Tuesday, May 14, 2024

From Ian:

Seth Mandel: The Meaning of Israeli ‘Independence’
“There is no question that this year, our Yom Ha’atzma’ut celebrations are different,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in an Independence Day message to Jews abroad. And indeed, the Jewish state’s transition from Memorial Day to Independence Day—as the former ends, the latter begins—was by all accounts less abrupt this evening, since the solemn and subdued atmosphere continued from one into the other.

The past seven months have been filled with fear and mourning, he said, but they “have reminded us, also, of our core qualities, of our power as a people to stand up, again and again, against hatred. To survive and speak our truth. Of our deep and sustaining caring for one another.”

Israelis used this moment to wrestle with what independence actually means to them, highlighted by two alternate takes on the traditional torch-lighting ceremony.

Forgoing the regular torch lighting in Jerusalem, reports i24 News, torches were “lit in Gaza border communities affected by the October 7 attacks, as well as in IDF bases that have suffered losses in the ongoing conflict. The individuals chosen to light the torches this year are being honored for their heroism during the October 7 attacks or their bravery in the subsequent war.”

One of those torches, notes the Times of Israel, sits “next to a giant stack of burned cars destroyed on the highway during the Hamas attack.”

As depressing as that scene sounds, it does well represent the state’s original idea of independence. As I noted in November, Israelis who lived in the Gaza border towns were raising their kids and their crops on the same land on which settled brave Jewish pioneers through the state’s birth pangs. Every inch of the land, right up to the borderline, had to be defended; anything that wasn’t guarded would be taken—some of the land that was guarded was taken anyway.

Then there is a fascinating, flipped version of the ceremony where torches are extinguished. Not torches representing Israel as a state, mind you—these aren’t anti-Zionist ceremonies. But they are harsh in their implicit and explicit criticism of the government. Relatives of hostages or victims, as well as survivors of the October 7 attacks, extinguish torches they hold that are symbolic of “sins” that led to the slaughter.

“I hereby extinguish the torch of the sin of conceit,” said one participant whose daughter was killed during the attacks. Two survivors extinguished the “the torch of indifference,” in their words.

Some were more profound than others, needless to say. But the theme seemed to be winning independence from assumptions that put the state in danger.

There is another aspect to the debate over independence that is made newly relevant by the events since October: independence from allies.
Abe Greenwald: The Woke Jihad
The first thing to understand about any left-wing protest movement is that its nominal cause is irrelevant. Black Lives Matter isn’t about saving black lives. Trans activism isn’t about protecting trans children. And intersectionality isn’t about the suffering of the diverse disaffected. Never were, never will be. Underneath their particular brands, social-justice movements are assorted fronts in a radical war against the good. And so it is for the “pro-Palestinian” encampments.

Would a group trying to save black lives have seized on a statistically tiny number of police killings as justification to rid black neighborhoods of police? That’s what Black Lives Matter did. And by the time the cops were hobbled, and violent crime spiked precisely where police were most needed, the movement’s leaders were using corporate donations to buy safe suburban palaces. BLM was an attack on law enforcement, because law enforcement maintains the good working order of the United States. Undermine that and you’re left with chaos, which is the objective.

And celebratory chaos is precisely the goal of the radical trans movement. Consider Rose Montoya, the trans activist who went topless on the South Lawn of the White House during a Pride Month celebration. How does that viral stunt protect trans kids or evoke empathy for an outcast demographic? Every aspect of the movement is designed to undo our common appreciation for a safe and sane way of life. Denying solid biological reality, throwing kids into emotional disarray, scaring the hell out of parents, endorsing ruinous medical procedures for minors, and trolling everyone who’s not convinced—that’s the game. And just as BLM leaders got rich, trans stars are furnished with endorsements and media deals once they’ve done their part to tear down the edifice of stability.

Intersectional ideology has infiltrated our lives mostly through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training programs at work and school. To conquer, you must first divide. That’s the DEI trainer’s remit—splitting formerly cohesive groups into racial, ethnic, and gender camps, highlighting their differences and coaxing out ugly resentments. Not surprisingly, DEI work increases bigotry. As one DEI theorist recently admitted to the Wall Street Journal, “People often leave diversity training feeling angry and with greater animosity toward other groups.” Because that’s what it’s supposed to do, especially regarding Jews. Soon after October 7, Tabia Lee, the disenchanted former head of DEI at California’s De Anza College, told the New York Post that she was called a “dirty Zionist” for bringing Jewish speakers to campus. And school administrators refused her request to issue a condemnation of anti-Semitism. Lee says, “I was told in no uncertain terms that Jews are ‘white oppressors’ and our job as faculty and staff members was to ‘decenter whiteness.’” Of the left’s post–October 7 bigotry, she writes, “This outpouring of antisemitic hatred is the direct result of DEI’s insistence that Jews are oppressors.”

