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The Second Lubavitcher Rebbe – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

Posted By on December 7, 2019

Photo Credit: Jewish Press

This Shabbos, the ninth of Kislev, marks both the birthday and the yahrzeit of the second Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Ber Shneuri, better known as the Mitteler Rebbe (1773-1827). (The ninth of Kislev is also when the Mitteler Rebbe was informed of his impending release from czarist imprisonment on false charges; he was actually released the following day.)

As his title indicates, Rabbi Dov Ber was the middle Rebbe of the first three great Chabad leaders between his renowned father, the Alter Rebbe (1745-1812), and his son-in-law, the Tzemach Tzedek (1789-1866).

The Mitteler Rebbe didnt write any major Talmudic work even though he was a great Talmudic scholar. He did, however, consolidate the Chabad movement and published many of its fundamental works in his 15 years of his leadership (the shortest reign of any Chabad Rebbe).

He was appointed by his father to guide the younger chassidim and transcribed many of his fathers profound discourses, adding explanation. After his father passed away deep in Russia (where he had fled from Napoleon in 1812), Rabbi Dov Ber became Rebbe and settled in Lubavitch, which became Chabads capital for over a century (until 1915).

To alleviate Jewish poverty, the Mitteler Rebbe petitioned Russias government for land in the Kherson province in Ukraine where he established Jewish agricultural settlements. He also established the first Ashkenazi community in Chevron by directing his chassidim in Eretz Yisrael to settle there.

The Mitteler Rebbes deepest desire was to disseminate Chassidus. He explained that his father formulated Chabads profound philosophy to teach the elements of true belief in G-d. Meditating on them enables us to fulfill the key mitzvos of awe and love of G-d, which inspire us, in turn, to fulfill the Torahs positive and negative commandments. The Mitteler Rebbes most fervent hope was for two Jews meeting in the street to discuss the deepest divine concepts!

Immediately upon becoming Rebbe, he embarked upon the most ambitious chassidic publication program until recent times. Months after settling in Lubavitch, he published a new edition of Tanya, the Alter Rebbes magnum opus, adding two new sections to it, which contained many of the Alter Rebbes pastoral letters and some of his profound explanations of kabbalistic concepts.

He also arranged for the publication of his fathers Shulchan Aruch. Although the original manuscript was burnt in a fire, most sections had been copied by disciples and were now edited for publication, with two volumes appearing in 1814 and two more in 1816.

In 1803, the Alter Rebbe had published the first chassidic siddur based on works of the Arizal and 60 previous siddur texts. In 1816, the Mitteler Rebbe re-issued this siddur, accompanied by well over 100 of his fathers discourses on siddur passages or the spiritual content of various yamim tovim (the explanations appearing alongside the prayers). Later that year, he published Biurei HaZohar, his fathers discourses on many Zohar passages.

He followed that by publishing his own chassidic works based on his fathers discourses, which he expounded at great length, breadth, and depth. In 1817-1819, he published his trilogy on teshuvah two volumes of Shaarei Teshuva and a third volume entitled Derech Chayim. Ner Mitzvah VTorah Or appeared in 1820, a double work comprising Shaar Haemuna, on belief in G-d based on the miracles of Pesach, and Shaar Hayichud, a detailed guide to the chain of Divine revelation in creating the world.

In 1821, he published Imrei Bina, an exceptionally profound work based on the mitzvos of Shema, tzitzis, and tefillin, as well Ateres Rosh on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Ten Days of Teshuvah. Shaarei Ora, on Chanuka and Purim, appeared in 1822.

In 1826, he published the first volume of Toras Chayim, including discourses on the first half of Bereishis, greatly expanding on his fathers discourses. Further volumes and more works by him were published after his passing.

To this day, we study the many profound works the Mitteler Rebbe published within the short span of 15 years, and commemorate his holy memory on the 9th and 10th days of Kislev.

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The Second Lubavitcher Rebbe - The Jewish Press - JewishPress.com

There’s a potential potato shortage looming and you’re worried about french fries? – National Post

Posted By on December 7, 2019

Remember the infernal potato fallout from 2018s harvest from hell?

Yeah, me neither.

Now, almost exactly a year later, were being warned of possibly spending the holidays pining over frites past. Billed as the french fry lovers worst nightmare (although surely, worse things could happen), unseasonably cold, wet weather in Canada and the U.S. has hit potato harvests hard, Bloomberg News reports.

In Alberta and Idaho, farmers were apparently able to salvage most of their crops roughly 6.5 per cent of Albertan potatoes are thought to be damaged those in Manitoba, Minnesota and North Dakota werent so lucky. Due to the severity of the snow and rain that swept in with an early winter, farmers in Manitoba were forced to leave 18 per cent of their crops frozen in the ground, which is equivalent to the total amount of unharvested crops in the entire country last year. Prince Edward Island, Canadas largest potato producer (Manitoba is the second, followed by Alberta), is expected to release its harvest numbers on Friday.

While this has prompted headlines spelling doom and gloom, industry professionals are weighing in with assurances. Its a manageable situation, Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada, told Bloomberg News. Potatoes are going to have to move from one channel to another that they sometimes dont move in a normal year. And: Dont panic about the French fries, Frank Muir, president of the Idaho Potato Commission, told The New York Times. You can still go out and order them like you normally do.

So, there will be french fries, its just that your order might be a few short.

The focus on french fries with a potato shortage looming may seem odd given all the different iterations the humble spud offers, but there is good reason to focus on the fast-food staple. The past few years of frozen french fry consumption in Canada has been creeping upwards from 235,700 metric tons in 2016/17 to 238,600 in 2017/18 and 241,500 in 2018/19, according to Statista. The unexpectedly cold fall weather is also especially problematic for french fries because processors typically prefer larger, more elongated spuds. These are the potatoes that stay in the ground longer, making them more vulnerable to harsh weather as winter nears.

