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NYC Mayor Adams rejects criticism that his Jewish advisory group isn’t diverse

(New York Jewish Week) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office is pushing back against criticism that its newly inaugurated Jewish Advisory Council is not diverse enough. 

That charge was aired in a New York Times story published Thursday that quoted liberal rabbis and U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler saying the council had too few women and too many Orthodox members. The Times noted that 23 of the 37 members of the council are Orthodox and that only 9 are women. 

Mayor Adams failed to “adequately represent the demographic diversity of Jewish New Yorkers,” Nadler, the Upper West Side Democrat, said in a letter provided to the Times. “I encourage the mayor to work to better account for that diversity with changes to the council’s membership so that it can be balanced appropriately to properly reflect the community’s full range of views and needs.”

Ruth Messinger, the former president of the American Jewish World Service and former Manhattan Borough President, backed Nadler’s statement.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Adams pushed back on the assertion that the council isn’t diverse enough. The spokesperson said that the council “comprises a diverse assembly of Jewish men and women hailing from various religious and cultural backgrounds, including Chabad, Conservative, Hasidic, Non-Denominational, Modern Orthodox, Reform, Sephardic, and Yeshiva Orthodox affiliations.”

The spokesperson added that “lumping these groups together to insinuate that there is either ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’ is a dog whistle that unfortunately resonates with the Jewish people all too well and disrespects the uniqueness and cultural originality of these institutions.”

The city hall spokesperson said that the Jewish Advisory Council was designed to be inclusionary and the mayor is encouraging all who believe they can contribute to apply to join.

Last week, the 37 rabbis, Jewish activists and community leaders gathered at City Hall to meet with Adams for the first meeting of the council, which was assembled to address issues affecting Jewish New Yorkers, including rising anti-semitism and antisemitic hate crimes, education and quality of life. 

Rabbi Rachel Timoner of the Reform Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of the LGBTQ+ synagogue Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in Manhattan said that the council did not appear to include LBGTQ leaders or Jews of Color.

In a June 28 letter addressed to the mayor, Timoner and Kleinbaum wrote: “We know and admire some of the leaders you’ve selected to serve. However, we are deeply concerned that the makeup of your Advisory Council does not properly reflect the diversity of the community that you yourself said at the time you were committed to fully embracing,”

The letter refers to a May 2022 meeting in which Adams met with 55 women clergy who were concerned that he was only representing the interests and perspectives of male, Orthodox Jews. The meeting was a result of advocacy from the New York Jewish Agenda, a progressive Jewish group founded in 2020. 

“New York Jewish Agenda exists, among other reasons, to achieve recognition by elected officials of the pluralistic, diverse Jewish community of New York, making the case that the majority of Jews in New York are liberal or progressive and often have a different set of priorities than do our haredi brothers or right-leaning siblings,” Timoner, a co-founder of NYJA, told the New York Jewish Week last year.  

At the time, Timoner — who was named one of the New York Jewish Week’s “36 to Watch” in 2022 — said the goal of the meeting was for the mayor to see “that the vast majority of New York’s Jews are liberal and progressive,” because “the concern was that his administration was only consulting haredi leaders, as if they spoke for the whole community.”

In an interview Friday afternoon, Timoner explained that the key issue with the Jewish Advisory Council is not diversity for diversity’s sake; rather, it’s important for the council include liberal and progressive Jewish leaders so their concerns are represented, she said.

“When we went to meet with the mayor [last May], we brought a number of issues that Jews care about deeply — which include Jewish-specific questions like antisemitism, but also include questions that affect all New Yorkers, like affordable housing, health care, mental health care and climate change,”  Timoner said. “The liberal part of the Jewish community sees ourselves as interconnected with other minority communities who are working to make our democracy more inclusive, and more equal, and, and to stand against hate against any group.”

“If the mayor is creating an advisory council that is predominantly composed of Jews who are bringing an agenda that is really only about Jews, that siloing of the Jewish people off from other communities is actually not safe for us, and also not aligned with the priorities and perspective of most Jews in New York,” Timoner added.

