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Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner chronicles his Jewish evolution on new single ‘King of the Jews’

(JTA) — Adam Weiner, leader of the rock band Low Cut Connie, says he can find inspiration in just about anything.

“I could be sitting at a salad bar at a mall, and that gives me everything I need to know,” he said on a video call from a house in New Mexico, where he was taking a short break from his summer touring schedule.

But in recent years, Weiner has been pulling from what he calls his “Jewy-ness” in his songwriting. On Tuesday, the process of exploring that side of his identity hits a peak, as he releases a single titled “King of the Jews,” which will feature on the band’s next album, “Art Dealers,” out Sept. 8.

The soulful piano ballad doesn’t break distinctly new ground for Low Cut Connie, which for over a decade has churned out several albums of bluesy, bar-soaked rock and roll with just a slight contemporary garnish. Weiner’s retro style has earned him fans from Elton John to Barack Obama and a devoted following who closely follow his boisterous live act.

But lyrically, the song gathers up several bits and pieces of the Jewish theme that has been more hidden in his previous work: the feeling of being an outsider, of feeling uncool, of being at the end of a “millennia-long anxiety about what’s coming.” (It also contains what seems to be his favorite Yiddish word, schmuck, which he has used several times in other songs.)

He said in the past he has downplayed those feelings and his Jewish identity, especially on the road. These days, he often wears a Star of David necklace; he recalled tucking it under his shirt while playing to a bar crowd in rural Illinois, where he could see swastika tattoos on some people in the crowd.

“When you’re a touring artist like me, and you play in Kansas and Iowa and overseas, I’ve been in so many situations for the last 15-plus years, where I, consciously or unconsciously, obscured talking about being a Jew,” Weiner said. “I’ve run into very ropey situations out there.”

The music video for “King of the Jews,” which is premiering a day early on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, shows Weiner slowly wrap tefillin around his arm (something he does not do regularly as a mainly secular Jew). Some of the non-Jews who watched the video in its early stages thought the ritual phylacteries were part of an S&M object.

“They thought it was some sort of like Robert Mapplethorpe kind of kinky thing,” he said, referring to the photographer known for his erotic black and white photographs from the 1960s and 1970s.

The song and video position Weiner as one of the most outwardly Jewish personalities in contemporary rock. Ezra Koenig, the leader of Vampire Weekend, has hinted at his Jewish identity in lyrics and a music video that includes a staged Passover seder. The sisters of Haim often make Jewish references on their social media accounts (and talk about how they earned matzah ball soup as payment for their first gig). Pop producer Jack Antonoff made headlines for wearing a Star of David necklace. And Sabrina Teitelbaum, aka up-and-coming rocker Blondshell, is a recent example of a new voice mining her secular Jewish identity in her music.

Weiner said he has been putting his Jewish identity — and neuroses, the fear that something bad is coming — at the heart of his project for a while now, even as it might not always have been detectable to all his listeners.

“In this culture and in the politics, you think you’re on safe ground, and you might not be. And delivering that message with a lot of humor and levity is very Jewish,” he said.

In an interview, Weiner, 43, argued that being Jewish was more “cool” in the 1970s, and explained how being a Jew in a completely different time has affected him.

“There were so many Jewish entertainers and musicians who were very Jewy, whether it was Barbra Streisand or Neil Diamond or Lou Reed or Bob Dylan. Then in acting you had like Dustin Hoffman and Elliott Gould,” he said. “There was a real Jewish sensibility in that era.”

He said he thought the times had changed.

“It’s not particularly cool to be Jewish at this time,” he said. “The models of beauty and popularity … I realized that I kind of had internalized certain things about how I should look, talk and present myself that were very unflattering for myself. And luckily, over the years, my Jewy-ness asserted itself so much that I shed a lot of those things.”

Adam Weiner wraps tefillin on tour. (Jacob Blickenstaff)

Weiner grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in what he called a “traditional Conservative” household — on the dial between Conservative and Orthodox. 