If a potato shortage did turn out to actually impact eating habits, however, french fries wouldnt exactly be topping my list of concerns. Theres no arguing against the irresistible combination of fat, salt and carbs (hello, potato chips) but the root vegetable offers up so many more interesting opportunities. You can choose-your-own-adventure with potato skins or fluffy baked potatoes (and accordion-like hasselback variations). There are countless options for roasting and layering in creamy gratins (a.k.a. scalloped potatoes), and boiling for vinegary or mayonnaise-rich potato salads.

Leading the imperative category for me, though, especially given the upcoming Jewish Festival of Lights (Dec. 22-30), is what The Jewish Cookbook author Leah Koenig calls the undisputed king of Ashkenazi Hanukkah celebrations: potato latkes. The beauty of the latke, all crisp exterior and tender interior, speaks to the superiority of the pancake/fritter group in general when looking at potato formats. Whether rsti (and its relative, the hash brown), reibekuchen, potato cake or batata vada, if these dishes were struck from the menu, we would undoubtedly be much poorer for it.

Then we have the pured and mashed category: the likes of aligot, aloo pie, bangers and mash, brndende krlighed, colcannon, pt chinois, pomme pure, shepherds (or cottage) pie and stamppot. All obviously critical, and especially suitable for this time of year when no holiday table is complete without at least a few warming, starchy dishes.

And who could imagine a world without the potato croquette aloo tikki, croquetas, goroke, korokke and kroket and its cousin, the tater tot? Not to mention the potato dumpling; bryndzov haluky and gnocchi to name but two.

It turns out that the very thing were being told to fear a lack of french fries is something that could prove beneficial. French fries are among the least interesting things weve ever done with the potato. (Unless, of course, theyre served with cheese curds and gravy. Now, were talking.) Going through a fry shortage could finally push us toward considering the many and for my money, better potato alternatives.

They may be hand-held, portable and convenient, but give me aligot cheesy and molten or a latke topped with a dollop of rosy applesauce over some sad, pallid fast-food fries any day. Tossing fried potatoes with salt and calling it a day is a gimme when it comes to creating highly craveable food. As a food from the Americas that has conquered the world, it deserves more consideration that that.

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There's a potential potato shortage looming and you're worried about french fries? - National Post

OSCE Participants in Visit to Inter-Religious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sarajevo Times

Posted By on December 7, 2019

The OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) together with OSCE Mission in Kosovo organized a two-day visit to Sarajevo on 2 and 3 December 2019 for women from five religious communities and civil society organizations in Kosovo Islamic, Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Protestant Evangelical.

During the visit, the participants met with the Inter-Religious Council in BiH, which is one of the OSCEs main partners in promoting inter-religious dialogue. Their discussions focused on the inclusion of women from religious communities in inter-religious dialogue activities.

There is an emerging consensus around the world that womens participation in inter-religious dialogue contributes to its quality and durability, said Ambassador Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH. It seems that dialogue these days is more important than ever and I am happy to see that women lead the way.

Vaxhide Bunjaku, representative of the Islamic Community in Kosovo, said: The Islamic Community in Kosovo established a womens section back in 2005. Its aim is to improve the status of women regardless of their ethnic or religious background, with a particular focus on the promotion of inter-faith dialogue.

Olivera Jovanovi, representative of the Inter-Religious Council of BiH, said: The Inter-Religious Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina has proven to be a very successful model that could be replicated elsewhere. As for the role of women, it is interesting to notice that many of the organizations leading the inter-religious dialogue at a global level have women in top positions.

The group also met with representatives of other organizations dealing with countering hate speech and violent extremism, and visited five places of worship in Sarajevo: the Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque, the Ashkenazi Synagogue, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the Sacred Heart Cathedral and the Protestant Evangelical Church.

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OSCE Participants in Visit to Inter-Religious Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Sarajevo Times

Meet the ‘groyper army,’ a movement that wants conservatives to be racist and anti-Semitic – JTA News

Posted By on December 7, 2019

WASHINGTON (JTA) The young man in the smiley face baseball hat and the Teddy Spaghetti t-shirt had a question for Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, a pro-Trump youth movement. It was about an incident that long predated both of their births, and Kirk knew just what to say.

Why do you deny the attack on the USS Liberty which is well documented by both U.S. and Israeli sources and which resulted in the deaths and injuries of over 200 Americans? the man asked Kirk at an October event at the University of New Hampshire organized by Turning Point USA.

I deny that it was a deliberate attack by the Israeli government, Kirk replied coolly.

U.S. and Israeli officials long ago concluded that the attack on the Liberty was a tragic mistake. In the midst of the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel mistakenly identified the ship as Egyptian or Soviet and launched an airstrike, killing 34 crewmen. Israel apologized for the attack and paid damages to the United States and the families of the victims, but the incident has nonetheless been embraced by conspiracy theorists as a code for Israeli nefariousness.

It has also been embraced as part of a strategy by the far-right to publicly confront mainstream Republicans and insinuate their ideas into establishment conservatism. Led by Nick Fuentes, a 22-year-old YouTube personality, the so-called groyper army has regularly and publicly challenged mainstream conservatives for their views on the USS Liberty as part of a broader effort to paint them as subservient to Israel and unworthy heirs of President Donald Trumps America first agenda.

RT if you think that Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA are not for America First, Fuentes says in a tweet pinned to the top of his Twitter feed.

At events around the country, groypers have heckled mainstream conservatives and asked provocative questions often about Israel, immigration and LGBTQ rights in an effort to unmask them as fake conservatives and frauds. Named for a more grotesque version of the cartoon Pepe the Frog, which has been coopted by white nationalists, the goal appears to be to move conservatism closer to white nationalism, according to Marilyn Mayo, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation Leagues Center on Extremism.

