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Watch: Rapper Matisyahu Performs at Columbia University to Unite Jewish Students Amid Campus Antisemitism

Matisyahu performs at Pompano Beach Amphitheater Pompano Beach, Florida on August 26, 2023. Photo: Rick Munroe/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

Grammy-nominated Jewish singer-songwriter Matisyahu performed a live concert at Columbia University on Monday night that was broadcast live to help bring Jewish students together amid a rise in antisemitism on college campuses across the US.

The reggae singer and rapper performed the song Am Israel Chai, as well as some of his most popular songs including Live Like a Warrior, One Day, Temple, Jerusalem, Vow of Silence, and his new single Fireproof. He also invited his son on stage to perform a new song he released called Serenity.

Matisyahu said before the free, live-streamed concert that he has felt more connected to the Jewish community since the deadly Hamas massacre in Israel on Oct. 7, when more than 1,200 people were killed and 240 others were taken as hostages.

“The most challenging thing that I guess I’m dealing with right now, which I think a lot of people are dealing with, is the feeling of being alone. Being singled out or this feeling of being misunderstood. But not just in some kind of smaller way. Like in a way where our lives are at stake,” he told Israel’s former special envoy for combating antisemitism, Noa Tishby, in a pre-recorded video interview that played before the concert started.

“It’s sort of like a bit of a contradiction … But the thing that feels the most inspiring is the feeling of being connected to our people, which is unbelievable and miraculous,” he added. “It’s sort of a feeling both at the same time. It’s a confusing time, I think, for a lot of Jews.”

Matisyahu volunteered to perform for Columbia students and explained to Tishby that he wanted to help “be of service” to Jewish students on campus by uniting people through music.

“Always, when there’s opposition to my being, to who I am — which at the kernel of it is being Jewish — whenever I’ve felt that, somehow some instinctive reaction inside of me goes on the offensive and I put everything that I have in my all my soul, my energy and my heart into what I’m doing into my music,” the King Without a Crown singer said.

“Really, what is it that I can really be of service to people? And I think that’s in creating music and playing shows for people right now,” he added. “Especially for my Jews, for my fellow people, brothers and sisters. So immediately when I saw what’s happening on campuses, I felt like somehow connected to that and that I needed to be a part of it.”

College campuses, including Columbia, have been a major hub of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas activism following the Hamas atrocities on Oct. 7. Campuses have also seen a surge in antisemitic incidents over the past five weeks.

The concert was sponsored by Columbia University’s Israel on Campus Coalition and took place shortly after the Ivy League school announced the formation of an antisemitism task force to help address the “ancient, but terribly resilient, form of hatred” and the rise of antisemitic incidents on campus since the Oct. 7 attack.

Tishby addressed students tuning in to the concert and spoke about the history of antisemitism and the need to persevere.

“What we need to remember is at the end of the day, we always prevail. There is no other option. This makes us stronger and more united,” she said, adding that in the face of adversity, the Jewish community needs to be “more loud, more proud, more united, smarter, more rooted in our tradition and culture and proud to be who we are. Because if everybody else is proud of their identity, why have we not been proud of our identity?”

Columbia, located in New York City, has become a center of anti-Israel protests, leading the school to suspend two anti-Israel campus groups — Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace — through the end of the fall term for violating school policies.

“This decision was made after the two groups repeatedly violated university policies related to holding campus events, culminating in an unauthorized event Thursday afternoon that proceeded despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation,” the chair of Columbia’s Special Committee on Campus Safety said in a statement on Friday. “Lifting the suspension will be contingent on the two groups demonstrating a commitment to compliance with university policies and engaging in consultations at a group leadership level with university officials.”

Watch Matisyahu perform for Columbia students in the video below.

The post Watch: Rapper Matisyahu Performs at Columbia University to Unite Jewish Students Amid Campus Antisemitism first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Photo: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

i24 NewsRussia’s strongman President Vladimir Putin said he would end the war in Ukraine only if Kyiv agreed to drop its NATO ambitions and hand over the entirety of four provinces claimed by Moscow. Kyiv swiftly rejected the demands as tantamount to surrender.