Timoner was not included in the Jewish Advisory Council, nor was Kleinbaum, who also helped organize the 2022 meeting. In fact, only one attendee of that May meeting was invited to the first council meeting: Rabbi Diana Gerson, the associate executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

“The Advisory Council is tilted so heavily to one part of the community that it reflects a very lopsided view of New York’s Jewish demography and has the potential to make the majority of New York’s Jews feel underrepresented and unheard,” Timoner and Kleinbaum’s letter said. “We hope that this was just an accidental oversight.”

Timoner and Kleinbaum indicated in their letter that they are not interested in joining the council. “This is not about us,” they wrote. “It is, however, about creating an official entity that reflects our mayor’s view of the Jewish people of New York. We hope that you will consider how most Jews will feel seeing this Jewish Advisory Council and reconsider whether it properly reflects your vision of the beautiful mosaic of New York City’s robust Jewish community.”

The mayor’s spokesperson also provided a statement on behalf of the council itself, reiterating City Hall’s claims that the group is composed of diverse Jewish leaders.

“Hailing from all five boroughs, we collectively bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Adams administration regarding the issues that affect New York City’s Jewish community and our city as a whole,” the statement said. “Our group has a dynamic blend of expertise in various sectors, ranging from social services and food pantries like Commonpoint, Met Council, and Masbia; to public safety organizations; to educational experts, particularly for children with special needs; and cultural institutions such as the Jewish Heritage Museum and the Jewish Children’s Museum. These organizations serve all New Yorkers.”

In a 2011 study, 40 percent of Jews in the city identified as Orthodox. The same study said that about 28% identified as Reform, 8% as Conservative, 25% as “nondenominational” and 22% as secular. 

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, a member of the council and executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis, told the New York Times that he planned to meet with the mayor’s senior adviser, Joel Eisdorfer — who was also one of our 2022 “36 to Watch” honorees —  to discuss adding members to the council. 

“We’re not going to be fully effective if we’re not fully representative,” Potasnik told the Times.

In a phone call prior to the first meeting of the Jewish Advisory Council, Rachel Ain, a Conservative rabbi, told the New York Jewish Week that the Council was “a wonderful step towards expanding the voices at the table.” 

“By the creation of the council and reaching out to people of all denominations, both within the synagogue-affiliated organizations and beyond, there is a commitment to understanding the New York City Jewish community,” she said.


The post NYC Mayor Adams rejects criticism that his Jewish advisory group isn’t diverse appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Iran Attacks Israel: CNN Host Minimizes Barrage & Fake News Goes Viral

An anti-missile system operates after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, April 14, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Iran launched an unprecedented direct attack on Israel on Saturday, sending at least 300 drones and missiles towards the Jewish state.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) coordinated with other militaries, including the US and UK, to intercept most of the projectiles, which were also supplemented by further rockets fired from Iranian terror proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Iranian-backed Hezbollah also joined the assault, and announced that it had fired two barrages of rockets at an Israeli military base in the Golan Heights.

Hamas gained support for Oct 7 by inciting fear among Palestinians about Israel’s intentions for the Temple Mount.

Tonight, Israel protected their holy sites from missiles fired by Hamas’s patron Iran. pic.twitter.com/sluuiXgbzb

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) April 14, 2024

Fake News Goes Viral Overnight

As the skies above and surrounding Israel were lit up with rockets overnight, social media was also alight with fake news, videos, and photos purporting to be of the extraordinary attack.

While the majority of outright false information came from users on the platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Qatari mouthpiece Al Jazeera was also caught publishing a video that it falsely claimed showed rockets hitting Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile, infamous pro-Hamas influencer Jackson Hinkle was among the X platform users to share fake footage that he said showed “Israelis panicking” as the Iranian barrages hit Israel. BBC Verify journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh confirmed the video was actually of crowds in Argentina waiting to meet a musician. 