What theyre trying to do, theres this whole grouping who refer to themselves as the dissident right, they want to move the Overton window, said Mayo, using a a term that refers to the spectrum of acceptable political discourse. They want to make racism and anti-Semitism mainstream.

Turning Point is a particularly ripe target for that effort because of its emergence as the vanguard of Trumps following among young adults. Last month, young people disrupted a Turning Point appearance by rising GOP star, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, at Arizona State University. Days later they made headlines when they drove Donald Trump Jr. off the stage at an event the group organized at UCLA.

What a HUGE victory today, Fuentes posted on Telegram, a secure messaging app favored by white nationalists, according to The Daily Beast. Cannot be understated what an incredible win we saw at UCLA.

Groypers carefully couch their views in code and irony. Provocative questions about race are often wrapped in anodyne terms like identity and demographics. And at a recent Turning Point USA event in Ohio, a questioner asked Kirk if there were any awesome, fun dance parties at a recent speaking engagement in Israel, an apparent reference to the myth that Israelis were caught on video dancing after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In an interview last year, Fuentes said he avoids the term white nationalist for purely tactical reasons.

The reason I wouldnt call myself a white nationalist its not because I dont see the necessity for white people to have a homeland and for white people to have a country, Fuentes said. Its because I think that kind of terminology is used almost exclusively by the left to defame and I think the terminology and the labels that we use I dont think that we can look at them outside of the context of their connotations in America.

The strategy appears to be bearing some fruit. In April, Ann Coulter retweeted a Fuentes tweet on immigration. Michelle Malkin, a Fox News regular, criticized efforts to silence groypers, who she described as truth-tellers.

Theyve been trying to figure out since Charlottesville what new tactics can we do to recruit more people and get the attention of the media, said Mayo. What were really seeing is that some of the views that these white supremacists present at these Q&As are views that some people who are considered mainstream have adopted.

There has been some skilled pushback from mainstream conservatives. When a heckler in Arizona shouted that Crenshaw is pro-sodomy, the congressman capably parried.

Bring it out guys, Crenshaw said. Let everybody know who you are.

Ben Shapiro, the Jewish conservative pundit, last month called out the groypers at an event of the Young American Foundation, another conservative youth movement that has denounced Fuentes. Shapiro noted that despite his best efforts, Fuentes was not always successful at maintaining an ironic distance from his bigotry.

You also happen to have the unfortunate habit of saying really disgusting things when you think other people arent listening, Shapiro said, recounting an incident in which Fuentes questioned the number of Jews murdered during the Holocaust by considering whether Cookie Monster could have baked six million cookies in five years. Shapiro then quoted a Nazi official describing how Jews were murdered.

But maybe he was just being ironic, bro, Shapiro said.

Howard Graves, a senior researcher at the Southern Poverty Law Center, who tracks the extreme right, said he saw in the groypers a new iteration of the 2016 election, when Trump pushed the Republican party rightward on issues like immigration.

It is recapturing that spirit of the 2016 election where there is this kind of no-holds-barred insurgent campaign against conservatism, he said.

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Meet the 'groyper army,' a movement that wants conservatives to be racist and anti-Semitic - JTA News

State AG: Town is trying to keep Hasidic Jews out – Times Union

Posted By on December 7, 2019

State AG: Town is trying to keep Hasidic Jews out

New York

State Attorney General Letitia James is accusing a Hudson Valley town and county of "a concerted, systematic effort" to keep Hasidic Jewish families from moving into the town, where a developer says bias is blocking hundreds of planned homes.

James filed legal papers Thursday seeking to join a developer's suit against Orange County and the town of Chester over the way they have handled a plan for a 431-home community in the town about 60 miles north of midtown Manhattan.

The Greens at Chester project has been met with what the local governments call legitimate concerns about infrastructure and building codes. But the developers and James say what's really at play is a prejudiced drive to stop the project.

"Blocking the construction of homes to prevent a religious group from living in a community is flat-out discriminatory," James, a Democrat, said in a statement.

A lawyer for the town suggested James' office was interloping to try to pressure the town into settling.

"There is no reason for it to be unnecessarily involved in this matter on behalf of a private developer that can sufficiently represent itself," Chester attorney Mary Marzolla said in a statement.

Town Supervisor Robert Valentine, who won office on Republican and other lines, said he was disheartened by James' actions and looked forward to an eventual court decision "based on input from both sides and not on political influence."

Hasidic enclaves have sprouted in parts of Orange County, and their growth has sparked concern and complaints from some other residents about development density, schools, and other issues.

The complaints have, in turn, fueled accusations of anti-Jewish bias.

"We remain deeply concerned by the blatant anti-Semitism arising out of Orange County," Evan Bernstein, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, said Thursday. He commended the attorney general's bid to get involved in the Greens at Chester case.

It concerns a 117-acre property where a previous, non-Hasidic owner got permission for the same number of homes, also after a long dispute with the town. Current owners Greens at Chester LLC bought it for $12.1 million in 2017.

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State AG: Town is trying to keep Hasidic Jews out - Times Union

The Tell: Three of the impeachment witness lawyers were Jewish, and it matters – JTA News

Posted By on December 7, 2019

WASHINGTON (JTA) On Wednesday, theU.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee launched impeachment hearings just hours afterthe Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., concluded its own impeachment inquiry.

The 300-page Intelligence Committee report concludes that President Donald Trump placed his own personal and political interests abovethenational interests oftheUnited States in asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, calling it the act of a president who viewed himself as unaccountable and determined to use his vast official powers to secure his reelection.

It is nowthe Judiciary Committees task to decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment. And whilethe officials who appeared before Schiffs committee were fact witnesses who describedthe events surroundingthe Ukraine scandal, Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., brought three witnesses all constitutional scholars that he hoped would outline a theory of impeachment.

