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Criticism mounts against UPenn president after she declines to say calls for genocide of Jews constitute harassment

(JTA) — Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said the University of Pennsylvania board should make a “determination” about the school’s president, who is facing pressure to resign after she declined to say outright that calls for the genocide of Jews violate the university’s code of conduct.

The outcry follows a congressional hearing on Tuesday in which the presidents of Penn, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were all asked whether calls for the genocide of Jews constitute bullying or harassment on campus. All three said it depended on “context.”

The exchange has gone viral and prompted broad condemnation, including from the White House. Biden administration spokesman Andrew Bates said in an email, “It’s unbelievable that this needs to be said: calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country.”

“Any statements that advocate for the systematic murder of Jews are dangerous and revolting – and we should all stand firmly against them, on the side of human dignity and the most basic values that unite us as Americans,” Bates added.

Shapiro, a Jewish Democrat, is among the most prominent voices calling on Penn’s president, Liz Magill, to face consequences for her response during the hearing. Shapiro did not say Magill should be fired. But he asked the board to convene soon and said if it did not, he said he would see what the state could do.

“Right now the board at Penn has a serious decision they need to make,” Shapiro said Wednesday. He said the board should “meet soon” to determine whether the “testimony under oath of their president in front of Congress represents the values of the University of Pennsylvania and the views of the board of the University of Pennsylvania.”

While Penn is a private institution, its charter names the state’s governor as a non-voting trustee — a position with considerable influence if not power. Shapiro said he would wait to hear from the Penn board before considering any state action.

“I’ve said many times, leaders have a responsibility to speak and act with moral clarity, and Liz Magill failed to meet that simple test,” Shapiro said.

In addition to Shapiro’s comments, Marc Rowan, the chair of Wharton, Penn’s business school, has called on the university’s board to withdraw its support for Magill, according to The New York Times. A petition calling for her resignation has garnered 1,500 signatures. Eyal Yacoby, a Penn student who joined Republican leaders at a press conference prior to the hearing on Tuesday, has filed a lawsuit with another student alleging that the university “subjects them to a pervasively hostile educational environment,” the campus newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, reported.

Shapiro made clear that there was little love lost between him and Magill ever since the campus hosted an event on Palestinian culture in September that included speakers who Jewish groups have said are antisemitic. Following that conference, donors have withdrawn  their support from the school, and a federal civil rights complaint has been filed against it.

“I have spoken to President Magill multiple times since that hateful festival that they had on campus,” he said. “I’ve spoken with the chairman of the board multiple times, I made concrete steps that I thought they needed to take to make sure that all students feel safe on campus. They have seemingly failed every step of the way to take concrete action to make sure all students feel safe on campus. And then, the testimony yesterday took it to the next level.”

Jewish groups also condemned the exchange on “genocide” at the congressional hearing.

“How can Jewish and pro-Israel students and faculty possibly feel safe when fellow students and faculty can call for their elimination with impunity?” the American Jewish Committee said in a statement Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations wrote to all 50 governors recommending an “action plan” to make campuses safer for Jews.

One recommendation was that governors “conduct a third-party review of university policies and procedures related to antisemitism” that would “consider campus environment, including an assessment of antisemitic attitudes, current university policies for investigating antisemitism complaints, and consistency of treatment in handling of antisemitism complaints versus other kinds of discrimination.”

Shapiro was speaking to reporters  after visiting Goldie’s, a kosher eatery targeted over the weekend by pro-Palestinian protesters who accused it of “genocide,” which Shapiro likened to Nazi Germany.

Shapiro had stopped by Goldie’s in a show of solidarity and for lunch (a falafel sandwich and a tahini shake.). He said the targeting of Jewish-owned stores was antisemitic.

“What they did was blatant antisemitism,” he said. “They protested in restaurants, simply because it’s owned by a Jewish person. That is the kind of antisemitic tropes that we saw in 1930s Germany.”


The post Criticism mounts against UPenn president after she declines to say calls for genocide of Jews constitute harassment appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Obituary: Stanley Plotnick, 82, an e-commerce pioneer in Montreal—and a major philanthropist for Canadian and Israel-based projects

Stanley Plotnick, who played multiple leading roles for decades in the Montreal and Canadian Jewish community and was a major philanthropist for Israel-based projects, died on Feb. 19 at age 82. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Plotnick was a pioneering entrepreneur in the field of information technology, specifically e-commerce, and founded […]

The post Obituary: Stanley Plotnick, 82, an e-commerce pioneer in Montreal—and a major philanthropist for Canadian and Israel-based projects appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Israel Denies UN Report Claiming Israeli Forces Assaulted Palestinian Women

UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine Francesca Albanese, October 27, 2022 (Photo: Screenshot)

Israel has denied allegations made by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) charging Israeli forces with rape, abduction and extrajudicial killings of Palestinian women in Gaza, labeling them “despicable and unfounded.” 

The UN experts’ statement released on Monday said there were “credible allegations of egregious human rights violations” by the Israel Defense Forces against Palestinian women and girls. 

