The Trump administration is reportedly considering labelling a number of leading international humanitarian organisations as antisemitic after they documented Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians, including settlement building in the occupied territories. The groups include the UK-based Amnesty International and Oxfam as well as the US organisation Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International accused the Trump administration, and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, of attempting “to silence and intimidate international human rights organisations”. The plans were detailed in reports in Politico and the Washington Post and based on briefings from unnamed officials and a congressional aide who said that a declaration labelling the groups antisemitic could come as early as this week. The move would appear to be a gift to the Israeli right in the run-up to the US elections as it is reportedly being driven by Pompeo. Rightwing Israeli political figures, not least the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, have long complained that any scrutiny of Israel’s human rights record regarding Palestinians, including by UN bodies, is biased and disproportionate. The mooted declaration follows recent statements by senior Israeli political figures making similar charges. Last year, Gilad Erdan, then strategic affairs minister, threatened to ban Amnesty International from Israel over a report that called on websites such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor to boycott listings in Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories – regarded as illegal under international law - accusing the sites of profiting from “war crimes”. “Amnesty International, that hypocritical organisation that speaks in the name of human rights, is acting to promote a boycott of Israelis as part of a campaign of antisemitic delegitimisation,” Erdan said at the time. According to Politico, the declaration is expected to take the form of a report from the office of Elan Carr, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, and would urge the US government to withdraw support for named groups and encourage other countries from following suit, despite opposition from state department lawyers. The report would cite such organisations’ perceived support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has targeted Israel over its construction of settlements on land Palestinians claim for a future state. The state department declined to comment on a pending declaration, which was first reported by Politico. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam each strenuously denied any accusation of antisemitism. In a statement, Bob Goodfellow, of Amnesty International USA, said: “Secretary Pompeo’s baseless accusations are yet another attempt to silence and intimidate international human rights organisations. “The administration is spreading misinformation and working to undermine those who are working to protect human rights. Amnesty International USA is deeply committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate worldwide, and will continue to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We vigorously contest any allegation of antisemitism. “We know that the governments of many countries, including the United States, would rather not have their human rights violations exposed. It is concerning to see secretary Pompeo join the list of people and governments that use accusations of antisemitism to try to sweep human rights abuses under the rug.” Noah Gottschalk, of Oxfam America, said: “Any insinuation that Oxfam supports antisemitism is false, baseless, and offensive. “Oxfam and our Israeli and Palestinian partners have worked on the ground for decades to promote human rights and provide lifesaving support for Israeli and Palestinian communities. We stand by our long history of work protecting the lives, human rights, and futures of all Israelis and Palestinians.” Human Rights Watch’s official, Eric Goldstein, also condemned the move. “We fight discrimination in all forms, including antisemitism,” he said in a statement. “Criticising government policy is not the same as attacking a specific group of people. For example, our critiques of US government policy do not make us anti-American.“
BERLIN (AP) — A prominent European Jewish organization slammed a Munich auction house’s decision to sell several of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s handwritten speech notes, saying Tuesday it “defies logic, decency and humanity” to put them on the market. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, said the upcoming sale of the manuscripts is particularly worrisome
Less than four months ago, the opinion editor of The New York Times lost his job because he published an op-ed that some newspaper employees claimed made them feel “unsafe.” The staffers denounced as racist Sen. Tom Cotton’s appeal to “Send in the Troops” to deal with rioting and looting in many American cities after the death of George Floyd.
