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‘We will only be moved as bodies’: Israel and Bedouins face off in the Negev – Middle East Eye

Posted By on January 20, 2020

Mohammad Danfiri stands at the edge of his Bedouin familys sheep enclosure in the Negev Desert, looking out at a pair of cell phone towers at the top of a nearby hill. They are situated in an open spot between one end of his village and the other - an area, he explains, where an extension of Israels major eastern highway will be built.

A row of houses stands about 60 metres from the towers, where highway plans have been approved. But the Israeli government is advancing plans to evict not only the residents closest to the planned road.

The entire 5,000-person village - and many surrounding ones - will be placed in temporary housing units under the governments plan, severely limiting their ability to herd sheep and develop agriculture, the primary means of employment in Bedouin communities.

'It's not going to happen A project like this would erase the Bedouin culture and heritage'

-Mohammad Danfiri

Danfiri is one of at least 36,000 Bedouins in Israels Negev (known in Arabic as the Naqab) facing eviction due to a host of projects like the highway expansion.

In order to implement these development plans put forth by government bodies, the Israeli military, private companies and non-profit groups, Israels Bedouin Development Authority - the governmental body responsible for handling interactions between Bedouins and the state - is aiming to move tens of thousands of people into short-term housing.

Bedouins refer to the temporary housing as caravans, as they are small mobile homes that Israel intends to host whole families. In October, an Israeli district planning committee began to deliberate on whether to approve these transfer plans.

The residents facing displacement live in villages the government deems unrecognised, though most have lived on or near the land since the country was established in 1948. During the past 50 years, Israel has attempted to move Bedouins into recognised communities, repeatedly arguing that those in unrecognised areas have no claim to the land.

Unrecognised villages are denied any infrastructure or support from the government. There are no means of transportation, no roads, no schools, and Israeli authorities dont accept or negotiate with their local leadership.

As a result, the communities live a bare-bones life in a harsh terrain. Many herd sheep to sell meat products.Some are able to get work at nearby Israeli companies.

Danfiri, 47, remembers growing up in the village with the only water source being a well that collected rainwater. He and his friends would bring up the water, and his mother would use her scarf to drain out the dirt. On Fridays, adults would hook up a television to a car battery to watch cartoons and Egyptian movies.

"Kids today have everything, Danfiri says, referring to the solar panels that are now built on top of many Bedouin houses. Fridges, internet, everything is available on the spot."

Danfiri said in order to protect the lifestyle of his community, Bedouins will reject the governments transfer plans. If they absolutely have to move, he says, theyll shun the caravans and stay as close to their original homes as possible even if thats right next to a construction site.

"We're not moving, we're going to fight it, he says. It's not going to happen A project like this would erase the Bedouin culture and heritage."

For a community that defines itself around a traditional, agriculture-based lifestyle, the planned evictions are seen as the latest move in a decades-long government campaign to concentrate them into specific areas. For people like Danfiri, that means giving up part of their identity.

Everywhere I go, the thing I'm most proud of is being Bedouin. Specifically in the unrecognised villages, Bedouins much more preserve traditional culture, he says.

Adalah, a Haifa-based NGO that focuses on legal rights for Arabs in Israel, opposes the plans on multiple grounds. For one thing, the organisation argues, the planned housing units arent fit for occupancy under the law because they dont have adequate infrastructure and spacial standards.

'To us it means they have no solution for the people they are planning to evict'

-Myssana Morany, Adalahattorney

The NGO also published a white paper last month arguing that the plans constituted a separate but equal approach to Israeli citizens in the Negev.

One system relies on a planning network that works for the benefit, well-beingand future development of Israeli Jewish citizens and communities, and places the Israeli Jewish citizen at the centre of the process, it wrote.

The second system relies on a planning network that seeks displacement and transfer of Bedouin citizens to temporary housing, and subordinates the entire Palestinian Bedouin population to an oppressive reality without their consultation.

Adalah also argues that the plan will increase poverty among Bedouins who are evicted and those who live in the communities where the camps will be built, because it can harm both groups access to work.

Myssana Morany, an attorney with Adalah, says its not clear how quickly the plans will be carried out and how many people will be moved in the end. Because the governments wording was vague in the plans they filed, she says, it reveals a broader plan that could affect up to 80,000 people. Similarly, the lack of a specific number of housing units means the government can evict as many people as it would like to.

To us it means they have no solution for the people they are planning to evict, Morany says.

Hussein El Rafaiya, a 58-year-old from an unrecognised village called Birh Hamam, served as the head of a council that represents the unrecognised villages from 2002 to 2007. Israel doesnt recognise the councils authority and doesnt negotiate with it.

Rafaiya pointed to historical examples of Israeli pressure on Bedouin communities to force them away from their homes, like decades of home demolitions and evictions by the government.

We have no possibility of addressing the situation through the courts or the laws, Rafaiya says, explaining that Israeli law simply doesnt recognise Bedouin claims to the land or housing.

This is not the behaviour of a state: it's criminal behaviour All these efforts weren't effective enough in the eyes of the Bedouin Authority, so they decided to create these temporary displacement camps.

In early 2020, Israels southern district planning committee will decide whether to move forward. The governments two temporary housing plans emphasise the need to urgently evict Bedouins on the basis of development projects. In the eyes of human rights groups, its a way to come up with a fast but ineffective legal solution in order to evict people.

In recent years, the Israeli military has moved bases to the Negev in an effort to expand the military and industrial presence there, and as a way to increase the population. The government has also invested resources into helping the souths largest city, Beer Sheba, rebrand itself as a hub for technology and entrepreneurship.

The Negev has become a home to a wide range of projects, including solar farms, power plants, greenhouses and other industrialisation efforts. The government has expressed interest in supporting the cultivation of medical marijuana crops, manufacturing and cyber defence, all through the use of grants and subsidies.

The idea, according to the states Ministry of Economy, is to compete with Silicon Valley.

One of the key players in this process is the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a US- and Jerusalem-based organisation that is granted special governmental authorities by the Israeli government to purchase and develop land for Jewish settlement.

It oversees many projects across the region, often clearing massive expanses of land to build forests. Some unrecognised Bedouin communities are in areas marked for eviction due to JNF projects.

Palestinian Bedouin in the Jordan Valley caught between Israeli army and settlers

On the JNFs website introducing its Negev blueprint, it outlines a plan to settle 500,000 people from elsewhere in the region.

The Negev Desert represents 60 percent of Israels landmass but is home to just 8 percent of the countrys population, it wrote. And in those lopsided numbers, we see an unprecedented opportunity for growth.

The JNFs Blueprint Negev plan features a prominent priority to support Bedouin communities in the region, but it only lists partnerships with recognised Bedouin towns.

A JNF spokesperson did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Thabet Abu Rass, the co-director of Abraham Initiatives, an NGO focused on political rights in Israel, said he disagreed with the governments plan primarily because it doesnt take into account any of the Bedouin communitys needs.

Its a different terminology of uprooting people. The problem here is uprooting people, Rass said.

The government of Israel is investing a lot of money in planning. In one point, its good to plan for people, but on another point, its not good to plan against their will the Bedouins have nothing to say about it.

'Israel is defining itself as a Jewish state, and its important for them to control more and more land'

- Thabet Abu Rass, co-director of Abraham Initiatives

Rass recalled multiple instances where the Israeli government has made plans for the Negev without consulting the Bedouins, and without accepting or even addressing their claims to land.

The issue of land in Israel is ideologically motivated, Rass said. Israel is defining itself as a Jewish state, and its important for them to control more and more land.

For Rafaiya, the plans are simply unacceptable. Bedouins from recognised communities wont move, he said.

This plan is a disaster for us, Rafaiya says. The state can come and demolish houses and communities. But we will only be moved as bodies, we will be buried on our land."

