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‘We’re Not Going Anywhere’: Jewish Student Targeted at UC Santa Barbara Condemns Hate Campaign

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on February 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

A Jewish University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) student body president who was left hateful messages saying “Zionist not welcome” near her office stated emphatically on social media that “we’re not going anywhere.”

Tessa Veksler issued the statement on Monday night following the discovery at the school’s Multicultural Center of over a dozen messages, written on placards, calling her a “neutral ass b—,” as well as saying “resistance is justified,” “you can run but you can’t hide Tessa Veksler,” and “get these Zionists out of office.” In marker, someone else graffitied “Zionist not welcome” on a door, just inches away from a mezuzah.

“I am floored by today’s events. I am deeply upset by the blatant antisemitic messages displayed at UCSB’s Multicultural Center (we see the irony, right?),” Veksler said in an Instagram post. “This is dehumanizing and rooted in antisemitism.”

She continued, “This incident is not an isolated event but rather a culmination of neglecting to adequately address the implications of such speech and actions within our university. UC Santa Barbara must not remain complicit in the targeting, intimidation, and discrimination against its Jewish students. Silence perpetuates discrimination against Jewish students.”

The Algemeiner has asked University of California-Santa Barbara to comment on this story.

Tessa Veksler is a fourth year political science major who was elected in April 2023 as president of UCSB Associated Students (AS), making history by becoming the school’s first ever Shabbat observant student body president. At the time, she told The Algemeiner that becoming president was always a “far-distant” goal of hers. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, from which her family emigrated in the 1990s, compelled her to run.

“When the conflict started, I was one of the only Ukrainian students within student government, and so many students turned to me for advice,” she said during an interview. “In working to help international students in Ukraine I realized how very few resources were available and that the ones that were available were not well known.”

Since then, Veksler has become one of the most recognized student leaders of the pro-Zionist movement on campus, traveling to colleges across the country to speak to other students about the centrality of Zionism to Jewish identity and the importance of resisting antisemitism. She made friends everywhere she went.

“Tessa Veksler is a woman of valor,” Danielle Yablonka, a Florida Atlantic University graduate and activist-model who met Veksler during programs held by Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.

US colleges and universities have experienced an alarming spike in antisemitic incidents — including demonstrations calling for Israel’s destruction and the intimidation and harassment of Jewish students — since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Between Oct. 7 and Dec. 18, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded 470 antisemitic incidents on college campuses alone.

The Algemeiner has reported on numerous incidents that followed the attack, which was the single deadliest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

“Once again, we are seeing Jewish students in student government being targeted on the basis of the Jews’ shared ancestry and ethnicity,” Alyza Lewin, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law told The Algemeiner in a response to this latest outrage. “Demanding that a Jew disavow their ancestral heritage to be student body president is outrageous, immoral, and unlawful. It’s incumbent upon the university to put a stop to this baseless harassment and discrimination of Jewish students.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post ‘We’re Not Going Anywhere’: Jewish Student Targeted at UC Santa Barbara Condemns Hate Campaign first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips

After a weekend overnight shutdown of Israeli airspace, during which time Iranian missiles and drones attacked the country, Canadians ware cautiously optimistic that travel to and from Ben Gurion Airport will resume regular schedules later this week. Air Canada cancelled departures from Toronto on Saturday and from Tel Aviv on Monday—the latter despite the airport […]

The post Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Harvard University Wants Antisemitism Lawsuit Dismissed, Denies Injury to Students

Students accusing Israel of genocide at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, Nov. 16, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Lawyers representing Harvard University in Massachusetts have requested the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by six Jewish students who accused the school of ignoring antisemitic discrimination.

According to The Harvard Crimson, the university said in a court filing that a lawsuit, as well as a period of discovery during which its conduct would be thoroughly examined, was not necessary due to the “tangible steps” it has taken to combat antisemitism in just the past few months. Additionally, the school argued that the civil suit, led by graduate student Shabbos Kestenbaum and Students Against Antisemitism, lacked standing.