All three witnesses are Jewish: Noah Feldman of Harvard, Pamela Karlan of Stanford and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina. So are Schiff and Nadler, and so wastheDemocrats counsel who directedthe first 45 minutes of questioning, Norm Eisen.

Why does this matter?

Well, predictably, it mattered to anti-Semites.

Ann Coulter,the right-wing agitator, tweeted, Too little ethnic diversity amongthe professors for me to take them seriously. Consideringherpast flirtations with anti-Semitism, one could conclude that she wasnt faultingtheprofessors just for being white.

TruNews,the YouTube channel run by ananti-Semitic Florida pastor who has coinedthe term Jew coupto describethe impeachment process, took to Twitter to accuse Jewish socialist Jerry Nadler and his three Jewish witnesses of escalatingtheJew coup. TruNews also helpfully informed us that Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University scholar and witnesses called by theRepublicans who testified thattheevidence for impeachment simply does not add up, is a Roman Catholic.

Twitter removedthe tweet. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblattscreenshotted it for posterity,calling on social media platforms to take action against blatantly anti-Semitic posts.

Why not ignorethe blatant anti-Semitism?

Because the fringes no longer have pariah status: TruNews has been accredited for White House news conferences. Trump has taken questions from them (about his plans for Israeli-Palestinian peace, of all things) and his son, Donald Jr., gave TruNews an impromptu interview earlier this year at a Michigan rally. (Trump Jr.s spokeswoman told The Washington Post that he was not aware atthe time of TruNews outlook.)

Those views have crept intothe mainstream discourse.

While the hearings were underway, Breitbart News,the Trump-boosting news site, posted a story, Norm Eisen, Democrat Impeachment Counsel, Linked to George Soros.Breitbart reportedthat Soros Open Society Foundation had helped fund an ethics watchdog Eisen founded, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, tothe tune of $1.35 million in 2017. (This is not a secret: Its on the Open Society website.)

Butthe Breitbart story failed to explainthe relevance. Eisen is not pretending to be nonpartisan or unaffiliated from a liberal outlook; there is no suggestion that Soros money is reachingthe committee itself.

Soros,the liberal Jewish billionaire philanthropist, is incessantly attached to conspiracies. Fiona Hill, a former senior National Security Council staffer, noted last month how the baseless Soros conspiracy theories besetthe Ukraine scandaland called them anti-Semitic.

Republicans onthe panel attempted to depictthe three scholars onthe Democratic side as effete elitists, another classic trope.

Democrats still dont get it, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter. They are pushing ahead with impeachment based on opinions from liberal law professors from coastal universities.

McCarthy, from California, attended a coastal university (Cal State, Bakersfield), and Turley, the GOPs scholar, teaches at one, George Washington but never mind.

This creates Jewish fear

I got texts from leading Jewish Democrats during Wednesdays hearings wondering, with not inconsiderable trepidation, whether thescholars were indeed Jewish.

The trepidation is a shame because considerations of how being Jewish shapes ones outlook should be free of anxieties about what anti-Semites will make of it. And there are meaningful Jewish stories behindthe decisions of these witnesses to become constitutional scholars:

I grew up in Alabama, and I grew up Jewish in Alabama inthe1960s, Gerhardt told C-Span last year, and that was a time of great turbulence, andthe timethecivil rights movement was sort of unfolding, and it was all unfolding in front of me, and I paid attention to it, and that those events that arose inthe 60s and early 70s really shaped my interest in civil rights, but also my interest in law.

Karlan, delivering closing remarks in 2006 at theannual meeting oftheliberal American Constitution Society, called herself one ofthe snarky, bisexual, Jewish women who wantthe freedom to say what we think, read what we want and love who we do,calling on listeners to seize backthe high ground on patriotism and on love of our country from the rich, pampered, prodigal, sanctimonious, incurious, white, straight sons ofthe powerful.

Feldman, who in 2015 launched Harvards Julis-Rabinowitz Program in Jewish and Israeli Law, also helped draftthe Iraqi constitution; he is gripped by how and whether religious and civil law can coexist.

Jewish law and Israeli law are distinct and different,Feldman was quoted as saying by Tablet atthe time ofthelaunch oftheHarvard program, yet they also interact and make claims on each other.

In Other News

Georgia on my mind:Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a conservative narrowly elected a year ago with a boost from Trump, this week named businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to filltheSenate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson, who is ill.Thetwist is that Trump wanted Kemp to name Doug Collins,theranking member ofthe Judiciary Committee who ledthecharge Wednesday againsttheimpeachment and now Trump and Kemp are onthe outs. Trump is losing his luster in the South (gubernatorial candidates he backed were defeated in Kentucky and Louisiana and won narrowly in Mississippi) and women in Atlantas suburbs, emboldened since Trumps election, are thehinge on whether Georgia turns blue next year. Kemp does not want to further alienate them.

A lot of those women are Jewish. I spoke to two who head up asalon of 1,500 Jewish women aimed at flippingthestatefor Democrats, and also toAtlanta-area Jews who are grappling with how to rebuild a moribund alliance with African-Americansas a means to topple Republicans.Two Jewish candidates feature in two separate Senate races next year, and I met with both.

Two states and only two states:Earlier this year, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif, introduced a resolution backed by J Street,theliberal Middle East policy group, that wouldrecommit Congress to a two-state outcome totheIsraeli-Palestinian conflict. Theidea was to keeptheoutcome alive while boththeTrump and Netanyahu governments had retreated from it.Theresolution likely comes to a vote before this week ends, and it has had a rocky road.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., themajority leader, endeavored to sign on Republicans totheresolution. They agreed, iftheword only was removed fromthe phrase onlytheoutcome of a two-state solution that enhances stability and security for Israel, Palestinians, and their neighbors can both ensurethestate of Israels survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfillthelegitimate aspirations ofthePalestinian people for a state of their own. J Street forcefully objected andthe Republicans balked.The resolution will pass with only, but a look atthesponsor list features only Democrats it wont accrue many, if any, Republicans.