“Many [Palestinian women and girls] have reportedly been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, denied menstruation pads, food and medicine, and severely beaten,” the statement from the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner said. “On at least one occasion, Palestinian women detained in Gaza were allegedly kept in a cage in the rain and cold, without food.”

“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence,” the statement added.

The report did not mention how it carried out its investigation and neither did it provide any evidence of its allegations. 

The Israeli government’s response was swift and stern.

“Israel forcefully rejects the despicable and unfounded claims published today by a group of so-called UN experts, including one who just days ago legitimised the massacre of October 7 in which more than 1,200 people were murdered, executed and raped, and another who publicly doubted the testimonies of Israeli victims of gender-based and sexual violence,” Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva said in a statement. 

The experts cited in the UN report include Francesca Albanese, the UN monitor who came under fire for justifying the Hamas-led attack on October 7 because it was “in response to Israel’s oppression.” Albanese also denied that rapes and beheadings against Israelis ever took place. Another of the experts listed,  UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls Reem Alsalem, likewise denied sexual violence against Israeli women, calling it “disinformation.”

“These [UN] mandate holders have remained silent on the horrific sexual violence and gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas on and since October 7. It is clear that the co-signatories are motivated not by the truth but by their hatred for Israel and its people,” the Israeli statement said. 

Israeli MK Danny Danon (Likud), who served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said that the statement was “nothing more than an endorsement of terror and genocide.”

“Where were these purported ‘experts’ when instances of violence occurred, such as when Hamas committed heinous acts against women, children, and families, raping, torturing and burning people alive?” Danon told The Algemeiner.

“Where are these ‘experts’ today to speak out for the innocent women and children and the remaining hostages, brutally kidnapped by Hamas and still held by the terror group with zero access to any form of humanitarian aid?”

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, lawyer and chairwoman of legal aid group Shurat HaDin who has in the past represented the families of Israeli terror victims in cases against Hamas, said Monday’s report came as “no surprise” given the UN’s anti-Israel bias. 

“Hamas is losing the war, so its supporters rush to help it in its last dying moments. The sole weapon of Israel’s enemies is illusory slander plots against Israel,” Darshan-Leitner told The Algemeiner

Darshan-Leitner went on to note that the accusations against the IDF were the same atrocities perpetrated against Israeli women on October 7. 

“Since they want to keep symmetry between Israel and Hamas, they pretend everything that Hamas has done against Israel on a monstrous scale Israel has done also on a lower scale. But lies have to be proven,” she said. “Israel does not rape, Israel does not kidnap babies, Israel does not separate children from parents. Only the Hamas monsters do that as their go-pro cameras have proven.”

The UN statement also claimed that an “unknown number” of Palestinian women and girls had  “reportedly gone missing after contact with the Israeli army in Gaza” and went on to say that there were reports of at least one female infant was “forcibly transferred by the Israeli army into Israel.”

The post Israel Denies UN Report Claiming Israeli Forces Assaulted Palestinian Women first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Saudi Report Says Hamas Chief Sinwar Escaped to Egypt with Hostages, Israel Denies

Hamas leader and Oct. 7 pogrom mastermind Yahya Sinwar addressing a rally in Gaza. Photo: Reuters/braheem Abu Mustafa

Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, may have escaped with hostages to Egypt via tunnels in Rafah, the Saudi-based Elaph news site reported on Tuesday citing an Israeli security source.

Israeli officials later denied the claim saying there was no intelligence to support it. 

According to the Arabic-language report, Sinwar fled to Egypt through the vast network of tunnels in Rafah along with his brother Mohammad Sinwar and other key Hamas operatives. 

The IDF said later on Tuesday that it had no reason to believe that Sinwar was not still in Gaza. 

Elaph, based in London, has in the past broken stories involving Israel and citing Israeli sources, including a December report about secret negotiations taking place in Europe between Qatar and Israeli officials for the release of the hostages still being held in Gaza.

Last week, the IDF shared footage showing Sinwar in a tunnel in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, accompanied by his wife, children and his brother Ibrahim Sinwar. The footage was captured days after the October 7 attack by his terror group and corroborated IDF claims that Sinwar had fled Hamas’s headquarters in northern Gaza and moved to the tunnels beneath Khan Younis, exploiting a humanitarian corridor that the IDF had opened to ensure the safe passage of civilians from Gaza City.

“The hunt for Sinwar will not stop until we catch him, dead or alive,” IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said at the time.

Israeli media has reported that Sinwar has been incommunicado with Hamas for several weeks as he attempts to elude Israeli forces.

The army has refrained from entering Rafah, the remaining Hamas stronghold, amid strong pressure from the US and UN. But fighting continued in Khan Younis on Tuesday, with IDF operations at the Nasser Hospital. Over 200 individuals at the hospital were detained under suspicion of terrorist activities, with many reportedly linked to the hostages held by Hamas, the IDF said. 

 

The post Saudi Report Says Hamas Chief Sinwar Escaped to Egypt with Hostages, Israel Denies first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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