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'We will only be moved as bodies': Israel and Bedouins face off in the Negev - Middle East Eye

Happenings what’s coming up in Northeast Ohio starting Jan. 17 –

Posted By on January 20, 2020

Here is a brief rundown of some coming entertainment options in Northeast Ohio. Make submissions for consideration via email to or You must include a phone number and/or web address for publication.

Allen Memorial Art Museum: Oberlin College, 87 N. Main St., Oberlin, presents "The Enchantment of the Everyday: East Asian Decorative Arts From the Permanent Collection, through July 19. Call 440-775-8665 or visit

Cleveland Museum of Art: 11150 East Blvd., presents "Master/Apprentice: Imitation and Inspiration in the Renaissance," through Feb. 16; "Liu Wei: Invisible Cities," through Feb. 16; "Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps by Louis Comfort Tiffany," through June 14; "Michelangelo: Mind of the Master," through Feb. 23; "Second Careers: Two Tributaries in African Art," through March 8; "Picasso and Paper," May 24 through Aug. 23. Call 216-421-7340 or visit

Lakeland Community Colleges Gallery at Lakeland: 7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland, presents "Lakeland Community College Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition," through Feb. 7). Call 440-525-7029 or visit

Sculpture Center: 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland, presents "After the Pedestal," the 12th exhibition of small sculpture from the region, through April 5. Call 216-229-6527 or visit

Stocker Arts Center at Lorain County Community College: 1005 N. Abbe Road, Elyria, presents 2020 Lorain County Region Scholastic Art Exhibit, through Feb. 20 in the Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery (artists' reception 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 26). Call 440-366-4040 or visit

Valley Art Center: 155 Bell St., Chagrin Falls, presents "Identity THINGS, the final iteration of a three-year series of exhibits exploring concepts of identity, Jan. 24 through March 4 (opening reception 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 24). Call 440-247-7507 or visit

Wolstein Center: 2000 Prospect Ave. E., Cleveland, presents "Sesame Street Live! Let's Party!," April 4 and 5. Call 877-468-4946 or visit

Agora Theatre & Ballroom: 5000 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, presents Marc Maron, Jan. 30; Tim and Eric, Feb. 18; "Letterkenny Live," March 27; Nikki Glaser, April 11; Whitney Cummings, April 25. Visit

Cleveland Improv: 1148 Main Ave., Cleveland, presents JBSmoove, Jan. 17 and 18; the Whoreible Decisions Tour, featuring Mandii and Weezy, Jan. 21; Chico Bean, Jan. 24 and 25; Luenell, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1; Dominique, Feb. 6 through 9; Eddie Griffin, Feb. 21 and 22. Call 216-696-4677 or visit

Hilarities 4th Street Theatre: 2025 E. Fourth St., Cleveland, presents Mike Vecchione, Jan. 16 through 18; Sam Adams, Jan. 19; Brad Wenzzel, Jan. 22; Joe Derosa, Jan. 26; Cleveland Comedy Open 1.2, Jan. 27; Bran Callen, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1. Call 216-736-4242 or visit

MGM Northfield Park (formerly Hard Rock Rocksino): 10777 Northfield Road, Northfield, presents Tiffany Haddish, Jan. 31; Chris Tucker, Feb. 7; Tracy Morgan, Feb. 29; Sinbad, April 18; Ron White, June 6. Call 330-908-7625 or visit

Agora Theatre & Ballroom: 5000 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, presents Greensky Bluegrass, Jan. 17; Machine Head, Feb. 9; Opeth, Feb. 13; Trixie Mattel, Feb. 14; UFO, Damon Johnson, Feb. 16; Space Jesus, Feb. 28; The Floozies, Feb. 29; Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red, March 10; Three 6 Mafia, March 13; Lupe Fiasco, March 14; DragonForce, March 17; Silversun Pickups, March 18; Subtronics, HeSh, Chee, March 19; All Fizzed Up: Ohio's First Hard Seltzer Event, March 21; A Bowie Celebration The David Bowie Alumni Tour, March 25; Cody Johnson, March 26; Tiny Meat Gang, March 28; Boogie & & Boogie, April 3; In This Moment, Black Veil Brides, Ded, April 4; Liquid Stranger, April 8; Citizen Cope, April 17; Tech N9ne, May 11; Jacob Collier, May 19; Bikini Kill, May 22; Symphony X, May 24; Awolnation, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, The Beaches & Bleeker, June 2; Krokus, Oct. 2; Amaranthe, Oct. 3. Visit

Akron Civic Theatre: 182 S. Main St., presents Michael Stanley and The Resonators: "Stage Pass Revisited," March 7. Visit

Beachland Ballroom: 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, presents Kai Wachi, Sam Lamar, Lord Swanex, Jan. 17; Three Affections featuring Art Blakely from the Hesitations, Jan. 18; Tim Joyce & His Accoplices, Jan. 19; Levin Brothers, Jan. 19; Brian Bigley & Ruairi Hurley, Jan. 23; Great Good Fine OK, Jan. 25; Beatles Night with The Sunrise Jones, Jan. 25; Damien Jurado & Nick Thurne, Jan. 26; Seratones, Jan. 26; The Movement, Josh Heinrichs, The For Peace Band, Jan. 29; Wayne Hancock, Jan. 29; Wednesday Night Titans, Jan. 30; Too Many Zooz, BIROCRATIC, Jan. 31; TAUK, Feb. 1; Buffalo Wags & the Price Hill Hustle, Feb. 6; The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling, Feb. 7; The Iron Maidens, Olathia, Feb. 8; Roots of Creation's Grateful Dub, Feb. 8; CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Feb. 9; GosT, Feb. 9; Whitney, Feb. 11; Sunny Sweeney, Erin Enderlin, Feb. 12; Juice Krate Live: On Tour!, Feb. 13; The High Divers, Feb. 13; joan, RALPH, Feb. 15; The Family Crest, Feb. 16; Echosmith, Feb. 18; Emily Wolfe, Feb. 18; American Nightmare, Feb. 19; Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, Feb. 20; Mungion, Feb. 20; Whitney Fenimore, Feb. 21; John Wlton & the Awakening, Erie Waters, Feb. 22; Nektar, Feb. 26; Dodapod, Feb. 28; an evening with Fred Eaglesmith, Feb. 28; Danielle Nicole, Feb. 29;Radical Face, March 1; The Brook & The Bluff, March 3; Black Lips, March 4; Reigning Sound, The Alarm Clocks, March 6; New Bomb Turks, The Chargers Street Gang, March 7; Of Montreal, Lily, Horn Horse, March 8; Theo Katzman, March 10; Gladie, March 10; Consider the Source, March 11; Squirrel Nut Zippers, March 11; Kendall Street Company, CBDB, March 12; Caroline Roas, Good Baby, Mrch 13; Brett Cobb, March 18; Lucky Chops, March 19; James Supercave, March 19; Keller Williams's Grateful Grass featuring Love Cannon, March 20; A Celebration of Cleveland Rock History with Deanna Adams and Ray Carr, March 21; Wussy, The Amprays, March 21; The Bombpops, Tightwire, Billy Liar, March 22; Tab Benoit, March 27; Pussy Riot, March 29; That 1 Guy, March 29; "Hell's Decibels 2020: with Satan, Night Demon, Haunt, Bewitcher, April 10; Dixon's Violin, April 17; Torres, April 21; Kitchen Dwellers, April 22; They Might Be Giants, May 12; They Might Be Giants, May 13; Joy Wave, May 21; Caligula's Horse, Moon Tooth, Ebonivory, May 23. Call 216-383-1124 or visit

Blossom Music Center: 1145 W. Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls, presents Maroon 5, Meghan Trainor, June 18; Halsey, CHVRCHES, Omar Apollo, June 21; Journey, The Pretenders, June 30; Rod Stewart, Cheap Trick, July 21; The Doobie Brothers, July 22; The Black Crowes, Aug. 18; Zac Brown Band, Sept. 10. Call 330-920-8040 or visit

