys the limit, he said. Everybody has to be part of the conversation.

As for expanding the 17-member COMPOC, Minto said it was important to bring on people who have experience in problem-solving.

The group currently includes Minto, a former San Diego police officer, City Manager Marlene Best, Recreation Services Manager Anne Morrison, three members of the San Diego County Sheriffs department, and other community members.

Minto suggested adding two people he knew: an African-American pastor from the southeastern part of the city of San Diego, somebody whos dealt with racism all of their life and has talked about how to heal, and a woman who has been part of the Anti Defamation League, a former school principal who has taught messages of tolerance and acceptance to students at schools.

You have to have people that have had these kind of experiences, who understand what other people may be telling them.... how to live in the shoes of someone else... put it in perspective, he said.

City Councilwoman Laura Koval said the incidents triggered peoples emotions and brought things bubbling to the surface but that having a plan moving forward will bring the city together and will help it become stronger and better.

City Councilman Ronn Hall suggested there be at least two more open seats for others interested in being part of COMPOC and suggested a subcommittee and seminars with managers of local retail stores.

Residents used last weeks discussion about the policing committee to share their concerns.

Some said they were embarrassed by the negative national attention the city got. Carly Morales said she didnt live in Santee but shopped there and was now having second thoughts about doing so. Lee Harstad called the recent incidents a black eye on the city of Santee and Michele Perchez, who said she has lived in Santee for about 19 years, said Santees history has fostered a xenophobic culture.

Its sickening that these individuals think its OK to promote their racist cause without any fear of consequence, Tina Deeson said. Unfortunately, those incidents are what people who dont live here think we are as a city. We need to show them again that hate has no business here.

City Council member Rob McNelis, who moved to Santee in 1994, said he took offense that Santee was being characterized as a racist community and fired back at comments made suggesting he was racist. He said he is tremendously proud of his heritage and that his mom is half Mexican, half Spanish; his father half Mexican and half Irish.

It doesnt matter what your background is, Santee is an incredibly great community, he said. I do take offense when people say that its some racist community. Its not, maybe it was... it hasnt been as long as Ive been here. Thats not our community. Its not what Ive found, its not what Ive seen, its not the realistic experience of most of the people who have lived here for 20-plus years, 30 years.

Houlahan said he was concerned about the financial hit Santee might take because of those who might not move or shop in the city because of the racist issues.

We must take the strongest action possible, move forward, denounce it as strongly as possible, Houlahan said. Lets get real here, council, and lets move forward appropriately. We need to look at COMPOC as a first step. The right thing is to handle this racism issue head-on.

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Santee taking steps to address incidents of intolerance - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Editorial: Bill will help keep memory of Holocaust alive – Reading Eagle

Posted By on May 21, 2020

We live in an era so filled with partisan rancor that even a public health emergency that has killed tens of thousands is seen by many as another political talking point.

Thats why it was so refreshing to see a moment of bipartisanship in Congress last week on an issue thats hardly new but is always worthy of attention.

The Senate unanimously passed the Never Again Education Act, which authorizes spending $10 million over the next five years to further Holocaust-related programming and educational materials in middle and high schools.

The bill, which had already passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, was sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, explained the idea behind the measure well in a Twitter post.

This important bill will provide our teachers with the resources they need to teach our students the lessons of the Holocaust, Rosen wrote.

Theres far more to Holocaust education than informing young people about the past. Its about making them sensitive to the dangers of anti-Semitism at a time when expressions of hate are becoming all too common once again.

Failing to educate the next generation would only make history more likely to repeat itself, said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., another co-sponsor of the bill.

It was heartening but hardly surprising to see broad support for the measure not just from Jewish organizations but from Christian groups as well.

If there exists a silver bullet to defeat the spread of bigotry and hatred, it is education, said Pastor John Hagee, chairman of Christians United for Israel. Through this legislation, teachers around the country will have federal support in their efforts to stamp out antisemitism by teaching about its abhorrent consequences.

While educating young people about the Holocaust is of paramount importance, its equally critical for adults to remember the tragic lessons of that horrific period in history.

For starters, that means refusing to tolerate even casual forms of anti-Semitism. From those seeds grow the most bitter fruits. One of the most troubling aspects of contemporary life is peoples growing comfort in delivering expressions of hate in public forums, especially on social media.

