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Far-right Israeli minister finds enemy in JDC, the mainstream American Jewish aid group

(JTA) — An American Jewish group that has provided aid to Jewish communities in crisis for more than a century has become the target of one of Israel’s newly empowered far-right ministers.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, who serves as national security minister, said on Wednesday that he was shutting down a program dedicated to reducing violence in Arab Israeli towns. His reason: The program is operated by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which he called a “leftist organization.”

“JDC is a nonpolitical organization and has been so since our founding in 1914,” Michael Geller, a spokesperson for JDC, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Ben-Gvir’s characterization baffled many across the Jewish communal world who know the JDC as a nonpartisan group with an extensive track record of providing humanitarian aid to Jews in distress.

To them, Ben-Gvir’s criticism of the group is the latest sign that the rupture of political norms in Israel extends beyond the judicial reforms advanced by the government, which have drawn unprecedented protests.

“To call the JDC a left-wing organization is a joke. It is not political in any way,” said Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, co-CEO of the Abraham Initiatives, a nonprofit that works toward an “equal and shared society” for Jewish and Arab Israelis.

Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, who is Jewish, said he anticipated changes by the right-wing government, which was inaugurated in December. But he was surprised by Ben-Gvir’s announcement.

“I could expect revisiting collaboration with organizations that are branded as civil rights or human rights or Israeli-Palestinian organizations,” he added. “But the JDC — it’s very strange.”

Founded in 1914 by the American Jewish banker Jacob Schiff to aid Jews living in Palestine, the “Joint” has distributed billions of dollars in assistance across 70 countries — including, over the last year, to 43,000 Ukrainian Jews amid the war there. It played a central role in aiding Holocaust survivors following World War II, as well as in the resettlement of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

Among its biggest sources of support are Jewish federations, the nonpartisan umbrella charities found in nearly every major North American Jewish community.

“JDC is an apolitical organization that has worked with every government since the establishment of the State of Israel, providing critical services to the elderly, youth-at-risk, people with disabilities and other underserved populations across all sectors, including Haredim and Arab-Israelis,” the Jewish Federations of North America said in a statement. “JDC’s activities are a living and breathing example of the Jewish values of tikkun olam and tzedakah that guide Jewish Federations’ work every day,” Hebrew phrases that connote the Jewish imperative to repair the world, as well as charity.

JDC staff packing matzahs and haggadahs for online seders in Odessa, Ukraine, April 7, 2022. (JDC)

In Israel, the group funds and operates efforts to help needy populations — including immigrants, the elderly, people with disabilities and people living in poverty. Those efforts often involve working with the government, which in 2007 gave the JDC Israel’s most prestigious prize for its work. This year, according to a spokesman, the group is spending $129 million on Israel initiatives.

The JDC’s government-funded programs include the anti-violence effort that Ben-Gvir is targeting. It was made possible last year due to nearly $1 billion in funding to curb crime in Arab communities by the previous governing coalition, which was centrist. The allocation followed lobbying by Arab and civil society organizations, including the Abraham Initiatives, which is now monitoring how the money is being used as well as its impact.

Arab citizens of Israel make up 84% of crime victims despite comprising just 20% of the population, according to government data released last year that showed a sharp rise in the proportion of Arab Israelis who had experienced violent crime.

Many in Arab communities have called for heightened law enforcement and have charged Israeli police with making inadequate efforts to keep their communities safe. This week, commenting on the shooting death of an Arab Israeli woman, Arab Israeli opposition lawmaker Ahmad Tibi accused Ben-Gvir of being “occupied with other matters,” such as clashes with the attorney general and police officials in Tel Aviv. “Maybe the time has come for senior officials to demonstrate responsibility when it comes to crime organizations and weapons running rampant,” Tibi said.

Other initiatives have aimed to tackle the violence in ways that go beyond policing. The program that Ben-Gvir said he is shutting down is one of them. Called Stop the Bleeding, it involves multiple government ministries as well as local community groups and education efforts and has operated in seven cities with large Arab populations, including a Bedouin town and Lod, a city with significant Arab organized crime networks that also has a large Jewish population.

Be’eri-Sulitzeanu said the program was already starting to bear fruit and had contributed to a slowdown in a multi-year rise in murders. Canceling the program, he said, reflects the current government’s general approach to tackling Israel’s problems.

“It’s not about collaboration. It’s not about hearing the concerns and pain and hopes and needs of the Arab community,” he said. “It’s about doing everything unilaterally, and really without a lot of care for the lives of those people. I think that’s what we are watching.”

MK Ahmad Tibi attends a meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Dec. 6, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A year ago, around the time when the previous government awarded the Stop the Bleeding contract to the JDC, Bezalel Smotrich, a key Ben-Gvir ally who was then an opposition lawmaker and now serves alongside Ben-Gvir as finance minister, proposed that Israel create a “command center” of “all of the relevant entities” that provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian Jewish refugees. Included on his list, alongside the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Red Cross: the JDC.

The JDC is not the first mainstream group to be targeted by far-right members of Israel’s new right-wing government, whose signature legislative effort aims to sap the power and independence of the country’s judiciary. That legislation has given rise to a sweeping protest movement and to grave warnings about Israel’s future from a broad range of public figures — including elder statesmen, foreign governments and religious leaders.

Avi Maoz, the leader of the anti-LGBTQ Noam Party who briefly held a leadership role in Israel’s Education Ministry, compiled a list of American and British groups that he believes are trying to impose their liberal values on Israeli schoolchildren. “We must protect our people and our state from the infiltration of the alien bodies that arrive from foreign countries, foreign bodies, foreign foundations,” Maoz once said. Maoz has since resigned from that role, saying that he did not think he was being sufficiently empowered to fulfill his goals by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

But Be’eri-Sulitzeanu said he remains concerned about civil-society programs, especially those falling under the purview of far-right ministers including Ben-Gvir or those funded by American Jews, whom some on the right perceive as universally liberal.

People who are paying attention to local governance in Israel expect further tensions around initiatives that do not match Ben-Gvir’s attitudes about harsh policing. Ben-Gvir wants officers to have the right to shoot Arabs who throw stones, has called for a crackdown on anti-government protesters and is increasingly clashing with police officials who believe his orders could jeopardize public safety. Multiple former police commissioners have called for his dismissal.

“Ben-Gvir has his own political agenda and he has his own ax to grind, and at the moment, I think he’s not keen on developing services of the Arab population, either in security or juvenile delinquency or education,” said Amos Avgar, who worked for the JDC in Israel, Russia and the United States for 30 years until 2010, including as chief programming officer.

Avgar emphasized that the JDC has always studiously avoided political activity. “If there’s one thing that the JDC is not, it is not political,” he said. “It always shied [away] from anything that had the smell of politics and never dealt with any project by political agenda.”

It’s unclear how quickly Ben-Gvir’s announcement, made during a government meeting and first reported by Israel’s public broadcaster, will ultimately translate into changes. Geller,  the JDC spokesman, said the organization had learned about the criticism only from the media, not from Ben-Gvir’s office. Later, amid an outcry, Ben-Gvir’s office said the funding decision had followed a review of contracts that revealed missing documentation from the JDC, a charge that the JDC denied.

Amnon-Sulitzeanu said he didn’t have high hopes for the program’s future.

“I think the first [characterization] is unfortunately going to be the correct one — that he is actually intending to stop it, which is very unfortunate because it is among the more serious programs that are willing to deal with this catastrophe,” he said. “And it shows again that the current minister is not so much interested in saving lives of Arab citizens.”


The post Far-right Israeli minister finds enemy in JDC, the mainstream American Jewish aid group 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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