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CT Woman Connecticut Launches Watchdog Group that Takes Aim at Antisemites

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When we last spoke with Liora Rez in 2017, the Connecticut resident went by the handle “Jewish Chick” and was a social media influencer with more than 90,000 Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat followers. Her Instagram page, “Where Fashion and Judaism collide” featured sponsored content – photographs of fashion accessories and Rez in designer clothes. But Rez also shared some posts promoting Israel and Judaism – articles about Israeli tourism and culture, and pro-Israel opinion pieces.

Now with antisemitism skyrocketing here in the U.S. and around the world, the ardently Zionist, proudly Jewish Rez is also using her growing online presence to fight antisemitism. In 2018, Rez founded a non-profit, StopAntiSemitism.org, that exposes and monitors online antisemitism and other acts of Jew-hatred around the world. Currently, the site’s reach on social media exceeds 750,000 views per month.

“I wanted to start making a difference with the large audience I accumulated on the Jewish Chick platforms,” says Rez, who serves as the organization’s Executive Director. “I thought I had something so good here that I needed to share it with the audience and stop being quiet about antisemitism that was going on in everyday life and on social media.”

StopAntiSemitism.org is interactive, allowing its audience to submit real-time tips about antisemitic incidents. But besides just reporting these antisemitic acts on the organization’s website and on Instagram, StopAntiSemitism.org goes one step further by going on the offense and holding antisemitic perpetrators responsible. 

The website’s home page explains its mission with this epithet: “Holding Antisemites Accountable and Creating Consequences For Their Actions.”

“The goal really became exposing antisemites and creating consequences for their behaviors,” she explains. “With the levels of antisemitism we are seeing and all the directions it is coming from, the current status-quo reactive approach isn’t working. So we operate more on the offensive vs. the reactive.” 

Even before starting StopAntiSemitism.org, Rez had been calling out those exhibiting hateful behavior toward her and her Jewish Chick sites. “I had a ‘name and shame’ approach,” she says. “I feel that if there aren’t any consequences for bad actions, people aren’t going to learn and they will repeat their mistakes. So I would identify individuals who would send me horrific antisemitic messages – and I’m not speaking about the standard ones…I don’t even want to repeat them. The average human being would cringe. I would contact their employer, contact their parents, their spouses…and I was often successful in getting them fired. I got a few students suspended and actually had a few apologies. When you create consequences, this is where you can see some action.”

StopAntiSemitism.org is now working with an open search firm that researches and collects information regarding suspicious groups or individuals using information that is freely available on the Internet. When a man in Los Angeles took selfies of himself in front of a Chabad House wearing a kafiya and wielding a machete and then posted it online, StopAntiSemitism worked to find out more about him – including his possession of firearms and previous arrests – which were then shared with police. 

“We are essentially vetting individuals and creating web associates,” Rez says. “We are seeing who they are affiliated with and essentially what they are capable of doing. [The open search staff] just have more access than you or I or the average individual. We are doing everything by the book.”

“I think StopAntiSemitism.org’s efforts to expose Jew hatred are laudable,” Jonathan Tobin, editor-in-chief of JNS.org (Jewish News Syndicate), told the Ledger. “While some groups, like the ADL, concentrate on very commendable education programs, activism aimed at exposing antisemitism is still necessary. That is especially true since so many Jews and Jewish groups seem reluctant to confront antisemitism from both right- and left-wing sources, and the ADL has to some extent compromised itself with its open partisanship and willingness to unfairly brand Trump as an antisemite. While some criticize any strategy that calls out individuals as too confrontational, given the crisis that the rising tide of antisemitism around the globe, such an approach is a necessity.”

In his opinion piece “How to Combat the Looming Perfect Storm for Antisemitism in America,” Jewish philanthropist Adam Milstein lauded this proactive strategy.

“StopAntiSemitism.org, for example, monitors Jew-hatred on the ground, on digital and social media, and leverages an unmatched technology to develop communication channels through which they engage Americans to report Jew-hatred alerts and incidents, and develop actionable strategies to counter and prevent hate and violence,” Milstein reported.

Rez says that this kind of information gathering is important and is resulting in some interesting connections.

“For the first time we are seeing this insane phenomenon happening. We are seeing the radical left combine forces with the religious extreme – the Islamacists. And then on the opposite side we see the alt-right. So how does that play out? We have David Duke [former grand wizard of the KKK] who not only endorsed Ilhan Omar, [he called] her the most important congressperson…and promoting a Hezbollah website. It is insane seeing the KKK partner with radical Muslims. 

“You shift to the other side of the spectrum and you have these radical progressive leftists combining with radical Islamacists, and what culminates? You have the BDS movement, which is infecting many college campuses… infecting the young minds of students who have no idea where Israel or Palestine even is. So we have these three forces combining, making this trifecta, three-headed snake. And what’s at the forefront? Jew hatred. So we are essentially getting it from three directions.”

Each week, her site highlights an Antisemite of the Week – a list that has included rocker and BDS proponent Roger Waters, U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the Alt-Right’s Richard Spencer, and Britain Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Even some Jews have been chosen for this honor, including Elizabeth Warren campaign staffer Max Bernstein and, on Sept. 14, Ariel Gold co-director of Codepink.

“We don’t concentrate on one group,” Rez points out. “We are 100 percent dedicated to being bipartisan. If somebody is an antisemite, we don’t care of they are a Democrat or a Republican. We’re not immune to featuring anyone who we feel is antisemitic and we are holding them accountable for their actions.”

While active on Facebook and Twitter, StopAntiSemitism.org has become most strong on Instagram, the dominion of the most savvy online users of all – the young.

“We have thousands of students following us – middle school students, high school students – and they are our eyes and ears in the schools. Almost on a daily basis they submit antisemitic incidents,” she says. “We are seeing students being affected, as young as middle-schoolers. We get messages from 12- and 13-year-olds, saying, ‘I’m afraid to say I’m Jewish.’ This is why the Instagram account is so important to us.”

