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‘Harvard Has Caved In’: Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Celebrate ‘Student Intifada’ After School ‘Downgrades’ Punishments

Demonstrators take their “Emergency Rally: Stand with Palestinians Under Siege in Gaza” out of Harvard University and onto the streets of Harvard Square, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, Oct.14, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Harvard University has “downgraded” the disciplinary sanctions it levied against several pro-Hamas protesters it punished for illegally occupying Harvard Yard and roiling the campus for nearly five weeks, The Harvard Crimson reported on Wednesday.

The shocking development will likely erase the good will Harvard regained by appearing to embrace an approach to discipline that would deter future unruly behavior as well as the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hate incidents the protesters perpetrated throughout the school year, which damaged the reputation of the institution and prompted a slew of lawsuits and federal investigations.

Per the Crimson, “The most severe probation charge will last for just one semester, a remarkable change from the initial punishments which required at least one student to withdraw from the college for three semesters. Some students who were initially placed on probation in late May also had the length of their probations reduced.”

For a time Harvard University talked tough about its intention to dismantle a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” — a collection of tents in which demonstrators lived and from which they refused to leave unless Harvard agreed to boycott and divest from Israel — protesters had set up on campus, creating an impression that no one would go unpunished.

In a public statement, interim president Alan Garber denounced their actions for forcing the rescheduling of exams and disrupting the academics of students who continued doing their homework and studying for final exams, responsibilities the protesters seemingly abdicated by essentially taking an early summer break to participate in the demonstration.

Harvard then began suspending the protesters following their rejection of a deal to leave the encampment, according to The Harvard Crimson. Before then, Garber vowed that any student who continued to occupy the section of campus would be placed on “involuntary leave,” a measure that effectively disenrolls the students from school and bars them from campus until the university decides whether they are allowed back. The disciplinary measures were levied one day after members of Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine (HOOP) created a sign featuring an antisemitic caricature of Garber as Satan, and accused him of duplicity.

During Harvard’s commencement ceremonies in May, reports emerged that some students had been banned from graduation and receiving their diplomas.

However, Harvard, as well as the organization responsible for the encampment, HOOP, always maintained that some protesters would be allowed to appeal their punishments, per an agreement the two parties reached, but it was not clear that the end result would amount to a victory for the protesters.

Unrepentant, HOOP on Wednesday celebrated the revocation of the suspensions on social media and, in addition to suggesting that they will disrupt the campus again, called their movement an “intifada,” alluding to two prolonged periods of Palestinian terrorism during which hundreds of Israeli Jews were murdered.

“Harvard walks back on probations and reverses suspensions of pro-Palestine students after massive pressure,” the group said. “After sustained student and faculty organizing, Harvard has caved in, showing that the student intifada will always prevail … This reversal is a bare minimum. We call on our community to demand no less than Palestinian liberation from the river to the sea. Grounded in the rights of return and resistance. We will not rest until divestment from the Israeli regime is met.”

The news was met with disappointment from Jewish Harvard students and leaders, many of whom have met with lawmakers to discuss their experiences with antisemitism there.

“What?! Harvard reverses the very few suspensions they gave to students who harassed Jews and called for violence,” tweeted Harvard student Shabbos Kestenbaum. “Antisemitic classmates consider this a victory, declaring ‘long live the intifada.’”

The Harvard Jewish Alumni Alliance added, “It’s fine to ignore Harvard’s rules as long as you’re putting Jews in their place … if you’re targeting any other group, you will be disciplined.”

The past year has been described by experts as a low point in the history of Harvard University, America’s oldest and, arguably, most important institution of higher education. Since the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas across southern Israel, the school has been accused of fostering a culture of racial grievance and antisemitism, while important donors have suspended funding for programs. In just the past nine months, its first Black president, Claudine Gay, resigned in disgrace after being outed as a serial plagiarist; Harvard faculty shared an antisemitic cartoon on social media; and its protesters were filmed surrounding a Jewish student and shouting “Shame!” into his ears.

According to the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Harvard has repeatedly misrepresented its handling of the explosion of hate and rule breaking, launching a campaign of deceit and spin to cover up what ultimately became the biggest scandal in higher education.