Lets all work together to change the tone of our discourse and try to understand one another rather than staying on constant attack.

In the spirit of Holocaust education, we urge people to cease using Nazi analogies in attacking contemporary American public figures. Last week the Berks County Republican Committee was rightfully criticized for a Facebook post that referred to Gov. Tom Wolf as a Nazi. Unfortunately such analogies are all too common on both sides of the political debate.

All should take to heart the words of the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia on the subject: Holocaust analogies should only be used when referring to actual genocides, full stop.

May the passage of the Never Again Education Act help not just children but our political leaders and the rest of us absorb and apply the lessons of the Holocaust to make todays world better.

Editorial: Bill will help keep memory of Holocaust alive - Reading Eagle

May 14: 5 non-COVID-19 stories from across the tri-state region – News 12 Bronx

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Looking for some stories that are not about the coronavirus?Here's a selection of stories from across our regions.

Norwalk cemetery launches fundraiser to ensure war veterans are never forgotten:The Riverside Cemetery has launched a new effort to ensure that our nation's fallen veterans are never forgotten. The cemetery recently started the War Memorial Preservation Project fundraiser.Service members from all of the nation's wars are buried throughout the cemetery. There are also distinct memorial areas for the Civil War, World War I and World War II.

ADL: Anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey at highest levels ever recorded: Anti-Semitic incidents in New Jersey are at the highest levels they have ever been, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League. The organization says that there were more than 2,100 anti-Semitic incidents in the state in 2019 the highest amount since the group began keeping track of such incidents in 1979.

News 12is told it happened around 8 p.m. in front of 1534 Myrtle Ave. The NYPD released video of the 60-year-old victim walking when a man came running across the street and shoved him to the ground.

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May 14: 5 non-COVID-19 stories from across the tri-state region - News 12 Bronx

Who’s afraid of the boogaloo? – The Spectator USA

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Joseph Miner, a 29-year-old resident of Queens, New York, fits into what you might imagine the alt-right to be. A young man who posted photos of himself performing the Hitler salute alongside jokes about being an incel, he lived with his parents and posted racial abuse online under the handle souljagoy. (Get it? Its like Soulja Boy. But hes not Jewish. Get it?)

According to reports, Miner has been arrested for buying illegal weapons from an undercover agent with the aim of taking part in the boogaloo.

Boogaloo? What the hell isthat? Boogaloo, it turns out, is a euphemism for civil war, used ironically and unironically online. While the term has been in use at least since 2018, it has taken off among Americans who are outraged by government shutdowns and those who see the shutdowns as an opportunity.

Whyboogaloo? Back in 1984 there was a sequel to a breakdancing film BreakincalledBreakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. The film is largely forgotten but the title spawned a meme. Electric boogaloo denotes a lazy sequel, or history repeating itself. So, you can find images of the fat face of Kim Jong-un, bearing the caption Glorious Leader 2: Electric Boogaloo. Civil strife is the boogaloo because it is, in some hot minds, the American Revolution or Civil War repeating itself.

At first boogaloo memes were largely posted in response to real or alleged plans to confiscate firearms. As the Anti-Defamation Leaguereportedin November 2019, though, the meme caught on among survivalists and accelerationists who predicted the collapse of civil society, and white supremacists fantasizing about racial violence. An effective meme is never exclusive to one group. Appropriation is too tempting.

It was when coronavirus prompted shutdowns across the United States that the meme burst vividly into the public consciousness. Armed demonstrations against shutdowns in North Carolina werereported to have been organized on the Blue Igloo Facebook page. (Blue Igloo? Boogaloo? Still dont get it?) Dozens of similar Facebook groups have sprung up, even a clothing line, named the Thicc Boog Line get it? which sells shirts, hats and hoodies to the Boojahideen (oh, I give up.)

Internet users who revel in memes love corny wordplay, as you can probably tell. They love to wear Hawaiian shirts. Even the armed demonstrators appeared to be showing off for the cameras as much as anything. They swaggered around with their guns, striking poses as photographers slavered and then trundled home. Believers in the boogaloo are also as fractious and incoherent as you would expect. For example, the antigovernment organization the Oath Keepers has a history ofconflict with white supremacists. Ethnonationalists are the worst kind of statists, says the owner of the Thicc Boog Line page in one Facebook post, Get rekt losers. All I can hear is dont take my Facebook money, griped a critic in the replies.