FirstEnergy Stadium Home of the Cleveland Browns: 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland, presents Def Leppart, Motley Crue, Poison, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, July 3. Visit

Goodyear Theater: 1201 E. Market St., Akron, presents American Authors, MAGIC GIANT, Feb. 22. Call 330-690-2307 or visit

Grog Shop: 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., presents YACHT, The Almost, All Get Out, Jan. 17; Karen's Birthday Bash! with Frayle, The Great Iron Snake, Jan. 18; Flatfoot 56, Heart & Lung, CRAIC, Jan. 19; The Co-Existence Showcase Party hosted by Trapboi Manikin, Jan. 22; GlamGore Monthly Drag Show --Roaring Hunties, Jan. 23; School of Rock Grad School with A.P. Thunder, Jan. 24; Dust Off the Dust, Jan. 24; Blockhead, Arms and Sleepers, il:lo, Jan. 25; Glow 11 FT. ONS, Von Swagger, Jan. 26; J Stone and guests, Jan. 28; Courtney Barnett, Jan. 28 in the Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art (sold-out); After Funk, Broccoli Samuri, Uncle Gnarly, Jan. 30; Leaf Barbie & The Family Tre, Psycho Men, Jan. 31; The Slap Frost Revue, Equipto, Michael Marshal, Feb. 6; Rapsody, Feb. 16; The Blue Stones, Feb. 22; Cam'ron -- Purple Haze 2, Feb. 26; We Were Promised Jetpacks, Feb. 27; OM, Wovenhand, March 9; BBNO$, March 11; Avi Kaplan, March 17; Pussy Riot, March 28; Chris Renzema, April 3; Soccer Mommy, Tomberlin, April 9; Jon Mark McMillan, April 14; The Beths, May 2; Nada Surf, May 30; AJJ, Xiu Xiu, Emperor X, May 31. Call 216-321-5588 or visit

House of Blues: 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, presents Beartooth, Motionlessin White, Jan. 17; G. Love & Special Sauce, D.J. Williams' Shots Fired, Jan. 18; Snoop Dogg, Jan. 24; Cash Cab's Ben Bailey, Jan. 25; Tori Kelly, Audrey MiKa, Jan. 28; iann dior, Landon Cube, POORSTACY, Jan. 28; Trampled by Turtles, The Coulee Boys, Jan. 30; Thunderstruck (AC/DC tribute), Feb. 1; Stephen Lynch, Feb. 6; Roddy Ricch, Feb. 7; Totally 80's Live with The Motels, Bow Wow Wow, When in Rome II, Feb. 8; Jacquees, Feb. 10; NGHTMRE, KOMPANY, EFFIN, Feb. 11; Tall Heights, Feb. 11; Badfish (Sublime tribute), Feb. 12; JJ Grey and Mofro, Neil Francis, Feb. 13; Boy Band Review, Feb. 14; Paul Fayreweter, Feb. 15; Falling in Reverse, Feb. 18; Chris Lane, Bianco Brown, Ernest, Feb. 20; Iration, Ballyhoo!, Iya Terra, Feb. 21; flor, Winnetka BowlingLeague, Feb. 25; G Herbo, Feb. 25; Nicole Bus, Tone Smith, Feb. 26; Ross Mathews, Feb. 27; Who's Bad (Michael Jackson tribute), Feb. 28; Gaelic Storm, Feb. 29; Young Dolph, Key Glock, March 7; Elohim, Bahari, Mehro, March 7; Jaux, Drezo, March 10; Bad Omens, Bloodline, Thousand Below, March 12; Fit for a King, Chelsea Grin, March 12; Mod Sun, March 13; Mr. Speed (KISS tribute), March 14; Devin Townsend, The Contortionist, Haken, March 15; The Wonder Years, Free Throw, Spanish Love Songs, March 16; Hippie Sabotage, ilo ilo, March 24; Fleshgod Apocalypse featuring the Veleno Quartet, The Agonist, March 26; COIN, Sure Sure, March 27; Andrew Santino, March 28; Grieves, The Holdup, March 28; Davido, April 1; Circa Survive, April 4; James Arthur, Delacey, April 5; Sepultura, Sacred Reich, Crowbar, April 6Silverstein, Four Year Strong, I, The Mighty, April 10; Trevor Hall & Brett Dennen, April 19; Organ Grinders Ball 25, April 25; Here Come The Mummies, May 9; Tanya Tucker, May 20. Call 216-241-5555 or visit

Jacobs Pavilion: Nautica Entertainment Complex, West Bank of the Flats, Cleveland, presents NF, May 8; AJR, May 22; Joe Russo's Almost Dead, June 18; David Gray, July 14; Kidz Bop, July 19. Call 216-861-4080 or visit

Kent Stage: 175 E. Main St., Kent, presents Bla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Feb. 3; Hard Day's Night, Feb. 22; The High Kings, Feb. 24; We Banjo 3, March 4; Dave Mason, March 7; Carbon Leaf, March 8; Eric Johnson, March 9; Howard Jones, March 10; Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, March 12; Robert Cray, March 14; Marc Cohn, March 21; Bob Mould, March 25; Shawn Colvin, May 18. Call 330-677-5005 or visit

Lorain Palace Theater: 617 Broadway, Lorain, presents Rocky Mountain High Experience: A Tribute to John Denver, Jan. 25; Cabin FEature featuring Shawn Perry and Billy Morris, Febe. 1; ESC4PE (Journey tribute), Feb. 14; Journey to the Heart (Heart tribute), March 21; Stars of the Sixties starring Bobby Rydell, Shirley Alston Reeves, The Duprees, The Vogues, April 17; Winger, Firehouse, April 24. Call 440-245-2323 or visit

MGM Northfield Park (formerly Hard Rock Rocksino): 10777 Northfield Road, Northfield, presents Charlie Wilson, Jan. 18 and 19; Umphrey's McGee, Jan. 30; Jill Scott, Feb. 21; Great White, Slaughter, Feb. 22; Ms. Lauryn Hill, March 12Dennis DeYoung, March 13; Grand Funk Railroad, March 21; Gordon Lightfoot, March 27 (rescheduled from Sept. 20); Chicago, April 16; Happy Together Tour starring The Turtles, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night, The Association and more, Aug. 16. Call 330-908-7625 or visit