Rez has now been selected by The Algemeiner newspaper to its 2019 “J100” list of the top 100 people “positively influencing Jewish life.”

“I’m extremely honored to be recognized by one of the most influential Jewish publications in America,” she says. “I plan to keep charging ahead with all of my efforts on behalf of Jews in the Diaspora.”

Anti-Semitic Poster Found at Maltz Museum

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An anti-Semitic poster was posted on an electronic sign in front of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, apparently as part of a coordinated attack on houses of worship in several states.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported July 16 that flyers were posted at synagogues in Washington state, outside of Houston and in Marblehead, Mass., on the north shore of Massachusetts.

StopAntiSemitism, which maintains a website that targets anti-Semitic acts, posted photographs of the Maltz Museum’s sign and an identical flyer posted at Wesley United Methodist Church in Salem, Mass.

A Beachwood Police Department report on the incident said a museum employee contacted police July 18. “This is clearly an act of hate and we don’t want to give the purveyors of hate, these people, more attention than they deserve,” said David Schafer, managing director of the Maltz Museum. “We work closely with the Federation (Jewish Federation of Cleveland), law enforcement. We have been, currently are and in the future will be, vigilant with response to the world we live in today. We exist to be a response to bias and hate in our world, in our community.”

Schafer said this is not the first time the Maltz Museum has been targeted with an anti-Semitic poster.

Beachwood Police Chief Gary Haba said his department reported the incident to the Department of Homeland Security Fusion Centers to share the information with other agencies.

“From what I was told, this same flyer was distributed in other states,” he said. “We reported it to the Fusion Center, which goes to the federal agencies.”

Haba said a Jewish day school in Beachwood and the Maltz Museum were both targeted with flyers nearly a year ago.

James Pasch, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, confirmed the Maltz Museum incident was part of a multi-state coordinated “flyering” episode.

“It’s deeply disturbing,” Pasch said. “It’s a targeted attack, specifically on Jewish institutions in the Jewish community for the sole purpose of sending a direct message of hate and fear and intimidation. When it comes to messages of hate, we could try to avoid some of the online messages that we see, but the purpose of specifically attaching a flyer to Jewish institutions, in this case probably one of the most visible Jewish institutions in our region, is so that we can’t avoid it so the hate is in our face. it is very targeted in its purpose.”

“As always, the safety and security of our Jewish community and its institutions is of utmost importance to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland," Bart Bookatz, chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland's Security Committee, stated in an email. "The anti-Semitic flyer that was posted outside of the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage last week was not an isolated incident, with similar flyers being posted at Jewish institutions around the country. We are working closely with local law enforcement, the FBI, ADL, and SCN, the homeland security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America.”

White House Officials Headline Conference Focusing on the ‘New Antisemitism’

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US Attorney General William Barr called antisemitism a “cancer” at a recent Department of Justice summit on the topic notable for its focus on anti-Israel activity and for speeches by the top leaders of the departments of Education, the Treasury and the FBI.

The conference was bracketed by speeches by Barr and three other top officials of the Trump administration: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“I am deeply concerned about the rise in hate crimes and political violence that we have seen over the past decade,” said Barr. “And this trend has included a marked increase in reported instances of antisemitic hate crimes. We can all agree this trend is intolerable. We must have zero tolerance for violence that is motivated by hatred for our fellow citizens whether based on race, sex, or creed. Antisemitic violence is especially pernicious because it targets both Jewish ethnic identity and religious practice.”

“The most ancient and stubborn form of racism throughout Western history has been antisemitism,” he continued. “In the United States today, we do not have state-organized violence. But increasingly we are seeing hate inspired violence against the Jewish community perpetrated by individuals and groups.”

“I think of the various forms of antisemitism as very much like different kinds of cancer,” he added. “A healthy body with a strong immune system can have success in preventing cancers from emerging and spreading. But if the immune system weakens cancer can emerge. Some might be localized. But others can rapidly metastasize and become systematic. Like a physical body, a body politic must have an immune system that resists antisemitism and other forums of hatred.”

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen added that “Unfortunately, fighting antisemitism — perhaps the world’s oldest hatred — requires unyielding vigilance. We must confront those responsible for hateful acts wherever and whenever they are found: in our cities, on our college campuses, in our workplaces, online, and particularly as to those who intimidate, terrorize, or cause harm to others.”

Elan Carr, the State Department’s special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism, said the lineup was a sign of how seriously the administration is taking what he called a “time of striking growth in antisemitism around the globe.” He said that growth extends from Europe to the United States, “where vandalism in New York and other cities, according to the Anti-Defamation League, occurs on a fairly regular basis, and campuses have become hostile places for Jewish and pro-Israel students.”

Anti-Israel activity — at colleges and by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel — was perhaps the major theme of the summit, with two of the four panels largely devoted to aspects of the topic: “Antisemitism on Campus” and “Combating Antisemitism While Respecting the First Amendment.”

Carr noted at least three sources of present-day antisemitism: the “white supremacist far right,” the “anti-Zionist far left” and “radical Islam.” DeVos said that “BDS stands for antisemitism.” She described her department’s investigations into incidents of alleged discrimination aimed at pro-Israel students at Williams College in Massachusetts and at a pro-Palestinian event sponsored by departments at Duke University and University of North Carolina.

Liora Rez, executive director of “StopAntisemitism.org”, told The Jerusalem Post that “Today’s DOJ Summit on Combatting Antisemitism mirrored what we are seeing via our social media platforms and tips from our followers. Universities with Middle Eastern Studies Departments experience higher than average incidents of antisemitism and increased hostile environments for Jewish students. While the media focuses only on alt right antisemitism, we must be honest with ourselves and confront the ever-increasing threat from the radical left we see on college campuses masked as activism.”

Social Media Influencer Helps Expose Anti-Semitism

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Liora Rez, Executive Director of StopAntisemitism.org, is helping to lead the charge against anti-Semitism in the online sphere. Having worked as a social media influencer since 2013 under the name “Jewish Chick”, Rez combined efforts with a few like-minded individuals in 2018 to start a grassroots effort in fighting the rabid Jew hatred she was encountering online.

