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Mexico’s Sheinbaum Blazes Trail as First Jewish Woman President

Morena party’s Claudia Sheinbaum at Zocalo Square in Mexico City, Mexico June 3, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Claudia Sheinbaum basked in the glow of a thumping presidential win late Sunday, thanking supporters who gathered at the capital’s iconic Zocalo plaza shortly after 1 am to applaud Mexico‘s first female Jewish president.

For months, the Nobel prize-winning physicist-turned-Mexico City mayor was the clear frontrunner in the contest to succeed popular outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, her mentor and principle political benefactor over nearly a quarter century.

Sheinbaum now faces the task of forging her own path, including the delicate balancing act of advancing the leftist Lopez Obrador’s state-centric economic polices, especially over natural resources such as oil and minerals, while also making progress on issues seen as his weak points like the environment and crime.

The standard bearer of the ruling MORENA party will also face a ballooning budget deficit, complicating her own spending plans.

Preliminary results from the INE electoral authority showed Sheinbaum leading her main opposition rival, Xochitl Galvez, by about 60 percent to 28 percent.

“I’m emotional and I feel grateful,” said the 61-year-old, who will make history as the first president of Jewish heritage to lead the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.

“And I won’t let you down,” she added with a broad smile.

Sheinbaum’s triumph caps an unlikely four-decade climb that has taken the daughter of activist academics to the pinnacle of power in the Spanish-speaking world’s most populous nation, for decades known as a socially conservative bastion with a macho culture.

“It took way too many years to get here,” said Francisco Labastida, a veteran Mexican politician with the once-dominant Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, who was the presidential runner-up in 2000.

Labastida said he was especially proud that Mexico had achieved the feat before its northern neighbor the United States, which has never had a woman president.

Sheinbaum’s ability to separate herself from Lopez Obrador once she takes office in October is “the great unknown,” added Labastida, since the famously stubborn leader would likely try to impose his own vision despite his pledge to retire to his ranch in tropical southern Mexico.

MAKING HISTORY AGAIN

Six years ago, Sheinbaum made history as Mexico City’s first elected woman mayor. Until she stepped down last year to run for president, Sheinbaum was known as a data-driven manager, winning plaudits for reducing the megacity’s homicide rate by half, boosting security spending on an expanded police force with higher salaries.

She has pledged to replicate the strategy across Mexico, where powerful drug cartels exert widespread influence.

But Sheinbaum will be confronted with a wide budget deficit, which is set to end 2024 at nearly 6 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The incoming leader nonetheless has pledged to build on Lopez Obrador’s social spending largesse, which has included expanded old-age pensions and youth scholarships.

While she has expressed an interest in attracting private investment to grow renewable energy projects, she has also pledged to ensure the dominance of Mexico‘s state-owned oil and power companies while swearing off any privatizations.

In 1995, Sheinbaum earned her doctorate in energy engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and then pursued a teaching and academic career, including a stint on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which later shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice President Al Gore.

She launched her political career in 2000, when Lopez Obrador, then-Mexico City’s newly-elected mayor, tapped her to be his environment chief tasked with improving the smoggy capital’s air quality, highways, and public transport.

Sheinbaum served as the chief spokesperson for Lopez Obrador’s first campaign for president in 2006, which he narrowly lost.

In 2015, she was elected to run Mexico City’s largest borough, Tlalpan, and became the capital’s mayor three years later, the same year her mentor’s third bid for the presidency ended in a landslide victory.

Paula Sofia Vazquez, a Mexico City-based political analyst, suggested that the Sheinbaum’s command over the country’s military would provide an early test, since Lopez Obrador has greatly expanded the remit of the armed forces to key economic policies including major transport and building projects.

“It seems to me that’s a challenge no male president would face,” she said, arguing that the military’s culture can tend toward misogyny.

Vazquez singled out at least one more factor that would likely make Sheinbaum’s job even harder.

“Empathy is required from women. Women are required to have a certain sensitivity towards problems that men are not required to have,” she said. “Results are demanded from men, while women are required to show results but also a human touch.”

The post Mexico’s Sheinbaum Blazes Trail as First Jewish Woman President first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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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 Algemeiner.com.

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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 Algemeiner.com.

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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.

The post Jewish Couple Spat on, Beaten at Anti-Israel Rally in Berlin; Police Investigating Attack first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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