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MIT Lecturer Resigns Over School’s Response to Oct. 7, Says Campus Showed ‘Open Hostility’ Toward Jews, Israelis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Dr. Sally Kornbluth testifies during a US House Education and Workforce Committee hearing at the US Capitol, in Washington, DC, Dec. 5, 2023. Photo: Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

A computer science lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) resigned from his position on Wednesday because of the campus community’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel.

“The past few months, since Oct. 7, have been deeply disappointing to me,” Mauricio Karchmer wrote in a LinkedIn post. “During a time when the Jewish and Israeli students, staff, and faculty were particularly vulnerable, instead of offering the support they needed, the broader MIT community exhibited open hostility towards them. Like many other college campuses nationwide, the institute clearly failed this test.”

Karchmer, who described his last five years at MIT as “very rewarding,” also cited the fact that, in his view, several departments have jettisoned critical thinking in favor of political ideology.

“Some areas of study at MIT seem to prioritize promoting a specific worldview over teaching critical thinking skills. This seems to have been institutionalized in many of MIT’s departments and programs,” he wrote. “MIT has some work to do if it wants to continue in its mission ‘to educate students in areas of scholarship to best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.’”

Like many other US college campuses, MIT has come under fire for the response by students, faculty, and administrators to the Hamas onslaught on Oct. 7, when Palestinian terrorists led by Hamas invaded Israel, murdered 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 240 others as hostages. Mounting evidence of atrocities committed during the attack — including systematic torture, rape, and other sexual violence — has shocked the world.

Shortly after the massacre, the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid and Palestine released a joint statement that seemingly rationalized Hamas’ violence. “We affirm the right of all occupied peoples to resist oppression and colonization,” the statement read, adding that the campus groups were “committed to supporting decolonization efforts in Palestine.”

Faculty member Michel DeGraff later lauded the Coalition Against Apartheid’s “moral clarity” and advocacy for Palestinians, which, he wrote in the MIT Faculty Newsletter, “inspires us to honor the humanity of us all — from the river to the sea, from Gaza to MIT.”

The slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — popular among anti-Israel activists, especially in the wake of the Oct. 7 massacre — has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The MIT Coalition Against Apartheid has promoted at least 15 protests since Oct. 7. During one such demonstration, students were arrested after occupying a building for a “die-in.” Jewish and Israeli students decried the protest, reporting that the coalition “physically prevented” them from attending class by forming a “blockade” of bodies in Lobby 7, a space inside the main entrance of the university.

“Instead of dispersing the mob or de-escalating the situation by rerouting all students from Lobby 7, Jewish students specifically were warned not to enter MIT’s front entrance due to a risk to their physical safety,” the MIT Israel Alliance wrote in an open letter to MIT President Sally Kornbluth. “The onus to protect Jewish students should not be on the students themselves.”

In the letter, the students warned that radical anti-Zionism and intimidation of Jewish students on campus has become intolerable and even reminiscent of Nazi Germany on the eve of the Holocaust.

Despite such hostility on campus, Kornbluth said of Oct. 7 shortly after the onslaught that “such a deliberate attack on civilians can never be justified.”

Kornbluth later made national headlines — along with the presidents of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) — after she was unable to answer whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated MIT’s code of conduct. She said such genocidal calls would only constitute harassment or bullying if they were “targeted at individuals.”

The other two presidents have since resigned, but Kornbluth has received the support of the university board and the deans. Faculty leaders also wrote an open letter to argue that “as educators, we seek to open minds rather than to close mouths. The approach of MIT’s leadership has not been to make lists of what can’t be said, but to talk directly with our students — both in public and in private — about the meaning and consequences of what they say.”

Karchmer’s departure is the latest fallout from elite universities’ responses to the Hamas attack and ensuing war in Gaza, the Palestinian enclave ruled by the terror group. US college campuses have experienced an alarming spike in antisemitic incidents — including demonstrations calling for Israel’s destruction and the intimidation and harassment of Jewish students — since Oct. 7. massacre across southern Israel. Top universities have been among the biggest hubs of such activity, with students and faculty both demonizing Israel and rationalizing the Hamas atrocities. As a result, some high-profile donors have pulled their funding to schools such as Harvard and Penn.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has recorded 470 antisemitic incidents on college campuses between Oct. 7 and Dec. 18. During that same period, antisemitic incidents across the US skyrocketed by 323 percent compared to the prior year.