Music Box Supper Club: 1148 Main Ave., Cleveland, presents Late Nite Drag Bingo, Jan. 17; The Shootouts, Jan. 17; Let's Groove Tonight (Earth, Wind & Fire tribute), Jan. 17; JiMiller Band (all Grateful Dead), Jan. 18; Shadow of Doubt (Tom Petty tribute), Jan. 18; Will Will Rock You Brunch with The Sunrise Jones, Jan. 19; Roaring '20s Brunch with Eric Seddon's Hot Club, Jan. 19; Masters of Hawaiian Music, Jan. 19; Bluewater Kings, Jan. 22; Tweed, Jan. 23; Croce Plays Croce, Jan. 23; Trippin' Billies (Dave Matthews Band tribute), Jan. 24; Tropical Cleveland, Jan. 25; Revival (Allman Brothers tribute), Jan. 25; Davy Knows, Jan. 25; Peace,Love & Brunch with Nitebridge, Jan. 26; Phillip Phillips, Jan. 28; Joanna Connor, Jan. 31; Hey Mavis, Feb. 1; Slowhand (Eric Clapton tribute), Feb. 6; Madelin Finn, Apostle Jones & Jul Big Green, Feb. 6; ZYGRT (prog-rock tribute to Led Zeppelin, Yes, Genesis, Rush andToto), Feb. 7; Bill March & Friends, Feb. 7; Beatles Brunch with The Sunrise Jones, Feb. 9; Patsy Cline Brunch featuring Rachel & The Beatnik Playboys, Feb. 9; John Doe, Kristin Hersh and Grant-Lee Phillips present The Exile Follies, Feb. 12; Bluewater Kings, Feb. 13; Motown Night with Nitebridge, Feb. 14; The FM Project (Steely Dan tribute), Feb. 15; CSNY Brunch featuring Long Time Gone, Feb. 16; The Ark Band (Bob Marley tribute), Feb. 21; Mardi Gras Brunch with Mo' Mojo, Feb. 23; John Gorka, Amilia K. Spicer, Feb. 23; Sinatra Brunch featuring Michael Sonata, Feb. 23; The Diamond Project (Neil Diamond tribute), Feb. 28; Van Morrison tribute by Nitebridge with Colin Dussault, Feb. 29; Hot Jaz Brunch with Hot Djang, March 1; Mr. Jimmy (Led Zeppelin show), March 4; Kevin Griffin, March 5; Remember Jones, March 6; Peace Frog (Doors tribute), March 7; Thornetta Davis (Aretha Franklin tribute), March 7; Irish Brunch with The Kilroys, March 8; Raul Malo, March 9; Kasim Sulton's Utopia, March 10; Bluewater Kings, March 11; St. Patrick's Brunch with The Portersharks, March 15; Kat Edmonson, March 16; Ronnie Baker Brooks & Coco Montoya, March 20; Dolly Parton Night with Rachel & The Beatnik Playboys, March 20; Dweezil Zappa, March 24; Swearingen & Kelli: Fire & Rain, March 26; Katmandu (Bob Seger tribute), March 27; Odyssey & Company, Hubb's Groove, March 28; James McMurtry, March 31; E5C4PE (Journey tribute), April 3; Billy Joel Brunch, April 5; Bluewater Kings, April 8; Marcia Ball & Tommy Casto & The Painkillers, April 9; Moving in Stereo (The Cars tribute), April 10; Church of Cash, April 10; Jonah Koslen, April 11; Los Lobos, April 17; Crystal Bowersox, April 19; Penny & Sparrow, April 26; TUSK (Fleetwood Mac tribute), May 7; Alan Doyle-TX, May 13. Call 216-242-1250 or visit

Nighttown: 12387 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights, presents Camille Bertault & Vitor Goncalves, Jan. 17; Hot Club of Cowtown, Jan. 18; Jeremy Clyde, Jan. 19; Hugg's Groove -- "Tribute to Marvin Gaye," Jan. 20; Kristine Jackson, Jan. 23; Gene Bertoncini Trio, Jan. 24; Badi Assad, Jan. 29; Vicky Chew, Jan. 30; Hubb's Groove & Friends, Jan. 31; Sam Hooper Group, Feb. 1; Eli Degibri Quartet, Feb. 7; Michele Edwards with David Thomas Trio, Feb. 8; Jim Carr & Laura Webster Quintet, Feb. 9; Nicole Henry, Feb. 12 and 13; Moises Borges Quartet, Feb. 14; Dominic Farinacci -- "Spirit of the Groove," Feb. 20; Alice Blumenfeld-ABREPASO'S Tabloa Flamenco, Feb. 22; Baldwin Wallace Musical Theatre, Feb. 24; Jiggs Whigham & Friends, Feb. 25; Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Feb. 26; Eric Everett Jazz Quintet featuring Charlene Smythe, Feb. 28; Cyrille Aimee, Feb. 29. Call 216-795-0550 or visit

Playhouse Square: 1501 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, presents The Choir of Man, Feb. 16; Rat Pack Musical History Courtesy of the Tap Pack, Feb. 19; Steven Curtis Chapman, "March 1; Joe Bonamassa, March 6 and 7; "A Cappella Live!" featuring The Filharmonics, Committed, Blake Lewis and Women of the World, March 20; Rain (Beatles tribute), March 28; The Musical Box's "A Genesis Extravaganza Part II," March 29; Celtic Woman, April 10; Alison Krauss, April 29; "An Intimate Evening With David Foster," featuring Katharine McPhee, May 3. Call 216-241-6000 or visit

Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse: 1 Center Court, Cleveland, presents Chance the Rapper, Lil Yachty, Taylor Bennett, Feb. 4 (moved from Nov. 2); The Lumineers, Mt. Joy, Feb. 8; Harry Styles, July 15. Call 216-420-2200 or visit

Stocker Arts Center at Lorain County Community College: 1005 N. Abbe Road, Elyria, presents American Spiritual Ensemble, Feb. 3in Hoke Theatre; Helen Welch, "A Little Brit Different," March 20 and 21; O Soul Trio's "Hooray for Hollywood," March 27 and 28in the Cirigliano Studio Theatre;Farewell Angelina, May 6in Hoke Theatre; Rachel Brown & The BeatnikPlayboys' "Patsy Cline and Friends, May 15 and 16; Sisters in Song (Rachel Brown and Kristen Jackson), May 29 and 30in the Cirigliano Studio Theatre. Call 440-366-4040 or visit

Thomas Mulready: an "arts impresario and Bowieologist," presents "David Bowie Month," a series of shows in January that offer celebrations of Bowie that "take the audience on a deep dive into greater understanding of the artists's life and times, offering context and perspective on the artist's music and legacy" -- "A Friday Night With(out) David Bowie, 8 p.m. Jan. 18 at CLE Urban Winery, 2190 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. Visit

Wolstein Center: 2000 Prospect Ave., presents 70's Soul Ja, featuring The Stylistics, Heatwave, The Emotions and more, March 7; Erykah Badu, March 21. Call 877-468-4946 or visit

Akron Civic Theater: 182 S. Main St., presents "Dancing With the Stars," featuring Brandon Armstrong, Lindsay Arnold, Alan Bersten, Witney Carson, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Gleb Savchenko and Emma Slater, Feb. 4. Call 330-253-2488 or visit

Broadway in Akron: a series at E.J. Thomas Hall in conjunction with Playhouse Square, presents "Riverdance," April 24 through 26. Call330-253-2488 or visit

Verb Ballets: presents "4X4: Four Works by Female Chroegrpahers," Feb. 8 at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts, St. Ignatius High School, 2008 W. 30th St., Cleveland. Call 216-397-3757 or visit

Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque: 11610 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, presents a series of Stanley Kubrick films -- "Barry Lyndon," 6:30 p.m. Jan. 19, and "Full Metal Jacket," 6:35 p.m. Jan. 25. Call 216-421-7450 or visit

CityMusic Cleveland: presents a Chamber Music program featuring Ferrenc Piano Quintet #1, Opus 30 and Schumann Piano Quintet in E Flat, Opus 44, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Praxis Fiber Workshop, 15301 Waterloo Road, Cleveland. Call 216-321-8273 or visit

Cleveland Orchestra: performing at Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, presents a program of the music of John Williams, conducted by Williams, April 26. Call 216-231-7300 or visit

Quire Cleveland: presents "Journey Home: Finding Unity After Loss," a program centering on two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis and Robert White, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at St. John Cantius Church, 906 College Ave., Cleveland, and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 29 at St. Vitus Church, 6019 Lausche Ave., Cleveland. Call 216-223-8854 or visit

Snowbelt Musical Arts Association: presents its Winter Gala, "Music Makes the World Go 'Round," featuring live music, food, dancing, a reverse raffle and more,with proceeds benefiting the association's bands music education programs for youth and adults, 6 p.m. Jan. 18 at LaMalfa, 5783 Heisley Road, Mentor. Call 440-296-9610 or visit

Towne and Country Players: present "America's Finest Singing Machine," featuring the Bowling Green State University Men's Chorus, 3 p.m. March 22 in the former BGSU Huron Playhouse, 325 Ohio St., Huron. Call 419-668-0637.