Rez states “The rise of anti-Semitism is a symptom of a bigger issue as hatred and bigotry in America are moving beyond just racism against Jews. Our goal is to keep anti-Semites accountable and create consequences for their hatred and racist actions by substantiating the fact that they are the enemies of the American people and conflict with American values and morals.”

StopAntisemitism.org receives tips from the public about anti-Semitic incidents, monitors media and social media to reveal anti-Semitism in all facets of American society, and educates the public about anti-Semitism through online platforms, petitions, and clear calls to action. Calls to action via petitions include Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UCLA, Marc Lamont Hill, and currently, CAIR’s influence over Congress.

In less than a year’s time, the organization’s reach on social media exceeds 750,000 per month and the group counts several dozen orgs as partners.

“Many individual reporters follow us, both Jewish and non, because they’re aware our social media followers submit tips via our online platforms and website. Once we expose the anti-Semitic event(s), the media follows up and reports on it. We’re slowly becoming the first source for anti-Semitism, primarily from the under 35 demographic.”

You can follow StopAntisemitism.org on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well as subscribing to updates here.

Police investigate swastika found in front of New Jersey home

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A swastika was found this morning in front of a Teaneck, NJ home

The New Jersey suburb has a very high population of Jewish residents.

It is at least the 10th incident in less than a year in which swastikas were found in public places across the state, NJ.com reports.

One of the other incidents involved someone drawing a swastika and racist graffiti inside a county high school classroom.

The incident came the same day that vandalism was reported at a kosher deli a mile away, in which its building and a nearby sidewalk were spray-painted with graffiti.

Police said the two events were unrelated, according to local reports. 

"Synagogue of Satan" Graffiti Found on NY Chabad

The words “Synagogue of Satan” were discovered on a New York Chabad building on the morning of May 23, as first reported by the Stop Antisemitism watchdog.

The aforementioned graffiti was spray-painted on the Chabad of Staten Island synagogue and the letters “SOS” – presumably standing for “Synagogue of Satan” – were also found on the Yeshiva Zichron Paltiel of Staten Island across the street.

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Chabad of Staten Island Rabbi Moshe Katzman told SI Live that the Chabad has typically “left a door open” but now they “can’t do that anymore.” Chabad of Staten Island Associate Director Mendy Katzman told SI Live that they’re going to increase security in response to the vandalism.

“We’re here, we’re staying,” Rabbi Katzman said. “Life goes on.”

Anti-Defamation League New York and New Jersey Regional Director Evan Bernstein told the Journal in a phone interview that there is speculation in the Staten Island community that the graffiti was in response to the Lag B’Omer holiday or due to tensions in the community from Hasidic Jews erecting a religious eruv before receiving Consolidated Edison’s approval.

“Anti-Semitic graffitis are the hardest hate crimes for NYPD [New York Police Department] to solve,” Bernstein said. “Unless there’s videotape of it or a direct witness, it’s almost impossible to solve. Very, very difficult.”

Bernstein added that “it’s incredibly concerning” to see a “huge spike” in anti-Semitic incidents in New York in the fourth quarter of 2018 continue on into the first quarter of 2019.

ADL New York and New Jersey tweeted:

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Rep. Max Rose (D-N.Y.) told SI Live, “This has become more and more common in our city and it’s absolutely reprehensible. As a Jew, as a Staten Islander, and as our Congressman I refuse to sit by when these kind of incidents occur in this district.”

The NYPD told SI Live that they are investigating the matter.

StopAntisemitism.org Exposes Anti-Semitic Cartoon in the New York Times

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StopAntisemitism.org racks up major accomplishments in April, including exposing the vile anti-Semitic NY Times cartoon.

Yesterday’s landmark announcement that the Trump administration is pursuing a foreign terrorist organization designation for the Muslim Brotherhood exemplifies the broad success of StopAntisemitism.org, the watchdog group announced today.

Just seven months after its launch, Stop Antisemitism’s social media reach in April exceeded a monthly high of 400,000 people on Facebook and a weekly high of 130,000 people on Instagram. This fast-growing audience benefits from unparalleled informational resources exposing and holding accountable the anti-Semites who threaten and undermine the security of the Jewish people and the broader values of the United States.

Stop Antisemitism has powerfully translated its massive reach into tangible impact. After the watchdog issued a petition asking U.S. Attorney William Barrand Special Antisemitism Envoy Elan Carr to investigate the alleged terrorism ties of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), including its affiliations to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the White House announced Tuesday that it is seeking to label the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Nearly 100,000 individuals have endorsed Stop Antisemitism’s past and current petitions. The recent petition on CAIR’s alleged terror ties was picked up by national media and garnered 35,000 signatures despite the fact that it was aggressively censored by Change.org.

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Stop Antisemitism last Friday used a tip from one of its social media followers to be the first one to expose the anti-Semitic cartoon in The New York Timest hat depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuas a dog guiding the blind President Donald Trump, who was also wearing a yarmulke. After Stop Antisemitism posted the cartoon, it sparked a global uproar which prompted The New York Timesto issue two apologies.

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Amid the rising tide of bigotry among younger Americans, more than half of Stop Antisemitism’s social media followers come from the crucial demographic of users under age 35.  Stop Antisemitism works with its younger social media followers on Instagram to help expose anti-Semitic incidents such as April’s swastika posts and racist threats in Jacksonville, Fla. Once Stop Antisemitism’s posts on that incident went viral, the teenagers involved were subjected to further discipline by the local school board. The need for this social media engagement is clearer than ever following the deadly attack at Chabad of Poway.

“It’s not enough to repeat the motto ‘Never Again’. Stopping anti-Semitism requires action on all our parts,” said Liora Rez, Executive Director of Stop Antisemitism. “For too long, countless Americans have buried their heads in the sand as virulent anti-Semitism threatened their safety, their core values, and their way of life. No longer! Stop Antisemitism has proven a path to defeating anti-Semitism by holding anti-Semites accountable and creating consequences for their despicable behavior.”