Still, bizarre shitposting can be fused with real-life violence, such as when Brenton Tarrantwent on his anti-Muslim rampage in New Zealand while barking about the YouTuber PewDiePie and livestreaming the event to his morbid peers. While most of the people posting boogaloo memes doubtless have no more intention of committing actual violence than the average person, Tarrant, Anders Breivik, Dylann Roof and others have shown how much devastation even one man can cause.

There has been a curious trend, in recent months, of Americans making ostentatious displays of force. Beyond the boogaloo phenomenon, the New Black Panthers patrolled the streets of Brunswick, bearing rifles, after the recent killing of the young African American Ahmaud Arbery. You suspect there would have been more attention if armed white supremacists had patrolled the streets of Delaware after the recent shootings of an elderly couple at a veterans cemetery. The Panthers have long been barking without much bite, yet their protestthis week outside a Chinese restaurant in DC, however, apparently on the grounds that its owners must share responsibility with the Chinese government for the treatment of migrant workers in China, shows a firm commitment to aggravating ethnic tensions.

But any fear or political violence should be tempered by concerns about state overreaction to perceived threats. Duncan Socrates Lemp, an alleged member of the anti-government militia the Three Percenters, was shotby armed police officers early on a Thursday morning in March. Police claim that Lemp confronted the officers. His family claim that he was killed while sleeping. It is still too early for the facts to be clear but the case has disturbing echoes of the 1990s.

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Under President Clinton, excessive state reactions to perceived extremist activity led to tragic loss of life. At Waco, the siege of the Branch Davidian sect led to tear gas being released, fires breaking out and dozens of people, including 25 children, dying. At Ruby Ridge, a failed attempt to turn Randy Weaver into a state informer led to his attempted arrest by the Marshals Service and the FBI and the killings of his wife, his son and the family dog. The authorities had been trying to stamp down on dissident movements such as militias, cults and white nationalists, but as well as ending innocent lives, they ended up inspiringparanoia among the devotees of Alex Jones, Milton William Cooper and others.

Threats of violence, and especiallyacts of violence, are disturbing and demand attention from the public and the state. The memes might have the air of absurdist comedy now but would seem far less funny if a man in a Hawaiian shirt was marching towards you raising a firearm. Still, it is fair to insist on caution being applied to the arms of the state as well, especially as they are called into action to enforce unprecedented restrictions on civil liberties.

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Who's afraid of the boogaloo? - The Spectator USA

SJN: Azrieli Schools of Talmud Torah and Herzliah High appoint Toledano to top post – The Suburban Newspaper

Posted By on May 21, 2020

Michelle Toledano is the new Head of School at the Azrieli Schools of Talmud Torah and Herzliah High,effective July 1.

Ms. Toledano joined the Azrieli Schools family 13 years ago. Following sixteen years of teaching, she spent two years as the Cycle One Coordinator at Herzliah. In 2008, she was offered the position of principal at Talmud Torah Beutel in St. Laurent. She was tasked with the consolidation of that campus with Snowdon to create the Talmud Torah of today. With tireless dedication, strong leadership and incredible vision, she succeeded in seamlessly blending the two school communities, families, students and staff and created a school that is thriving today.

Ms. Toledano will oversee both the elementary and high school leadership team. "I am excited and look forward to the year ahead, she said. I am so fortunate to work alongside a team of gifted educational professionals. I have no doubt that together, we will ensure that Talmud Torah and Herzliah continue to thrive."

At Herzliah, Ms. Toledano will be assisted by Dean of Academics Dr. Karen Gazith, Directors of English and French Schools Lorne Grintuch and Claudine Habre and Director of Jewish Studies David Azerad. In addition, at Talmud Torah, Osnat Bitton and Arielle Medalsy have been promoted, respectively, to the positions of Director of Students and Director of Studies. "We are confident that under Ms. Toledanos leadership, this team of dedicated professionals will successfully lead our schools into the new decade and beyond, said President Alexandra Obadia.