Environmental Learning Center: 7250 Alexander Road, Concord Township, presents Science Day!, featuring hands-on activities, noon to 4 p.m.. Call 440-358-7275 or visit

Observatory Park: 10610 Clay St., Montville Township, presents guided night sky viewing, 7 to 11 p.m. Jan. 25, Feb. 8 and 22, Marchj 14 and 28; astronomy nights led by Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society Volunteers, Jan. 18, Feb. 15, March 21. Call 440-286-9516 or visit

Penitentiary Glen Nature Center: 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road, Kirtland, presents Fun Day: Bird Quest for Kids, featuring scavenger hunts, a seasonal nature craft, s'mores, animal programs and moore, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 20. Call 440-256-1404 or visit

West Woods Nature Center: 9465 Kinsman Road, Russell Township, presents Frozen Fest, featuring reindeer and sled dogs, famous winter princesses, face painting, snow-themed indoor make-n-take crafts, indoor igloo fort-building activity, complimentary hot cocoa and cookies and more, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 19; Armchair Adventures Travelogues, 2 to 3 p.m. -- "The Highlands of Scotland, with Becky Parkin, Feb. 2, "Parks of Southern Utah," with Bill and Sue Berger, Feb. 9, "Return to Guyana," with photographers Bruce and Susan Bennett, Feb. 16, "Michigans Upper Peninsula Adventure," with Shane Wohlken and John Kolar, Feb. 23. Call 440-286-9516 or visit


Broadway in Akron: a series at E.J. Thomas Hall in conjunction with Playhouse Square, presents "The Color Purple," Feb. 11 and 12; "Waitress," April 28 and 29. Call330-253-2488 or visit

Chagrin Valley Little Theatre: 40 River St., Chagrin Falls, presents "Art of Murder," a comedic thriller, Jan. 17 through Feb. 8. Call 440-247-8955 or visit

Cleveland Play House: Performing at Playhouse Square, presents "CLUE, A New Comedy," Jan. 25 through Feb. 23 in the Allen Theater; "Antigone," March 28 through April 19 in the Outcalt Theatre; "A Doll's House, Part 2," April 25 through May 17. Call 216-241-6000 or visit

Cleveland Public Theatre: 6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, presents Entry Point -- A New Play Development Festival, featuring four states, 50 artists, two guest panels and 10 new works-in-progress by local and national artists, Jan. 23 through 25. Call 216-631-2727 or visit

Curtain 440: presents "Seussical Jr.," Jan. 31 through Feb. 9. Visit

Dobama Theatre: 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, presents "Skeleton Crew," by Dominique Morisseau, Jan. 24 through Feb. 16; "Dance Nation," by Clare Barron, March 6 through 29; "The Other Place," by Sharr White, April 24 through May 24. Call 216-932-3396 or visit

Fine Arts Association: 38660 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, presents "Charlotte's Web," Feb. 14 through March 11; One Act Festival "Then Below!," March 27 through April 5; "Chicago," June 5 through 20. Call 440-951-7500 or visit

French Creek Theatre: located within the French Creek Nature & Arts Center, Sheffield Village, presents "The Drowsy Chaperone," Feb. 7 through 23; "And Then There Were None," by Agatha Christie," April 24 through May 10; The Music Man," July 10 through 26; "MacBeth," Aug. 14 through 16. Call 440-949-5200, ext. 221 or visit

Great Lakes Theater: at the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square in Cleveland, presents "Sleuth," a whodunit thriller, Feb. 14 through March 8. Call 216-241-6000 or visit

Hanna Theater: Playhouse Square, Cleveland, presents "The Office! A Musical Parody," Jan. 23 through 25; "Sex n' the City: A (super unauthorized) Musical Parody, March 12; "The Golden Girls Show," March 13 and 14. Call 216-241-6000 or visit

Playhouse Square: Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, presents "Jersey Boys," Jan. 21 through 26; "Divorcees, Evangelist and Vegetarians," a ppresentation of the LatinUs Theatre Company and performed entirely in Spanish, Feb. 21, 22, 23, 28 29 and March 1; "A Bronx Tale," Chazz Palminteri's one-man show, March 22; Disney's "Frozen," July 15 through Aug. 16; "Hamilton," Sept. 22 through Nov. 1. Call 216-241-6000 or visit

Workshop Players: 44820 Middle Ridge Road, Amherst, presents Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" (female version), Jan. 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26. Call 440-988-5613 or

Brite 2020: a winter music festival with performances by Ra Ra Riot, Red Rose Panic, The Vindys and more, will be 3 p.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 22 in the West Bank of the Flats. Visit

Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society: 10825 East Blvd., Cleveland, presents "Breaking the Mold": The Art of Thelma & Edward Winter, through Aug. 2. Visit

Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo: featuring an appearance by Ty Pennington of TLC's 'Trading Spaces," will be March 20 through 22 at the I-X Center in Cleveland. Visit

Cleveland Museum of Art: 11150 East. Blvd., presents Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, featuring performance and art-inspired experiences, Jan. 20. Call 888-CMA-0033 or visit

Cleveland Public Theatre: 6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, presents Pinch and Squeal's WIZZBANG!," a variety circus theater, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Call 216-631-2727 or visit

Great Big Home + Garden Show: featuring its One Tank Trip-themed Garden Showcase, will be Jan. 31 through Feb. 9 at the I-X Center in Cleveland . Visit

Great Lakes Science Center: 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, presents "Curiosity Carnival," an exhibition with hands-on stations that bring the carnival midway indoors for winter, through Feb. 20. Call 216-694-2000 or visit

Lake County History Center: 415 Riverside Driver, Painesville Township, presents 2020 Lake Effect Ball, featuring the swing and big band music of The Don Zola Orchestra featuring Dianne Palmer, with meteorolgist Mark Johnson of WEWS-TV 5 as emcee, 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at La Malfa, 5783 Heisley Road, Mentor. Call 440-639-2945 or visit

Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage: 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, presents "Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music," an exhibition, through March 1. Call 216-593-0575 or visit

Music Box Supper Club: 1148 Main Ave., Cleveland, presents in partnership with Western Reserve Historical Society's Cleveland History Center, Cleveland Stories Dinner Party, Wednesdays through May. Call 216-242-1250 or visit

Playhouse Square: Cleveland, presents "The National Geographic Live -- "Coral Kingdoms and Empires of Ice," Feb. 26; "The hosted by Becca Kufrin and Ben Higgins, Live," April 3; National Geographic Live -- "Nature Roars Back," April 22. Call 216-241-6000 or visit

Progressive Cleveland Boat Show: "Ohio's oldest and largest annual boat show," featuring the new Fish Expo, will be Jan. 16 through 20 at the I-X Center in Cleveland. Visit

Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse: 1 Center Court, Cleveland, presents Disney on Ice's "Road Trip Adventures," through Jan. 19; Monster Jam Triple Threat Series, Feb. 15 and 16; Dude Perfect, June 4; Cirque du Soleil's "Crystal," June 24 through 28. Call 888-894-9422 or visit

Wolstein Center: 2000 Prospect Ave. E., Cleveland, presents Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, Jan. 18 and 19; AEW -- All Elite Wrestling's "Dynamite," Jan. 29. Call 877-468-4946 or visit

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Happenings what's coming up in Northeast Ohio starting Jan. 17 -

ADL tells Congress to curb online hate speech if social media giants won’t – The Times of Israel

Posted By on January 19, 2020

WASHINGTON The head of the Anti-Defamation League told House lawmakers Wednesday to craft legislation that would force social media giants to take neo-Nazis and others spewing anti-Semitic hatred off the platforms if the companies wont do so on their own.

In testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Jonathan Greenblatt said that the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States was due, in part, to bigoted voices being amplified on Facebook, Twitter, and other websites.

Its long overdue for the social media companies to step up and shut down the neo-Nazis on their platforms, Greenblatt told the legislators. Companies like Twitter and Facebook need to apply the same energy to protecting vulnerable users that they apply to protecting their corporate profits.

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If they wont answer the problem, he added, you probably need to.

Greenblatt encouraged passage of theOnline Safety Modernization Act, which would ramp up enforcement of and toughen the penalties for online harassment and cyber crimes.

He acknowledged that Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have recently implemented more regulations, but said they hadnt gone far enough to stamp out anti-Semitic vitriol on their platforms.