Yes, there are well-meaning individuals who support civil rights, gay rights, and gender equality. And if these well-meaning people are still supporting social-justice campaigns because they believe their stated aims, then they’ll support anyone.

But the performative lunatics who turned identity fanaticism into a national pastime are enemies of Israel, the Jews, the United States, and human decency itself. That makes them natural allies of terrorists, whatever their do-good cover stories.

As with previous left-wing campaigns, the “pro-Palestinian” movement offers nothing in support of its supposed purpose. It sides with Gaza’s governing terrorists, who start wars with the express goal of producing a surplus of dead Gazans. American Hamas supporters chant “Cease-Fire now” as Hamas refuses every cease-fire offer that Israel and the U.S. put on the table. Why? Because a cease-fire means no more dead Gazans, and dead Gazans are Hamas’s chief natural resource and most valuable export. It’s what brings in the billions of aid money that’s used to build tunnels where Hamas hides—while civilians absorb the blows overhead. If Israel were to stop short of eradicating Hamas, as the protesters want, many more Gazans would die in the future wars that Hamas has vowed to instigate.

No, the encampments aren’t pro-Palestinian. They’re the latest expression of the social-justice left’s impulse to destroy the virtuous and raise up the wicked.
Jerry Seinfeld showed anti-Jewish protesters are a minority
Ironically, Seinfeld probably worked harder for a degree he received just for showing up than many of the Palestinian flag-waving, keffiyeh-wearing future unemployed people protesting him.

Not only that, but his speech was laden with advice that would make these students’ lives infinitely happier.

“The slightly uncomfortable feeling of awkward humor is OK,” Seinfeld said. “It is worth the sacrifice of an occasional discomfort to have some laughs. Don’t lose that. Even if it’s at the cost of occasional hard feelings, it’s OK.”

But while we certainly need to address the explosion of antisemitism that has made life hell for Jewish students on campuses across the country (let alone on city streets across the world), we must also be sure to appreciate the full picture.

At Duke University, while a handful of students decided to walk out like petulant children who just couldn’t bear listening to the apolitical advice of a Jewish man, the vast majority stayed, listened, and drowned out the protesters by chanting, “Jerry.”

And while Golan endured far worse before, during, and after the Eurovision Song Contest, she received overwhelming support from the voting public, including maximum points from 14 different countries, many of whom are experiencing their own explosions of antisemitism.

None of this is to downplay what we’re seeing across the world. Life for Jews has become immeasurably worse in the West following Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack, which somehow acted as a catalyst for further anti-Jewish hate here at home.

But it does remind us that the people marching in the streets, the people making threats, and the people stomping their way out of their own graduation ceremonies are in the minority. An incredibly vicious and vocal minority, sure, but a minority nonetheless.

And while there is certainly work to do to ensure peace and safety for Jews in the West, we should take solace in the fact that while there are some people out there who refuse to listen to Jerry Seinfeld because he is Jewish, their voices are drowned out by the majority who wanted to hear from him and cheer obvious truths: “We’re embarrassed about things we should be proud of and proud of things that we should be embarrassed about.”

After faulting ‘fog of war’ for cloudy Hamas casualty numbers, UN’s new stats still don’t appear to add up
A day after a U.N. spokesman attributed a nearly 100% overcounting of Gazan women and children casualties to “the fog of war,” the global body now says that the overall death toll in Gaza due to the war remains the same.

After extensive media coverage of his response to JNS last week—that the “fog of war” was to blame for overcounting fatalities in Gaza for children and women, which the United Nations then reduced by about 42% and about 50% respectively—Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, sought to clarify the U.N. position during a Monday press conference.

The overall Hamas-provided death toll has not changed; however, the terror organization opted to classify the dead as either “identified” or “unidentified,” according to Haq.

“I don’t think the numbers are meant to get back to the previous breakdown of numbers,” Haq told JNS, of the new figures. “As we have made clear, those are not the verified numbers, which is what the new ones are.”

“What is clear is that the numbers in all categories will rise as the unidentified corpses are identified,” Haq added. “That’s part of a process of ensuring that all the death tolls in all categories are properly verified.”

It wasn’t clear what an “unidentified” death meant. The Hamas-run Gazan health ministry stated on April 6 that it had “incomplete data” for more than 11,000 of the Gazan fatalities it claims to have documented. That means it lacked a key data point about each, including identity number, full name, date of birth or date of death.