A report generated by the committee as part of a wider investigation of the school claimed that the university formed an Antisemitism Advisory Group (AAG) largely for show and did not consult its members when Jewish students were subject to verbal abuse and harassment, a time, its members felt, when its counsel was most needed. The advisory group went on to recommend nearly a dozen measures for addressing the problem and offered other guidance, the report said, but it was excluded from high-level discussions which preceded, for example, the December congressional testimony of former president Gay — a hearing convened to discuss antisemitism at Harvard.

So frustrated were a “majority” of AAG members with being an accessory to what the committee described as a guilefully crafted public relations facade that they threatened to resign from it.

Harvard must still tend to outstanding issues which resulted from the events of this past academic year. A congressional investigation of its handling of antisemitism is ongoing and six Jewish students are suing it for allegedly ignoring antisemitism discrimination.

In April, attorneys representing the school attempted to have the suit tossed out of court, arguing that the plaintiffs lack legal standing.

“Without minimizing at all the importance of the need to address energetically antisemitism at the university, plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with the strategy and speed of Harvard’s essential work does not state a legally cognizable claim,” said the motion to dismiss, as quoted by The Crimson. “Consequently, the amended complaint should be dismissed.”

Shabbos Kestenbaum, one of the plaintiffs in the case, has vowed to see the litigation through to the end.

“Harvard’s meritless motion to dismiss our lawsuit only proves our point: It has never taken the concerns of us Jewish students seriously, and has no plans to start now,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to apply maximum pressure in both the court of law and the court of public opinion … We hope that donors and prospective students follow closely.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ‘Harvard Has Caved In’: Pro-Hamas Demonstrators Celebrate ‘Student Intifada’ After School ‘Downgrades’ Punishments first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Timothée Chalamet to Play Lead Role in New Film About Jewish Ping Pong Champion Marty Reisman

Timothée Chalamet at the World Premiere of ‘Dune: Part Two’ held at the Leicester Square Gardens, London, United Kingdom on Feb. 15, 2024. Photo: Cover Media via Reuters Connect

French Jewish actor and Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet is set to star in and produce a new film about the late Jewish table tennis legend Marty Reisman.

Chalamat will play the lead role in “Marty Supreme,” written by Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein, who will also produce with Eli Bush and Anthony Katagas. The film is from producer A24, which also distributed Safdie’s past films “Uncut Gems” and “Good Time.” A24 took to social media on Tuesday to confirm that Chalamet has joined the project. A release date for the film has not been announced.

 

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Nicknamed the “wizard of table tennis,” Reisman was an American professional ping pong champion who won 22 major table tennis titles between 1946 and 2002, including two United States Opens and a British Open. He won five bronze medals at the World Table Tennis Championships and, in 1997, became the oldest player to ever win an open national competition in a racket sport at the age of 67 by winning the United States National Hardbat Championship.

Reisman was known as “the Needle” for his slim frame and quick wit, and once opened for the Harlem Globetrotters with a ping pong comedy routine in which he used his shoes as paddles. He was also known for his flamboyant style and gravitated towards bright colored clothing, Borsalino fedoras, and Panama hats. Reisman was born in New York City and began playing table tennis as a child. He started his career as a hustler in Manhattan, playing for bets. He died in 2012 in Manhattan at the age of 82.

The Safdie bothers split up creatively earlier this year to pursue solo projects. “Marty Supreme” is the first time that Josh Safdie is directing a film since “Uncut Gems,” and his first solo feature directorial effort since 2008’s “The Pleasure of Being Robbed.” In 2019, Chalamat praised the Safdie brothers, saying they have “continuously put out contemporary, raw, and untethered work over the last decade, each film building on the traits of the prior, but never once sacrificing their innate grittiness.”

Chalamet’s latest film — James Mangold’s “A Complete Unknown,” in which he plays a young Bob Dylan — is currently in post-production.

The post Timothée Chalamet to Play Lead Role in New Film About Jewish Ping Pong Champion Marty Reisman first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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The Hostages Should Be an International Issue — Not Just an Israeli One

People walk past images of hostages kidnapped in the deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas from Gaza, in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 11, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The world witnessed an unprecedented crisis when citizens from 24 countries were abducted by Hamas and taken into Gaza as hostages on October 7, 2023.