“It was not fun,” he said. “I had friends who went to Reform synagogues with a hippie vibe, with acoustic guitars and secular popular songs and stuff. And that wasn’t how I grew up, mine was very strict, and very, very stone-faced.”

Weiner felt alienated from religion in his 20s, throughout which he worked several jobs — including at a mall as a perfume spritzer, a word he pronounces in its Yiddish version, as shpritzer — before his music career took off in his 30s. He steadily gained a following, and in 2020 earned his biggest wave of press coverage for his “Tough Cookies” series of quarantine shows he live-streamed from his apartment with his Low Cut Connie guitarist. He started many of those streams with a greeting of “Mazel tov, motherf—ers,” and occasionally talked about Yiddish words — in his view, he got “outrageously Jewy.”

“People really responded to it,” he said. “And it was a nice moment for me because I realized that I had been obscuring a lot of that, and trying to be cool in a way. And I was like, I am extremely Jewy. Just gotta embrace it. And that is cool.”

Low Cut Connie, shown here at the SXSW festival in Austin, March 18, 2023, has been known to play hundreds of shows per year. (Salihah Saadiq Barnett/Rolling Stone via Getty Images)

He did something else after the start of the pandemic that he had never wanted to do before: perform at his hometown Jewish community center. He had long been the pride of the Cherry Hill Jewish community, and the JCC had asked him to perform multiple times over the previous decade. He had always thought his rowdy, sometimes profanity-laced show wasn’t a good fit.

But in 2021, he agreed and performed at a fall festival there. 

In the end, he described it as a career highlight — mostly because he could lean into a sense of humor he felt doesn’t translate everywhere. The following night’s headliner, after Low Cut Connie’s night, was going to be Jake Tapper, in discussion with an interviewer.

“Before the show, they were like ‘We’ll take each of you to your dressing room,’ and they took me into the men’s locker room at the JCC, literally with like 85-year-old men with sweaty balls, putting talcum powder on themselves,” he said. “And they’re like, ‘We know you’re gluten-free. So we got you a gluten-free meal.’ They brought me a plate with five microwaved chicken nuggets on it and a couple ketchup packets.

“So I come out on stage, and I was like ‘Jake Tapper is here tomorrow night — I want to know if Jake Tapper is going to be in the locker room with all the sweaty balls. And are you going to give him five gluten-free chicken nuggets?’ …It really worked well.” 

His Jewish-tinged humor hasn’t worked everywhere. He recalled a performance at Jack White’s hip Nashville record label and small venue, Third Man Records, that bombed. When he made a Jewish joke and one person laughed, Weiner pointed at the man and yelled “Jew!” A local paper called the routine antisemitic the following day.

Weiner is excited for what is next for the band and his unabashed in leaning into his Jewish side on stage. He pointed out that he sometimes wears a jacket covered in Stars of David.

“I realized that even though I don’t have religious faith, even though I don’t keep kosher, and I don’t pray, I’m one of the most Jewish people that I know,” he said.

The post Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner chronicles his Jewish evolution on new single ‘King of the Jews’ appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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CAIR Executive Director Suggests Suspected Iranian Scheme to Kill Trump an ‘Israeli Plot to Ignite Another War’

Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Photo: Screenshot

The head of the the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) pushed a baseless conspiracy theory suggesting that Israel was behind a suspected Iranian plot to assassinate former US President Donald Trump.

“Are you sure this is not an Israeli plot to ignite another war between the US and other countries in the Middle East at its behest?” tweeted Nihad Awad, co-founder and executive director of CAIR.

Awad was responding to a new CNN report that intelligence officials increased US Secret Service security for Trump after learning of Iran’s plans to murder the former president. There is no indication that the attempted assassination of Trump on Saturday, when he was shot in the ear but survived without major injuries during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, was connected to the suspected Iranian plot.

