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Behind the Aegis

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Warren records video message for benefit concert for Tree of Life synagogue

Source: The Hill

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) condemned the "rise in anti-Semitism" in a pre-recorded video played Thursday at a benefit concert for Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue.

“We remember the 11 lives we lost two months ago, and we commit to honoring their memory. This tragedy was an attack on the Jewish community — not just in Pittsburgh, but all across our country," Warren said, according to video posted to Twitter by Guardian reporter Mike Elk.

"We’re going through a difficult time in our history right now, and we must continue to be vigilant and fierce against the rise in anti-Semitism," Warren added.


Read more: https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/423073-warren-sends-video-message-for-benefit-concert-for-tree-of-life
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Fri Dec 28, 2018, 06:51 AM (1 replies)

Supreme Court poised to drastically reverse LGBTQ equality

There are now seven different cases implicating LGBTQ rights sitting before the Supreme Court. While the conservative-majority Court has not yet agreed to hear any of them, a circuit split between two of the cases and the fact that President Trump’s transgender military ban is at the heart of another strongly suggest at least one of them will advance to oral arguments.

The cases span a variety of different issues, including employment, education, military service, and public discrimination. At the heart at most of them is a question about whether discrimination against LGBTQ people counts as discrimination on the basis of “sex.” If the Court rules against queer people in just one of them, it could set a precedent that hinders LGBTQ equality across all of the different issues.

Such a decision would be the largest blow to queer rights since the Court upheld sodomy laws 32 years ago.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Dec 27, 2018, 01:34 PM (8 replies)

A Man Who Said He Wanted To "Kill All Of The Jews" Was Convicted Of A Hate Crime

A 33-year-old man was convicted of a hate crime on Monday for attacking a man who said he was Jewish outside a Cincinnati restaurant.

Izmir Koch was with a group of friends in February 2017 when he began shouting in Russian if anyone else outside the restaurant, Mirage, was Jewish. A Lithuanian man who spoke Russian said he was, and Koch ran over and attacked him, according to court documents.

Koch punched the man in the back of the head, knocked him down, and kicked him, leaving the man with a broken bone in his face and bruised ribs. His friends also joined in on the attack, but in a voluntary statement to authorities, Koch denied being part of the fight.

Before and during the attack, Koch said “I want to kill all of the Jews” and “I want to stab the Jews," witnesses and the victim testified. He was convicted of a hate crime and lying to the FBI.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Dec 20, 2018, 06:53 AM (10 replies)

Suspicious packages reported at three Baltimore County synagogues Monday, officials say

Hazmat crews and police responded to reports of suspicious packages — one of which caused people to be nauseated upon opening it — at three synagogues in Baltimore County on Monday, officials said.

Parents and emergency hazmat crews responded about 1:45 p.m. to Beth El Synagogue, which operates the Pauline Mash School For Early Childhood Education at its complex at 8101 Park Heights Ave., after two adults became nauseated upon opening an envelope sent to the synagogue, officials said.

The nature of the substance that caused the reaction was not clear, and tests for poisonous substances in the building were negative, said Elise Armacost, a Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman.

“They opened some kind of an envelope that arrived, I believe, through the mail, and they immediately began complaining of feeling ill,” Armacost said outside the school Monday.

Thirty-three staff members and 78 children were inside the building during the incident Monday, Armacost said.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Tue Dec 18, 2018, 07:00 AM (0 replies)

Anti-Semitism is making a comeback, and history can explain why

As an American Jew, I have been surprised by the resurgence of anti-Semitism here. Like many others, I did not see it coming.

The relative economic success of American Jews, awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust and the American tradition of religious tolerance have all mitigated against seeing anti-Semitism as a formidable threat. We have been through a long period during which anti-Semitism undeniably receded.

There is a foundational American history of welcoming Jews and immigrants of all nationalities and religions that is symbolized by the Statue of Liberty. For me, and I expect for many other American Jews, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting shook that foundation.

It would be a mistake to view the Pittsburgh shootings as an isolated event. The Anti-Defamation League has reported 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents – defined as harassment, vandalism and physical assault – in the United States in 2017.

The 2017 statistics represent a 57 percent increase over 2016, the largest single-year escalation since the ADL began tracking these incidents in 1979.