Over the last several years, concerns about anti-Semitism have intensified as the rate of anti-Semitic episodes have increased.

Recent data from the ADL shows that anti-Semitic incidents are soaring in the United States. In 2018 alone, there were 1,879 recorded anti-Semitic episodes, according to the Jewish civil-rights organization, 13 percent of which were carried out by white supremacists. That includes the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting, which killed 11 people, the deadliest ever anti-Semitic attack on American soil.

Orthodox Union policy director Nathan Diament told the lawmakers that Jews in the US are afraid in a way we have never been before.

We are under threat of violence as we walk down a city street or enter our synagogues to pray, he said.

Jews were gunned down at prayer in synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway and shopping for kosher groceries in Jersey City. Visibly identifiable Jews Orthodox Jews and Hasidic Jews have been assaulted on the streets of New York, Miami and elsewhere.

In opening remarks, Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee Chairman Max Rose, a New York Democrat, said extremists were being emboldened by social media content.

The government should be encouraging social media companies to prioritize the removal of terrorist contentincluding violent anti-Semitic contentin order to prevent online hate from turning into real-life violence, he said.

In the past, Greenblatt has called on the Silicon Valley social media behemoths to implement stricter rules to weed out anti-Semitic and other racist, hateful content.

The main remedy, he told the Times of Israel in December, was to kick users off who post anti-Semitic vitriol, which he said was tantamount to screaming anti-Jewish slurs at a coffee shop or a restaurant in which case, the managers would make you leave.

If you go to Facebook or YouTube or Twitter or any of these platforms, and you say terrible things about Jewish people, or Mexican people, or Muslim people, they should kick you out, he said. These are businesses. These are not free speech zones they are governed by the same laws as Starbucks and the salad place.

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ADL tells Congress to curb online hate speech if social media giants won't - The Times of Israel

DC Fire Investigating After Photo Shows Recruits Using Hand Gesture – NBC4 Washington

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Washington, D.C.'s fire department says it is investigating after a photo circulating on social media shows recruits displaying a hand gesture that can be associated with white supremacy.

The hand sign seen in the photo is similar to the nonverbal expression for "OK."

D.C. Fire and EMS said it was made aware of the photo on Wednesday.

"The photograph includes those attached to Recruit Class 387 and their instructors. Recruit Class 387 graduated in April of 2019, and it is believed the picture was taken in March of 2019," the fire department said in a statement. "The Department has immediately initiated an internal review of the photograph, which may include interviews with everyone pictured in the photograph."

The Anti-Defamation League says on its website the "OK" hand gesture acquired a different significance in 2017 because of a hoax perpetuated on the online message board 4chan. The idea was to troll liberals by taking an innocent symbol and making them believe it was racist.

The hoax was so successful the symbol became a popular trolling tactic with right-leaning individuals and, ironically, some white supremacists, the ADL said.

In December, military officials determined that Army Cadets and Navy Midshipmen who flashed similar symbols were playing a juvenile game known as "the circle game" and were not making hand gestures that have become associated with white nationalists and other hate groups.

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DC Fire Investigating After Photo Shows Recruits Using Hand Gesture - NBC4 Washington

With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response | TheHill – The Hill

Posted By on January 19, 2020

After the recent rallies, the vigils, the press conferences condemning anti-Semitism- then what?

It is not enough to condemn the surge of hate crimes in America. Bigotry is an infection in the American bloodstream which a few doses of palliative rhetoric wont cure. Like any disease, it needs early detection and constant monitoring. And it requires a tough look at why in our current political climate it seems so contagious.

One of us is a Republican who played a key role in the election of President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. The other was in the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives and opposed much of President Bushs agenda. Despite our profound political differences, we agree on this: we are heartened by the protests across the country, but more action must be taken. Bipartisan action.

The statistics are frightening. The Anti-Defamation Leagues Annual Audit in 2018 reported that there were 1879 attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions across the country in 2018, the third-highest year on record since ADL started tracking such data in the 1970s.

ADL statistics from 2019 will prove equally as damning. There is no doubt that we are living in dangerous times.

The response by our political leaders needs to be aggressive and reflective at the same time.

Our political leaders correctly condemn the brutality, but criminals who are willing to murder and maim Jews arent dissuaded by a single televised press conference abhorring anti-Semitism. They thrive in the unrelenting drone of intolerance in social media and other platforms. They hear too many of our political leaders questioning the patriotism of their opponents. They see the door open a crack to intolerance and then storm in.

Members of both political parties must stop politicizing acts of extremism and vilification by the members of the other party. Both the Republican and the Democratic parties have elements that engage in harmful and sometimes hateful language. We need to condemn Rep. Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingWith surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Steve King challenger: 2020 Democrats have 'huge' opportunity to win over rural America Author sues NY Times after it calls him a 'white nationalist' MOREs (R-Iowa) rhetoric just as we must to rebuke the vitriolic commentary of Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Sanders MORE (D-Minn.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Michigan governor urges Zuckerberg to enforce community guidelines after hate speech, threats surface Ayanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia MORE (D-Mich.), and anyone else eager to engage in anti-Semitic tropes. Political disagreements are natural. We live in a polarizing political climate. However, this is no excuse for opposing bigotry only when its spewed by the opposite party.

Second, we need to point out anti-Semitism, intentional or not, cloaked in the legitimacy of policy debate. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, for example, singles-out Israel for human rights scrutiny while completely ignoring the brutal and systemic violations of fundamental rights by most other governments in the region. One can be either for human rights or against human rights. But when you choose only to apply a boycott to the Jewish state while accepting far worse crimes elsewhere, your motivations deserve debate.

Third, the Senate should pass bipartisan legislation already approved in the House to upgrade the role of Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combatting anti-Semitism as an ambassador rank official. The current position does not have the power or authority of a presidentially appointed finding. Global anti-Semitism is surging and the response deserves a position of greater stature within the administration.

2020 may be one of the most vitriolic years in recent political memory. The rhetoric will be heated, but it must not enflame. We all have a responsibility to pursue discourse with demonizing. And our leaders must set the tone.

Steve IsraelSteven (Steve) J. IsraelWith surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Pelosi and Schumer were right with the strategy to delay impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Deescalation: US-Iran conflict eases MORE represented New York in Congress for 16 years and served as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2011 to 2015. He is now the director of the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University. You can find him on Twitter @RepSteveIsrael. Fred Zeidman is co-chair and director of the Council for a Secure America and chairman emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

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With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response | TheHill - The Hill

Taking in refugees has been part of Texas history since the Alamo [Opinion] – Houston Chronicle

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbotts decision last week to close our states doors to a small handful of refugees fleeing war, starvation and oppression is a tragic mistake at odds with Texas history and values. Turning away a few helpless men, women and children driven from their homelands and seeking a better life isnt necessary and it isnt who we are.

For the moment, Abbotts decree is on hold. On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked the Donald Trump Administrations executive order giving states a new veto power over where refugees can settle. But the judges order is preliminary and can be appealed, and the Supreme Court has given the administration an especially wide berth in immigration matters. Our governors rejection may well become permanent state policy. More than that, it has the moral force of a message to the entire world an expression of our identity from our highest state official.

The Anti-Defamation League has a long history of advocating for refugees. Founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism and bigotry of all kinds, ADL and other Jewish organizations tried in the 1930s to get the United States to admit more people fleeing Nazi persecution. Mostly we failed, and the vast majority of those locked out of the United States perished in the Holocaust.

But Texas history of welcoming desperate outsiders is even longer than ADLs. Visit the Alamo and youll see foreign flags representing the 26 Europeans who gave their lives for Texas independence. Several were Irishmen who escaped English subjugation.

After 1848, Texas became a haven for German and Czech refugees fleeing the repression that followed failed revolutions in Europe. In the 20th century, civil war in Mexico drove countless refugees to Texas, while the 1970s saw Vietnamese boat people traumatized and penniless risk their lives to escape communist tyranny and put down roots along the Gulf Coast. Today, the descendants of all these newcomers make us the diverse, dynamic place we love.

