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Wexner-funded museum says it will keep up exhibit by Palestinian artist who appeared to celebrate Hamas on social media

(JTA) – A prestigious university art museum funded by the pro-Israel philanthropist Les Wexner says it will keep up an ongoing exhibit by a Palestinian artist who published posts celebrating Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel on social media.

The decision has come even as Wexner’s foundation is penalizing Harvard University for not being more assertively pro-Israel.

The Wexner Center for the Arts, affiliated with the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, says its current exhibit featuring the works of visual artist and filmmaker Jumana Manna will run through Dec. 30 as planned.

But the center canceled a planned November panel discussion due to feature Manna, saying in a statement, “Due to current world events, we do not feel this is the right time to have conversations about a region at war.” Les Wexner is the museum’s board chair.

Some Jewish artists are pressing the museum to do more, citing posts from Manna’s social media accounts. One post shows the comment “Long live the creativity of resistance” above an image of Hamas terrorists paragliding into Israel on Oct. 7, when Hamas killed more than 1,400 people and kidnapped hundreds more. Another shows a laughing-face emoji above a still from a video of teenagers riding bikes into Israel shortly before the Hamas attack.

Jumana Manna confirmed that she had posted laudatory reactions about images shared when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, but said she had not understood at the time that civilians had been harmed. (Instagram via source)

Manna, whose Instagram account is currently private, confirmed the posts as hers in an email to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency but said they were not intended to celebrate the murder of Jews.

She said they had been taken out of context and used in “a vindictive social media trolling campaign” against her. The watchdog group StopAntisemitism, which has been calling attention to people who have expressed support for Hamas’ attack, has been calling attention to Manna and exhorting its followers to ask the museum to cancel her exhibition.

Manna claimed she had made her “creativity of resistance” post “before having any knowledge of what became a shocking massacre on October 7th” and merely intended to celebrate “the stubborn and creative will to break free from captivity.” The laughing-face emoji post, she said, was not referring to the murders that would soon unfold, but to the “sense of astonishment” of Palestinian teenagers riding their bikes “into the lands their grandparents were expelled from.”

“I neither sanction nor celebrate the murder of civilians, be they Jewish, Palestinian or any other,” Manna said. “It was never my intention to trivialize pain and grief.”

Manna also signed an open letter published in the magazine Artforum earlier this month that called for a ceasefire in Gaza without initially condemning Hamas. Artforum’s editor-in-chief was fired last week over the letter, reportedly following pressure from Jewish and pro-Israel art curators and collectors.

The Wexner Center’s public relations manager, Melissa Starker, told JTA in a statement that the museum “serves as a vital forum where artists share ideas and where diverse audiences engage with the art and issues of our time.”

Starker continued, “While the center is committed to this mission, it is important to understand that the views expressed by the artists through their work are their own and do not represent the views of the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Wexner Center Foundation, its trustees, or The Ohio State University. An exhibition, performance, film, talk or any artist’s work shown within the center is not to be construed as approval or endorsement of the artist’s publications, activities, actions, or positions.”

Starker added that OSU “condemns all terrorist groups and terrorist attacks, including those perpetrated by Hamas on Israeli civilians, Americans, and others the weekend of October 7, 2023.”

The museum is part of a growing body of cultural institutions that have grappled with how to proceed with planned exhibitions and events in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack and Israel’s resulting war against Hamas in Gaza. Some have sought to tamp down expressions of pro-Palestinian support or solidarity, drawing criticism from members of the cultural community.

In New York City, the Jewish cultural center 92NY saw several authors and staff members disassociate themselves after it canceled a talk by a bestselling author who had signed an open letter harshly critical of Israel. El Museo del Barrio, also in New York City, decided not to display a work it had commissioned after the artists included a Palestinian flag in the display. And the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada altered artists’ statements accompanying their work to eliminate the word “Palestine” — then backtracked after the artists protested.

In the case of the Wexner Center, the decision to continue exhibiting Manna’s work is particularly notable because the nonprofit created by its board chair recently cut ties with Harvard University over what it said was an insufficiently pro-Israel posture from that school’s administrators.

Jumana Manna’s exhibit at the Wexner Center for the Arts is her first major exhibition in the United States. (Screenshot)

The Wexner Foundation, which funded leadership programs for Jewish professionals and visiting Israelis at Harvard’s Kennedy School of government for decades, announced in an Oct. 16 open letter that it was ending its partnership over “the dismal failure of Harvard’s leadership to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians by terrorists.”

That move came after Harvard President Claudine Gay was slow to initially respond to the Hamas attack while several student groups blamed Israel entirely for the massacre, although Gay ultimately issued several statements condemning the group.