Even now, there are hostages still being held by Hamas with 22 foreign nationalities: The United States, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Nepal, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tanzania, Thailand, the UK, and Ukraine.

Despite the representation of countries across the globe, the international outcry has been surprisingly — and sadly — muted. The “hostage issue” has largely been perceived as an Israeli one, leaving the responsibility of bringing them home to the IDF and the Israeli government.

According to Daniel Shek, a former Israeli diplomat and spokesperson for the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, the international dimension of this crisis is crucial. He warns that the unprecedented kidnapping on October 7 should concern the global community, because something similar could happen anywhere in the world, especially if those responsible are not severely punished for it.

Shek’s assessment of the international response is blunt: “Sufficient? Certainly not.”

There has not been a significant, concerted effort among the various countries to work together or form some kind of pressure group to release the hostages, he says. Most of the concrete efforts to try and resolve the situation have been individual or independent of each other.

In late October 2023, Russian diplomats met with a Hamas delegation in Moscow and insisted that special attention be paid to eight Russian-Israeli citizens being held hostage in Gaza. By November, three of these hostages were released, including Roni Krivoi, a sound engineer working at the Nova Festival when it was attacked (one of the few men released from captivity during this time).

Following the initial release of 17 Thai citizens, two additional Thais were released from captivity in November. A Thai Muslim group claimed its efforts were key to ensuring the release of those hostages. “We were the sole party that spoke to Hamas since the beginning of the war to ask for the release of Thais,” Lerpong Syed, President of the Thai-Iran Alumni Association told Reuters.

One significant effort occurred on April 25, when the leaders of 17 countries joined US President Joe Biden in the first official joint statement calling for the release of the hostages. Among the countries were Argentina, France, Germany, and the UK:

We call for the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza for over 200 days. They include our own citizens. The fate of the hostages and the civilian population in Gaza, who are protected under international law, is of international concern…We strongly support the ongoing mediation efforts in order to bring our people home. We reiterate our call on Hamas to release the hostages, and let us end this crisis so that collectively we can focus our efforts on bringing peace and stability to the region.

Since this statement, however, concrete efforts have been minimal. Biden has expressed a moral commitment to bringing Israeli-American hostages home and has met with them and their families on multiple occasions, but his success in doing so has been limited. There are still eight American citizens being held hostage in Gaza, five of whom are presumed alive.

Liat Beinin Atzili is a survivor.

It was my honor to welcome her to the White House this evening, hear firsthand about her resilience despite enduring the unthinkable, and promise her that my work isn’t done until we secure the release of all remaining hostages held by Hamas. pic.twitter.com/4fMneEkHzv

— President Biden (@POTUS) July 9, 2024

When compared to previous high-profile hostage situations, such as the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, the disparity in global attention is unmistakable. The Iranian hostage crisis gripped the American public and media, whereas the Israeli hostages, including US citizens, have not gained similar levels of attention from the American people.

In 2014, when 276 girls were kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Nigeria, by the Islamist militia group Boko Haram, a campaign for their return drew widespread international support.

The “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign included endorsements from prominent figures like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. In stark contrast, the Israeli hostages’ plight has not seen comparable global outrage. This is despite the hard work of hostages’ families, who fly across the world to fight for their loved ones’ freedom.

In some cases, the hostages have even faced negative attention — a phenomenon unheard of in past crises. Posters of the hostages have been torn down around the world, and some media personalities have questioned the legitimacy of reports from the October 7 attacks.

Shek sums up the universal nature of this cause.

“It doesn’t really matter on which side of the political divide you are in Israel, the US, in France, or anywhere else. It doesn’t really matter on which side of the Israel-Palestine divide you are,” he says. “It’s unjust that innocent civilians have been held for nine months under inhumane conditions. They have been deprived of their rights under international law, and have had no decent medical care or access by the Red Cross. This should concern anyone who cares about human rights.”

The fact that 120 hostages from 22 different countries were taken from Israel by terrorists and remain in Gaza until today demands urgent international action. This hostage crisis is not only an Israeli issue, but a global one.

