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Susan Sarandon apology, Danish military guards Jewish, Israeli sites amid ‘serious’ threat

Antisemitism roundup, Dec. 2

A synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Sept. 3, 2022. The Jewish house of worship was the site of a deadly 2015 antisemitic terror attack. Credit: ArDanMe/Shutterstock.
A synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Sept. 3, 2022. The Jewish house of worship was the site of a deadly 2015 antisemitic terror attack. Credit: ArDanMe/Shutterstock.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales, a governmental body, is investigating 70 organizations “for alleged extremism or antisemitism relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict,” the Telegraph reported. The paper contacted the nonprofit Al Istiqaamah, which runs an Islamic education program, about an article it posted claiming “Jews are the people who taught the world the art of deception and hypocrisy. People learned hypocrisy only after intermingling with the Jews.” The nonprofit didn’t respond, but removed the article from its website.

Amazon is facing criticism over clothing available for purchase on its site that states “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.” Lee Anderson, the deputy chairman of the Tory Party, told the Daily Mail “It’s disgusting to see Amazon cash in off vile antisemitic products.”

A synagogue in Toledo, Ohio was evacuated during Shabbat services due to a bomb threat. Police and FBI are reportedly investigating.

Bill Ackman, a billionaire, said it was an “insult” that Harvard University President Claudine Gay did not attend a screening on her campus of raw video footage of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel. Gay said she couldn’t attend because she had to testify to Congress the following day about antisemitism at her school. Ackman offered to fly her to Washington in time, but his offer was not taken. “I can’t imagine anything more important for the Harvard president to do now than to bear witness to the atrocities before testifying about the Hamas protests and antisemitism on campus,” Ackman wrote.

“I want to be very clear: I unequivocally condemn antisemitism in all its forms. It has no place in our society,” wrote the Canadian politician Obby Khan. Khan said he did not do his due diligence when he wrote a letter in support of a nursing student, who was suspended for antisemitic comments. Richard Perchotte, another Canadian politician, also apologized for supporting the student. “I failed to get the details prior to signing,” he said.

The 77-year-old Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon—who recently said Jews “are getting a taste of what it feels like to be Muslim” in the war against Hamas, now says her “phrasing was a terrible mistake, as it implies until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution, when the opposite is true.”

Julianna Margulies, a Jewish actress, also apologized. She had said that although she had supported black and LGBT people, members of those group hadn’t expressed solidarity with Jews since Oct. 7. “I did not intend for my words to sow further division, for which I am sincerely apologetic,” Margulies said.

Leaders of the Republican party of Texas voted 32-29 against a ban on members meeting with antisemites, Nazi sympathizers or Holocaust deniers. One member said the ban could be a slippery slope. “Despicable,” wrote Dade Phelan, speaker of the Texas House, noting that the Republican Party of Texas “can’t even bring themselves to denounce neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers” and that “There is a moral, antisemitic rot festering within the fringes of both parties that must be stopped.”

Amid increased threats, Denmark ordered its military to protect the synagogue in Copenhagen, the Israeli embassy and other Jewish sites. “The terrorist threat against Denmark is serious,” stated Troels Lund Poulsen, the defense minister. “The conflict in the Middle East has led to a completely unacceptable rise in antisemitism and more uncertainty among Jews in Denmark.”

Hillcrest High School in Queens, where a Jewish teacher recently had to lock herself in her office to protect herself from an antisemitic riot, was slow to respond to antisemitic graffiti nine months prior, per the New York Post. Of the drawn swastikas and “Heil Hitler” texts, a teacher told the paper, “It was immediately brought to the principal’s attention and he did nothing about it.” (The sign was spelled “Hail Hitler.”)

The University of Southern California says that all the restrictions it had placed on professor John Strauss have been lifted. The Jewish professor was under investigation for saying that Hamas should be destroyed. Strauss told JNS that his comments had been taken out of context.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called TikTok “Al Jazeera on steroids.” TikTok must do a lot more to curb antisemitism on its platform, he said.

Campus antisemitism doyen

At U.S. Ivy League colleges, “there are groups of academics, not all of them, but important academics, especially in the humanities and social sciences, that are meticulously, stone-by-stone and step-by-step, building pseudo-academic, pseudo-scientific, pseudo-intellectual theories justifying the elimination of the Jewish state,” Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan told Fox News.

Dayan had spoken to leaders of Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, New York University and Queens College on a weeklong visit to the East Coast. “Asked how the heads of the country’s premier educational institutions responded to his criticisms, Dayan said they immediately cited the First Amendment, freedom of speech and academic freedoms,” Fox News reported.

“I am the last person to try to impair anybody’s freedom of speech, even though the freedom of speech of pro-Israel students is being greatly endangered,” Dayan said. “But I do wonder what would happen if a sociology professor or a philosophy professor developed a pseudo-academic theory justifying ‘blackface’ or a pseudo-intellectual theory that would ostracize LGBTQ people, would it also be placed under the protection of the First Amendment?”

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