This video, posted by Jackson Hinkle and others and viewed nearly 5 million times, claims to show “Israelis panicking” as Iran’s missiles and drones reach Israel.

in fact, it shows Louis Tomlinson fans near Four Seasons Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina last week; verified by… pic.twitter.com/11tX9bL0sh

— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) April 14, 2024

Hinkle, who was recently banned from Instagram, posted numerous messages of support for Iran throughout the attack, including several posts praising Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and AI-generated images of planes dropping bombs.

Unsurprisingly, Iran’s state TV was behind the spread of many videos that purported to show catastrophic damage in Israel, including one that was actually of a fire in Chile that was filmed in February.

On the left: Iranian state media claiming this is footage from an Iranian missile which hit Israel.

On the right: the same footage from a fire in Chile in February.

𝐑𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐈𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐦𝐞: our defense systems intercepted 99% of their missiles. pic.twitter.com/xpLXGO3qd0

— Israel ישראל (@Israel) April 14, 2024

Perhaps hoping to ratchet up the tension, a number of users shared claims that Israel had immediately launched a drone counterstrike on Iran, including sharing videos of what they claimed was a fire in Tehran.

Others shared footage of the 2020 Beirut Port explosion, which they said showed Israel’s Mossad bombing the Iranian capital.

BREAKING: A massive drone strike has occurred in Iran’s capital, Tehran. The Israeli Mossad has already claimed responsibility for it. pic.twitter.com/Q9VdxI6heV

— GSPs Backup (@ConLibCon) April 13, 2024

The international media responded to the overnight attack with breaking news updates and rolling live coverage.

While most of the reporting stuck to the facts, there were a few instances of the media either downplaying the attack or obscuring the sequence of events that preceded Iran’s assault.

CNN pundit Christiane Amanpour, for example, ludicrously described the attack as “entirely targeted,” even though hundreds of thousands of Israelis were forced into shelters as large parts of the country remained under threat.

“It seems to be entirely targeted; it wasn’t an attack directed at the whole of Israel.”@amanpour, try telling that to the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who were forced into bomb shelters or the 7-year-old girl critically injured by shrapnel to her head. pic.twitter.com/XtZaPY8zmR

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) April 14, 2024

The BBC and ABC News Australia did not specify in their headlines that Iran had fired hundreds of drones and long-range missiles at Israel, instead vaguely referring to the weapons as “objects.” Furthermore, ABC News Australia’s headline failed to mention Iran at all.

“Objects.”

Well done, @BBCNews. https://t.co/289O02VZRl pic.twitter.com/oo16CLpxk4

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) April 14, 2024

The New York Times, in its coverage, suggested that the attack was somehow justified by asserting that Israel had “bombed an Iranian embassy complex” in Damascus. In reality, Israel targeted a building near the embassy that was being used by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) leaders to coordinate attacks on Israel.

The Observer published an editorial mere hours after the attack, calling for any further escalation to be prevented:

Amid the present tumult, it should not be forgotten that this Iranian attack was provoked, according to Iran’s leadership at least, by Israel’s unacknowledged bombing on 1 April of an Iranian embassy annex in Damascus that killed several senior commanders. In Tehran’s not unreasonable view, that attack crossed a red line by targeting diplomatic premises.” [emphasis added]

Let us be completely clear: there is nothing “unreasonable,” as The Observer suggests, about Israel striking the infrastructure of the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism that was being used to mastermind attacks on Israel. Suggesting it was merely a diplomatic facility is nothing short of absurd.

According to @ObserverUK, “this Iranian attack was provoked, according to Iran’s leadership at least, by Israel’s unacknowledged bombing on 1 April of an Iranian embassy annex in Damascus that killed several senior commanders. In Tehran’s not unreasonable view, that attack… pic.twitter.com/sXidFByZTZ

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) April 14, 2024

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 Iran Attacks Israel: CNN Host Minimizes Barrage & Fake News Goes Viral first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Hamas Leader Haniyeh Set to Meet Turkish President Erdogan

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, March 26, 2024. Photo: Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

i24 News — Ismail Haniyeh, the political leader of the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, is scheduled to visit Turkey for talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, according to reports from broadcaster NTV.