So, world, where is your outrage? Why don’t you fight to bring your people home?

Miriam Bash is from Livingston, New Jersey, and currently studying Psychology and Marketing at Washington University in St. Louis. Outside of class, she is involved in the TAMID Group at WashU, and is an active member of her campus’ Hillel and Chabad organizations. She is an intern at HonestReporting, where a version of this article first appeared.

The post The Hostages Should Be an International Issue — Not Just an Israeli One first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Hamas Leader Deif’s Deadly Hideout: Media Overlook the Strategic Civilian Shield

Hamas executed one of its military commanders for informing the Israelis on the hideout used by Mohammad Deif (pictured above) during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge. PHOTO: Channel 2 News.

The IDF carried out one of its most significant operations in on Saturday since the start of the war against Hamas, executing a strike that targeted Mohammad Deif, one of the masterminds behind the October 7 attack.

Eliminating Deif, the leader of the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas’ second-in-command in Gaza, would be a significant blow. While there’s no official confirmation of his death, and Hamas claims Deif is “fine,” it’s worth noting that Saudi news network Al-Hadath reported that his deputy, Khan Younis Brigade Commander Rafa Salama, who was with Deif, was killed.

Deif, nicknamed “The Guest” for his habit of frequently changing locations to avoid detection, has long been hunted by Israel for his involvement in planning and executing numerous terror attacks throughout the 1990s and 2000s, including the 1996 Jaffa Road bus bombings.

Some facts about Saturday’s incident were immediately clear.

First, it took place in the al-Muwasi humanitarian zone near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, and the IDF is investigating reports that a number of civilians died.

Second, the airstrike targeted senior Hamas operatives.

This latter point was highlighted in almost every international media outlet, noting that Deif might have been killed and invariably referring to him as the Hamas “military chief” or the “architect of October 7,” with a few notable exceptions.

The BBC botched an initial report on July 13.

On its YouTube channel, the broadcaster framed the incident as “90 killed and 300 injured” in an Israeli strike on a Gaza “humanitarian area,” and only mentioned later in the report that Israel was targeting senior Hamas commanders, including Deif.

Similarly, CBS News neglected to mention Deif in its headline, describing it instead as an “Israeli attack on the southern Gaza Strip” that left “at least 90 dead,” according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.

The Irish Times reported the death toll as fact, without any attribution, in a piece headlined, “Gaza: At least 90 killed, 300 injured in Israeli airstrike on designated humanitarian zone.”

The focus on the strike taking place in a designated humanitarian zone explains why there were civilian casualties. However, not a single media outlet commented on the fact that senior Hamas commanders, including Deif, were intentionally hiding there. This omission ignores the blatant reality that Hamas exploits civilian areas for cover, leading to inevitable deaths.

Journalism students are often taught about using the “five Ws” – Who? What? When? Where? Why? – to gather the essential points for a story. There used to be another critical question, one that many journalists now forget to ask: “How?”

How did Palestinian civilians die in an Israeli airstrike calculated to take out senior Hamas commanders?

The media should report the patently obvious answer: Deif and his terror acolytes chose to hide in the al-Muwasi humanitarian zone, using the men and women sheltering there as human shields.

Hamas leaders embed themselves within civilian populations because they want Palestinians to die, with Yahya Sinwar even describing civilian deaths as “necessary sacrifices.”

On Saturday, The New York Times detailed how Hamas terrorists, dressed in plain clothes, “hide under residential neighborhoods, storing their weapons in miles of tunnels and in houses, mosques, sofas – even a child’s bedroom – blurring the boundary between civilians and combatants.”

While the Israeli military makes every effort to minimize civilian harm – including, in this case, using accurate visualizations of the “open, wooded area” and acting on additional intelligence information–unintended casualties are a tragic consequence of Hamas’ strategy.

The fact is that Israel has a duty to defend its citizens and protect them from further harm. In the context of its war against Hamas in Gaza, this means eliminating the terrorists who perpetrated the very massacre that started this war.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Hamas Leader Deif’s Deadly Hideout: Media Overlook the Strategic Civilian Shield first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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