Les Wexner is the chair emeritus of the Wexner Foundation’s board of trustees and, along with his wife Abigail, signed the Harvard letter as chairs.

A spokesperson for the Wexner Foundation did not return requests for comment. Starker told JTA that the foundation “has no connection” to the arts center. The foundation’s website lists the museum alongside a medical center and local nonprofits as among the “Wexner family philanthropic interests” beyond the foundation. Les Wexner is from the Columbus area.

The Jewish artist Barbara Rabkin, who has been advocating against Manna’s exhibit on social media, told JTA she believed the Wexners should “encourage” their namesake museum “to remove the works of antisemites and to reconsider [their] funding/naming strategies in light of this information — much as they’ve done with Harvard.”

Rabkin also said she thought the museum should cancel Manna’s exhibition.

“She has participated in promoting and celebrating Hamas’ inhumane brutal slaughtering and kidnapping of innocent civilians in Israel,” Rabkin said of Manna. “Her social media posts are a desecration of everything art is supposed to stand for — the elevation of humanity.”

Manna’s exhibit at the Wexner Center, “Jumana Manna: Break, Take, Erase, Tally,” is the first major exhibition in the United States of the Berlin-based artist, who was born in Princeton, New Jersey; grew up in Jerusalem; and holds Israeli citizenship. It includes screenings of her 2022 film “Foragers,” which centers on Palestinian foragers of wild plants who, in the museum’s description, are “criminalized by the Israeli government in the name of nature conservation.”

“Working with the team at Wexner Center has been a pleasure throughout,” Manna told JTA, adding that she hoped to restage the panel discussion at another time. “It saddens me to know that they are subject to this smear campaign.”

The post Wexner-funded museum says it will keep up exhibit by Palestinian artist who appeared to celebrate Hamas on social media appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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The Jewish Sport Report: The Hughes brothers make even more Jewish hockey history

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Hello and Happy Hanukkah! 

What do sports and Hanukkah have in common? Sure, there’s lots of fried food involved, but I’m talking about the idea of miracles. Underdogs. Victory against all odds.

A couple years ago, the Jewish Sport Report team put our heads together and listed what we thought were the eight greatest Jewish sports miracles ever — one for each night of the holiday — plus a shamash to ignite them all.

Check out our list here, and let us know what other Jewish sports miracles you would put on your hanukkiah.

The National Hughes League

From left to right: Luke, Quinn and Jack Hughes pose for a photo before their NHL game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Dec. 5, 2023. (Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jack, Luke and Quinn Hughes made Jewish hockey history this week when they became the first trio of Jewish brothers to play in the same NHL game (and I thought my two brothers and I had a shot…).

Jack and Luke’s New Jersey Devils came out on top against Quinn’s Vancouver Canucks in what many dubbed the “Hughes Bowl.” But all three brothers showed why they’re among the NHL’s brightest stars: Jack scored a goal with two assists, Luke scored a power play goal (assisted by Jack) and Quinn had two assists.

“I thought both Luke and Quinn played really well,” Jack Hughes told ESPN after the Devils’ 6-5 win. “A lot of fun to play with them.”

“Getting a picture in warmups was pretty cool,” Luke said. “I haven’t really let it all sink in yet. For me, it’s seeing him off ice, I haven’t seen (Quinn) in a couple of months, and it’s been the five of us. Our whole family has been here for two days, going to dinner and hanging out. It’s been great for our family.”

Read more about the Hughes brothers’ historic day here.

Halftime report

Canadian-Israeli businessman Sylvan Adams donated $100 million to Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva as southern Israel works to rebuild after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Adams, who won a cycling world championship for Israel earlier this year, has been a significant supporter of the sport’s growth in the country.

MATCHMAKER, MATCHMAKER. Speaking of $100 million donations, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is giving another $100 million to his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism as a matching donation after the Norman R. Rales and Ruth Rales Foundation pledged the same amount.

BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD. Here’s a name Jewish hockey fans will want to know: Zeev Buium, a star defenseman at the University of Denver who is considered among the top prospects for the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Buium’s mother Miriam played pro basketball in Israel.

HOMESICK. Injured Tottenham player Manor Solomon said this week that it’s been hard to think about anything other than the ongoing war in his home country. “These days are truly terrible,” he told the Israeli news site Ynet. “Every day, you just look at the news and your phone, and the television is on all the time to see what’s happening. We all hope that all the hostages will return and that there won’t be any more losses for us.”