Members of the Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn are outraged at the sudden arrival of media “paparazzi” whom they accuse of trying to blame the community for a rise in coronavirus cases. State and local authorities have clamped down on synagogues and other Jewish institutions, forcing many to close, because of a recent local uptick in cases around the time
The New York Times on Saturday published an op-ed piece glorifying Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March and failed to mention the Nation of Islam’s anti-Semitism, prompting former staffer Bari Weiss to condemn the newspaper for presenting him as a “gentleman” and for ignoring “Jew hate.” “Today the New York Times ran an oped about the Million Man March and Louis Farrakhan. If you
One of the three co-authors of a letter that calls for lockdowns to be abandoned in favour of herd immunity has appeared on a radio broadcast that previously featured multiple Holocaust deniers and antisemites.Dr Martin Kulldorff of Harvard medical school appeared on the Richie Allen Show on 6 October to discuss the letter, described as the Great Barrington declaration, after the Massachusetts town where it was drawn up.Kulldorff said he agreed to go on the programme because it was important to reach all segments of the population with public health messages. The show was described as an “online platform for antisemitic conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers” by Hope not Hate, an organisation that monitors extremist groups.The controversial proposal was published by a right-leaning American thinktank, the American Institute for Economic Research. It was drawn up by three researchers – Dr Sunetra Gupta of Oxford University, Dr Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford University, and Kulldorff – and has garnered thousands of signatures from health professionals.However, on 9 October, Sky News revealed that many of the “medical” signatories of the open letter were homeopaths, therapists or used obviously fake names, such as Dr Johnny Bananas and Dr Person Fakename, leading to accusations that the total number exaggerated the scale of scientific support.The letter calls for those in higher-risk groups, including older people, to engage in shielding, while those in the least danger should “immediately be allowed to resume life as normal”.However, other scientists have raised serious concerns over the core premise of the open letter, pointing to a lack of evidence that lasting immunity can be achieved, the practical difficulties in identifying all those who are vulnerable and the practicalities of shielding as well emerging cases of “long Covid”, which can affect otherwise healthy and sometimes young people who contract the virus.During his appearance on the show, Kulldorff was asked whether younger people, who were less likely to die from Covid-19, should attend places such as football stadiums and cinemas without any social distancing.He said: “Yes. Some things like washing the hands is always good, so keep doing that and if someone is sick they should stay home, but other than that live a fairly normal life,” adding that those over 60 should still be very careful.When asked by the Guardian about his appearance on the show, Kulldorff said: “As a public health professional, it is critically important to reach all segments of the population.“I have appeared in both right (egthe Spectator) and left media (eg Jacobin) … Regarding the Richie Allen Show, I had never heard of it before they invited me.”There is no indication that Kulldorff shares any of the views expressed by other guests that have previously appeared on the Richie Allen Show, but the programme has a troubling history.In 2016, Allen hosted the Holocaust denier Nick Kollerstrom, a regular on the show, on Holocaust Memorial Day, calling him an “old friend” and describing his 7/7 conspiracy theory work as “vital” and “essential”, according to Hope not Hate.Allen has also hosted Alison Chabloz, a Holocaust denier who was prosecuted for uploading antisemitic musical performances to YouTube.More recently, the channel has featured longstanding conspiracy theorists Dr Vernon Coleman and Piers Corbyn.Guardian analysis of social media using the Facebook-owned analytics tool CrowdTangle show the Great Barrington declaration has been widely shared online by lockdown-sceptic politicians, anti-vaccination Facebook pages and conspiracy theorists since its publication.The declaration has been shared by the senator Scott Jensen, a Minnesota state representative who has claimed the US Covid-19 death toll was exaggerated, and Russ Diamond, a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives who has boasted on social media about shopping without a mask.Responding to the strategy outlined in the Great Barrington declaration, Prof Jeremy Rossman, an honorary senior lecturer in virology at the University of Kent, said: “Herd immunity relies on lasting immunological protection from coronavirus reinfection; however, we have heard many recent cases of reinfection occurring and some research suggests protective antibody responses may decay rapidly … While there is clearly a need to support and ease the physical and mental health burdens many are suffering under, the proposed declaration is both unlikely to succeed and puts the long-term health of many at risk.”