Iran has denied association with any plot to murder the 2024 Republican presidential nominee, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani saying that the regime “strongly rejects any involvement in the recent armed attack on Trump or claims about Iran’s intention for such an action.”

However, Kanaani stated that Iran will continue to seek retribution against Trump after the US during his presidency killed Qassem Soleimani — a commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an internationally designated terrorist organization — in a drone strike. Soleimani was as the head of the IRGC’s elite Quds force branch, which is responsible for Iran’s proxies and terror operations abroad. He is revered by the Islamic Republic as a martyr and is commemorated across the country.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to pursue legal action against Trump for his direct role in the crime of assassinating Martyr General Qassem Soleimani,” Kanaani said. 

Beyond Trump, Iran has been accused of plotting to kill several former Trump administration officials.

In August 2022, the US Justice Department charged a member of the IRGC with plotting to murder former White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who served in the Trump administration. The US government has also previously assessed that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Iran envoy Brian Hook, both of whom served under Trump, were targeted by Iran. The US has spent millions of dollars providing round-the-clock, security details for Pompeo and Hook.

It is unclear why Awad suggested without evidence that Israel, an arch foe of Iran, was actually responsible for the alleged Iranian plot against Trump. However, it fits with a pattern of CAIR officials making controversial anti-Israel statements during the ongoing war in Gaza.

Awad, for example, said he was “happy” to witness the Iran-backed Palestinian terrorist group Hamas’ murderous rampage across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege — the walls of the concentration camp — on Oct. 7,” Awad said in a speech during the American Muslims for Palestine convention in Chicago in November. “And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege and throwing down the shackles of their own land, and walk free into their land, which they were not allowed to walk in.”

Awad was referring to the blockade that Israel and Egypt enforced on Gaza after Hamas took control of the Palestinian enclave in 2007, to prevent the terrorist group from importing weapons and other materials and equipment for attacks.

About a week later, the executive director of CAIR’s Los Angeles office, Hussam Ayloush, said that Israel “does not have the right” to defend itself from Palestinian violence. He added in his sermon at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City that for the Palestinians, “every single day” since the Jewish state’s establishment has been comparable to Hamas’ Oct. 7 onslaught.

Last week, CAIR decried US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’ statement that “actors tied to Iran’s government” have encouraged and provided financial support to anti-Israel protests that have erupted across the US during the Israel-Hamas war. CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell argued that Haines’ statement could incite hate crime attacks against Muslim and Palestinian protesters opposing the so-called “genocide” in Gaza.

CAIR has long been a controversial organization. In the 2000s, it was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing case. Politico noted in 2010 that “US District Court Judge Jorge Solis found that the government presented ‘ample evidence to establish the association’” of CAIR with Hamas.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “some of CAIR’s current leadership had early connections with organizations that are or were affiliated with Hamas.” CAIR has disputed the accuracy of the ADL’s claim and asserted that CAIR “unequivocally condemn[s] all acts of terrorism, whether carried out by al-Qa’ida, the Real IRA, FARC, Hamas, ETA, or any other group designated by the US Department of State as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization.’”

The post CAIR Executive Director Suggests Suspected Iranian Scheme to Kill Trump an ‘Israeli Plot to Ignite Another War’ first appeared on

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ADL Report Finds Rise in Antisemitic Beliefs at University of California After Oct. 7 Hamas Attack

Law enforcement officers detain a demonstrator, as they clear out a pro-Hamas protest encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Los Angeles, California, US, May 2, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/David Swanson

Antisemitic and anti-Zionist attitudes at the University of California, Irvine increased after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, a new statistical study conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has found.

The study — “Attitudes Toward Jews and Israel on California Campuses” — which began roughly four months before Oct. 7, aimed to measure anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist attitudes at four campuses within the University of California (UC) system to determine whether reports of surging antisemitism there are based in fact rather than perception.