Full story here.

Social Media Influencer leads the charge against anti-Semitism

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Sometimes in life, you meet someone with a strong sense of right and wrong combined with a passion for the Jewish people and Israel. When either are threatened, they just can’t help themselves – they have to take action.

Liora Rez is one of those people. She is one of the founders and the executive director of stopantisemitism.org. She is a social media influencer, dynamic and articulate. She also has a wicked sense of humor while taking on some of the most serious issues facing the Jewish community today. But most of all, she is a woman on a mission.

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Earlier this year I had the chance to interview her about her life and her mission. The following Q&A has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

 

Before we discuss anti-Semitism, tell me a little about your background and the evolution of your social activism career.

I was born in the former Soviet Union. I immigrated to the United States with my family when I was 4. Like most Soviet Jewish immigrants at that time, we were not religious. I was raised in a very secular home in Cleveland. But also like many Soviet immigrants, my family instilled in me a deep-seated love for Israel. My parents are ardent Zionists.

 

Not yet 40, you have had such an interesting career trajectory, from being a social media influencer to combatting hate. Tell us about Jewish Chick.

I worked in structured finance for a decade and then became a stay-at-home mom. In 2013-14 I started an Instagram account called Jewish Chick showcasing fashion and sometimes writing about my daughter. I was just an everyday person who also happened to be a Zionist, and I was concerned about anti-Semitism. I really didn’t start the brand for anything other than as a mental health outlet for me.

I was in the second wave of social influencers. Year after year the account continued to grow and attract a wide variety of people from around the globe. I was surprised by the number of people who would reach out to me telling me that before they started following me they had never observed Shabbat and sharing other comments about their Jewish identity. But what really astounded me was the countless students who reached out to me confessing their love for Israel but saying they were afraid to admit it. This gradually led me to out and identify the online anti-Semitic threats that are often cloaked as anti-Zionism. They are plaguing social media today.

 

Together with others, you created stopantisemitism.org. What was the final catalyst that motivated you to create stopantisemitism.org?

The concerns students had shared with me on Jewish Chick made me realize there was a massive problem in America today. The (anti-Semitic) incidents at Columbia, NYU and University of California were one of the catalysts that inspired me to co-launch stopantisemitism.org. Now In the wake of a series of anti-Semitic attacks, including the deadly Pittsburg Tree of Life massacre, many in our community are looking to be pro-active and fight anti-Semitism head-on.

There is such a massive influx of Middle Eastern money that is influencing how things about the state of Israel are taught. This has been going on for over a decade. You can find information on Department of Education website on how many millions of dollars is being donated by Qatar, the Saudi Arabian government, and others funneled into these schools for the sole purpose of influencing a university curriculum. Because of these donations, the colleges are hiring very controversial professors who are influencing political science and everything. This creates a very hostile environment for Jewish students, and not only Jewish students. Try being an active Christian at Columbia or NYU. On campuses, people are defining a good Jew as someone who does not support the state of Israel and a bad Jew as one who believes in a Jewish state, in Zionism. So many students tell us that they are even afraid to say they are Jewish.

These incidents aren’t just affecting Jewish students. We are hearing from Christian students who are afraid to say that they want to celebrate the Christian holidays. It is really impacting our civil liberties and is a bi-partisan issue.

What came from my experience with stopantisemitsm.org was the realization that what starts with the Jews doesn’t end with the Jews. Essentially anti-Semitism is an attack on all of our American civil liberties and values. And hence, that is how stopantisemitism.org came about.

 

What do you say to people who say they are not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist or anti-Israel?

If you are solely demonizing and criticizing the Israeli government, which is a democratic country, and not perfect by any means, just like America, Australia, Canada, it is one thing. But if you are just demonizing Israel while ignoring the human rights violations – actual human rights violations – in Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s famine and war, the decade-plus Sudanese civil war where hundreds of thousands were massacred, what is happening in Syria and the Asian countries, then you are a hypocrite and you are anti-Semitic.

If your sole agenda is to demonize the state of Israel while ignoring the evil doings of Hamas, deemed a terrorist organization by the EU, America and Australia, and if you are ignoring Mahmoud Abbas’ pay to slay policy, then you are anti-Semitic.

 

How is today’s Diaspora better able to fight anti-Semitism than in the past?

Unlike the Jewish Diaspora of the past, today’s Jews have the strength and ability to fight back, we also have the State of Israel. However, anti-Semitism isn’t just a Jewish problem, it’s an American problem. Stopantisemitism.org exposes anti-Semitism in all facets of American society through social media platforms, and mobilizes Americans through petitions that call to action. We are now seeing that it doesn’t stop just at anti-Semitism, but moves on to being anti-American.

 

Since you created stopantisemitism.org in October 2018, what successes have you had?

In just a few months, stopantisemitism.org was able to: reach an average of 350,000 people per month on Facebook and Instagram – primarily users under age 35; engage social media followers, who have submitted tips and incidents not yet covered by the mainstream media or reported to the authorities. partner with a couple dozen social media groups with an aggregated following of approximately 200,000 people; and get nearly 100,000 signatures related to six petitions that exposed controversial events and speakers whose rhetoric advances anti-Semitism.

 

How has being a mother of a young child influenced your connection to Judaism and Israel?

It really wasn’t until I became a mother that I began doing Shabbat dinners and observing the holidays. I began to realize that for me, it wasn’t enough to just say you’re Jewish. And I slowly started understanding what my parents had to go through to be able to emigrate to the United States, and what so many went through in the Holocaust and I wanted our (Jewish) traditions to be carried on through my daughter. My goal is to raise a proud, Jewish child; who of course is a strong supporter of the Israel.

Original story here.

Change.org suppresses Jewish watchdog's petition

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Change.org admitted to burying a Jewish watchdog group’s petition targeting Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.

