(JTA) — Bari Weiss, a prominent commentator on antisemitism in the United States, is taking a leading role in Elon Musk’s efforts to reshape Twitter by criticizing the platform’s past efforts to combat bigotry and harassment.
Starting last Thursday, Weiss has been releasing Twitter threads with what she and another opinion journalist, former Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, have deemed the “Twitter Files” — instances of how former Twitter moderators removed content they deemed as false or dangerous.
Making use of unusual access to Twitter’s internal records and systems, Weiss and Taibbi have made the case that Twitter has been subject to politically motivated decisions about what to remove by a “secret group” of high-level executives.
Those executives were tasked with executing Twitter’s moderation policies in sensitive cases, and the leaked communications show them doing so in politically neutral terms. But Weiss and Taibbi have argued that the suspensions doled out to conservative accounts, including former President Donald Trump, reflected a deep bias at the company.
Twitter shut down its Trust and Safety Council advisory group, which included 100 independent civil and human rights organizations, on Monday night. The group was formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation and other issues stemming from Twitter activity.
Musk’s supporters have been receptive, even forcing into hiding on Monday Yoel Roth, the Jewish former head of trust and safety at Twitter that Musk has falsely accused of stoking pedophilia and who has been targeted in Weiss’ tweets as well.
Weiss’ Twitter activism puts her at odds with a leading U.S. antisemitism watchdog, the Anti-Defamation League, which has long pushed for stricter moderation on Twitter and called for an advertiser boycott after Musk acquired the platform and expressions of hate spiked on it.
Weiss — who first vaulted into public view for calling out what she said was antisemitism on her college campus, and who quit a columnist job at The New York Times over what she described as bullying from colleagues — has worked with the ADL in the past. In conjunction with her 2019 book “How to Fight Antisemitism,” she has appeared at multiple events with the organization, as recently as November.
Now, she is a leading voice opposing what the ADL’s leadership says is one of the most pressing issues compromising American Jews’ safety.
The ADL declined to comment on Weiss’ involvement with Musk’s new moderation strategies. Weiss did not return requests for an interview.
Since Roth resigned from Twitter last month, he and Musk have exchanged criticisms on the platform. Over the weekend, Musk misrepresented a snippet from Roth’s graduate dissertation, writing: “Looks like Yoel is arguing in favor of children being able to access adult Internet services.”
On Monday night, Musk tweeted a phrase with a rabbit emoji that has become popular with followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. He denied that he was referring to the movement or aiming a tweet at its followers, but QAnon communities across different platforms responded with excitement to his tweet, Vice News reported.
Accusations of pedophilia against public figures are commonplace in QAnon, which experts say also draws on antisemitic tropes.
Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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