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Behind the Aegis

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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, 05:31 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, 12:04 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, 12:03 AM (1 replies)

Professor unearths inmates' music from Auschwitz

Patricia Hall went to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum in 2016 hoping to learn more about the music performed by prisoners in World War II death camps.

The University of Michigan music theory professor heard there were manuscripts, but she was "completely thrown" by what she found in the card catalogs: Unexpectedly upbeat and popular songs titles that translated to "The Most Beautiful Time of Life" and "Sing a Song When You're Sad," among others. More detective work during subsequent trips to the Polish museum over the next two years led her to several handwritten manuscripts arranged and performed by the prisoners, and ultimately, the first performance of one of those manuscripts since the war.

"I've used the expression, 'giving life,' to this manuscript that's been sitting somewhere for 75 years," Hall told The Associated Press on Monday. "Researching one of these manuscripts is just the beginning — you want people to be able to hear what these pieces sound like. ... I think one of the messages I've taken from this is the fact that even in a horrendous situation like a concentration camp, that these men were able to produce this beautiful music."

Sensing the historical importance of resurrecting music for modern audiences, Hall enlisted the aid of university professor Oriol Sans, director of the Contemporary Directions Ensemble, and graduate student Josh Devries, who transcribed the parts into music notation software to make it easier to read and play.


Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Nov 29, 2018, 08:40 PM (8 replies)

'They got me. I'm afraid': Swastikas spray-painted on a Jewish professor's office at Columbia

The psychology professor pulled open the heavy oak doors of Horace Mann Hall, which boasts 16-foot ceilings and varnished wood floors, and headed to her fourth-floor office. Filing in behind her were students preparing for a 1:30 p.m. lab meeting on Wednesday. As they entered her workspace, they passed a mezuzah, a small box containing Hebrew religious texts, affixed to her doorpost.

But the sight that met them next made the professor and her students stop in their tracks.

Anti-Semitic graffiti had been spray-painted on the office walls of Elizabeth Midlarsky, a clinical psychologist and Holocaust scholar at Columbia’s Teachers College on the Upper West Side of New York. The vandalism included swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur, “Yid,” painted in bright red on the white walls of her office foyer. The outer door had been closed but not locked, one student said.

“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I’m usually not a fearful person, but they got me. I’m afraid.”

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Nov 29, 2018, 05:44 AM (23 replies)

Anti-LGBTQ forces warn that Colorado's first openly gay governor is a threat to Christians

Anti-LGBTQ groups and right-wing media outlet The Daily Wire have used the successful campaign of Colorado Gov.-elect Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be elected governor, to push a false narrative pitting religion against the LGBTQ community. Specifically, they have leveraged the story of anti-gay Colorado baker Jack Phillips -- who went all the way to the Supreme Court in a case involving his refusal to bake a cake for a gay couple -- to say that the state is persecuting Christians and that Polis’ election would result in religious people losing their rights.

Extreme and influential anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom represented Phillips in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. The Supreme Court narrowly ruled in Phillips’ favor based on the particulars of the case, citing “inappropriate and dismissive comments” from one of the Colorado civil rights commissioners as “hostility” toward Phillips’ religion. Polis called the Supreme Court’s decision “disappointing, but thankfully narrow in scope,” adding that Congress should pass the Equality Act, a bipartisan federal bill that would amend civil rights protections in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, and other areas of life to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

After Polis’ historic win, The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois published an article headlined “Colorado Elects First Openly Gay Governor In U.S. History As The State Persecutes Christians.” Bois highlighted Polis’ “commitment to LGBTQ principles” and wrote, “The ascension of Polis in Colorado comes at a time when the state has increasingly positioned itself as an enemy of religious liberty, most notably in its persecution of baker Jack Phillips.”

Before Election Day, anti-LGBTQ group Family Policy Alliance also featured Phillips in a campaign ad against Polis. According to LGBTQ news outlet INTO, the ad said, “Assaults on Jack’s faith – and yours – could get even worse if Boulder’s own Jared Polis becomes governor,” and a statement released alongside the ad asserted that “the decision Colorado voters make will impact Jack Phillips and other people of faith in Colorado—and beyond—for years to come.” Family Policy Alliance sent an email promoting the ad on October 24, which claimed that Polis’ election “means that things could get even worse for Jack and other people of faith in Colorado.”