  • The petition calls the congresswomen’s loyalties into question and accuses the Muslim group CAIR of being “an American front group for the Hamas terrorist organization.”

  • Change.org said the petition didn’t violate its terms, but took steps to restrict its visibility from users.

Change.org is suppressing an inflammatory petition from a Jewish watchdog group demanding a federal investigation into the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Though the petition didn’t violate Change.org’s terms, the platform took steps to restrict its “discovery on our platform,” Change.org told StopAntisemitism.org, the watchdog group, in an email shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation. The petition is hidden from users who search for it on the platform.

The petition, which had more than 32,000 signatures by Tuesday evening, accuses CAIR, a Muslim activist group, of being “an American front group for the Hamas terrorist organization.” The petition also challenges Omar and Tlaib’s loyalties to America. Both congresswomen previously leveled the same charge against supporters of Israel.

“There’s no doubt that Tlaib and Omar have close-knit ties with Hamas affiliated CAIR and we, as concerned citizens, call on Attorney General and U.S. Special Envoy for Anti-Semitism to investigate these ties,” the petition states. (RELATED: Rashida Tlaib’s Ties To Anti-Semitism Run Deeper Than Previously Known)

Omar and Tlaib both spoke at CAIR fundraisers this year. Omar stirred controversy with remarksshe made about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while speaking at a CAIR event earlier this month.

Change.org also added a banner above the petition telling users to “consider researching this issue before signing or sharing” it.

The platform took those steps after reviewing challenges to the petition’s accuracy, Change.org spokesman David Barre told TheDCNF in a series of emails.

“A flag on a petition doesn’t automatically lead to action by us. We have to assess each situation individually to determine what response, if any, is appropriate,” Barre wrote in an email to TheDCNF.

“We actually will conduct moderate research on a flagged petition to see if any of the user claims have any basis in mainstream media,” Barre added. “Depending on the nature of the flag, we may ask for substantiation from the claimant that would establish their claims, including legal documents or a detailed letter outlining their claims with relevant evidence.”

Barre declined to say what specific language in the petition led to its suppression.

CAIR faced accusations of terror ties in 2008 and 2009.

CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in 2008 when former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, a U.S.-based Muslim charity, were convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, which the State Department has labeled a terrorist organization.

A federal judge concluded in 2009 that there is “ample evidence” of ties between three U.S.-based organizations, including CAIR, and radical organizations, including Hamas.

CAIR spokesman Arsalan Bukhari did not return TheDCNF’s email seeking a response to the Change.org petition.

page on CAIR’s website calls it “internet disinformation” to label the organization a “front group for Hamas.”

Zachor Legal Institute, a legal organization combating anti-Israel movements within the U.S., threatened to bring legal action against Change.org over the suppressed petition.

“Change.org is at odds with its own rules, procedures and guidelines. They refuse to provide substantive responses or uphold their stated mission,” Zachor President Marc Greendorfer said in a statement to TheDCNF. “The company that claims to empower individuals around the world to be agents of positive change is complicit in our problems.”

Barre wrote in another email to TheDCNF: “Change.org is an open platform and we care deeply about free speech and empowering our users to create the change they want to see. When a petition is flagged by users, we review its content to see if it violates our stated policies and to determine whether or not the petition should be removed.”

“Since this petition itself does not violate our terms, we have not removed any specific language or phrase in the petition but taken steps to ensure users know we are aware of their concerns by adding a banner,” Barre added.

“We are not in a position to determine whether the content on our platform is true or false. In this case, as soon as we received a user claim, we let the petition starter know about the claim for their own protection and to give them the opportunity to amend or remove the petition. If/when we receive more information from the claimant substantiating their claims, we may be compelled to take further actions,” Barre said.

Neither Omar nor Tlaib responded to requests for comment.

Original story here.

Change.org may face legal action for censoring petition

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The Zachor Legal Institute has written a letter to Change.org threatening legal action if the crowd-sourcing platform does not respond to its request for information about why it has chosen to flag and disable some components of a petition filed by Stop Antisemitism.

The petition calls for the United States Government to investigate the infiltration of global antisemitic organizations in the US Congress, with a specific focus on the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). It includes statements questioning Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib’s close ties with the Muslim civil rights and advocacy group.

The petition was flagged by Change.org earlier this month. Now, a pink bar at the top of the petition page reads, “Change.org has received flags from our users that the statements in this petition may be contested. You should consider researching this issue before signing or sharing.”

Further, Change.org disabled access to the petition via Change.org user searches, blocked comments, and removed the ability for Change.org users to contribute to the petition sponsors after the petition is signed, among other actions.

Zachor is demanding that Change.org provide information that would allow Stop Antisemitism to quantify the financial harm of lost donations as a result of Change.org’s actions; provide complimentary “promoted petition” status for the petition; acknowledge that the actions taken against the petition were wrongful and issue a public statement to that effect; remove the flagged status; allow users to comment; terminate any activity that might be causing outside search engines from having access to the petition; and provide a copy of Change.org’s corporate charter and other documents that specify its purpose as a public benefit corporation.

Stop Antisemitism is a grassroots organization founded by individuals interested in “waking up the American people” and “eradicating the hatred that seeks to ruin our American way of life,” said co-founder Liora Rez. The organization has run other petitions on Change.org before this one.

Rez told The Jerusalem Post that she and her organization believe Change.org is engaging in “100% some form of censorship.”

“Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are such hot buttons of conversation all over the media in America,” she continued. “Perhaps [their people] have contacted Change.org and they are trying to control things as much as possible on their end.”

Rez said that so far nearly 30,000 people have signed the petition, but almost double that number have clicked to sign, and hundreds of complaints have come to Stop Antisemitism saying supporters are unable to click submit.

“We should have close to double the signatures based on what we are seeing in [Google] Analytics,” said Rez.