Erdogan had earlier confirmed the upcoming meeting while addressing lawmakers from his AK Party in parliament, reaffirming Turkey’s stance on Hamas as a “liberation movement.”

The meeting comes in the wake of a phone call last Wednesday, during which Erdogan offered condolences to Haniyeh after three of his sons were reportedly killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

“Israel will definitely be held accountable before the law for the crimes against humanity it committed,” Erdogan told Haniyeh, according to the AFP news agency.

Confirming the fatalities, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated that the three operatives killed in the strike were indeed the sons of Haniyeh, the chairman of Hamas’ political bureau. One of Haniyeh’s sons was allegedly involved in holding Israeli hostages. The IDF described all three as terrorist operatives in Hamas’ armed wing.

Erdogan’s support for Hamas has been evident amid renewed tensions between Turkey and Israel. Although the two countries announced the normalization of relations in August 2022, Erdogan has resumed his verbal attacks on Israel since the onset of the war in Gaza.

In one of his speeches, Erdogan harshly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of committing atrocities in Gaza and dubbing him as the “butcher of Gaza.”

The post Hamas Leader Haniyeh Set to Meet Turkish President Erdogan first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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CAIR Accuses ADL of Spreading Hate, Despite Controversial Oct. 7 Comments

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

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has accused the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of fanning the flames of hate and called for the firing of its CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, for a recent comment he made that it was unacceptable for someone wearing a keffiyeh to chant “death to the Zionists.”

The accusation against one of America’s most prominent Jewish civil rights groups came after CAIR, another well known nonprofit, received widespread criticism late last year when its executive director said was “happy” to see Gazans “break the siege” during the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

CAIR on Monday released a letter with more than 60 other organizations, labeling Greenblatt, who is widely perceived as politically liberal, as an “extreme [supporter] of the Israeli government” who has “smear[ed] Palestinian human rights advocates.”

The letter alleged that Greenblatt “analogiz[ed] the Palestinian keffiyeh to the Nazi swastika” during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe television program late last month.

On the show, Greenblatt said that people should be concerned about the tactics of anti-Israel activists on college campuses because when they graduate they would be joining “your board rooms, they’re going to editorial boards, they’re going to the assignment desk of news networks.”

He argued that “if you wouldn’t tolerate” someone saying “death to the Zionists, I wish for that and worse” while they were “wearing a swastika on their arm, I’m sorry, you should not tolerate it if you’re wearing a keffiyeh on their head.” He further noted it was wrong to call for “death to” anyone.

CAIR’s letter did not directly quote Greenblatt’s comment, instead only opting to include the group’s  interpretation of it. 

The letter also alleged that the ADL chief has refused to clarify what he said.

Greenblatt responded to CAIR’s claims in a statement to The Algemeiner.

“Comments I made weeks ago are unsurprisingly being taken entirely out of context by CAIR, an organization that seems to specialize in fiction rather than fact,” he said. “To be crystal clear: hate speech calling for the death of people should not be tolerated whether the person is wearing a Nazi armband or a keffiyeh, a kippah or a cross, or anything else for that matter.”

“I’m not comparing the garb,” Greenblatt emphasized. “I’m comparing the hate speech and how it shouldn’t be tolerated from anyone, period.”

This week’s spat between the two organizations came after the head of CAIR said he was “happy” to witness Hamas’ rampage across southern Israel on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terrorist group invaded the Jewish state from neighboring Gaza, murdered 1,200 people, and kidnapped 253 others as hostages.

“The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege — the walls of the concentration camp — on Oct. 7,” CAIR co-founder and executive director Nihad 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 terror 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.

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 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 Accuses ADL of Spreading Hate, Despite Controversial Oct. 7 Comments first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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