Here is a video related to the announcement.

Israeli cyclists prepare for the new normal.

SYLVAN ADAMS CYCLES AWAY: Israels only professional cycling team, Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN), began its first training camp last week since the Coronavirus outbreak, in preparation for the teams first ever appearance in the Tour de France later this year. The three days of intensive riding in northern Israel makes ISN the first team competing at professional cyclings highest level, the World Tour, to return to training since the pandemic brought the season to a halt.

The intensive training camp brought together more than 12 riders from ISNs World Tour roster and its academy development squad. Riding together for the first time in more than two months, the team will conduct sprints and climbing drills. The training camp was organized after Israeli authorities lifted a number of restrictions, making it possible to undertake serious team training, in preparation for a possible resumption of the professional cycling season.

This is a testament to the forward-looking and astute Israeli management of this pandemic and our nations relatively low number of cases, said ISN team co-owner and native Montrealer Sylvan Adams, who has joined the training camp, located in Beit Hillel, northern Israel.

Adams added: We look forward to similar improvements in other countries, as we prepare for the resumption of the race season, and our historic participation in the Tour de France, a first for our Israeli team.

The camp is being conducted under strict rules, adhering to the remaining Coronavirus restrictions. No more than twenty participants, including riders, mechanics and coaches are grouped together. Meanwhile, all participants signed a statement declaring a clean bill of health, body temperatures are regularly tested, meals are delivered in boxes and eaten according to strict social distancing, and all non-training activities such as team meetings are held outdoors. Masseurs and other therapists wear masks while treating riders.

Israel's first professional cycling team was established in 2015 as "Israel Cycling Academy," including riders from Israel and abroad. The team began to compete at a higher level when Adams, who now calls Israel home, joined as a co-owner alongside Ron Baron.

Ezra Jegher, Tikun Gardens volunteer

TIKUN GARDENS: As the community faces unprecedented challenges, some members have stepped up as we enter the summer months with an opportunity to find innovative ways to feed those in need and to get quarantined families and older adults directly involved in charity. If youre an older adult isolated at home or a family looking for a meaningful project to do with your kids this summer, consider joining forces with Tikun Gardens. which will be collecting produce from local community gardens and distributing to those in need.

Tikun Gardens was established by Devorah Feldman with support from Dr. Dahlia Guttman, Jacob Jegher David Tordjman, Eta Yudin and Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation. Feldman, a social worker explained that this project came from her desire to educate her children about the challenges so many are facing during the pandemic. I was looking for a meaningful project that actively engaged my children in charity so that they would better understand the importance of feeding the most vulnerable members of our community, she said. Combining gardening with a tangible charitable component was the perfect vehicle to achieve this goal.

CSL City Councillor David Tordjman and a committee member adds: Giving back to our most vulnerable families is so important in these difficulttimes. By planting and growing our own produce locally we are getting directly involved, in the most environmentallyconscious way, and giving back to our most vulnerable neighbours. I am calling out to all residents that want to get involved, be it by having one tomatoplant or a garden, reachout every act will make a difference.

Tikun Gardens will collect fresh produce throughout the months of July and August from local community gardeners, and create fresh fruit and vegetable baskets. Their goal will be to distribute 40 baskets per week. Thus far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Sign up has been steady and donors have stepped up to add new items including eggs.

To donate, volunteer, get more information on how to plant your own garden visit Tikun Gardens is fully volunteer run and is actively looking for more participants and volunteers.

CABGU RESCHEDULES MAIN EVENT: Like the many fundraising organizations that take advantage of the May to June corridor in the Jewish community calendar to run events, the Canadian Friends of Ben Gurion University of the Negev (CABGU) were well underway for their third annual Main Event on May 6 when the Coronavirus interrupted things in March. As soon as travel and other advisories were put in place, CABGU Montreal decided to postpone their event to October 21, 2020. This years event will be a celebration BGUs 50th anniversary and will highlight Cyber-Security one of the universitys top research expertise. We hope that by October we will be able to showcase the work being done at BGU to counter computer virus rather than biological ones, stated CABGU Montreal PresidentJack Altman. The event will feature Prof. Yuval Elovici, BGUs lead cyber researcher and world renowned expert. It also pay tribute to past and present leadership, donors and volunteers. Sponsorship opportunities and tickets are available at The event will include a full cocktail dinatore and open bar.