Have things changed so dramatically? As before, todays refugees hail from the most wretched places on earth. In 2019, the largest group came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a failed state tormented by decades of war and random militia violence, child soldiers and mass rape. The second largest group came from Myanmar, where the government has overseen a vicious genocide against an ethnic and religious minority, the Rohingya, driving hundreds of thousands into refugee camps in surrounding countries.

Texas would not have been overwhelmed by the new arrivals. President Trump has already sliced the total number of admissible refugees to 18,000 in 2020 far below annual quotas approved by recent administrations of both parties. Of these, Texas stood to welcome approximately 2,500, based on figures from 2018-19. With 28 million Texans, we cant shelter 2,500 refugees?

Refugees are the most vetted and scrutinized immigrants admitted to the United States. The Departments of Homeland Security and State check their backgrounds for anything suggesting a security risk in an exhaustive process that typically takes 18-24 months. In 2015, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder paused his states acceptance of Syrian refugees while state officials investigated the federal governments screening efforts. As he wrote last year in the Wall Street Journal: That experience proved to me that the U.S. has the most thorough refugee vetting system in the world.

Importantly, this distinguishes refugees from asylum seekers. People already here who file a claim for asylum havent undergone the same security checks and cant be fully assessed until their cases are heard. As for refugees, we already know their histories before they are approved and arrive.

Consequently, everyone else has politely declined the administrations new offer to reject refugees. Except Texas. Utahs Gov. Gary Herbert actually asked President Trump for permission to take more. They become productive employees and responsible citizens, he wrote, adding that compassion is simply embedded in our states culture. Is Texas less compassionate?

Herberts reference to productive employees hints that kindheartedness isnt the only reason to admit refugees. Thanks to federal funding and help from several organizations that provide social services, job placement and other assistance, most refugees become self-sufficient.

They have higher rates of employment than people born in the United States. Ten years after entry, refugees use the same or slightly lower levels of public assistance. In fact, a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that, from 2005 to 2014, refugees contributed $63 billion more in taxes than they received in benefits.

But the real tragedy of Abbotts decision has nothing to do with dollars and cents. Its that were betraying our oldest ideals. From the beginning, Americans have opened their arms to persecuted men and women from every corner of the world who wanted nothing more than to start a new life in peace, freedom and opportunity. Thats the American way and the Texas way, since 1836. We hope Abbott reconsiders his decision and brings Texas government back into line with Texas values.

Siegel, Vice-Chair ADL Southwest Civil Rights Committee, and Bresner, ADL Jean & Jerry Moore Southwest Civil Rights Counsel.

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Taking in refugees has been part of Texas history since the Alamo [Opinion] - Houston Chronicle

What to Know About the Virginia Gun Rally – The New York Times

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Thousands of activists from across the country are expected to descend on the Virginia State Capitol on Monday to rally against sweeping new gun control proposals supported by state Democrats.

But the rally in Richmond billed as a peaceful event to lobby lawmakers to defend Second Amendment rights has quickly set off fears of potential violence and chaos. Discussions about the rally have been lighting up online platforms frequented by anti-government militia groups and white supremacists for weeks, and various extremist groups have vowed to attend.

Tensions escalated this week when Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and temporarily banned weapons on Capitol grounds, citing credible threats of violence. The F.B.I. also announced the arrest of three suspected neo-Nazis who the authorities said had obtained weapons and discussed participating in the Richmond event, intensifying concerns.

Heres what you need to know about the rally and what to expect for Monday.

Virginia Democrats flipped the state House and Senate in November, wresting the General Assembly from Republican control in a state that was once the seat of the Confederacy.

Under Mr. Northam, a Democrat who survived a scandal over a racist photograph last year, state Democrats planned to make gun control a priority in the 2020 session. But the plan sparked a backlash in a state with a strong history of supporting gun rights.

After 12 people were killed in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach last year, a special legislative session to consider gun control lasted just 90 minutes. In recent weeks, more than 100 municipalities have designated themselves sanctuaries for the Second Amendment. Though the measures are purely symbolic, lawmakers and sheriffs in those areas have said they will refuse to enforce new gun control laws.

The Virginia State Senate has approved three gun control bills that could be approved by the House of Delegates as early as next week.

The measures limit purchases of handguns to one each month; require that gun buyers submit to background checks; and allow local governments to ban guns in parks and public buildings. Mr. Northam has said he would sign each of the bills.

Democrats who won control of the General Assembly, in part for their support of imposing strict firearms restrictions, say more gun control legislation is on the way, including a red flag law that would permit officials to confiscate firearms from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others. They also say they want to ban assault-style weapons, but that effort has been delayed in both chambers.

The rally is being hosted by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a prominent Second Amendment group that typically holds an annual Lobby Day to meet with lawmakers. The group is organizing charter buses, car pools and a sushi dinner the night before the rally in anticipation of what it is calling the most important Lobby Day Rally that we have ever had.

The groups president Philip Van Cleave, who refers to himself as an extremist, issued a statement saying that the rally was meant to be a peaceful protest about gun rights and nothing else.

In a state where hunting is a popular sport and gun ownership is common in rural areas, most in attendance are expected to be gun rights supporters. Still, the rally has drawn the attention of militia groups from as far away as Nevada and Oklahoma, including those tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Others vowing to attend include individuals associated with the Light Foot Militia, some of whom were banned from Charlottesville after the Unite the Right rally in 2017, which ended in the death of a counterprotester. Richard B. Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who is among 24 defendants in a lawsuit over the rally in Charlottesville, also said he might attend.

Experts on extremism believe the groups want to co-opt the rally in an effort to fuel a race war. For example, extremists are calling Mondays rally the boogaloo, which in the language of white supremacists is an event that will accelerate such a war.

It remains unclear who will actually arrive in Richmond, but its possible pre-emptive moves by the authorities could deter some who had vowed to attend.

The authorities on Thursday announced the arrests of three men linked to the Base, an extremist group being tracked by the F.B.I. The three men had obtained weapons and discussed participating in the Richmond rally and were charged with various federal crimes in Maryland, the authorities said.

On Friday, law enforcement announced the arrest of at least four other men also tied to the Base, in separate plots. In Georgia, three men, who are members of the group, were arrested and charged for a conspiracy to murder a married couple in Bartow County, the authorities said.

In Wisconsin, another member of the Base was arrested on charges of vandalizing a synagogue in Racine, Wis., according to court documents.

The Base is a white extremist, antigovernment group that aims to establish a white ethno-state.

The F.B.I. has grown increasingly concerned about the Base as it has worked to recruit more people. The group encourages the onset of anarchy, according to the Counter Extremism Project, an organization that tracks far-right extremists. Experts say that its founder, an American, appears to be living in Russia.

Former law enforcement officials say the Base and a similar group known as Atomwaffen have become priorities for the F.B.I.

In November, the F.B.I. arrested Richard Tobin, a young man in New Jersey, who was accused of recruiting on behalf of the Base and of supporting violence, including the killing of black people with a machete.

Mr. Northam declared a state of emergency ahead of Mondays rally, temporarily banning weapons, including firearms, from the grounds of the State Capitol in a move that the Virginia Citizens Defense League tried to fight in court.

The Virginia Supreme Court upheld the temporary ban.

In his declaration, Mr. Northam cited the eruption in Charlottesville three years ago as an example of what can happen when peaceful demonstrations are hijacked by those who come into the Commonwealth and do not value the importance of peaceful assembly. He added: We must take all precautions to prevent that from ever happening again.

The state of emergency is scheduled to begin Friday at 5 p.m. and extend through Tuesday.