The ADL surveyed hundreds of students — liberal and conservative, religious and secular, Jewish and non-Jewish — across the UC system, but because of an accident of timing, UC Irvine (UCI) emerged as a special case study, being the only school whose students submitted responses both before and after the Oct. 7 massacre. Their answers were revealing, according to the ADL, and demonstrated that what Jewish students and faculty have reported feeling is real.

Before Oct. 7, 25 percent of UCI students agreed that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States.” After Oct. 7, that figure jumped 18 points, to 43 percent, the study found.

Similar increases occurred across the board. For example, the percentage of students who agreed that “Jews have too much power in our country today” nearly doubled after the Hamas atrocities, increasing from 7.9 percent to 15.1 percent. Additionally, 23.6 percent of students agreed after the Oct. 7 tragedy that “it is appropriate for opponents of Israel’s policies to boycott Jewish American owned businesses in their communities.”

“The uptick in antisemitism at UCI after the Hamas attack is perhaps the most disturbing of our findings. The uptick remains even when the other campuses are included,” the ADL report said. “It indicates that widespread reports of feelings of isolation and hostility from their peers among Jewish students and faculty reflected lived rather than politically manufactured experience. We have not, however, explained the increase. Stronger expressions of antisemitism may reflect prejudice that can now be revealed; it has always been there and we are only now seeing it.”

The report also noted that “anti-Jewish attitudes are present and sometimes strongly so” at the three other University of California schools it studied — UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, and UC Riverside — and that, at every school, anti-Zionism is a “predictor” of antisemitism, meaning that students who object to Israel’s existence likely embrace ancient antisemitic tropes.

Other areas of the report stand to be controversial in parts of the pro-Israel community for challenging a widely held view that colleges, being dominated by left-wing faculty and students, “brainwash” students with anti-Zionist beliefs — a claim for which the ADL said it found no evidence. Anti-Zionist college students, it argued, likely form their opinions before starting post-secondary education.

However, critics of higher education have imagined a more nuanced picture of progressive bias on college campuses, one in which students are selected by admissions committees in part for their political views. Such beliefs crystallize, they argue, because of positive social reenforcement and minimal to no exposure to alternative viewpoints.

The ADL report came after the AMCHA Initiative, a campus antisemitism watchdog, in March noted that progressive anti-Zionist faculty did more than ever before to make Zionism anathema on their campuses after Oct. 7 and did, in fact, radicalize or sway students whose opinions about Israel were neutral or positive.

In a report titled “Academic Agitators: The Role of Anti-Zionist Faculty Activism in Escalating Antisemitism at the University of California After October 7, 2023,” the AMCHA Initiative found that incidents of faculty engaging in anti-Zionist advocacy increased 1,100 percent between Oct. 7, 2023 and March 15, 2024. Professors, especially those involved in the anti-Zionist group Faculty for Justice in Palestine (FJP), used their classrooms to indoctrinate students into becoming anti-Zionist and aided student groups in their efforts to alienate and defame Jewish students as “privileged” and “genocide deniers,” according to the study.

The report cited numerous examples of faculty-driven anti-Zionism, including a UC Santa Cruz professor writing “zionism [sic] is not welcome on our campus,” a UC Berkeley graduate student teacher awarding academic benefits for participating in anti-Zionist events, and the UC Merced Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department posting a statement that described Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 massacre as “genocide” and denied that Hamas is a terrorist group.

UC faculty transfer their attitudes as well as a vocabulary of anti-Zionism to students, the report added. Since Oct. 7, anti-Zionist students have used language that can be directly traced to ideas espoused by their professors, and, at other times, students and teachers collaborated. UC Santa Cruz’s Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Department, for example proclaimed, “Skip school and work. Do not look away from the genocide,” in a message to students promoting Students for Justice in Palestine’s “Shut It Down for Palestine” demonstration held in November.

In July, AMCHA Initiative founder and executive director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin noted that in addition to promoting anti-Zionism, college admissions and hiring policies dictated by affirmative action — also described as racial preferences — all but ensure that many incoming students and faculty are far to the left of center and anti-Zionist.