Bipartisanship is becoming harder: AIPAC has been asking its members for weeks to get senators to sponsor legislation that would extend sanctions to entities dealing with already sanctioned Palestinian groups. So far, it has 20 sponsors for the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2019, but until this week there was just one Democrat, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who initiated thebill with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Ive heard another two Democrats have just signed on.

Clemmons making Clemmonade:Alan Clemmons istheRepublican South Carolina state legislator you may never have heard of who is shaking up U.S. Israel policy. His2015 bill penalizing Israel boycotters has become a template for other state bills doingthesame thing. He ledthepush in 2016 fortheGOP to removethetwo-state outcome commitment from its platform. Clemmons now chairs ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that circulates templates for state legislation themodel Clemmons pursued after passing his 2015 bill targetingthe movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. That puts him in a position of enormous influence in theconservative world. ALEC had its annual get-together this week in Scottsdale, Arizona. ALEC is a wellspring of learning of, by and for legislators, he said in a release.

Worth a Look

Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice Jay Sekulow hosts the GMA Honors Celebration and Hall of Fame Induction at the Allen Arena at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee on April 29, 2014. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA)

Elizabeth Williamson atTheNew York Times profiles Jay Sekulow,the un-Giuliani:theTrump lawyer not currently mired in scandal and his own legal difficulties. He is alsothe general counsel for Jews for Jesus. Politico reported this week that Sekulows son, Jordan, also a lawyer on Trumps team, gleefully anticipated damagingthe scholars that House Democrats invited to impeachment. I cant wait to find out what crazy stuff the law professors have written, Jordan said on his dads radio show. I bet anti-Israel, borderline anti-Semitic. Maybe anti-American? That was before we learned all three were Jewish.

Tweet So Sweet

Seforim Chatter, an account dedicated to Jewish exegetical texts,uncovers a book on how to properly consume Hanukkah doughnuts.

Stay In Touch

Share your thoughts on The Tell, or suggest a topic for us. Connect with Ron Kampeas on Twitter at@kampeasor email him atthetell@jta.org.

The Tell is a weekly roundup of the latest Jewish political news from Ron Kampeas, the Jewish Telegraphic Agencys Washington bureau chief.Sign up hereto receive The Tell in your inbox on Thursday evenings.

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The Tell: Three of the impeachment witness lawyers were Jewish, and it matters - JTA News

Three of the impeachment witness lawyers were Jewish, and it matters – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on December 7, 2019

On Wednesday, theU.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee launched impeachment hearings just hours afterthe Intelligence Committee, chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., concluded its own impeachment inquiry.

The 300-page Intelligence Committee report concludes that President Donald Trump placed his own personal and political interests abovethenational interests oftheUnited States in asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, calling it the act of a president who viewed himself as unaccountable and determined to use his vast official powers to secure his reelection.

It is nowthe Judiciary Committees task to decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment. And whilethe officials who appeared before Schiffs committee were fact witnesses who describedthe events surroundingthe Ukraine scandal, Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., brought three witnesses all constitutional scholars that he hoped would outline a theory of impeachment.

All three witnesses are Jewish: Noah Feldman of Harvard, Pamela Karlan of Stanford and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina. So are Schiff and Nadler, and so wastheDemocrats counsel who directedthe first 45 minutes of questioning, Norm Eisen.

Well, predictably, it mattered to anti-Semites.

Ann Coulter,the right-wing agitator, tweeted, Too little ethnic diversity amongthe professors for me to take them seriously.Consideringherpast flirtations with anti-Semitism, one could conclude that she wasnt faultingtheprofessors just for being white.

TruNews,the YouTube channel run by ananti-Semitic Florida pastor who has coinedthe term Jew coupto describethe impeachment process, took to Twitter to accuse Jewish socialist Jerry Nadler and his three Jewish witnesses of escalatingtheJew coup. TruNews also helpfully informed us that Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University scholar and witnesses called by theRepublicans who testified thattheevidence for impeachment simply does not add up, is a Roman Catholic.

Twitter removedthe tweet. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblattscreenshotted it for posterity,calling on social media platforms to take action against blatantly anti-Semitic posts.

Because the fringes no longer have pariah status: TruNews has been accredited for White House news conferences.Trump has taken questions from them (about his plans for Israeli-Palestinian peace, of all things)and his son, Donald Jr., gave TruNews an impromptu interview earlier this year at a Michigan rally. (Trump Jr.s spokeswoman told The Washington Post that he was not aware atthe time of TruNews outlook.)

Those views have crept intothe mainstream discourse.

While the hearings were underway, Breitbart News,the Trump-boosting news site, posted a story, Norm Eisen, Democrat Impeachment Counsel, Linked to George Soros.Breitbart reportedthat Soros Open Society Foundation had helped fund an ethics watchdog Eisen founded, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, tothe tune of $1.35 million in 2017. (This is not a secret: Its on the Open Society website.)

Butthe Breitbart story failed to explainthe relevance. Eisen is not pretending to be nonpartisan or unaffiliated from a liberal outlook; there is no suggestion that Soros money is reachingthe committee itself.

Soros,the liberal Jewish billionaire philanthropist, is incessantly attached to conspiracies. Fiona Hill, a former senior National Security Council staffer, noted last month how the baseless Soros conspiracy theories besetthe Ukraine scandaland called them anti-Semitic.

Republicans onthe panel attempted to depictthe three scholars onthe Democratic side as effete elitists, another classic trope.

Democrats still dont get it, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Twitter. They are pushing ahead with impeachment based on opinions from liberal law professors from coastal universities.

McCarthy, from California, attended a coastal university (Cal State, Bakersfield), and Turley, the GOPs scholar, teaches at one, George Washington but never mind.

