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‘Swastika boards’ and ‘surf Nazis’: New documentary explores surfing’s history of antisemitism

(JTA) — When he was 13 years old, Josh Greene moved with his family to San Clemente, California, a city known as one of the best spots for surfing on the West Coast. Greene quickly fell in love with the sport, even holding his bar mitzvah party at a local museum dedicated to it.

As a “skinny, very unathletic” teen, Greene said he endured a significant amount of bullying, including some that “extended itself into antisemitism.” Students at his school would compare his physique to that of a Holocaust survivor.

Surfing provided refuge.

“Surfing was my way to really carve my own niche and find the confidence, courage and physical strength I needed,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

But years after his bar mitzvah, Greene learned that his parents had arranged for the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center to remove swastika-engraved boards that were on display, to avoid disturbing the partygoers. Wanting to learn more, he discovered that the sport’s history is full of Nazi imagery: Particularly in the 1960s, seeing surfboards with swastikas or surfers giving “Sieg heil” salutes was commonplace. Serious surfers called themselves “surf Nazis” as a way to signal their intense dedication to the sport.

An aspiring filmmaker — he received his first “real camera” as his bar mitzvah present — Greene decided to combine his two passions and delve into the dark history.

The result, completed before he graduated from the University of Southern California in May 2022, is a documentary called “Waves Apart,” which chronicles the history of antisemitism in surfing. Directed by Greene, the student-produced film was a finalist in the fall for a Student Academy Award, given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“Waves Apart” made its global debut at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Thursday, before heading to other Jewish and documentary film festivals in California, Denver, Toronto and Maryland.

After chronicling his own journey with surfing and the bar mitzvah incident in the film, Greene interviews surf writer Dan Duane and Jewish history professor Steven Ross, who provide a fuller picture of Southern California’s history of both surfing and Nazism, and their unfortunate overlap. As Duane wrote in a 2019 New York Times article, that overlap runs deep — The first commercially made surfboards made in California are thought to be the “Swastika model,” sold in the 1930s by the Pacific Systems Homes company, which also made prefab houses. The 1960s surfer icon Miki Dora was known to have painted a swastika on at least one of his boards.

Duane cites arguments that claim early surfers, who wanted to be seen as a rebellious subculture, used the swastika only to irk members of mainstream society. But Duane argues back that their antisemitism was part of a clear culture of racism in the largely white surfer community.

“I’ve heard all the predictable excuses for this stuff, like that the swastika was an ancient Sanskrit symbol,” he wrote in The Times. “Putting a swastika on something to anger people means you know that it angers them and very likely why.”

In his movie, Greene also speaks with Jewish surfers, both his classmates at USC and Jewish surfing legends like Shaun Tomson and Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz. Paskowitz shares a story of encountering a surfer with a swastika spray-painted on his surfboard — which his father, the famous surfer Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, destroyed out of anger.

“Right as I was about to graduate, we had the first screening of our film, in our school’s theater,” Greene said. “We drew a packed crowd, and it was so rewarding and such a great sign of confirmation about the film’s message and connectivity with our audience. We saw people crying, people smiling at the end, with the way our film ends with a hopeful tone and message for the future.”

That hopeful message is where Tomson comes in. A former pro surfer and now a motivational speaker, Tomson reached the pinnacle of the sport by winning the 1977 World Surf League championship. He won 19 major professional surfing events in total and is a member of both the Southern California and International Jewish Sports Halls of Fame.

Shaun Tomson is a former world champion surfer. (Courtesy of Tomson)

Tomson, born in Durban, South Africa, also had a surfing experience tied to his bar mitzvah that would prove foundational. Tomson’s father took him on a surfing trip to Hawaii, which Tomson called “the Mount Everest of surfing.”

“For me, it was a total representation of what a bar mitzvah is — it’s coming into manhood,” Tomson told JTA. “And here I was, a young boy paddling out in a 25-foot surf in Hawaii, which was a moment for me that changed my life. I came back to South Africa, and my career and my role in surfing changed after that bar mitzvah present.”

Tomson said he has faced antisemitism before outside of the sport — he was called a “Jew boy” by a fellow member of South Africa’s army as a teenager — but never as a member of the surfing community in the 1970s onward.

“While it’s not an excuse, I think there’s just a lot of ignorance,” Tomson said. “When I say ignorance, perhaps it wasn’t actually directed at Jews, it was more just blatant stupidity, and a lack of awareness of what actually happened in the Holocaust.”

There weren’t many Jewish surfers in South Africa when Tomson grew up, but he said he feels a direct link between his identities as a Jew and as a surfer.

“When you’re out in the ocean, there’s certainly a spiritual and a religious connectivity there, which is totally aligned with Jewish values,” he said.

No experience exemplifies this connection more powerfully than the tragic death of Tomson’s son, Matthew, who died in 2006 at the age of 15 as a result of a schoolyard “choking game” gone wrong. Tomson tells the story in the documentary.

Tomson explained that his particular expertise is tube riding — the picturesque but challenging technique of riding inside a tunnel-like wave. Two hours before Tomson’s son died, he called his father to share an essay he had written about how in tube riding, “the light shines ahead.” Just hours later, Tomson received the devastating news.

“So when I was trying to make sense of the world and my life, and why God had done this to me, I went back to my old shul,” Tomson said. “The old shul where I’d had my bar mitzvah. And I look at that lamp of everlasting light that represents the hope and faith of Judaism. And I thought of the words that my son wrote, ‘the light shines ahead.’ And I realized that Judaism’s about hope.”

The film ends on that hopeful tone: The last scene features a group of Jewish surfers at a beach in Malibu, reciting the Shema prayer in the water, before hitting the waves as the sun begins to set. In the last shot, the group sits down to a Shabbat meal on the beach.

“Surfing can be seen as a microcosm for issues like that and I think we would be doing our sport a great disservice if we ignored our own signs of darkness,” Greene said. “I think that by making a film like this, we can dispel ignorance and divisiveness, and instead promote inclusivity, community and equality for all surfers and all people.”

The post ‘Swastika boards’ and ‘surf Nazis’: New documentary explores surfing’s history of antisemitism 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. 


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 – “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

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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.

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