ACCORDING TO Zachor, while Change.org also has adopted community guidelines that allow it to remove content or restrict user accounts, the circumstances under which such actions can be taken are limited to the following: hate speech, violence, impersonation, violation of privacy, bullying, graphic content, harm to children, spam and illegal acts. Zachor said “Nothing in the… petition has violated any of the community guidelines or terms of service. In fact, even though Change.org’s terms of service clearly state that Change.org doesn’t monitor petitions or support political positions, that is exactly what has happened when Change.org acted to flag, demonetize and shadowban the… petition.”

Zachor noted that when Change.org requested that Stop Antisemitism provide supporting documentation to prove the accuracy of its petition, it did so and added links to the supporting information on the petition page.

These links include information Stop Antisemitism believes prove CAIR is a terror-supporting organization, such as that in 2007, CAIR was listed as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the case that found the Holy Land Foundation responsible for siphoning over $12 million to Hamas, and a 2009 ruling by US District Court Judge Jorge A. Solis determined that CAIR is Hamas.

“The negative effects of Change.org’s wrongful treatment of the subject petition have damaged the sponsor of the subject petition and have materially and adversely affected the subject petition,” wrote Zachor. “While the Constitution’s First Amendment does not generally apply to private parties acting as such, when such a party operates and controls public platforms used by the public for public benefit, that party becomes a quasi-state actor and can be held liable for First Amendment violations.

“We believe that the evidence set forth above demonstrates that Change.org has subjected the subject petition to a discriminatory campaign of demonetization, shadow banning and censorship, in violation of Change.org’s own policies, governance standards for public benefit corporations and applicable state and federal laws, including anti-discrimination principles of California and Delaware law, federal prohibitions on wire fraud and the First Amendment,” the letter continued.

A.J. Walton, a spokesperson for Change.org, previously told the Post that when a petition is flagged by users, “we review its content to see if it violates our stated policies and to determine whether or not the petition should be removed.

“Since the petition itself does not violate our terms, we have not removed it entirely,” he said. “However, we have taken steps to ensure users know we are aware of their concerns by including the banner at the top of the petition, disabled the comments feature, particularly in light of the many that violate our community guidelines, and limited the petition’s discovery on our platform.”

Responded Rez, “Change.org should be an unbiased platform.” 

Full story here.

Change.org Challenges Anti-CAIR Petition

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The online petition site Change.org has flagged a petition by the organization Stop Antisemitism that calls on US Attorney General William Barr and special antisemitism envoy Elan Carr to take a deep look at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

This petition no longer comes up on Google or Change.org Internet searches and it cannot be “boosted” to the Change.org network, a key to a Change.org petition’s success.

Earlier this week, Stop Antisemitism co-founder Liora Rez noticed that she was receiving several emails from the organization’s supporters who were experiencing problems signing the petition or accessing it. At first, she told The Jerusalem Post, she thought it was technical problems on behalf of her older members. But when she opened the petition page, she saw access had been changed.

A pink bar at the top of the petition page reads, “Change.org has received flags from our users that the statements in this petition may be contested. You should consider researching this issue before signing or sharing.”

Rez said she immediately appealed to Change.org, which she has used many times in the past. “They are usually very responsive. I get a response to any question in within an hour,” Rez said. “This time it took them three days to reply.”

Stop Antisemitism is a grassroots organization founded by a group of individuals interested in “waking up the American people” and “eradicating the hatred that seeks to ruin our American way of life,” said Rez. The organization has run other petitions on the site.

When the company did reply they accused Rez of her petition being unsubstantiated. But she said her research on CAIR, Omar and Tlaib is well documented and links to this documentation are on the petition landing page. She sent this information to Change.org, including showing that in 2007, CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case that found Holy Land Foundation responsible for siphoning over $12 million to Hamas. Also, in a 2009 ruling, US District Court Judge Jorge A. Solis determined that CAIR is Hamas.

The petition also claims that Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are “strong allies” of CAIR, and that the organization helped get these Muslim women into office.

The CAIR website denies the above allegations and says the group is focused on combating “stereotyping and defamation.”

The Post likewise contacted Change.org about the petition.

A.J. Walton, Change.org spokesperson, explained that when a petition is flagged by users, “we review its content to see if it violates our stated policies and to determine whether or not the petition should be removed.

“Since the petition itself does not violate our terms, we have not removed it entirely,” he said. “However, we have taken steps to ensure users know we are aware of their concerns by including the banner at the top of the petition, disabled the comments feature, particularly in light of the many that violate our community guidelines, and limited the petition’s discovery on our platform.” 

Winston said users can still sign and share the petition. 

“Anytime you mention Ilhan Omar or CAIR, the second you try to question CAIR, you immediately encounter problems,” Rez said. “Without a doubt this is some form of censorship and must be questioned.”

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The original publication can be found here.

More Than 10,000 People Sign: Investigate Ilhan Omar, Tliab, and CAIR

Stop Antisemitism staged a large protest outside the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles where Ilhan Omar was speaking on March 23, 2019. (photo credit: Gene Blevins)

Stop Antisemitism staged a large protest outside the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles where Ilhan Omar was speaking on March 23, 2019. (photo credit: Gene Blevins)

An online petition calling on US Attorney General William Barr and special antisemitism envoy Elan Carr to take a deep look at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has reached 10,000 signatures.

“It has just been about a week and we are very excited,” said Liora Rez, co-founder of the organization Stop Antisemitism, which launched the petition on change.org. “But what we want is for Barr and Carr to investigate CAIR’s ties to Hamas and how Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are involved with this organization, which we feel is extremely troubling.”

The petition calls into question what lies behind CAIR and states that the organization helped get these Muslim women into office. It further explains that CAIR was founded following a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which the Department of Justice has described as a covert organization established to support Hamas.

In 2007, CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case that found Holy Land Foundation responsible for siphoning over $12 million to Hamas. A 2009 ruling by US District Court Judge Jorge A. Solis determined that CAIR is Hamas.

The CAIR website denies the above allegations and says the group is focused on combating “stereotyping and defamation.”

The petition asks the following:

“While these two Congresswoman are challenging the dual loyalty of the members of the Jewish-American community, since Ilhan and Rashida don’t have dual loyalty, WHO ARE THEY LOYAL TO?”

