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Biden plan to combat antisemitism demands reforms across the executive branch and beyond

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Joe Biden unveiled a multifaceted and broad strategy to combat antisemitism in the United States that reaches from basketball courts to farming communities, from college campuses to police departments.

“We must say clearly and forcefully that antisemitism and all forms of hate and violence have no place in America,” Biden said in a prerecorded video. “Silence is complicity.”

The 60-page document and its list of more than 100 recommendations stretches across the government, requiring reforms in virtually every sector of the executive branch within a year. It was formulated after consultations with over a thousand experts, and covers a range of tactics, from increased security funding to a range of educational efforts.

The plan has been in the works since December, and the White House has consulted with large Jewish organizations throughout the process. The finished document embraces proposals that large Jewish organizations have long advocated, as well as initiatives that pleasantly surprised Jewish organizational leaders, most of whom praised it upon its release.

Among the proposals that Jewish leaders have called for were recommendations to streamline reporting of hate crimes across local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, which will enable the government to accurately assess the breadth of hate crimes. The proposal also recommends that Congress double the funds available to nonprofits for security measures, from $180 million to $360 million. 

One proposal that, if enacted, could be particularly far-reaching — and controversial — is a call for Congress to pass “fundamental reforms” to a provision that shields social media platforms from liability for the content users post on their sites. The plan says social media companies should have a “zero tolerance policy for hate speech on their platforms.”

In addition, the plan calls for action in partnership with a range of government agencies and private entities. It says the government will work with professional sports leagues to educate fans about antisemitism and hold athletes accountable for it, following instances of antisemitic speech by figures such as NBA star Kyrie Irving or NFL player DeSean Jackson.  

The government will also partner with rural museums and libraries to educate their visitors about Jewish heritage and antisemitism. And the plan includes actions to be taken by a number of cabinet departments, from the Department of Veterans Affairs to the USDA. 

“It’s really producing a whole-of-government approach that stretches from what you might consider the obvious things like more [security] grants and more resources for the Justice Department and the FBI,” said Nathan Diament, the Washington director of the Orthodox Union. “But it stretches all the way across things that the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration can do with regard to educating about antisemitism, that the National Endowment of the Humanities and the President’s Council on Sports and Fitness can do with regard to the institutions that they deal with.”

An array of Jewish organizations from the left to the center-right echoed those sentiments in welcoming the plan with enthusiasm, marking a change from recent weeks in which they had been split over how the plan should define antisemitism. Still, a handful of right-wing groups blasted the strategy, saying that its chosen definition of antisemitism diluted the term.

Despite the relatively united front, there are elements of the strategy that may stoke broader controversy: Among a broad array of partner groups named in the plan is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose harsh criticism of Israel has led to relations with centrist Jewish organizations that are fraught at best. The call to place limits on social media platforms may also upset free speech advocates.

Biden recalled, as he often does, that he decided to run for president after President Donald Trump equivocated while condemning the neo-Nazis who organized a deadly march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. 

“Repeated episodes of hate — including numerous attacks on Jewish Americans — have since followed Charlottesville, shaking our moral conscience as Americans and challenging the values for which we stand as a Nation,” Biden wrote in an introduction to the report. 

The administration launched the initiative last December, after years during which Jewish groups and the FBI reported sharp spikes in antisemitic incidents. The strategy was originally planned for release at its Jewish American Heritage Month celebration last week, but was delayed, in part because of last minute internal squabbling over whether it would accept a definition of antisemitism that some on the left said chilled free speech on Israel. Some right-wing groups were deeply critical of the new strategy for not accepting that definition to the exclusion of others. 

Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) praised the breadth of the plan, and said the delay seemed to produce results.

“The White House has taken this very seriously. The phrase that something is still being worked on can often be a euphemism for a lack of concern,” he said. “In this case, it seems to have resulted in an even more comprehensive and hopefully more effective result.”

Some of the initiatives in the plan focus less on directly confronting antisemitism and more on promoting tolerance of and education about Jews.The Biden Administration will seek to ensure accommodations for Jewish religious observance, the accompanying fact sheet said, and “the Department of Agriculture will work to ensure equal access to all USDA feeding programs for USDA customers with religious dietary needs, including kosher and halal dietary needs.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League CEO who was closely consulted on the strategy, said promoting inclusion was as critical as fighting antisemitism. “Is FEMA giving kosher provisions after disasters going to solve antisemitism?” he said in an interview. “No, but… it’s an acknowledgement of the plurality of communities and the need to treat Jewish people like you would any other minority community, and I think I’m very pleased to see that.”

