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White House convenes meeting to address spike in campus antisemitism during Israel-Hamas war

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Biden administration is convening a meeting with Jewish leaders on Monday on what it says is an “alarming” rise in reports of antisemitism on college campuses in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

Doug Emhoff, the Jewish Second Gentleman who launched a task force on antisemitism last year along with the Biden administration’s plan to counter anti-Jewish bigotry, will convene the meeting, which will take place at the Department of Education.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is taking multiple actions to address the alarming rise of reported antisemitic incidents at schools and on college campuses, since the October 7th Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel,” said an email to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from a White House official.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will also attend the meeting, a White House official said. Later this week, Cardona and Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s top domestic advisor, will visit a university campus and hold a roundtable with Jewish students. White House officials did not respond to an inquiry regarding which school they will visit.

Since Oct. 7, when Hamas invaded Israel, killing more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, pro-Palestinian groups at a series of campuses have celebrated or endorsed the attack. At multiple campuses, Jewish students have been barricaded in buildings amid pro-Palestinian protests. Other Jewish students have been assaulted or engaged in violent altercations with pro-Palestinian students.

Last week, the White House decried what it called an “extremely disturbing pattern of antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses” recently, adding, “Delegitimizing the State of Israel while praising the Hamas terrorist murderers who burned innocent people alive, or targeting Jewish students, is the definition of unacceptable — and the definition of antisemitism.”

Over the weekend, anonymous antisemitic posts on a Greek life website threatened to “shoot up” the Cornell University kosher dining hall and kill and rape Jewish students. Police were called to the dining hall, and the campus Hillel warned students to stay away from it.

Separately, Deborah Lipstadt, the State Department’s envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism, said the Biden Administration was “deeply concerned” what she said was a “dramatic increase” in antisemitic incidents worldwide since Oct. 7.

“Governments, law enforcement, and community groups in Europe, Latin America, Australia, South Africa, North America, Russia, and elsewhere have reported a sharp increase in antisemitic incidents, rhetoric, and incitement in the past three weeks,” she said. “Violent incidents throughout the world in October have included harassment of and attacks on Jewish individuals, and defacement of and attacks on Jewish sites.”

On Sunday, hundreds of people stormed onto the tarmac at the airport in Russia’s Dagestan republic as a flight from Israel arrived, reportedly yelling antisemitic slogans and forcing officials to shut the airport down.

Jewish officials attending the Department of Education meeting  will include William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Sheila Katz, the National Council of Jewish Women CEO; Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League CEO; Eric Fingerhut, the Jewish Federations of North America CEO; Adam Lehman, the CEO of Hillel International; and Nathan Diament, the Washington director of the Orthodox Union,

The White House official’s email listed other actions the Biden Administration has taken since Oct. 7, including the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security engaging law enforcement nationwide on the campus, local and state level; support for Jewish, Muslim and Arab students on campuses around the country; and outreach from federal cybersecurity experts to schools.

The email said the Biden Administration has also expedited an initiative launched just over a week before the attacks to instruct federal officials to include antisemitism and other forms of religious bigotry as protected under civil rights law. That initiative was part of a broader presidential strategy to combat antisemitism launched in May, the first of its kind.

The administration says it has speeded up the process to file complaints and will also offer technical assistance to people on campuses who want to file complaints.

The post White House convenes meeting to address spike in campus antisemitism during Israel-Hamas war appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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UN Committee Says Not Enough Evidence to Declare a Famine in Gaza

Egyptian trucks carrying humanitarian aid make their way to the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Israel, May 30, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The United Nations Famine Review Committee (FRC), a panel of experts in international food security and nutrition, has cast doubt on the notion that the northern Gaza Strip is suffering through a famine.

In a report released earlier this month, the committee responded to a claim by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) — a US-created provider of warning and analysis on food insecurity — that a famine was likely underway in northern Gaza. FEWS NET said that northern Gaza began experiencing famine in April and projected that the embattled enclave would endure famine until at least July 31.

The FRC rejected the assertion that northern Gaza is experiencing famine, citing the “uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis.” The panel carries out evaluations of humanitarian conditions on behalf of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an international famine monitoring initiative. 

The FRC added that there is not sufficient evidence to confirm the existence of a famine within northern Gaza and called for more humanitarian access into the warzone, providing experts an opportunity to give an accurate assessment of the conditions. 