Karchmer has lectured at MIT since 2019 and taught an Introduction to Algorithms class, which he says 60 percent of undergraduates take.

MIT declined to comment on Karchmer’s resignation, but did confirm to The Algemeiner that he will be departing this month.

The post MIT Lecturer Resigns Over School’s Response to Oct. 7, Says Campus Showed ‘Open Hostility’ Toward Jews, Israelis first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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French Government Will Hold Commemoration for Victims of Hamas Pogrom Amid Disquiet Over Far Left Party’s Participation

Posters in Paris broadcasting the plight of Israeli hostages in Gaza covered over with pro-Palestinian messages. Photo: Reuters/Magali Cohen

French President Emmanuel Macron will preside over a special ceremony on Wednesday to commemorate the French victims of the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas pogrom in Israel as a row over the potential presence of far left parliamentarians continues to fester.

A statement from the Elysée Palace on Monday confirmed Macron’s presence at Wednesday’s event, which will take place at Les Invalides in Paris, where the French National Assembly and other leading national institutions are based.

A spokeswoman for Macron’s office pointed out that 42 French citizens were among the more than 1,200 people murdered during the Hamas assault, with a further three still being held hostage in Gaza.

Answering a question from a reporter about whether a similar event would be held for French citizens killed during the IDF bombing of Gaza that followed the assault, she added that a separate memorial ceremony would be held at a date yet to be determined. “It is obvious that we owe the same emotion and the same dignity to the French victims of the bombings in Gaza, and this tribute will be paid to them at another time,” she said. It is not clear how many French passport holders have actually been killed since the French government announced the deaths of two Palestinian children who were French citizens on Oct. 31.

Wednesday’s ceremony will unfold “under the universal sign of the fight against anti-Semitism and through it, all forms of hatred, racism and oppression against minorities,” the official statement from the presidency declared. Each of the murdered victims will be commemorated through the display of a photograph with their name attached. Families of the victims will be present, many of them being flown in from Israel on a special flight chartered by the French government.

The event is already mired in controversy due the announcement of parliamentarians from the far left La France Insoumise  (LFI -“France Rising”) that they plan to attend. LFI has been vocal in its support of Palestinians in Gaza, frequently drawing accusations of antisemitism because of its harsh rhetoric. Earlier this month, the daughter of two LFI MPs was arrested for allegedly antisemitic social media posts in the weeks following the Hamas attack, while another LFI MP faced condemnation over a posting on social media that invoked a popular Japanese manga meme appropriated by antisemites.

In a letter to Macron, members of five of the victims families demanded a ban on the participation of LFI MPs.

“We, families of victims of Hamas terrorists, solemnly demand that any presence of LFI at the national tribute that will be paid to the 42 Franco-Israeli victims of 7/10 be prohibited,” the letter stated.

However, that request is unlikely to be granted. Pointing out that parliamentarians are automatically invited to state-organized ceremonies, Macron’s office stated that “It is up to everyone to assess the appropriateness or not of their presence since the families spoke out and expressed strong emotion,” but notably did not accede to the ban request.

Mathilde Panot, the head of the LFI deputies in the National Assembly, said last week that she planned to attend the ceremony.

“I will be present and I have asked that a tribute be paid to all the French victims of this war in the Middle East, including the Franco-Palestinians killed in Gaza by the Israeli army,” she said.

 

 

The post French Government Will Hold Commemoration for Victims of Hamas Pogrom Amid Disquiet Over Far Left Party’s Participation first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Montana Tucker “Bring Them Home” Grammy Tribute for Israeli Hostages Turns Heads

Feb 4, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Montana Tucker at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. Photo: Dan MacMedan / USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

Jewish singer and songwriter Montana Tucker showed her support for Israelis still being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza at Sunday night’s 66th Annual Grammy Awards, an annual ceremony held to honor the record industry’s most critically acclaimed artists.

Posing for photographers, Tucker walked the red carpet clad in a beige, diaphanous corset gown ornamented with a yellow ribbon that said, “Bring Them Home.” She also wore a Star of David necklace.

136 Israeli hostages remain imprisoned by Hamas in Gaza. They have been there since Oct. 7, when the terrorist organization committed a massacre of Jews across the southern region of Israel, the deadliest mass killing of Jews since the Holocaust. Hamas’ fighters brutally murdered and rape hundreds, and according to numerous reports, more are being sexually abused in captivity.