I got texts from leading Jewish Democrats during Wednesdays hearings wondering, with not inconsiderable trepidation, whether thescholars were indeed Jewish.

The trepidation is a shame because considerations of how being Jewish shapes ones outlook should be free of anxieties about what anti-Semites will make of it. And there are meaningful Jewish stories behindthe decisions of these witnesses to become constitutional scholars:

I grew up in Alabama, and I grew up Jewish in Alabama inthe1960s,Gerhardt told C-Span last year, and that was a time of great turbulence, andthe timethecivil rights movement was sort of unfolding, and it was all unfolding in front of me, and I paid attention to it, and that those events that arose inthe 60s and early 70s really shaped my interest in civil rights, but also my interest in law.

Karlan, delivering closing remarks in 2006 at theannual meeting oftheliberal American Constitution Society, called herself one ofthesnarky, bisexual, Jewish women who wantthe freedom to say what we think, read what we want and love who we do,calling on listeners to seize backthe high ground on patriotism and on love of our country from the rich, pampered, prodigal, sanctimonious, incurious, white, straight sons ofthe powerful.

Feldman, who in 2015 launched Harvards Julis-Rabinowitz Program in Jewish and Israeli Law, also helped draftthe Iraqi constitution; he is gripped by how and whether religious and civil law can coexist.

Jewish law and Israeli law are distinct and different,Feldman was quoted as saying by Tablet atthe time ofthelaunch oftheHarvard program, yet they also interact and make claims on each other.

Georgia on my mind:Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a conservative narrowly elected a year ago with a boost from Trump, this week named businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to filltheSenate seat vacated by Johnny Isakson, who is ill.Thetwist is that Trump wanted Kemp to name Doug Collins,theranking member ofthe Judiciary Committee who ledthecharge Wednesday againsttheimpeachment and now Trump and Kemp are onthe outs. Trump is losing his luster in the South (gubernatorial candidates he backed were defeated in Kentucky and Louisiana and won narrowly in Mississippi) and women in Atlantas suburbs, emboldened since Trumps election, are thehinge on whether Georgia turns blue next year. Kemp does not want to further alienate them.

A lot of those women are Jewish. I spoke to two who head up asalon of 1,500 Jewish women aimed at flippingthestatefor Democrats, and also toAtlanta-area Jews who are grappling with how to rebuild a moribund alliance with African-Americansas a means to topple Republicans.Two Jewish candidates feature in two separate Senate races next year, and I met with both.

Two states and only two states:Earlier this year, Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif, introduced a resolution backed by J Street,theliberal Middle East policy group, that wouldrecommit Congress to a two-state outcome totheIsraeli-Palestinian conflict. Theidea was to keeptheoutcome alive while boththeTrump and Netanyahu governments had retreated from it.Theresolution likely comes to a vote before this week ends, and it has had a rocky road.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., themajority leader, endeavored to sign on Republicans totheresolution. They agreed, iftheword only was removed fromthe phrase onlytheoutcome of a two-state solution that enhances stability and security for Israel, Palestinians, and their neighbors can both ensurethestate of Israels survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfillthelegitimate aspirations ofthePalestinian people for a state of their own. J Street forcefully objected andthe Republicans balked.The resolution will pass with only, but a look atthesponsor list features only Democrats it wont accrue many, if any, Republicans.

Bipartisanship is becoming harder:AIPAC has been asking its members for weeks to get senators to sponsor legislation that would extend sanctions to entities dealing with already sanctioned Palestinian groups. So far, it has 20 sponsors for the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2019, but until this week there was just one Democrat, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who initiated thebill with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Ive heard another two Democrats have just signed on.

Clemmons making Clemmonade:Alan Clemmons istheRepublican South Carolina state legislator you may never have heard of who is shaking up U.S. Israel policy. His2015 bill penalizing Israel boycotters has become a template for other state bills doingthesame thing. He ledthepush in 2016 fortheGOP to removethetwo-state outcome commitment from its platform. Clemmons now chairs ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that circulates templates for state legislation themodel Clemmons pursued after passing his 2015 bill targetingthe movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel. That puts him in a position of enormous influence in theconservative world. ALEC had its annual get-together this week in Scottsdale, Arizona. ALEC is a wellspring of learning of, by and for legislators, he said in a release.

Elizabeth Williamson atTheNew York TimesprofilesJay Sekulow,the un-Giuliani:theTrump lawyer not currently mired in scandal and his own legal difficulties. He is alsothe general counsel for Jews for Jesus. Politico reported this week that Sekulows son, Jordan, also a lawyer on Trumps team,gleefullyanticipated damagingthe scholars that House Democrats invited to impeachment. I cant wait to find out what crazy stuff the law professors have written, Jordan said on his dads radio show. I bet anti-Israel, borderline anti-Semitic. Maybe anti-American? That was before we learned all three were Jewish.

Seforim Chatter, an account dedicated to Jewish exegetical texts,uncoversa book on how to properly consume Hanukkah doughnuts.

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Three of the impeachment witness lawyers were Jewish, and it matters - The Jewish News of Northern California

PewDiePie Is the Most-Watched YouTube Creator of 2019 With 4 Billion Views – Variety

Posted By on December 7, 2019

PewDiePies Bro Army remains stronger than ever: The top YouTuber is the most-viewed creator of 2019 on the platform year-to-date, with more than 4 billion views this year, according to YouTube.

The comedian, game vlogger and meme aficionado, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is also the most-subscribed individual YouTube creator, currently with 102 million followers. Indeed, PewDiePies video views for the year were boosted by the months-long running battle stoked by Kjellberg and his fans to keep his sub count ahead of Indias T-Series music channel (which has since surpassed PewDiePie).

YouTube released the top 10 most-viewed creators ranking as part of its year-in-review compilations, which culminates in the 2019 YouTube Rewind mashup released Thursday which does feature PewDiePie this year.