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On August 18, the Joe Biden campaign distanced itself from New York Democratic National Convention delegate Linda Sarsour after she gave a speech to a delegation of Muslim Democrats. A spokesman for Biden condemned Sarsour’s history of antisemitism and her support for the extremist boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement aimed at Israel. “She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever,” said Andrew Bates, director of rapid response for the campaign. However commendable Biden’s decision was to disavow a habitual antisemite such as Sarsour, the former vice president should clean up his own house first. Indeed, Biden’s Muslim outreach director supports the same BDS movement that prompted Sarsour’s renunciation. Moreover, Sarsour wasn’t the only member of the Muslim delegation who should have provoked controversy among Democrats. The “Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition” that Sarsour addressed includes Islamist clerics, activists, and community leaders who possess extremist views. To be sure, Sarsour did not attend the national convention on behalf of Biden; she was invited by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), who made a deal with the Biden campaign to drop out of the presidential race in April, so long as he could retain the delegates he won during the primaries. These delegates, including Sarsour and members of the Muslim coalition, voted against the official Democratic Party platform on August 4 because it failed to deny military aid to Israel and lift sanctions against Iran. Although Sarsour was part of the Sanders delegation, the Biden campaign felt compelled to denounce her appearance before a small virtual audience of Muslim delegates. “Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of antisemitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform,” Bates told CNN. Certainly, Sarsour is worthy of criticism. In 2018, she was ousted as a co-chair of the national Women’s March for making antisemitic statements. In late 2019, the Palestinian American activist said that “Israel is built on the idea that Jews are supreme to everyone else.” She has also stated that “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and refused to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a notorious Jew-hater. Most significantly, Sarsour is an outspoken BDS adherent, a movement that Biden believes “singles out Israel and too often veers into anti-Semitism.” His concerns are warranted: the Ramallah-based BDS National Committee is composed of a coalition of Palestinian terrorist groups working with U.S. and European civil rights NGOs to destroy Israel through economic and diplomatic isolation. Despite these concerns, Biden continues to ignore the BDS advocate on his staff. In June 2018, his liaison to the Muslim American community, Farooq Mitha, shared a Facebook post opposing federal legislation to prohibit U.S. businesses from joining foreign boycotts against Israel. Mitha is a founding board member of Emgage, an umbrella of civic engagement projects consumed with electing pro-Islamist political candidates. Emgage holds many of its political literacy programs at terror-tied mosques, such as Florida’s Darul Uloom Institute, former home to Al Qaeda “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla. In 2014, Emgage (formerly Emerge USA) hosted Sayed Ammar Nakshawani, a British-Iraqi Islamist who has questioned Holocaust casualty figures and referred to members of a historic Jewish tribe as “loan sharks” to justify their slaughter by early Muslims. Sarsour and Mitha, however, are hardly alone in championing a destructive boycott against Israel. The Muslim Delegates and Allies Coalition convinced the DNC to adopt its recommendation discouraging “elected officials from authoring or sponsoring anti-First Amendment anti-BDS legislation that chills speech and infringes on rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.” Some members of this Muslim delegation surpass Sarsour in terms of extremism, and their appearance at the national convention should have aroused dissent from party officials and the Biden campaign. For instance, Asad Zaman is a delegate from Minnesota and the director of his state’s Muslim American Society chapter, an Islamist nonprofit known as the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. Zaman has shared neo-Nazi websites on his social media which deny the Holocaust. He even publicly mourned the execution of a war criminal belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami, a violent South Asian Islamist movement. Khurrum Wahid wasn’t only a Florida delegate to the DNC, but he also sat on the Democratic Party’s Platform Committee. A founding member and former co-chair of Emgage, Wahid built his South Florida legal practice around representing some of America’s most notorious terrorism offenders. His clients include Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, an al-Qaeda operative who received a life sentence for plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush. Texas delegate Azhar Azeez is the former president of the Islamic Society of North America, an Islamist nonprofit listed in 2008 as an unindicted co-conspirator in the nation’s largest terrorism finance trial for supporting the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Azeez called Israel’s right to defend itself “false propaganda,” and he promoted a YouTube video claiming that support for Israel is predicated in a sinister Jewish lobby. Michigan delegate Huwaida Arraf is a lawyer who represented Palestinian terrorist Rasmeah Odeh, the “principal architect” of a 1969 bombing that killed two Israelis. Arraf also helped organize the 2010 Gaza flotilla, a publicity stunt by international activists to break an Israeli naval blockade against Hamas. Other delegates include BDS advocates Sameena Usman, Samia Assed, Faisal Qazi, and Sabina Mohammad, Ultimately, the DNC agenda expressed opposition to the BDS movement, while noting the importance of “protecting the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” In other words, the Democratic Party will oppose anti-BDS legislation enacted in 28 states, despite acknowledging the boycott’s inherent bigotry. Unfortunately, the Biden campaign’s brief moment of courage has already been negated. Just days after condemning Sarsour, the Democratic presidential nominee sent his top advisors to placate Islamist supporters upset over the controversy. They apologized profusely, calling Bates’ statement an “egregious misstep” and pledging “to do better going forward.” After such a cowardly and timid retraction, Democrats who are truly committed to equality have little hope of rooting out bigotry and antisemitism within the party — nevermind the country. How can they, when the delegates who write the rules are some of the most outspoken offenders?