“The very fact that we are unable to endorse (or not) FEWS NET’s analysis is driven by the lack of essential up-to-date data on human well-being in northern Gaza, and Gaza at large,” the report stated. “Thus, the FRC strongly requests all parties to enable humanitarian access in general, and specifically to provide a window of opportunity to conduct field surveys in northern Gaza to have more solid evidence of the food consumption, nutrition, and mortality situation.”

However, the panel warned that Gaza is still enduring “extreme human suffering” and called for the “complete, safe, unhindered, and sustained” transport of aid into the enclave.

The report represents a course-reversal for the FRC, which claimed that Gaza likely surpassed the “famine thresholds for acute malnutrition” in March. The FRC now contends that civilians in Gaza are experiencing improved humanitarian conditions as a result of increased aid flowing into the war-torn enclave.   

“Since the FRC review conducted in March 2024, there seems to have been a significant increase in the number of food trucks entering northern Gaza,” the report read.

“The FEWS NET analysis acknowledges that humanitarian assistance in the area has increased significantly, finding that caloric availability from humanitarian assistance increased from 9 percent in February to 34 percent  to 36 percent in March and 59 percent to 63 percent in April. The opening of alternative routes to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, the authorization of commercial truck entry, as well as airdrops, allowed for an increase of food availability,” the report continued.

Several aid agencies, media outlets, and politicians, as well as pro-Palestinian activists, have repeatedly accused Israel of inflicting famine on Palestinians since beginning its military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people throughout southern Israel. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war.”

Despite these allegations, data produced by the United Nations showed that Israel allowed more than 100 food trucks to enter Gaza per day in March, an increase from the daily average of 70 trucks before the war. Moreover, many trucks transporting aid into Gaza have been hijacked and seized by Hamas terrorists, increasing the difficulty of distributing food to civilians.

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Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism

Hundreds of people filled the lawn in front of the Toronto District School Board (TSDB) to oppose a proposed anti-discrimination policy being voted on by trustees that would include recognizing anti-Palestinian racism—while failing to acknowledge rising antisemitism in schools. The report, entitled Combating Hate and Racism: Student Learning Strategy, was received without any amendments by […]

The post Hundreds rallied outside Toronto school board offices to protest a racism report that doesn’t mention antisemitism appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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French President Denounces ‘Scourge of Antisemitism’ After 12-Year-Old Jewish Girl Raped

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference in Paris, France, June 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday denounced the “scourge of antisemitism” and called on schools to hold discussions on racism and hatred of Jews after three boys were charged with raping a 12-year-old Jewish girl in a Paris suburb.

The young girl told police that she was approached by three boys who raped and beat her in the northwestern Paris suburb of Courbevoie on Saturday in an incident that French authorities have described as a hate crime. According to French media, the assailants called the victim a “dirty Jew” and uttered other antisemitic remarks during the brutal gang-rape.

A police source told AFP that one of the boys asked the young girl questions about “her Jewish religion” and Israel, citing the child’s statement to investigators.

The boys — two aged 13 and one 12 — were arrested on Monday and indicted on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Macron’s office said the president asked French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet “to organize a discussion in all schools on the fight against antisemitism and racism, to prevent hate speech with serious consequences from infiltrating schools.”

The rape of the unnamed 12-year-old girl has caused outrage throughout France and among the Jewish community.

Elie Korchia, president of France’s Central Israelite Consistory, told BFM TV that the girl was raped “because she is Jewish,” adding, “We have never seen antisemitism that extends so far in all areas of life.”

Courbevoie Mayor Jacques Kossowski echoed that sentiment in a statement released on X/Twitter, saying, “The rape was carried out with antisemitic intent.”

Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, also condemned the “rise of antisemitism” in France, which he argued was “fueled by the alliance of the far left.” He added that “we must act as a bulwark” against antisemitism.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right-wing National Rally party, decried the rape on social media. She noted “the explosion of antisemitic acts” in France since Oct. 7.

The recent gang-rape came amid a record surge of antisemitism in France in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel. Antisemitic outrages rose by over 1,000 percent in the final three months of 2023 compared with the previous year, with over 1,200 incidents reported — greater than the total number of incidents in France for the previous three years combined.

In April, a Jewish woman was beaten and raped in a suburb of Paris as “vengeance for Palestine.”

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