“Racial preferences pit racial identity against the meritocracy, and one of the reasons that Jews have became so prominent in academia is because it is a system that rewards talent, character, and grit. Jews tend to be well-educated and highly achieving, and when an institution’s primary concern is the quality of the individual as opposed to the color of his or her skin or perceived background, Jews excel,” Rossman-Benjamin explained. “What the university stands for, academic integrity and excellence, are values that have lifted Jews up in America, and, in addition to being critical for advancing humanity, they have been one of the most important sources of our strength in this country.”

She continued, “However, when you impose academic criteria that has nothing to do with those values and nothing to do with academic integrity but everything to do with a political agenda that really at its core is discriminatory and hateful — and antisemitic — you make the university not just a hostile place for Jews but also a hostile place for learning. What’s so interesting is that the way you know that contemporary progressivism is not just a fraudulent and bankrupt ideology but an evil one, is that it produces antisemitism. Antisemitism is a bellwether of its malevolence. If it were positive and healthy, it would lift people up — but it isn’t. In fact, it is hurting them in the deepest ways.”

Follow Dion. J Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ADL Report Finds Rise in Antisemitic Beliefs at University of California After Oct. 7 Hamas Attack first appeared on

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Jewish Couple Spat on, Beaten at Anti-Israel Rally in Berlin; Police Investigating Attack

Pro-Hamas demonstrators gather in Berlin, Nov. 4, 2023. Photo: Reuters/Michael Kuenne

A Jewish couple, returning from an ice cream shop, was attacked by a mob of anti-Israel protesters in Berlin on Friday after they noticed a Star of David necklace, according to German media.

As a motorcade of demonstrators chanting anti-Israel slogans passed by on the Torstraße, a demonstrator filmed people on the sidewalk, including the couple identified as Adam, 27, and Hannah, 30, as they walked with their ice cream, the German tabloid newspaper Bild reported.

However, when Adam and Hannah indicated they did not want to be filmed and the former showed his middle finger in anger, the situation escalated. The couple found themselves confronted by “about 15 big guys there, all right in front of us,” Hannah said, according to Bild.

“One of them said, ‘I’ll show you my finger, it will go inside your girlfriend, and when I’m done with her, it will go inside you,’” Adam recounted one of the protesters saying.

Then the mob noticed that Hannah was wearing a Star of David around her neck. One of the man “spat in my face,” Hannah said, and “everyone shouted something in Arabic and spat at us. I instinctively threw my ice cream at him. Then they went after Adam.”

Adam was then reportedly pulled Adam to the ground by his hair, where his head hit the asphalt and he suffered a concussion.

Berlin police, who eventually rescued the couple, are investigating the incident, and two protesters have so far been arrested for assault.

The Jewish couple are Americans who have been living in Berlin for the past five years. 

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a high school in Berlin that recently canceled its graduation over fears of anti-Israel demonstrations was attacked on Sunday by arsonists who also graffitied a wall of the school with harrowing messages in German such as “Gaza burns, Berlin burns,” according to German media. The Tiergarten Gymnasium’s suffered roughly €250,000 in damages.

The Tiergarten Gymnasium in Berlin was targeted with arson and graffiti. Recently, the school announced that graduation will be held outside due to fears of an anti-Israel demonstration. Photo: Screenshot

The Social Democratic Party of Germany wrote on X/Twitter in response to the arson, “We condemn the arson attack at the Tiergarten Gymnasium. Politically motivated violence has no place in Berlin or anywhere else.”

The AJC Berlin, a Jewish organization dedicated to fighting antisemitism, also condemned the arson on X/Twitter, writing, “Those responsible must be identified quickly. Schools must be safe places!”

Antisemitism in Germany has exploded since Hamas’ massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terrorist group killed 1,200 people and kidnapped about 250 people during the onslaught. According to German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, antisemitic hate crimes rose a staggering 95.5 percent in 2023 compared to the prior year.

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