Tucker’s wasn’t the only statement made about the Israel-Hamas war. Ann Lennox, Scottish vocalist of the popular 1980s band Eurythmics — most known for its No. 1 song “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” — called for a ceasefire in Gaza in a speech delivered after she performed a tribute to Sinéad O’Connor.

Raising a “Black Power” fist before a much larger audience than Tucker was accorded, Lennox proclaimed, “Artists for a ceasefire. Peace in the world.”

Lennox was alluding to “Artists4Ceasefire,” a small group of entertainers who issued a letter calling on President Joe Biden to “end the bombing of Gaza” that did not mention that Hamas started the war or condemn rising antisemitism. The letter’s signatories include, among other B-list celebrities, Adam Lambert — who in 2009 won second place in the now-discontinued television series American Idol — Jennifer Lopez, Rosie O’Donnell, and Alyssa Milano.

The Algemeiner honored Montana Tucker in 2022 for being one of 100 people recognized for positively influencing Jewish life. A granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Tucker was dogged all her life by assertions that she does not “look Jewish.” Undeterred by the remarks, she committed to proudly representing the Jewish community, and in 2022 produced “How To: Never Forget,” a ten-part docuseries about her grandparents lives in Poland before the Nazi invasion.

“This has been my responsibility to do this, for me and my grandparents and everyone else,” Tucker said at the time, during an interview. “People are used to seeing my very light-hearted, fun dance videos and me collaborating with a lot of different people…It’s rare for me and my content, and rare for the platform in general, to have a docuseries on the Holocaust.”

Other pro-Israel activists wore apparel to the Grammy awards to show. Orthodox Rabbi-Rapper Moshe Reuven, whose song “You Are Not Alone” has amassed over one million streams on Spotify, sported a “Never Is Now” shirt distributed through partnership between civil rights nonprofit StandWithUs and Perspective Fitwear. The shirt’s designer is Karen Margolis.

Taylor Swift’s 2022 record, titled Midnights, won “Album of the Year,” and rapper Jay-Z implied during a speech for accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award that his wife, multi-platinum artists and most-winning Grammy award winner ever Beyoncé, has never won “Album of the Year” because she is a Black woman. The moment was reminiscent of a 2009 incident in which Kanye West stormed the stage of the MTV Awards to denounce Swift’s winning “Best Video by a Female Artist.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Montana Tucker “Bring Them Home” Grammy Tribute for Israeli Hostages Turns Heads first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israeli Bank Shutter Accounts of Settlers Sanctioned By Biden

A woman uses an automated teller machine (ATM), outside a Bank Hapoalim branch in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 30, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Nir Elias / File.

The Israeli bank accounts of two of the Israelis sanctioned by the United States government last week were closed on Sunday and Monday. Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich spoke out against the action, saying “I will take action as the finance minister and do what I must. If need be, we’ll advance legislation on the matter.” He further called the instance “unthinkable” that it occurred.

The two Israelis, Yinon Levi and David Chai Chasdai, had their personal and business accounts closed by Bank Leumi and Bank Hadoar, respectively. The other two settlers listed bank with Bank Hapoalim, who also said they would close the accounts, saying “Bank Hapoalim respects the international sanctions and will comply with any legal order.”

The Bank of Israel announced their support for the move, saying “Banking corporations, by necessity of their international activities, are required to establish policies and procedures for the use of international sanctions lists and national sanctions lists of foreign countries and for entering into or carrying out operations with parties declared on such lists. Circumvention of sanctions regimes as mentioned, has the effect of exposing the banking corporations to significant risks, among them, compliance risks, money laundering and terrorist financing risks, legal risks and reputational risks.”

Chasdai, who denies any wrongdoing, said “The fact that a government bank decides in the middle of a bright day to seize the bank accounts of settlers solely because of pressure from extreme leftist organizations and a hostile American government is unimaginable, but the fact that this is happening under the tenure of a right-wing government just after the greatest massacre in the country’s history is a national disgrace first class.”

“We have gone through many oppressors who harmed the people of Israel over the generations, we will also go through the persecution of Biden and his aides,” he added.

US President Joe Biden approved the sanctions last week, saying “The situation in the West Bank – in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction – has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security and stability in the region.”

The post Israeli Bank Shutter Accounts of Settlers Sanctioned By Biden first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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