FLYING HIGH. Businessman David Rubenstein may soon add another line to his already lengthy resume. Rubenstein, the cofounder of a private equity firm who also chairs the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (among a number of prestigious chairmanships) is reportedly interested in buying his hometown Baltimore Orioles. Bloomberg estimates Rubenstein’s net worth at $4.6 billion.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend


Deni Avdija and the Washington Wizards face the Brooklyn Nets tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET. Domantas Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings play the Phoenix Suns tonight at 9 p.m. ET. In the G League, Amari Bailey and the Greensboro Swarm face the Delaware Blue Coats tomorrow at 6 p.m. ET, and Ryan Turell and the Motor City Cruise take on the Windy City Bulls Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. The Orthodox prospect has not seen much playing time yet this season.


Jake Walman — who will soon have his own bobblehead — and the Detroit Red Wings host Jakob Chychrun and the Ottawa Senators tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET. Devon Levi, who’s back in the NHL after a brief AHL stint, and his Buffalo Sabres host the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow at 7 p.m. ET. Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, Jack and Luke Hughes’ New Jersey Devils face off against Zach Hyman’s Edmonton Oilers.


Here’s the Jewish schedule for Week 14 in the NFL:

Sunday at 1 p.m. ET: Michael Dunn and the Cleveland Browns host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET: Jake Curhan and the Seattle Seahawks play the San Francisco 49ers, while Greg Joseph and the Minnesota Vikings face the Las Vegas Raiders.
Sunday at 8:15 p.m. ET: A.J. Dillon and the Green Bay Packers play the New York Giants on “Sunday Night Football.”


After a rough 5-0 loss against Fulham on Wednesday, Matt Turner and his Premier League club Nottingham Forest host the Wolves tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET.

Cleats for a cause

The Minnesota Vikings will be sporting Israel-themed cleats on Sunday. The shoes feature Stars of David, Israeli and American flags and the phrases “I Stand With Israel,” “Am Yisrael Chai” and “Bring Them Home.” The team is owned by Mark Wilf, a Jewish philanthropist who’s currently serving as chairman of the board of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

This Sunday against the Raiders, various people within the Vikings organization will be supporting Israel on their feet.

Kicker Greg Joseph’s cleats and sneakers that will be worn by the Wilfs and team CEO Andrew Miller.

Custom designed by @stadiumck.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 8, 2023

The post The Jewish Sport Report: The Hughes brothers make even more Jewish hockey history appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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California Coffee Shop Apologizes for Anti-Israel Employees Blocking Jewish Woman From Bathroom With Antisemitic Graffiti

Antisemitic graffiti that says “Zionism=Fascism” is displayed inside a bathroom at Farley’s Coffee in California. Photo: Screenshot

Farley’s Coffee in Oakland, California, issued an apology on Thursday after three staffers at the family-owned coffee shop blocked a Jewish woman from using the store’s restroom, which will filled with antisemitic graffiti, and made anti-Israel comments.

The Jewish woman recorded a video, later shared on social media, that showed employees at Farley’s Coffee standing in front of the door to the bathroom and asking her to leave the shop. The employees did not want the woman to go inside the bathroom and record antisemitic graffiti that said “Zionism=Fascism,” and also accused her of “misgendering” an employee.

In a statement posted on Instagram, Farley’s Coffee insisted “we’re not antisemitic,” and said it is “committed to ongoing staff training” after the incident.

“We do not support hate speech; this does not reflect our values,” the coffee shop said. “After a customer used the bathroom and wished to return to document the graffiti, they were initially denied access and then allowed to re-enter to document the graffiti. The staff handled the situation poorly, and we apologize for this error and the distress caused to the customer.”

The video recorded by the Jewish woman showed her repeatedly telling the three coffee shop staff members she wanted to use the restroom. One employee, seen wearing a yellow beanie and a face mask, told her: “This is a private property. I do need you to leave.”

Another employee — wearing glasses, a black shirt, and a black apron — chimed in and said: “We’ve given you all your food. You’ve eaten, you’re holding up s—t. I know Israel loves taking private property and saying it’s their own, but we gotta head …”

A third employee, who had dyed blue hair and was wearing a red face mask, remained silent during the ordeal but stood in front of the restroom’s closed door.

“I want to go into the restroom,” the woman said repeatedly, noting that she “was patroned here” and had “a right to go into the restroom.” The coffee shop employees keep telling her she needed to leave the establishment.

The back and forth continued for some time until another person, who claimed to work next door, offered to let the Jewish woman use their restroom. But the Jewish woman said she wanted to specifically use the one at the coffee shop and “should not be excluded and other people allowed.” The employees kept on denying her entry until one of them told the woman she could use their other restroom.

“No, I want to use this,” the woman said. A Farley’s Coffee employee then replied, “All you want to get is a video of it saying that Zionism is fascism. Because it is.”