The numbers don’t appear to add up.

U.N. Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs cited Hamas figures when it reported on May 6 that there have been 34,735 fatalities, including more than 9,500 women and more than 14,500 children.

Two days later, OCHA cited the same Hamas figures and reported that of 34,844 casualties, 24,686 were “identified,” including 4,959 “identified” women and 7,797 “identified” children.

Taken together, the May 6 and May 8 OCHA announcements suggest that there are at least 4,541 “unidentified” women and at least 6,703 “unidentified” children—or at least 11,244 “unidentified” women and children combined.

IDF reveals Hamas terrorists use UN vehicles, UNRWA compound as cover in Rafah
The IDF revealed on Tuesday that during operational activity in eastern Rafah on Saturday, terrorists were identified in UNRWA’s central logistics compound alongside UN vehicles.

In the footage, several terrorists and gunfire can be seen near UN vehicles and in the area of UNRWA's logistics warehouse compound in eastern Rafah, which is a central point for the distribution of aid on UNRWA’s behalf in the Gaza Strip.

Following the event, representatives of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) conveyed the findings to senior officials in the international community and called on the UN to conduct an urgent investigation into the matter.

Hamas presence threatens civilian safety
In addition, COGAT representatives warned the UN against the presence of terrorists in the area and the seriousness of the danger their presence brings to the logistics center compound concerning the continued protection of the organization's facilities.

The IDF promised at the end of the announcement that it would continue to act in accordance with international law to distribute aid to the residents of the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz commented on the footage on X, formerly Twitter, saying, "Hamas terrorists firing at civilians from within a UNRWA facility next to UN vehicles in Rafah. No lie from Antonio Guterres and Philippe Lazzarini will hide the truth: UNRWA is an arm of the terrorist organization Hamas."

Katz also called for the resignation of Lazzarini as the Commissioner-General of UNRWA.

State Dept. calls for investigation into 'incredibly disturbing' reports killed UN worker
The State Department said it does not yet have the full details surrounding the death of a UN aid worker who was killed on Monday morning in Rafah after their vehicle was reportedly hit by Israeli strikes; however, on Tuesday, a spokesperson called the reports "incredibly disturbing."

"UN and humanitarian workers must be protected, and they need to be able to continue their life-saving work," Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters during a news briefing.

In these circumstances, Patel said a viable medical evacuation process for humanitarian staff injured in military operations, accidents, or illnesses is essential.

"We emphasize that there needs to be a focus on safeguarding designated sites, safeguarding aid personnel and civilians," Patel added.

The State Department joined calls for a full investigation into Monday's fatal incident in which another aid worker also sustained injuries, Patel said.
Seth Mandel: Knockoff Nakbas
There’s another example of this kind of manufactured narrative being imposed on history: the credulous reporting of a U.S. Army officer’s resignation purportedly over America’s Israel policy.

On Monday, Maj. Harrison Mann posted a letter he sent to colleagues announcing his resignation from the Defense Intelligence Agency. He had emailed the note to his colleagues on April 16. “The policy that has never been far from my mind for the past six months is the nearly unqualified support for the government of Israel, which has enabled and empowered the killing and starvation of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians.”

The only problem? Mann’s letter also states: “Most of you know I already intended to leave the Army at some point, but this moral injury is what led me to finally submit my resignation on November 1.”

November 1? Mere days after Israel’s ground incursion into Gaza began? And this was the result of spending time agonizing over it, meaning his moral crisis likely came not when Israel moved to defend itself but in the wake of Hamas’s blood-drenched barbarism?

The good news is that there is almost no way the story Mann is selling here is true. And if it were true, based on his own timeline, he would be painting himself as something of a monster.

I don’t think Mann is a monster. What he is describing, instead, looks like this: A guy wants out of the Army, says so repeatedly, procrastinates (according to the timeline he stayed on for four more months after his exit was approved), figures out a story that is backwards-compatible with influencer-style self-branding and pronounces himself not lazy but a hero. All he has to do is nakba-ize his own life by revising what actually happened to fit a simple framework: the Jewish state is evil.

These types of stories always amuse me to some degree, insofar as the pro-Hamas protest movement and its cheerleaders love to talk about how brave it is to criticize Israel when their own actions prove it is the easiest route to social media clout available to them. Harrison Mann was an anonymous public servant, but now he may get some television invites and maybe an oped in the New York Times. At the very least, he can store away this anti-Israel street cred for a rainy day.