Timothy Williams, Neil MacFarquhar and Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

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What to Know About the Virginia Gun Rally - The New York Times

Taking a stand against vile acts of bigotry – Boston Herald

Posted By on January 19, 2020

Like a metastasizing cancer, anti-Semitism has again shown its ugly head, spreading its ignorance-borne intolerance.

And its escalated from words to deeds, which has forced Jews everywhere to rethink every aspect of their daily lives.

After seeing to his daughter Avas bat mitzvah a few years ago, state Sen. Barry Finegold planned on doing the same for his younger daughter, Ella. However, this time, he had another important detail to consider: security.

Unfortunately, its become a fact of life for many in the Jewish community.

Locally, we just witnessed the latest example of this mindless, racist hatred.

That occurred on Saturday in Billerica, when a mother taking her son to a town-owned playground off Andover Road discovered a swastika sprayed on a container storing baseball equipment.

The woman, a member of the Jewish faith, contacted Rabbi Susan Abramson of Temple Shalom Emeth in Burlington on what steps to take.

She went to the police and then contacted other town leaders, who along with the Billerica Interfaith Association released a joint statement Tuesday condemning the racist graffiti and offering support to the Jewish community.

Members of the Jewish faith have been targets of hateful acts in the past. In March 2014, the town of Bedford tried to come to grips with a series of anti-Semitic incidents involving elementary schoolchildren, which included a game called Jail the Jews.

Recent attacks in New York and New Jersey have heightened security concerns at synagogues and other community gathering places.

In 2018, the Anti-Defamation League recorded 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in this country, the third-highest total since the organization began tracking incidents 40 years ago. Of that number, 265 occurred in synagogues, Jewish community centers and Jewish schools, according to the audit.

In Massachusetts, the number of reported hate crimes including crimes motivated by race, religion and ethnicity increased by almost 10% to a 10-year high in 2017. The ADL said 2018 was the second-highest year for anti-Semitic incidents in Massachusetts on record, ranking second only to 2017.

Thats why Sen. Finegold supports the Commonwealth Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which provides security enhancement funding from the state for nonprofit organizations at high risk of terrorist attack or hate crimes.

On Jan. 6, Gov. Charlie Baker held a ceremonial signing of sections of the supplemental budget for fiscal 2019, which boosts the programs available funding by $1 million.

Several area synagogues are considering applying for grants.

Congregation Agudat Achim in Leominster has already made efforts to increase security, according to President Scott Zibel. The grant program may allow the synagogue to be reimbursed for some of those costs, he said.

For Robin Frisch, president of Temple Emanuel of the Merrimack Valley in Lowell, its heartening to see the state standing against hate.

But both Frisch and Zibel said its a challenge for Jewish faith organizations to prioritize safety while remaining open and welcoming to the community. Its something Congregation Shalom in North Chelmsford has been grappling with as well, said Rabbi Shoshana Perry.

Like Finegold, Perry said she never expected to see this level of anti-Semitism in the United States during her lifetime.

While we can allocate state funds to bolster security, we cant legislate ignorance and hate out of existence.

But we can all stand up and say it wont be tolerated.

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Taking a stand against vile acts of bigotry - Boston Herald

US officials claim neo-Nazi groups are using Bitcoin to spread terror – Yahoo Finance

Posted By on January 19, 2020

The US House Financial Services Committee has been discussing the use of Bitcoin in domestic terror financing, with some experts claiming it is now being used by neo-Nazi groups.

Jared Maples, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director, has said domestic terror groups are likely to ramp up their use of the cryptocurrency to fund their nefarious activities.

He was joined by Anti-Defamation League Senior Vice President George Selim and Congressional Research Service finance expert Rena Miller.

The trio predicted that with the rise of crypto awareness, it will become more widely used by white supremacists and other hate groups.

Infamous crypto sceptic Congressman Brad Sherman was in agreement, saying: If it works for Hamas, it will work for the Nazis too.

Maples likewise referenced Hamas and suggested domestic terrorists had taken a page out of its playbook in using Bitcoin for both secrecy and privacy.

He alleged there had been a $60,000 donation in BTC given to Andrew Anglin, publisher of far-right media outlet The Daily Stormer, following the attack in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

When asked about how to counter terror groups, Maples said it was important to be mindful and to get the processes right.

Interestingly, it isnt just Bitcoin they are using to finance their attacks.

Recent reports suggest as many as 54 white supremacist groups are utilising Apples iTunes, earning roughly 70 cents for each song downloaded on the music platform.

Selim has recommended agencies pursue more rigorous prosecutions of domestic terror funding sources and utilise data from various fields such as finance, technology, civil rights, and civil liberties groups alongside studying new forms of money such as digital currencies.

Interested in reading more cryptocurrency and terror-related stories? Discover more about the UKs FCA becoming the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing supervisor for businesses conducting cryptoasset activities.

The post US officials claim neo-Nazi groups are using Bitcoin to spread terror appeared first on Coin Rivet.

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US officials claim neo-Nazi groups are using Bitcoin to spread terror - Yahoo Finance

Where the top 7 Democratic candidates stand on Iran – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on January 19, 2020

The situation in Iran has changed drastically since Trump left the deal. So we went searching for the details of what the leading Democrats would do to contain the Iranian threat amid the new tensions brewing between Iran and the U.S.

Spoiler alert: Theres not a lot out there. But in no particular order, heres what the top seven candidates have to say. (Were adding Michael Bloomberg because his polling numbers would qualify him for the debates, but his self-funded campaign has him below the outside campaign contribution threshold.)

Bernie Sanders

As you know, the nuclear deal with Iran was worked on with a number of our allies, the Vermont senator said at the debate. We have got to undo what Trump did, bring that coalition together and make sure that Iran never gets a nuclear weapon.

Sanders also sees rejoining the nuclear deal as a means of containing the escalating non-nuclear tensions.

Joe Biden

As he said in the debate, Biden believes the Iran deal was doing its job.

It was working. It was being held tightly, he said. There was no movement on the part of the Iranian government to get closer to a nuclear weapon.

If Tehran returns to compliance with the deal, President Biden would re-enter the agreement, using hard-nosed diplomacy and support from our allies to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Irans other destabilizing activities, his website reads.

Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg in the debate said he would rejoin the Iran deal as a means of keeping Iran from becoming nuclear and, like Sanders, suggested that the agreement would also stem escalating non-nuclear tensions.

By gutting the Iran nuclear deal one that, by the way, the Trump administration itself admitted was working, certified that it was preventing progress toward a nuclear Iran by gutting that, they have made the region more dangerous and set off the chain of events that we are now dealing with as it escalates even closer to the brink of outright war, he said.

This agreement was concluded not to do Iran a favor, but because it is in our national security interest just as a parallel policy of confronting Irans support for terrorism and abysmal human rights record reflects our values and security interests, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said.

Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar during the debate said she would rejoin the deal, but also suggested that she wanted some improvements related to the expiration dates of some enrichment restrictions and on what the nuclear inspectors are allowed to do.

I think there are changes you can make to the agreement that are sunset, some changes to the inspections, but overall that is what we should do, she said.

We need a realistic long term strategy for Iran that will contain its aggressive actions and prevent it from gaining nuclear weapons, the Minnesota senator said, but did not add details.

Tom Steyer

During the debate, Steyer cast the Iran nuclear deal as having stemmed Irans nuclear ambitions and its adventurism.

What worked with President Obama was an alliance of our allies and us putting economic pressure on them for them to give up their military tactic, he said. That, to me, is called strategy.

Elizabeth Warren

We also need to address serious concerns about Irans policies beyond its nuclear program, including its ballistic missile program and support for destabilizing regional proxies, she said. The [Iran deal] made addressing these problems easier by taking the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran off the table.

Mike Bloomberg

In 2015, Bloomberg said he had deep reservations about the Iran deal, especially with its sunset provisions, and in an op-ed on Bloomberg News he accused President Obama of playing politics and smearing critics.

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See the original post here:
Where the top 7 Democratic candidates stand on Iran - The Jerusalem Post

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