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Thu Nov 15, 2018, 05:33 AM (4 replies)

Lessons from Albert Einstein on Nazis

Letter reveals Einstein's fears of growing nationalism, anti-Semitism

The 1922 letter shows he was concerned about Germany's future a full year before the Nazis attempted their first coup — the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch.

More than a decade before the Nazis seized power in Germany, Albert Einstein was on the run and already fearful for his country's future, according to a newly revealed handwritten letter.

His longtime friend and fellow Jew, German Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau, had just been assassinated by right-wing extremists and police had warned the noted physicist that his life could be in danger too.

So Einstein fled Berlin and went into hiding in northern Germany. It was during this hiatus that he penned a handwritten letter to his beloved younger sister, Maja, warning of the dangers of growing nationalism and anti-Semitism years before the Nazis ultimately rose to power, forcing Einstein to flee his native Germany for good.

"Out here, nobody knows where I am, and I'm believed to be missing," he wrote in August 1922. "Here are brewing economically and politically dark times, so I'm happy to be able to get away from everything."

The previously unknown letter, brought forward by an anonymous collector, is set to go on auction next week in Jerusalem with an opening asking price of $12,000.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Fri Nov 9, 2018, 03:46 PM (2 replies)

"They're smashing windows. Don't go outside. The Nazis are here."

Andy Factor can still hear the shattering sound that pierced the silence of the back room where his family was huddled on what would later become known as "kristallnacht" — the night of broken glass.

It was a turning point in the Nazi's persecution of Jews as Germans openly rioted across the country on November 9, 1938, targeting Jewish homes and businesses while police watched on.

Now, exactly 80 years since that night, there is another sound that fills Andy with fear: the rising and reinvigorated chorus of white nationalism and antisemitism that is spreading across parts of Europe and America.

"I am convinced that it can happen again," he said.

Kristallnacht survivor Andy Factor warns of rising antisemitism on 80th anniversary
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Fri Nov 9, 2018, 03:42 PM (7 replies)

(Jewish Group) Anti-Semitism Isn't Just A Right-Wing Problem



Jews represent less than 2% of the U.S. population and less than 0.2% of the world’s population. Yet, despite our small numbers, Jews are victims of more reported hate crimes than any other religious minority, second only to African Americans in overall reported hate crimes.


Yet even though anti-Semitism is unmistakably at the core of the far right, Jewish concerns are often dismissed as being insignificant compared to the threat white nationalists pose to other minority groups.

Social justice movements are deeply rooted in combatting racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and misogyny. But when it comes to anti-Semitism — the very hate that fuels white supremacy — it doesn’t receive the same attention.

In progressive movements, Jews are often considered less of a priority to intersectional activism than other minorities are.

The reality is that anti-Semitism only garners serious attention when it’s of the most extreme magnitude. But the shooting in Pittsburgh didn’t occur in a vacuum.


Enjoy the additional links.
Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 05:30 AM (0 replies)

The Psychology of Anti-Semitism

After the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, in which a white supremacist shot to death 11 people while screaming, “All Jews must die,” a Jewish girl in New York sent an anguished note to her mother. “I know I shouldn’t feel like I don’t have an answer to this question,” she wrote in a text message that was later shared on social media. “But why do people hate us?”

Her bafflement was understandable. Many people, of course, favor the groups they belong to and dislike groups they don’t belong to; that is the regrettable foundation of prejudice. But not all groups are disliked the same way: Why are some groups (such as homeless people) dismissed or neglected in a relatively steady stream of scorn, while other groups (such as Jewish people) are subjected to sudden waves of virulent, even exterminatory attacks?

For many decades psychologists conceived of prejudice as a one-dimensional antipathy: People love their “in-groups” and hate “out-groups.” But this us-versus-them approach failed to account for prejudice’s real-world complexities.

To better understand the various ways in which bigotry manifests, the psychologists Susan Fiske, Peter Glick and I developed a new theory of prejudice, one that focuses on the content of stereotypes of out-groups. We have found that how an out-group is stereotyped predicts how the prejudice against it gets expressed. This theory — tested over more than 20 years by us and others in hundreds of studies, with tens of thousands of participants, across many cultures — helps explain why anti-Semitism often erupts in such violent bursts.

Posted by Behind the Aegis | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 05:18 AM (1 replies)
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