After PewDiePie, the most-viewed YouTube creators of 2019 are: Brazilian vlogger Felipe Neto (2.8 billion); animation channel Pencilmation (2.8 billion); Dutch gaming creator Jelly (2.5 billion); David Dobrik (2.4 billion); trick-shot artists Dude Perfect (2.3 billion); creator-philanthropist MrBeast (2.2 billion); Australian gamer LazarBeam (2 billion); Fischers, a seven-member Japanese vlog crew (1.9 billion); and Canadian cosplayer-gamer AzzyLand (1.9 billion).

PewDiePie has been masterful at cultivating his fanbase, and produces a popular regular series, Meme Review. Most recently, he weighed in on the Baby Yoda, and with characteristic bluster said he would eat the tiny green alien from Disney Plus The Mandalorian to get rid of the meme. Also popular on PewDiePies channel this year was a film documenting the wedding of Kjellberg and his longtime girlfriend Marzia. (Last week, Marzia Kjellberg said in an Instagram post that thieves broke into their house and stole 90% of my valuables.)

A recent study found that PewDiePie has a higher favorability rating than NBA superstar LeBron James among Gen Z males in the U.S. PewDiePie and Lebron James have the same level of name recognition (95%) among Gen Z males, but more of them (62%) have a favorable view of PewDiePie than James (55%), per the Morning Consult survey.

PewDiePies popularity continues unabated in spite of or perhaps because of the fact that he has been the subject of ongoing controversies, including past criticism of his anti-Semitic jokes that Kjellberg acknowledged had gone too far.

After the mosque attacker in the mass killings in Christchurch, New Zealand called out the subscribe to PewDiePie meme in his live-streamed video, Kjellberg said he felt the responsibility to do something about it. In September, the Swedish-born YouTuber announced that he would be donating $50,000 to the Anti-Defamation League anti-hate group in a video unveiling his YouTube Red Diamond Creator Award, a new honor for channels that have hit the 100 million subscriber mark. But a day later backtracked and said his initial decision was a mistake and that the contribution didnt feel genuine.

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PewDiePie Is the Most-Watched YouTube Creator of 2019 With 4 Billion Views - Variety

How Cowardice and Anti-Semitism Stopped One of the Earliest Anti-Nazi Films from Getting Made – Mosaic

Posted By on December 7, 2019

In 1933, Herman Mankiewicza writer and producer with a successful career at MGMauthored a screenplay for a movie called The Mad Dog of Europe, set in Transylvania (an obvious stand-in for Germany) and focusing on two families, one Jewish and the other Christian. Deeply scarred by his service in World War I, a member of the latter family then falls under the influence of a deranged former housepainter named Adolf Mitler, and melodrama ensues. Mankiewicz teamed up with the producer Sam Jaffe to make the movie, but their efforts, which continued right up until 1939, were thwarted at every turn, as Sydney Ladensohn Stern recounts:

Although the studios top executives were almost all Jewish, they were well aware of anti-Semitisms prevalence in American culture and the dangers it posed to them. While leaders in other industries were praised for fulfilling the American Dream, successful motion-picture business executives were routinely portrayed as ignorant, jumped-up former garment merchantspants pressers, delicatessen dealers, furriers, and penny showmen, as Karl K. Kitchen wrote in Columbia, the official Knights of Columbus magazine. . . .

They were maligned as greedy capitalists whose sensational products corrupted wholesome Christian Americans, especially during a time when the Depression fueled so many resentments. They knew that if they depicted Nazi abuses, they risked being branded as warmongers, trying to pull the United States into a European problem to help their co-religionists.

Even as Mankiewicz and Jaffe had little luck finding backers, they soon encountered more active opponents, including Will Hays, the president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA):

Hays summoned [Jaffe] and Mankiewicz to his office and accused them of greed: they were exploiting a scarehead situation for the picture which, if made, might return them a tremendous profit while creating heavy losses for the industry. Then he asked, even if they were to find a studio willing to rent them production facilities, how could they exhibit the film if all the major theaters refused them? . . .

As Jaffe set up an office and hired the playwright Lynn Root to work on the script, a number of Jewish organizations mobilized. They, too, wanted Americans informed about Hitler and the Nazis, but they wanted the word spread by non-Jewish messengers. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which had been organized in 1913 specifically to combat anti-Semitism, joined studio heads and the MPPDA in actively opposing the realization of Mad Dog. They feared it would provoke accusations of Jewish warmongering, and they worried that if it failed commercially, it would demonstrate American apathy to Hitler or even pave the way for pro-Nazi films.

Read more at Commentary

More about: ADL, American Jewish History, Anti-Semitism, Hollywood, Nazi Germany

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How Cowardice and Anti-Semitism Stopped One of the Earliest Anti-Nazi Films from Getting Made - Mosaic

What To Do About The Increasingly Vicious Anti-Jew Campus Protests – The Federalist

Posted By on December 7, 2019

On November 20 in Toronto, Canada, York Universitys Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) tried to shut down a school-approved event featuring a panel of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) veterans from Reservists on Duty, a group that travels to college campuses to provide facts about antisemitism and the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

SAIA attracted around 600 protesters representing students as well as entities outside the school. According to Reservists on Duty CEO Amit Deri, this was the first protest where the group encountered a BDS and Antifa collaboration. What resulted was antisemitic violence colored with calls for genocide as protestors attempted to intimidate, demonize, and disenfranchise Israelis, Zionists, and Jews.

The presence of Toronto Police and private security personnel did not keep protestors and attendees from intermingling. One video shows individuals shoving and trying to punch one another in a packed stairwell. A pro-Palestine protestor claims he was punched by a pro-Israel attendee. Reservists on Duty stated protestors assaulted a few Jewish students. One person was injured during the protest.

