(JTA) – Months before a Miami-area mother persuaded a local school to remove an Amanda Gorman poem from its elementary-aged library, she was posting antisemitic memes on her Facebook page.
Now, Daily Salinas is apologizing for one of those things — and unrepentant about the other.
“I want to apologize to the Jewish community,” Salinas told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Wednesday. She was saying sorry for a Facebook post she shared in March offering a summary of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a notorious antisemitic forgery written more than a century ago in Russia.
“I’m not what the post says,” Salinas said. “I love the Jewish community.”
The post came to light this week after the Miami Herald identified Salinas as the Miami Lakes, Florida, mother who petitioned her children’s school to limit students’ access to the Gorman poem. Gorman read the poem, called “The Hill We Climb,” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Salinas also petitioned the school to restrict children’s books about the Black poet Langston Hughes and about Black and Cuban history. After a committee reviewed her challenges, the Miami-Dade County school district opted to restrict all but one book about Cuba from grades K-5, while leaving them available to middle school students.
Salinas challenged the Gorman poem — which she says she hasn’t read in its entirety — on the grounds that it contains “indirect hate messages.” The review committee said it “erred on the side of caution” in deciding to limit students’ access.
The Miami Herald did not mention Salinas’ social media activity. But after the story about her was published, a left-wing group, Miami Against Fascism, called attention to a Facebook account it identified as hers. The account, which JTA reviewed, features a flood of political posts reflecting right-wing ideologies — and the antisemitic Protocols.
Salinas’ post about the Protocols included a list of steps depicting how “Jewish Zionists” would achieve world domination. The graphic included stages such as “Place our agents and helpers everywhere,” “Replace royal rule with socialist rule, then communism, then despotism,” and “Sacrifice people (including Jews sometimes) when necessary.”
Reached by JTA on Wednesday, Salinas confirmed that the post about the “Protocols” was hers and apologized for it, saying she hadn’t read it beyond the word “communism.” Salinas said her aversion to communism stems from her Cuban identity. She added that English is not her first language.
“I see the word ‘communism,’ and I think it’s something about communism,” she said. “I didn’t read the words.”
Salinas said that her heart became “tight” with pain when she thought that people would see her as antisemitic for sharing the Protocols post. After speaking with JTA, Salinas deleted the post.
Salinas said she was speaking with JTA after declining to talk with other media outlets so that she could apologize. She said she is Christian and added, “We are super protective of the Jewish people.” She added that she has Jewish friends and is a fan of the Israeli Netflix series “Fauda.”
She said the books about Cuba that she challenged “don’t tell the whole story about Cuba, communism, the dictators, their people that are dying and trying to come to America.” The significant population of Spanish-speaking immigrants from countries with a history of communism, many of whom tend to be politically conservative, has played a growing role in the region’s culture wars.
Salinas’ Facebook feed reflects the kinds of right-wing memes that continue to circulate widely, although she told JTA that she did not post everything on it herself. Miami Against Fascism also shared video of Salinas with the Proud Boys, a far-right group with ties to antisemitic activists, as well as a video of her attending a school board protest last year with Moms For Liberty, a “parents’ rights” group active in pushing for book removals across the country. Such groups have been instrumental in leveraging laws signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that enable parents to challenge the presence of any book in school libraries. In some instances, those challenges have led to the removal of books about the Holocaust and Jewish culture.
Salinas told JTA she was not a member of either group and said she had just been in attendance at protests where they were both present. A Moms For Liberty media representative also told JTA Salinas was not a member of the group and said, “We denounce antisemitism in all its forms.”
Asked why she wanted the books removed in the first place, Salinas said she had just been expressing her “opinion” that they did not “support the curriculum” but declined to elaborate.
She said she had only read parts of the books. “They have to read for me because I’m not an expert,” she said. “I’m not a reader. I’m not a book person. I’m a mom involved in my children’s education.”
A representative of the school district told JTA in a statement that “no literature (books or poem) has been banned or removed,” and that “it was determined at the school” that Gorman’s poem was “better suited for middle school students.” In publicly available meeting minutes, the review committee said the “vocabulary” of Gorman’s poem was “determined to be of value for middle school students,” and similarly that the “content and subject matter” of the Hughes poems were determined to be for middle school readers. The district did not respond to JTA’s queries about Salinas’ Facebook activity.
Gorman said on Twitter that she was “gutted” by the removal in Salinas’ children’s school. “Often all it takes to remove these works from our libraries and schools is a single objection,” she wrote.
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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