“Without minimizing at all the importance of the need to address energetically antisemitism at the university, plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with the strategy and speed of Harvard’s essential work does not state a legally cognizable claim,” said the motion to dismiss, as quoted by The Crimson. “Consequently, the amended complaint should be dismissed.”

Harvard University recently received an “F” grade for its handling of antisemitism in a first-ever Campus Antisemitism Report Card issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, students have stormed the campus calling for the destruction of the Jewish state, terrorizing students and preventing some from attending class.

In November, a mob of anti-Zionists — including Ibrahim Bharmal, editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review — followed, surrounded, and intimidated a Jewish student. “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the crush of people screamed in a call-and-response chant into the ears of the student who —as seen in the footage — was forced to duck and dash the crowd to free himself from the cluster of bodies that encircled him.

In February, a faculty group posted on social an antisemitic cartoon which showed a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David dangling two men of color from a noose.

These incidents, and more, are currently being investigated by the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which is probing Harvard’s handling of skyrocketing instances of antisemitic intimidation and harassment on campus.

Proclaiming that Harvard “failed Jews repeatedly,” Kestenbaum told The Crimson that he would not stand down.

“Harvard’s meritless motion to dismiss our lawsuit only proves our point: It has never taken the concerns of us Jewish students seriously, and has no plans to start now,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to apply maximum pressure in both the court of law and the court of public opinion … We hope that donors and prospective students follow closely.”

No Ivy League school earned better than a “C” in the ADL’s landmark report, a grade awarded to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Four others — Columbia University, Brown University, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania — received “D’s” while Harvard and Princeton University both received “F’s.”

“Every campus should get an A — that’s not grade inflation, that’s the minimum that every group on every campus expects,” ADL chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement announcing the report. “They deserve a learning environment free from antisemitism and hate. But that hasn’t been the experience with antisemitism running rampant on campus since even before Oct. 7.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Harvard University Wants Antisemitism Lawsuit Dismissed, Denies Injury to Students first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israel Sets New Standards for Saving Wounded Troops in War

Israeli soldiers scan an area while sirens sound as rockets from Gaza are launched towards Israel, near Sderot, southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Israeli army’s chief medical officer told a recent gathering of NATO and allied officials about the striking success of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in saving injured soldiers during the war against Hamas in Gaza.

According to IDF Medical Corps chief Elon Glassberg, the army has brought the time between the moment of injury and seeing a senior medical practitioner to under four minutes, and in many cases under one minute. One reason for the speed is that the IDF has changed its strategy for treating wounded soldiers from the typical field hospitals to which soldiers are evacuated and treated — and in serious cases transferred via helicopter to a hospital — to a system that brings doctors to the battlefield with soldiers.

The new system has, according to Glassberg, more than 670 doctors and paramedics embedded within combat groups in Gaza. As a result, wounded soldiers are given immediate care.

Additionally, the new policy calls for airlifting every wounded soldier to a hospital via helicopter, which are on standby at all times and outfitted to be like flying emergency rooms, staffed with surgeons and intensive care doctors.

The IDF has conducted over 950 such operations in the helicopters, according to Glassberg, bringing approximately 4,200 soldiers to hospitals. In the field, 80 soldiers were saved due to quick doses of plasma and 550 had bleeding stopped before the flights.

Of course, helicopter times to hospitals vary and are not predictable on the minute. The current time from moment of injury to arriving at the hospital stands at one hour and six minutes. This is in comparison to an average time of two hours and ten minutes during the 2014 Gaza War, also known as Operation Protective Edge.

The new processes by the IDF are saving lives. According to Glassberg, the current rate of death among wounded soldiers is 15 percent. In Gaza today, however, 6.3 percent of soldiers who are injured end up succumbing to their wounds, showing how quick action is key in ensuring the injured soldiers can return home after the war — or, in many cases, back to the battlefield.

Glassberg also pointed out how the IDF is continuing to learn how to best protect soldiers in the future. For example, he noted, a majority of deaths occurred due to injuries to parts of the body that are not protected by bulletproof vests. Therefore, Israel is already discussing new vests to give to soldiers to lower the casualty count.

The post Israel Sets New Standards for Saving Wounded Troops in War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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