Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Monday called on artists to hold a major concert in the country in solidarity with the Palestinians, while also falsely accusing Israel of committing ”genocide” in the Gaza Strip during its war against Hamas terrorists controlling the enclave.
Petro took to X/Twitter and shared a video of Grammy-winning Puerto Rican rapper Rene Perez Joglar, also known by his stage name Residente, claiming Israel is perpetrating a “genocide” against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and asking other artists to denounce Israel’s defensive military campaign against Hamas. Petro then urged all artists to join him in a concert in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, to protest Israel’s actions in Gaza.
“I would like Rene and everyone who wants to use art to criticize the genocide against the Palestinian people to join me in the Plaza de Bolivar or in Simon Bolivar Park in Bogotá in a great concert against genocide and for life,” he wrote on X. “Let a cry of humanity against infamy come out of Bogotá. And from there we went to Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla and the regions of Colombia, go out in caravans to find us in the middle of art and music to come together to shout Enough, stop the killing!”
Residente announced in December that he was postponing his new album and the release of several music videos because of what he claimed to be “the genocide that Israel is committing with US support against the Palestinian civilian population.” He also criticized others in the music industry for not denouncing the ”genocide” taking place in Gaza.
In late October, Petro recalled Colombia’s ambassador to Israel in protest of Israel’s military offensive against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Israel launched its campaign in response to the deadly Oct. 7 massacre carried out by Hamas in southern Israel. Earlier that month, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced that it was suspending defense exports to Colombia because Petro refused to condemn the Hamas atrocities and compared Israel’s ensuing military campaign to the conduct of Nazi Germany.
The two countries have deep military ties, as Israel has been one of Colombia’s main suppliers of war planes, surveillance equipment and assault rifles since the 1990s.
Tribute: Rabbi Dovid Schochet, 91, a pioneer in building Toronto’s observant community
The Jewish community in Toronto lost a towering leader when Rabbi Dovid Schochet, the president of the Toronto Rabbinical Council and the senior rabbi of the Chabad community in Toronto, passed away at the age of 91 on Jan. 28. He was born in 1932 in Basel, Switzerland, the second of 10 children, to Rabbi […]
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Attacker in 2021 Antisemitic Assault in New York Sentenced to Three Years in State Prison
The final criminal proceeding for the case of Joseph “Joey” Borgen, a Jewish man whom a gang of antisemites mauled and pepper-sprayed in broad daylight during protests and counter-protests over Israel’s 2021 war with Hamas, resulted in another conviction Wednesday.
Mohammed Said Othman, 29, was sentenced to three years in state prison, according to a press release issued by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg.
Borgen, who is Jewish, was wearing a kippah while walking in Manhattan when Said Othman, along with several other men, ambushed him without being provoked. They shouted antisemitic slurs at the pro-Israel advocate, who suffered a concussion, wrist injury, black eye, and bruises all over his body.
Since then, three other sentences have been handed down in the Borgen case. Waseem Awawdeh, who continuously struck Borgen with a crutch while allegedly joining the others in shouting antisemitic epithets at him, pleaded guilty to attempted assault as a hate crime and received 18 months in jail, as part of a plea bargain negotiated with Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Jonathon Junig.
In November, Mahmoud Musa received seven years in prison for his role in the attack. In December, Mohammed Othman was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in state prison and five additional years of post-release supervision.
As seen in footage of the incident, Othman kicked and repeatedly struck Borgen in the face while sitting on his chest to weigh him down. In court, he pleaded guilty to gang assault and third-degree hate crime assault.
“These defendants violently targeted and assaulted another individual simply because he is Jewish,” District Attorney Bragg said in a statement. “While this office always supports the right to peacefully protest and engage in open dialogue, these multi-year prison sentences makes clear that physically attacking someone because of their religion is never acceptable. I thank our hate crimes unit for its diligent work in this case.”
Throughout the criminal proceedings in his case, Joey Borgen called on New York City lawmakers to do more to eradicate antisemitic hatred in the five boroughs.
In December, he told The Algemeiner that while he is pleased with the outcome of the case he is worried that the group with which his attackers were allegedly affiliated, the extreme anti-Zionist organization Within Our Lifetime (WOL), is still engaging in antisemitic activity that could lead to more hate crimes.
Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, WOL has posted (and deleted) a map, titled “Know Your Enemies,” showing the addresses of Jewish organizations in New York City, and staged numerous disruptive protests. The group is led by Nerdeen Kiswani, a former City University of New York (CUNY) student who once threatened to set on fire someone’s Israel Defense Forces (IDF) hoodie while he was wearing it.
“They’re still causing havoc; they’re forcing Jewish attendees of a fundraiser to speak at the backdoor of a police van, and they’re bombarding the mother of a hostage with horrible antisemitic chants,” Borgen said. “While I’m happy that I got a positive result in my case, I’m still disturbed that this same group is still going around causing issues for Jewish people, attacking restaurants, and putting people in danger.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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