In the months since Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish, convened a roundtable to launch the initiative, the Biden administration has pivoted from focusing on the threat of antisemitism from the far-right to also highlighting its manifestation in other spheres — including amid anti-Israel activism on campuses and the targeting of visibly religious Jews in the northeast. Those factors were evident in the strategy.

“Some traditionally observant Jews, especially traditional Orthodox Jews, are victimized while walking down the street,” the strategy said in its introduction. “Jewish students and educators are targeted for derision and exclusion on college campuses, often because of their real or perceived views about the State of Israel.”

The proposal that may provoke controversy beyond American Jewry is the Biden Administration’s calls to reform the tech sector, which echo bipartisan recommendations to change Section 230, a provision of U.S. law that grants platforms immunity from being liable for the content users post. Free speech advocates and the companies themselves say that if the government were to police online speech, it would veer into censorship.

“Tech companies have a critical role to play and for that reason the strategy contains 10 separate calls to tech companies to establish a zero tolerance policy for hate speech on their platforms, to ensure that their algorithms do not pass along hate speech and extreme content to users and to listen more closely to Jewish groups to better understand how antisemitism manifests itself on their platforms,” Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Biden’s top Homeland Security adviser, said during a 30-minute briefing on the strategy on Thursday. “The president has also called on Congress to remove the special immunity for online platforms and to impose stronger transparency requirements in order to ensure that tech companies are removing content that violates their terms of service.”

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists encircle counterprotesters at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 11, 2017. (Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In the weeks before the rollout, a debate raged online and behind the scenes amid Jewish organizations and activists about how the plan would define antisemitism. Centrist and right-wing groups pushed for the plan to embrace the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition. Among its examples of anti-Jewish bigotry are those focusing on when Israel criticism is antisemitic, including when “double standards” applied to Israel are antisemitic.

Advocates on the left say those clauses turn legitimate criticism of Israel into hate speech; instead, they pushed to include references to the Nexus Document, a definition authored by academics that recognizes IHRA but seeks to complement it by further elucidating how anti-Israel expression may be antisemitic in some instances, and not in others. Others sought to include the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, which rejects IHRA’s Israel-related examples.

In the end, the strategy said the U.S. government recognizes the IHRA definition as the “most prominent” and “appreciates the Nexus Document and notes other such efforts.”

A number of the centrist groups pressed for exclusive reference to IHRA, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Those groups praised the strategy and focused only on its embrace of IHRA. So did the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Michael Herzog.

“I would like to congratulate the Biden administration for publishing the first ever national strategy to combat antisemitism,” Herzog wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, @POTUS, for prioritizing the need to confront antisemitism in all its forms. We welcome the re-embracing of @TheIHRA definition which is the gold standard definition of antisemitism.”

Some center-right groups like B’nai Brith International, StandWithUs and the World Jewish Congress, praised the strategy while expressing regret at the inclusion of Nexus. Right-wing groups, such as the Republican Jewish Coalition and Christians United for Israel condemned the rollout. 

RJC said Biden “blew it” by not exclusively using the IHRA definition. The Brandeis Center, which defends pro-Israel groups and students on campus, said the “substance doesn’t measure up.”

Groups on the left, however, broadly praised the strategy. “We call on our Jewish communities to seize this historic moment and build on this new strategy to ensure that the fight for Jewish safety is a fight for a better and safer America for all,” said a statement from six left-leaning groups spearheaded by Jews For Racial & Economic Justice.

Greenblatt said it was predictable that groups on the left would take the win and that groups on the right would grumble — but that it was also beside the point. IHRA, he said, was now U.S. policy.

“This document elevates and advances IHRA as the way that U.S. policy will be formulated going forward and across all of the agencies,” Greenblatt said. “That is a win.”


The post Biden plan to combat antisemitism demands reforms across the executive branch and beyond appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 

Conclusion 

If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

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Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

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

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

JNS.org – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

The post Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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