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Robert Kraft speaks with rapper Meek Mill on NAACP panel about antisemitism and racism

(JTA) — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft participated in a panel conversation on fighting antisemitism and racism on Sunday during the annual NAACP convention in Boston.

Titled “Hate Has No Home: Racism, Anti-Semitism and Building Bridges to Fight All Hate,” the conversation was moderated by Fox Sports host Joy Taylor and featured NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Kraft and the rapper and activist Meek Mill.

Mill and Kraft have been friends since Kraft helped advocate for the rapper’s release from prison in 2018. They co-founded the nonprofit REFORM Alliance in January 2019 to advocate for criminal justice reform, alongside rapper Jay-Z and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, who is also Jewish.

Mill spoke about how meaningful it was when Kraft visited him in prison and compared the experience to his trip to Poland with Kraft for the March of the Living earlier this year. He said they each gained an understanding for the other’s community and their hardships.

“It was probably two years ago when Robert said, I’m going to get you to come to Poland with me,” Mill said during the conversation. “And I didn’t know the effects of how many friends I had that were Jewish, that had family members that were connected to what happened in Poland in Auschwitz.”

Earlier this year, Kraft launched a $25 million social media campaign called #StandUpToJewishHate through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, which aired ads during NFL games last year. He spoke on Sunday about the meaning of “tikkun olam,” or repairing the world, and the important partnership between the Black and Jewish communities.

“People are trying to put boulders between the back community and the Jewish community,” Kraft said. “And we’ve always been uniquely tied together. And I want us to continue that, and any way we can build those ties, I want to be part of that.”

Kraft said he hopes his #StandUpToJewishHate campaign — with its signature blue pin, which each panelist wore on stage — would serve as “a symbol of unity and solidarity.”

Gates, who teaches at Harvard University and hosts the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” said that anti-Black racism and antisemitism are often tied together by white supremacy.

“I tell my students at Harvard that under the floorboards of Western culture run two streams: one is anti-Black racism and one is antisemitism,” Gates said. “And any time a demagogue wants to stir up people they just lift up the floorboards and dipper out all that hatred against our people and against our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

Gates also noted the famous friendship between activist Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. He added that he is working on a PBS series on Black-Jewish relations — which he said Kraft was the first to financially support.

The post Robert Kraft speaks with rapper Meek Mill on NAACP panel about antisemitism and racism appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Amid Increased Pressure, Hamas Leadership Reportedly Mulls Leaving Qatar

Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani makes statements to the media with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Doha, Qatar, Oct. 13, 2023. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

i24 NewsThe political leadership mulls moving its base of operations out of Qatar, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. It is understood the Gulf state is increasingly pressurizing the terror chiefs to accept a hostage-for-truce deal with Israel.

The report quoted an unnamed Middle Eastern official as saying the Hamas politburo chiefs were mulling a move to Oman.

“The talks have already stalled again with barely any signs or prospects for them to resume any time soon, and distrust is rising between Hamas and the negotiators,” the source was quoted as saying.

“The possibility of the talks being upended entirely is very real,” another Arab official told WSJ.

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Abbas Threatens Ties with U.S. After UN Membership Bid Veto

PA President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah, in the West Bank August 18, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/Pool

i24 NewsIn a recent interview with the official WAFA news agency, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a stern warning, indicating that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would reassess its bilateral relations with the United States following Washington’s veto of a Palestinian request for full United Nations membership.

While Abbas has made similar threats in the past without following through, his latest remarks underscore growing frustration within the Palestinian leadership over perceived U.S. support for Israel and the ongoing conflict in the region.

In the interview, conducted in Arabic and later translated, Abbas criticized the US for its stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He accused the Biden administration of siding with the occupation and failing to uphold international law. Abbas emphasized that while the world supports Palestinian rights, the US continues to provide unwavering support to Israel, including military aid that “contributes to the suffering of Palestinians.”

Abbas’s remarks reflect a deepening rift between the Palestinian leadership and the US, particularly over issues such as Israel’s annexation policies and the status of Jerusalem.

He lamented the US’s abandonment of its promises and commitments, particularly regarding the two-state solution and achieving peace in the region.

The PA leader also highlighted the significance of Jerusalem, emphasizing its status as a red line that cannot be crossed. While underscoring the city’s Islamic and Christian sanctities, Abbas did not acknowledge Judaism’s historical ties to Jerusalem.

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US House to Vote on Long-Awaited $95 Billion Ukraine, Israel Aid Package

US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson stands in the House of Representatives ahead of US President Joe Biden’s third State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, March 7, 2024. Photo: Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday is set to vote on, and expected to pass, a $95 billion legislative package providing security assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, over bitter objections from party hardliners.

More than two months have passed since the Democratic-majority Senate passed a similar measure and U.S. leaders from Democratic President Joe Biden to top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell have been urging embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring it up for a vote.

Johnson this week chose to ignore ouster threats by hardline members of his fractious 218-213 majority and push forward the measure that includes some $60.84 billion for Ukraine as it struggles to fight off a two-year Russian invasion.

The unusual four-bill package also includes funds for Israel, security assistance for Taiwan and allies in the Indo-Pacific and a measure that includes sanctions, a threat to ban the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok and the potential transfer of seized Russian assets to Ukraine.

“The world is watching what the Congress does,” the White House said in a statement on Friday. “Passing this legislation would send a powerful message about the strength of American leadership at a pivotal moment. The Administration urges both chambers of the Congress to quickly send this supplemental funding package to the President’s desk.”

A bipartisan 316-94 House majority on Friday voted to advance the bill to a vote, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to work over the weekend if it passes the House as expected.

“It’s not the perfect legislation, it’s not the legislation that we would write if Republicans were in charge of both the House, the Senate, and the White House,” Johnson told reporters on Friday. “This is the best possible product that we can get under these circumstances to take care of these really important obligations.”

Some hardline Republicans have voiced strong opposition to further Ukraine aid, with some arguing the U.S. can ill afford it given its rising $34 trillion national debt. They have repeatedly raised the threat of ousting Johnson, who became speaker in October after his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, was ousted by party hardliners.

Representative Bob Good, chair of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, told reporters on Friday that the bills represent a “slide down into the abyss of greater fiscal crisis and America-last policies that reflect Biden and Schumer and (House Democratic leader Hakeem) Jeffries, and don’t reflect the American people.”

But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who carries huge influence in the party, on April 12 voiced support for Johnson and in a Thursday social media post said Ukraine’s survival is important for the U.S.

The bills provide $60.84 billion to address the conflict in Ukraine, including $23 billion to replenish U.S. weapons, stocks and facilities; $26 billion for Israel, including $9.1 billion for humanitarian needs, and $8.12 billion for the Indo-Pacific.

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