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Conor McGregor Blasts Irish PM for Saying Young Israeli Hostage Was ‘Lost,’ Not Taken by Hamas

Conor McGregor is seen before the fight between Anthony Joshua and Robert Helenius Action at the O2 Arena, London, Britain on August 12, 2023. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

Former UFC champion Conor McGregor slammed Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for comments he made on social media about a hostage taken by the Hamas terrorist organization who returned to her family in Israel after 50 days in captivity.

Varadkar reacted to the news of the release of Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand, who turned nine years old while in captivity. He tweeted: “This is a day of enormous joy and relief for Emily Hand and her family. An innocent child who was lost has now been found and returned, and we breathe a massive sigh of relief. Our prayers have been answered.”

McGregor took offense to the wording in Varadkar’s post and called him out on X/Twitter, lambasting the prime minister as “a disgrace.”

“She was abducted by an evil terrorist organization,” wrote the professional mixed martial artist and five-time world champion, who was born in Dublin. “What is with you and your government and your paid for media affiliates constantly down playing / attempting to repress horrific acts that happen to children. You are a disgrace. The day after a stabbing of children in Ireland, NOT ONE PAPER HAD IT ON THEIR FRONT COVER. We will not forget.”

Last week, a man went on a stabbing spree in Dublin, outside a school, injuring two adults and three children. Violence broke out in the Irish capital following rumors that the perpetrator was a foreign national, although police have yet to reveal the nationality of the suspect.

Hand was one of 17 Hamas hostages who was freed from Gaza on Saturday as part of a ceasefire agreement between the Jewish state and Hamas terrorists controlling the Palestinian enclave. Hamas kidnapped over 240 people when they infiltrated southern Israel on Oct. 7 and went on a killing rampage, murdering 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

Varadkhar’s post on X about the nine-year-old also elicited backlash from Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who summoned Irish Ambassador to Israel Sonya McGuinness for an official reprimand and accused the prime minister of “trying to legitimize and normalize terror.”

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Georgia Governor Signs Bill Adopting Leading Definition of Antisemitism

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) on January 31, 2023 signing bill that adopts International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. Photo: Office of Governor Brian Kemp

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) signed on Wednesday a bill that will require law enforcement officials in the state to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating antisemitic hate crimes.

The Georgia Assembly overwhelmingly passed the bill, HB30, last Thursday, nearly a year after similar legislation was blocked during the waning hours of the 2023 legislative session, an outcome that a legislator described to The Algemeiner at the time as “devastating to watch.” This time it passed in the Georgia House 129-5 and in the Georgia Senate 44-6.

“There has been a troubling rise in antisemitism across our nation in recent years, especially following the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7 that claimed the lives of over 1,200 Israelis,” Governor Kemp said during a signing ceremony at Georgia’s State Capitol. “Georgia has not been immune to that horrible reality. Our Jewish students have experienced hate in the form of antisemitic flyers spread across neighborhoods, messages on social media calling for the death of Jews in Israel and around the world and even hateful gatherings outside synagogues.”

He added,” So we’re all thankful for the perseverance and dedication shown in getting this bill across the finish line as we work together to send a clear, unified message. In Georgia, we proudly stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters, today and every day!”

First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The definition is used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations and is supported by lawmakers across the political spectrum.

33 US States have adopted the IHRA definition, including Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.

“It is encouraging to see state after state adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism at a time when antisemitism continues to run rife throughout America and the greater world,” Roz Rothstein, CEO of civil rights nonprofit StandWithUs, said in a statement addressing Georgia’s action. “Historically, the world has struggled to address antisemitism due to its evolving nature. Codifying the IHRA definition remains crucial to helping authorities realize how antisemitism manifests both classically and contemporarily while serving as an essential tool that will help standardize the fight against antisemitism.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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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 […]

The post Tribute: Rabbi Dovid Schochet, 91, a pioneer in building Toronto’s observant community appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Attacker in 2021 Antisemitic Assault in New York Sentenced to Three Years in State Prison

Joseph Borgen, victim of an antisemitic attack, addressing a rally in Long Island. Photo: courtesy

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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