The petition was launched only days before CAIR hosted Omar at its fourth Annual Valley Banquet in Los Angeles on March 23. Stop Antisemitism staged a large protest outside the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles where Omar was speaking Saturday night.

The protesters lined the sidewalks, waving Israeli and American flags and holding up signs saying “Omar equals hate” and various other slogans, supporting Israel and denouncing Omar.

Protesters staying at the Hilton waved large banners saying “CAIR hates Jews” and “Ilhan hates Israel” from their balconies.

“We were happy the Jewish community and those who support the Jewish community came together as a whole and really showed that this has to stop,” said Rez. “These antisemitic tropes and continuous insults by Omar will not be tolerated.

“We came together – Democratic and Republican, and everyone in the middle – this is a bipartisan effort to stop antisemitism,” Rez said.

A smaller counter-protest rose up in support of Omar. Minor confrontations and verbal exchanges were reported by NBC 4 Los Angeles.

Omar’s Saturday night address at the CAIR event was first brought to light by The Jerusalem Post, which was also among the first to document the politician’s antisemitic tweets. In February, Omar tweeted that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose annual policy conference is taking place this week in Washington, is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel.

Democratic and Republican politicians condemned Omar’s remarks and she has since apologized. However, days later, she was once again caught up in a controversy over whether or not she would be speaking alongside Yousef Abdallah – who has advocated for violence against Jews and expressed antisemitic sentiments on his social media pages – at an Islamic Relief USA dinner on February 23.

Omar did speak at the event, though Abdallah did not participate. The Islamic relief organization has also been accused of being antisemitic and anti-Israel.

Rez said that Stop Antisemitism is a grassroots organization founded by a group of individuals interested in “waking up the American people.

To sign the petition, click here.

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Original Publication can be found here

Petition Launched Calling for UNC Asheville to Replace Tamika Mallory as Keynote MLK Speaker

petition has been launched on the Stop Antisemitism website calling for University of North Carolina Asheville to replace Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory as their keynote speaker for a Martin Luther King, Jr. event.

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The petition states that Mallory has “a history of anti-Semitic behavior, which includes invoking anti-Semitic canards and supporting Louis Farrakhan, one of America’s most notorious anti-Semites and the leader of the Nation of Islam.”

The petition proceeds to note that King was a staunch supporter of Israel, calling Israel “one of the great outposts of democracy in the world.”

“Choosing a bigot like Tamika Mallory as a keynote speaker is an insult to Dr. King’s legacy as one of America’s most important civil rights leaders,” the petition states.

The petition notes that various Women’s March groups are severing themselves from the national Women’s March organization as evidence of how out of step the Women’s March national leaders’ anti-Semitism with the progressive movement.

When asked by the Journal about the petition, a spokesperson from the University of North Carolina Asheville pointed to a statement from Chancellor Nancy Cable and Interim Provost Karin Peterson that read, in part: “The Constitutional and democratic principles of freedom of thought and expression are central to our mission as a university, especially during the day honoring the legacy and enduring values of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

“As has been our custom, the university’s invitation to an individual speaker at a university event in no way implies endorsement of that speaker’s comments, critiques, views, ideas, or actions,” the statement continued. “Further, the university’s fundamental principles reject bias in all of its forms including anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, said in a statement, “If the administration is genuine about rejecting anti-Semitism and discrimination, it will unequivocally condemn Mallory’s hateful statements toward Jews and praise of Louis Farrakhan. Freedom of expression does not mean freedom from criticism for engaging in bigotry. The university should use its own free speech rights to take a moral stand and confront Mallory on this issue.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper called on UNC Asheville to cancel the event.

“A keynote address celebrating Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy of unity by a person who embraces anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan, America’s divider-in-chief,” Cooper told the Journal in an email. “We call on UNC to cancel an event that besmirched and mocks MLK. Tamika Mallory must choose between two legacies MLK or Farrakhan. You can’t embrace love and hate simultaneously.”

SourceJewishjournal.com

Despite anti-Semitic rhetoric, Tamika Mallory to speak at UNC Asheville on MLK Day

“Anyone who propagates hateful messages is free to express their opinions as they wish, but should not be given a public platform at an educational establishment to do so,” said Liora Rez of the Center for Combating Hate in America.

By Jackson Richman

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(January 10, 2019 / JNS) The University of North Carolina, Asheville, is scheduled to host Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory as its keynote speaker on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 24, despite her anti-Semitic rhetoric and ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

This drew condemnation from groups such as StandWithUs and the Center for Combating Hate in America (C4CHA).

“If the administration is genuine about rejecting anti-Semitism and discrimination, then it will unequivocally condemn Mallory’s hateful statements toward Jews and praise of Louis Farrakhan,” said SWU CEO Roz Rothstein. “Freedom of expression does not mean freedom from criticism for engaging in bigotry. The university should use its own free-speech rights to take a moral stand and confront Mallory on this issue.”

The university defended its decision.

“As has been our custom, the university’s invitation to an individual speaker at a university event in no way implies endorsement of that speaker’s comments, critiques, views, ideas or actions,” said Chancellor Nancy Cable and Interim Provost Karin Peterson.

She added that efforts “are currently underway to create opportunities for our campus and the Asheville community to engage in dialogue around the keynote address, as well as many topics emerging from the activities planned for the week.”

“As organizations and individuals condemn Mallory and distance themselves from her hateful vitriol, UNC Asheville provides a platform for her and lends its authority toward legitimizing her anti-Semitism,” C4CHA Liora Rez told The Algemeiner. “Anyone who propagates hateful messages is free to express their opinions as they wish, but should not be given a public platform at an educational establishment to do so.”

The AMCHA Initiative sought to strike a balance over the development.