“If you agree with it, why are you afraid that I will take a picture of it?” the Jewish woman replied. Finally, the third employee opened the bathroom door for the woman.

The woman entered and recorded the words “Zionism = fascism” written on the frame of the mirror that was above the bathroom sink. While recording the graffiti, one employee shouted, “History doesn’t start in 1948, lady,” referring to the year that the modern state of Israel was established. The Jewish woman then recorded the baby changing station inside the bathroom where someone had written, with spelling errors, that “your neutrality” is enabling “genocide” and “Free Palestine.” Two of the employees then said “Free Palestine” as the Jewish woman continued recording.

Oakland, CA – 3 antisemitic employees at Farley’s East coffee house (33 Grand Ave.) are filmed denying a Jewish woman’s access to a bathroom after she complained that it was filled with antisemitic graffiti.

After FINALLY allowing her inside the restroom, the employees start…

— nycphotog (@nycphotog) December 7, 2023

Farley’s Coffee said it has “taken corrective measures with our staff and removed the offensive graffiti.”

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Jewish TikTok Employees Open Up About Antisemitism From Colleagues, Lack of Support From Management

The TikTok logo is pictured outside the company’s US head office in Culver City, California, US, Sept. 15, 2020. Photo: REUTERS

Current Jewish and Israeli employees of TikTok opened up this week about facing antisemitism at the Chinese-owned social media company following the Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 in southern Israel and the ensuing war between the Jewish state and the terror organization controlling Gaza.

The employees, who opted to stay anonymous, detailed to Fox Business being targeted by coworkers of the video-sharing app with harassment and even calls to boycott companies and products related to Israel. They also said employees openly express antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments on the company’s internal chat system, Lark.

Screenshots obtained by Fox Business even show multiple TikTok employees celebrating the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre and promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The screenshots also show that even after Jewish employees reported to their managers about feeling threatened, TikTok failed to address their concerns.

One employee said many Jews working at TikTok feel like the company “no longer has any control over the 40,000 moderators working to fact-check and remove content that is inflammatory, inciting, and simply incorrect.” Another employee said, “The teams dealing with policy at TikTok have always been overwhelmingly staffed with individuals who are openly hostile to Israel and whose opinions often blur the lines on antisemitism.”

The same employee claimed that TikTok allows “the permissible posting of anything violent or gory relating to issues sympathetic to Palestinians. But when videos depicting evidence of atrocities against Jews are removed before the world can see them, we then feel that the world’s most popular media platform is working against us as a people.”

The Jewish employees who spoke to Fox Business all expressed similar sentiments that they have received insufficient support from senior management at TikTok in response to their concerns.

“Currently, the atmosphere for Jewish employees at TikTok is very difficult,” said a Jewish employee based in the US. “We feel we were not provided with the relevant support that was afforded to our peers working in other tech companies at the outset of the conflict. We feel that we had to fight for recognition that something horrible had happened to us and fight for recognition of our very difficult feelings of insecurity.”

The same employee said Jews working for the company feel they “should keep his or her head down far more than any other minority in terms of expressing themselves culturally or politically.” In addition, the employee added, “many of us who expressed this to our [human resources] HR representatives were simply shrugged off.”

A TikTok spokesperson denied the claims made by the employees, saying they “do not reflect the experience of the majority of our employees.”

“TikTok has strong policies against discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and employees are encouraged to report their concerns – anonymously if they so choose,” the spokesperson said to Fox Business. “Every incident is investigated by the appropriate internal team.”

“Hateful ideologies, including antisemitism, are not and have never been allowed on our platform,” the spokesperson added. “From Oct. 7 to Nov. 17, we have removed more than 1.1 million videos in the conflict region for breaking our rules, including content promoting Hamas, hate speech, terrorism ,and misinformation. Community guidelines are applied equally to all content, and our recommendation algorithm does not ‘promote’ one side of an issue over another.”

In November, a group of more than 50 Jewish TikTok social media influencers, content creators, and celebrities blasted TikTok in an open letter for not doing more to counteract antisemitism and online hatred on the platform. Many of them — including Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing, and Amy Schumer — then participated in a private video call with TikTok executives and accused the video-sharing app of “creating the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis.”

“There are Jews [working within TikTok and outside] who are trying to fight this antisemitism,” said one of the employees who spoke to Fox Business. “But there are two problems. One is that people are afraid of losing jobs and are therefore not speaking out enough. The other problem is that those at the top do not really care about fighting this and are making no real effort to change it.”

Several members of the US Congress are also pushing to ban TikTok in the US, arguing in part that the platform, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, is a national security concern and also promoting anti-Israel content as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.

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