Unfortunately, there is also good reason to think the numbers are an undercount. Studies show that only about half of all hate crimes are reported to the police. Many local law enforcement agencies do not provide hate crime data to the federal government because the reporting requirement is voluntary. There is also uncertainty as to whether all hate crimes have been properly identified.


Unlike the author, I did see it coming.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sun Dec 16, 2018, 06:30 AM (4 replies)

White House: Trump Supports Businesses Posting 'No Gays' Signs

Bigotry in the name of “religious freedom” – President Trump supports businesses posting anti-gay signs stating they will not serve LGBT customers.

When asked during yesterday’s White House press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the president has no problem with businesses displaying anti-gay signs.


The lawyer for the solicitor general’s office for the administration said today in the Supreme Court if it would be legal, possible for a baker to put a sign in his window saying we don’t bake cakes for gay weddings. Does the president agree that that would be ok?

Sanders answered:

The president certainly supports religious liberty and that’s something he talked about during the campaign and has upheld since taking office.

When asked if that included support for signs that deny service to gay people, Sanders replied:

I believe that would include that.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Tue Dec 11, 2018, 06:31 AM (40 replies)

A Persian Jewish Refugee Who Fled Iran by Airlift Just Became a State Senator in New York

Democrat Anna Kaplan’s recent victory over Republican incumbent Elaine Phillips helped flip the New York state Senate, long dominated by Republicans, to Democratic control. That’s a very big deal in New York politics but the win is notable for other reasons as well—it makes Kaplan, who came to America as refugee from Iran, the highest ranking Persian-Jewish elected official in the state.

Kaplan was born Anna Monahemi in Tabriz, Iran, and raised in Tehran. There was a recorded Jewish presence in Tabriz, located in the mountains of northwest Iran, since at least the 12th century, but that ancient community of some 400 Jews was wiped out in a blood libel massacre in 1830. About a century and half later, when she was 13 years old, Kaplan fled the Islamic Revolution as a child refugee and arrived in the United States as part of an airlift of Iranian children. She initially stayed in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and then fostered with a family in Chicago where she learned English and attended high school until her parents and family were able to legally join her in the United States more than a year later. She went on to graduate from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.

“Persian Jews stayed out of politics in Iran,” writes Kaplan on her Facebook page. “My parents and community were afraid of being noticed—they were a small, vulnerable minority in a conservative part of a conservative country. But here in the United States, we have been given so much opportunity and I am so grateful to this country for opening its arms that I’ve had to give back.”

In New York’s 7th Senate District, which covers parts of Long Island’s Nassau County, Kaplan ran a grassroots campaign with volunteers canvassing and knocking on doors. Gov. Andrew Cuomo came down to campaign with her, and former President Obama tweeted his support. Emily’s List endorsed her run. She ran on her local record of accomplishments, as a councilwoman of the Town of North Hempstead, since 2011, and as a member of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals and of the Board of Trustees of the Great Neck Public Library District before that.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Dec 3, 2018, 01:04 AM (0 replies)

U.S. agency apologizes to George Soros after broadcast called him 'multimillionaire Jew'

The head of a U.S. government agency has apologized to George Soros and his Open Society Foundations for the airing of a program that espoused conspiracy theories about Soros and called him a “multimillionaire Jew.”

In letters sent earlier this month, John F. Lansing, chief executive and director of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, voiced his personal apologies to Soros and OSF president Patrick Gaspard for the program, which he said had “made several false and negative assertions” about the billionaire philanthropist and had furthered “age-old tropes against the Jewish community.”

“It was based on extremely poor and unprofessional journalism, and it was utterly offensive in its anti-Semitism and clear bias,” Lansing wrote in the letter to Soros, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. “I take this breach in our fundamental obligation to provide accurate, balanced, and objective reporting very seriously.”

The 15-minute, Spanish-language segment was aired in May by Radio and Television Martí, which is overseen by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and its Office of Cuba Broadcasting. The Miami-based network broadcasts news and other programs promoting U.S. interests to audiences in Cuba.

The program, which has since been taken offline, called Soros a “nonpracticing Jew of flexible morals,” claimed that he was involved in “clandestine operations that led to the dismantling of the Soviet Union” and described him as “the architect of the financial collapse of 2008.”

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Mon Dec 3, 2018, 01:03 AM (1 replies)
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