“While Mallory has a history of promoting anti-Semitism, she has a right to speak on campus. I don’t believe in disinviting speakers,” the group’s director, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, told JNS. “But if and when she says something hateful or bigoted toward Jewish students or any students, the UNC administration must publicly and promptly condemn those remarks, just as they would a speaker who spouts racist, sexist, homophobic or Islamophobic statements, and make it clear to the entire campus community that while speech may be protected, hateful and intolerant behavior towards any UNC student will not be tolerated.”

Sourcejns.org

After CNN Firing, Marc Lamont Hill Blames Israel for Police Killings of Black People, Opposes Renouncing Farrakhan

Marc Lamont Hill, a tenured professor at Temple University who recently lost his contract as a CNN commentator for comments denounced as antisemitic, blamed Israel on Friday for police violence in the United States and rejected calls to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Marc Lamont Hill. Photo: Karga Fantasma

Marc Lamont Hill. Photo: Karga Fantasma

Speaking on “The Breakfast Club” radio program, Hill addressed the controversy stemming from his November 28 speech at the United Nations, in which he endorsed the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel in pursuit of “a free Palestine from the river to the sea” — a call typically used by Arab nationalist and Islamist groups to advocate for the establishment of a Palestinian state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, in place of Israel. The BDS campaign itself is often criticized for rejecting the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and denying Jewish indigeneity to the Levant.

In his UN speech, Hill also did not rule out violence as a means of Palestinian “resistance,” suggesting that as “black resistance to American apartheid did not come purely through Gandhi and nonviolence … we must allow the Palestinian people the same range of opportunity and political possibility.”

The Temple University Board of Trustees condemned Hill over these comments, but did not move to fire him. A petition calling for his dismissal organized by StopAntisemitism.org has reached over 2800 signatures.

Speaking on Friday, the professor reiterated that his “river to the sea” comment was not a call for Israel’s destruction, and argued that the phrase was “not a commonly accepted dog-whistle.”

“I don’t want any harm to happen to Jewish people, I don’t want the destruction of Jewish people,” he said.

Hill again endorsed a “one-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Israel would become a bi-national, Palestinian-majority state. “For me democracy is one-state, everybody lives in it, everybody can vote, and it’s not ruled by religion — it’s not a Jewish state, it’s not a Muslim sate, it’s not a Christian state, it is, in fact, a secular state,” he said.

Touching on past controversies, Hill also criticized the idea that he should denounce Farrakhan — who he previously called “a hero to Blacks of all religions” —  for railing against “Satanic Jews” and calling gay relationships “degenerate crap,” among other controversial comments.

Agreeing that one could “love” Farrakhan, but not like something that he said, Hill explained that he maintained two “key issues” of disagreement with the Nation of Islam leader: “The question of antisemitism — what constitutes it and what the boundaries are — and … LGBT issues.”

“For some reason, if you meet with Minister Farrakhan and you don’t throw him away wholesale, then you’re castigated in a way that doesn’t happen with anybody else,” Hill argued.

“I worked on Fox News for many years. No one ever said, ‘Why are you sitting with Bill O’reilly? Why are you sitting with Sean Hannity? Why are you sitting with Ann Coulter?’ No one ever said that,” he recounted. “And I’m not comparing Farrakhan to them, except to say, that if you think [he’s] extreme, I think they’re extreme.”

“Why is only one set of people untouchable?” He asked. “And why does every black leader have to ritually denounce Farrakhan in order to sustain a position? That doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

“Again, Minister Farrakhan is my brother,” the professor continued, before opposing “the idea that we have to renounce him, denounce him, throw [him] away” based on some disagreements.

“In the black tradition, I ain’t got the luxury of throwing people who love us away,” he added. “I ain’t got the luxury of taking people who have come out of traditions that have saved us and cleaned us and throw them away.”

His comments echoed a statement Hill issued in October, in which he refused to explicitly renounce Farrakhan and asserted, “I do NOT believe … that Minister Farrakhan is an anti-Semite.”

Later on in the segment, Hill explained why he focused on a conflict in the Middle East while racial minorities in the US faced their own domestic struggles, arguing that “there’s a relationship between the two.”

“The New York City police, they’re killing us, but they’re being trained by Israeli security forces,” he said. “They’re being trained — New York City police and in other cities as well. So here’s a connection between the two. I can’t stop one without the other, there’s a relationship.”

“Remember I ain’t talking about Jewish people, I’m talking about the Israeli state,” Hill emphasized.

BDS groups have previously advanced similar allegations, accusing Jewish American groups that host exchanges between American and Israeli police forces of promoting violence against minorities in the US. These claims have been roundly rejected by the sponsoring organizations, among them the Anti-Defamation League, which notes that its National Counter-Terrorism Seminar (NCTS) in Israel focuses on strategies “to deter and disrupt terror attacks and strengthen community resilience.”

Hill was then questioned by host Charlamagne tha God — who said he often only hears the “pro-Palestinian perspective” — about whether Israelis were justified for placing restrictions on Palestinians who committed acts of terrorism. The professor answered that while he did not support the killing of innocent people, “oftentimes … every act of resistance that Palestinians engage in is called terrorism.”

“Of course there are Israelis and there are Jewish people who are victims of unethical, immoral, awful, atrocious acts,” Hill said. “I don’t dispute that.”

“A Jewish pregnant mother was killed two days ago in Israel, that’s awful and I denounce that,” he added, in apparent reference to Shira Ish-Ran, a 30-week pregnant Israeli woman who was critically injured by a Palestinian gunman on December 9th. Ish-Ran’s baby was delivered via an emergency C-section, but died after four days. The mother’s condition has been improving.

Hill argued that the recent attack — among the latest in a spate of Palestinian violence against Israeli targets in the West Bank — was not representative “of what’s been happening.”

“Too often any act of resistance from Palestinians gets called terrorism,” he reiterated. “International law says that an occupied people have the legal right to resist, and I think that’s just common sense. That’s what [Malcolm X] been talking about.”

When asked directly if he supported “violent responses from Palestinians,” Hill replied, “I support self-defense.”

“A violent response to a peace talk — no,” he explained. “A violent response to violence — yes.”

Source: algemeiner.com