Several videos show protestors inside the event space disrupting the panel by shouting and waving images, which were likely similar to those SAIA distributed in advance of the event in which an IDF soldier was Photoshopped to appear to strangle a Palestinian child.

Outside the event space, large groups gathered, banging on doors and chanting over loudspeakers. According to the Jerusalem Post, several protestors told event organizers to go back to the ovens. Numerous videos show protestors chanting Viva, Viva Intifada, referencing deadly periods of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

Per the Anti-Defamation League, during the Intifada of 1987 to 1990, masses of civilians attacked Israeli troops with stones, axes, Molotov cocktails, hand grenades, and firearms. The Second Intifada of 2000 was a campaign of deadly terrorism targeting Israeli civilians on buses, restaurants and on city streets, killing over 1,000 Israelis, and wounding thousands more.

In the days following the well-covered antisemitic protests, Canadian politicians Roman Baber, the York Centre Member of Provincial Parliament, Doug Ford, the Ontario premier, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned protestors violence and hate.

York University has begun reviewing its methods for handling free speech about the conflicts in the Middle East. Toronto Police are investigating whether hate crimes occurred. Public outcry, coupled with the measured responses of administrators and police, will be important in finding ways to stem the growth of dangerous antisemitism on college campuses without quashing free speech.

Anti-Israel sentiment has long been problematic on college campuses, where groups often cloak antisemitism in social justice language. Allegiance to such movements, as well as events involving Israel on the world stage, led to numerous problematic displays of antisemitism, terror support, and misleading anti-Zionism at the University of Toronto, Michigan State University, Oberlin College, Butler University, and McGill University in recent weeks.

Other instances of on-campus antisemitism have received the attention of those who can make a difference.

On November 14, former IDF humanitarian officer Hen Mazzig spoke before students and faculty at New Yorks Vassar College. A group of 25 to 30 members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) disrupted his presentation by chanting outside the event space. For around 15 minutes, the noise was so loud that Mazzig could not speak. Among SJPs chants was from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free, which has historically been a call for the annihilation of the Jewish state of Israel.

Mazzigs talk centered around his experience as a Mizrahi Jew, a descendant of the 850,000 Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab and Muslim countries between 1941 and 1972. As he explains in a guest column in The College Fix, he and other Mizrahi Jews are breathing proof that Israel has savednot only white lives, but also those of people of color.

In an attempt to advocate for the marginalized, these students shouted down the gay son of refugees, Mazzig wrote. In an effort to stand up for minority rights, they denigrated a Jew of color. In the pursuit of peace, they perhaps unknowingly made public calls for the death of my family.SJP subsequently took to Facebook to call deadly intifadas popular uprisings and states it does not believe Zionism should have a platform [at Vassar].

Several days later, SJP member Ezra Mead wrote an op-ed in The Forward, claiming Mazzig uses his gay identity and intersectionality, and explaining the group protested because members believed [Mazzigs] talk would be little more than pro-Israel propaganda. In closing, Mead indicated Mazzig should be disposessed of his right to free speech because there can be no free exchange of ideasabout the forced dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

SJPs equivocations revealed the hatred and bigotry underlying their social justice message.

Administrators at another school, New York University (NYU), failed to protect Jewish students from a hostile atmosphere of antisemitism that developed on its campus in 2018.

In spring 2018, 53 of the schools 360 student clubs agreed to boycott NYUs two pro-Israel groups, which led to passage of an anti-Israel resolution, circulation of a threatening flier, and a week of protests. At an April 2018 rally for Israel, members of SJP and Jewish Voice for Peace set fire to an Israeli flag, and grabbed a student singing the Israeli national anthem. These events left Jewish students at NYU in fear of displaying symbols of their religion.

The administration essentially told me that they were supportive of the Jewish community, but no concrete actions would be taken against SJP, Adela Cojab, former president of pro-Israel campus group NYU Realize Israel, told Fox News. The school advised her not to post on social media and to lower [her] own presence and the presence of [her] community.

A year later, in April 2019, SJP won the Presidents Service Award for its positive effects on the NYU community.

In June, Cojab brought her concerns to the Department of Education. On November 13, the Departments Office for Civil Rights announced it had begun a full-scale investigation into the environment of antisemitism at NYU.

Should the Department of Education decide NYUs campus environment is harmful, the school will be required to create a set of remedial steps to address anti-Semitism on campus. If it fails to do so, its federal funding may be at risk.

Institutions of higher learning are increasingly in thrall to anti-Israel groups that disguise bigotry and antisemitism behind flowery manipulations of the truth.

As these groups instigate violence and promote an atmosphere of hostility and misinformation, there are hopeful reminders of how each person has the power to make a difference. Graduates of affected institutions may be able to initiate change by reaching out to alumni officers about their rationale for withholding donations.

Responsive administrators like Vassar College President Elizabeth Bradley can make an important impact. The Department of Educations investigation at NYU proves students have options when administrations fail.

Although they may seem the most hopeless, events at York University demonstrate the power of public outcry to put a cold spotlight on antisemitic behaviors and the violence they spawn. Jews and gentiles alike can help ensure campuses are safe for Jewish students in the wake of rising antisemitism. We also must secure freedom of expression in such environments.

In this battle, the freedom to speak is the greatest weapon. Those whose arguments and facts are weak are attempting to supplant free speech rather than engage in dialogue. When we allow those who hate Israel and Judaism to speak freely, their words become their undoing.

The way we amplify the actions and alarming speech of antisemitism, and the words we choose for ourselves, are especially important. It is only by using our voices to spread truth that we can conquer hate and promote dialogues that create solutions rather than rancor.

Beth Bailey is a civilian intelligence analyst turned freelance writer in southeast Michigan. Her work can be found in the Washington Examiner and the Detroit News.

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What To Do About The Increasingly Vicious Anti-Jew Campus Protests - The Federalist


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