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SJN: Azrieli Schools of Talmud Torah and Herzliah High appoint Toledano to top post - The Suburban Newspaper

Its not a merger! Reform and Conservative are just collaborating – Jewish Journal

Posted By on May 21, 2020

As the holiday of Shavuot approaches, we prepare to greet the giving of the Torah with all-night study in a Tikkun Leil Shavuot. The classical mode of Torah study is in chavruta, a pair or small group of learners who explore texts in partnership. It is in this spirit of chavruta that we, leaders of the Reform and Conservative Movements, share this message.

A successful chavruta requires a special relationship of the individuals involved and makes important demands: They must each set aside their egos to make space for the ideas of others and engage in deep and respectful listening. They must also set aside the desire to win the argument and instead open themselves to the wonder of encountering anothers point of view.

The two of us have spent much time teleconferencing with other partners, sharing our thoughts about the challenges facing the Jewish people in this time of pandemic. We understand clearly that, going forward, the paradigm for Jewish life centers on this concept of chavruta, of engaging in conversations not with the goal of merging into one. Quite the contrary; it is to partner in shared pursuits while respecting and even nurturing diverse ideas and approaches.

Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal

When we act together, our voices are stronger and more impactful. In the wake of the World Zionist Congress elections, for example, our two movements signed a joint agreement to advocate for strengthening democracy and equality for non-Orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel.

Here in North America, we have collaborated on issues such as the safety and security of our institutions, response to COVID-19, leadership development, and social justice and equality. In addition, our rabbinical organizations, together with those of other movements, have organized webinars and shared materials on the subjects of medical knowledge, financial and staffing planning, Jewish values, practical procedures for reopening our buildings, and more.

We also know that collaboration is happening in many local areas with Reform and Conservative (and other) congregations joining together for educational programming and communal activism. We are thrilled, for example, that Los Angeles and other cities are holding cooperative virtual adult learning programs on Shavuot.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

The most helpful framework for our shared work is collaboration, not merger. Mergers often eliminate healthy differences. In healthy partnerships, one doesnt lose ones unique identity but rather finds shared interests and commitments. And as two movements built on a deep commitment to pluralism in Jewish life, we have no desire to blend into one or to eliminate what makes our respective movements unique.

Conservative and Reform Judaism share many commonalities, yet we each retain our theological, liturgical, and ideological distinctiveness. We believe that this diversity has contributed to the vitality of the North American Jewish community and that effective partnership will make us even stronger.

Yes, the pandemic has accelerated the need for us to think together about the needs of the broad Jewish community, and how we can work together to create impact. The lesson of the 21st century, which we intend to model for our own synagogues, is that what we do need to be less about our institutions and more about the impact we make.

Were motivated to collaborate not out of desperate need but rather out of the opportunity to create more strength and vitality in Jewish life.

Often the best chavruta experience ends the way the Talmud often concludes with an extended argument among its rabbis, using the phrase Teiku, a beautiful, one-word Aramaic expression that means, Weve explored this thoroughly, and while we didnt reach a conclusion, we loved the conversation.

So often in the Talmud, the goal wasnt to win the argument, but to unearth all of the ways we might understand and celebrate Jewish tradition. Our chavruta is open to other partners, new ideas, and bold experiments.

As we prepare to stand again at Sinai on Shavuot, let us remember that long ago and again today, our people can stand together as distinct individuals, yes, but also as Am Yisrael, the Jewish people bound together for sacred purpose.

We invite Jews of every stream to join with us in shaping a vibrant Jewish future.

Rabbis Blumenthal and Jacobs lead, respectively, the Conservative and Reform Movements of North American Judaism. Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal is CEO of the Rabbinical Assembly the association of all the Conservative/Masorti rabbis in the world. July 1 he will also become CEO of United Synagogue, the association of all the Conservative movement synagogues in North America. Rabbi Rick Jacobs is president of the Union for Reform Judaism, representing an estimated 1.5 million Reform Jews in nearly 850 congregations across North America.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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Its not a merger! Reform and Conservative are just collaborating - Jewish Journal

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