Putin demands that Ukraine transfers to Russia four regions, including a 300,000 city of Kherson and 700,000 Zaporizhzhya as a “precondition” to “peace talks”. This man is delusional, and those in the West who speak of “negotiations” or “cease fire” are enemies of the free world. pic.twitter.com/fqTGVqMdDu

— Sergej Sumlenny, LL.M (@sumlenny) June 14, 2024

“The conditions are very simple,” Putin said, listing them as the full withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the entire territory of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

Putin’s maximalist conditions apparently reflect Moscow’s growing confidence that its forces have the upper hand in the war.

He restated his demand for Ukraine’s demilitarization and said an end to Western sanctions must also be part of a peace deal. He also repeated his call for Ukraine’s “denazification.”

“He is offering for Ukraine to admit defeat. He is offering for Ukraine to legally give up its territories to Russia. He is offering for Ukraine to sign away its geopolitical sovereignty,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, rejecting the demands as “absurd.”

The post Kyiv Rejects Putin’s ‘Absurd Ultimatum’ to End War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah

Illustrative. Some rises after an Israeli strike as Israeli forces launch a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled

i24 NewsEarly this morning, tragedy struck in the southern Gaza city of Rafah as eight Israeli soldiers lost their lives in a devastating explosion, marking the deadliest incident for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the region since January.

The IDF has confirmed the casualties, with one soldier identified as Captain Wassem Mahmoud, 23, a deputy company commander from Beit Jann in the Combat Engineering Corps’ 601st Battalion.

The names of the other seven soldiers will be released after their families have been notified.

According to initial reports from the IDF, the soldiers were traveling in a Namer armored combat engineering vehicle (CEV) as part of a convoy around 5 a.m., following a successful overnight operation targeting Hamas militants in the Tel Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. During the operation, troops under the 401st Armored Brigade reportedly neutralized approximately 50 gunmen.

The convoy was en route to buildings captured by the army for the soldiers to rest, when the Namer CEV, which was the fifth or sixth vehicle in the convoy, was struck by a powerful explosion. The nature of the explosion remains under investigation, with possibilities ranging from a pre-planted bomb to an improvised device placed on the vehicle by Hamas operatives.

Initial findings suggest that explosives stored on the exterior of the Namer CEV may have contributed to the severity of the blast. Normally, such explosives are designed to minimize harm to troops inside if detonated.

The IDF probe indicates there was no gunfire preceding the explosion, and the vehicle was not stationary at the time of the incident. The circumstances surrounding the tragedy have prompted intensified scrutiny into the safety protocols and operational procedures during military movements in hostile territories.

The deaths of these eight soldiers bring the total number of IDF casualties in recent ground operations against Hamas to 307. This figure includes a police officer killed during a recent hostage rescue operation and a civilian Defense Ministry contractor also slain in the conflict.

This is a developing story 

The post Deadly Explosion Kills 8 IDF Soldiers in Rafah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah

Israeli firefighters work following rocket attacks from Lebanon, amid ongoing cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and Israeli forces, near the border on its Israeli side, June 13, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Avi Ohayon

i24 NewsRecent actions by both Israel and Hezbollah have sparked growing concerns among U.S. officials, who fear that the situation could escalate into a full-scale war, according to reports from CBS News.

The tension has intensified following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Lebanese territory, which some American authorities believe are laying the groundwork for a larger military operation.

Sources within the US government have expressed worries that such a move could trigger a conflict that might strain Israel’s alliance with Washington.

Hezbollah, in response to recent events including the assassination of senior commander Taleb Sami Abdullah, has escalated its own actions. The group has begun launching daily rocket attacks targeting northern Israeli communities since October 8, citing solidarity with Hamas amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

US officials cited by CBS News have highlighted concerns over the potential unintended consequences of Hezbollah’s increased attacks. They fear that these actions could provoke Israel into launching a significant military assault, further exacerbating the volatile situation in the region.

The developments come amid ongoing international efforts to de-escalate tensions and prevent a wider conflict. Diplomatic channels remain active, with calls for restraint and dialogue from various quarters.

The United States, a key ally of Israel, has historically played a crucial role in mediating and influencing regional conflicts. Officials are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding actions that could escalate tensions further.

The post U.S. Officials Fear Escalating Conflict Between Israel and Hezbollah first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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