It is a sign of a deeply unhealthy culture to incentivize the retroactive scapegoating of Jews for individual misfortune. Expect to see more of it.
We won’t let the haters make Zionism a dirty word
Lately, what we’ve seen on signage and heard at protest encampments erected illegally at Canadian universities has echoed hate-fuelled rhetoric used at anti-Israel rallies since Oct. 7, especially in the vile abuse of the words Zionist and Zionism. Such weaponization of language aimed at Jews has long figured in the arsenal of antisemites.

This is no mere academic matter of semantics. Jews have seen repeatedly in history that what begins with hateful words often ends in hateful actions of the worst kind.

Knowing that to say “Jews” in their slogans would make their antisemitism more flagrant, activists instead use “Zionist” to make their poison seemingly more palatable to the wider public. Prominent in their repertoire are such mantras as “Zionists not welcome here,” “Zios go home,” “Zionist exclusion zone” and “Death to Zionists.” What do they mean, or shouldn’t I ask? Death to those who believe in the existence of a Jewish state, which is the essence of Zionism?

The thin veil of anti-Zionism shouldn’t give protesters impunity to perpetrate hate and spew venom at Canadian Jews. This tactic should be no more acceptable than using the word “Jew” because the large majority of Canadian Jews are Zionists, who want a safe and secure Jewish state of Israel. Such unity contrasts sharply with a tiny but vocal minority of Jews who identify as anti-Zionists and receive disproportionate media attention.

For his part, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau now seems to recognize the danger of anti-Israel activists making Zionism a toxic term and singling out Jews as less worthy of nationhood and self-determination than other peoples.

“In a country like Canada, it should be and it must be safe to declare oneself a Zionist, Jewish or not,” he said at a Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration in Ottawa last week. “Zionism is not a dirty word or something anyone should be targeted for agreeing with. It is the belief at its simplest that Jewish people, like all peoples, have the right to determine their own future.”

Like most Canadian Jews, I am a proud and unapologetic Zionist, who’s tired of protesters calling for our death.

The Hidden Agenda of Christ at the Checkpoint
Once again, Bethlehem Bible College will host its bi-annual conference, Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC), on May 21-26, 2024, in Bethlehem. CATC is an evangelical organization established in 2010 that is known for its anti-Israel views and advocacy. NGO Monitor exposed the anti-Zionist activities of the organization when it reported that:
CATC seeks to advance the Palestinian nationalist agenda within Evangelical Christian churches while simultaneously reviving theological antisemitic themes such as replacement theology.

… Other anti-Jewish themes promoted at CATC conferences include the de-Judaizing of Jesus and the promotion of a racial theory of Jewish origins.

The language in the online promotional ad for this year’s conference seems balanced, almost benign. It includes words and phrases like “Evangelical spirit, peace, justice, and reconciliation.” But something is troubling, and it begins with the name Christ at the Checkpoint, which creates the absurd optic of Jesus as a Palestinian attempting to enter Israel through an Israeli border checkpoint. This evokes the image of Jesus as a non-Jewish Christian Palestinian blocked from entering his homeland because of the evil Jewish occupation.

The obvious problem with this narrative is that Palestine did not exist in Jesus’ day. In 135 CE, the Romans — in attempting to erase any Jewish existence in, or connection to, the land of their ancestors, spitefully renamed Judea as “Syria Palestina” or “Philistia” in honor of Israel’s ancient extinct enemy, the Philistines (think David vs. Goliath).

By naming their organization Christ at the Checkpoint, the leaders seek to portray Jesus as culturally connected to modern Palestinians — and, in so doing, distort and erase the longstanding Jewish connection to the land of Israel.
Fred Guttenberg warns of creeping antisemitism among Democratic activists
Fred Guttenberg, who became a nationally known gun control activist in the wake of his daughter’s death in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, warned in a recent interview with Jewish Insider that he’s concerned rising antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiment in activist circles could, if not addressed, overtake the Democratic Party.

“I believe this party as a whole does not stand for hate, does not stand for antisemitism. But there is a minority of this party that does,” Guttenberg said. “And what worries me is we can look back on the Republican Party from years ago, when there was a minority of the party who stood for autocracy, and now it’s the platform of the party. They stood for hate against a lot of people, it’s now the platform of that party.”

“I don’t want that to happen to the Democrats,” he continued, “and right now is the moment in time where we can ensure that it doesn’t.”

Guttenberg has been outspoken since Oct. 7 about his support for Israel and his concerns about rising antisemitism in left-wing spaces since the Hamas terror attack.

Reflecting on conversations with Republicans who oppose former President Donald Trump, Guttenberg said he thinks that Democrats need to have serious, private conversations, and that he’s hopeful that the Democratic Party can find the way forward.

But he warned that “these outside agitators are going to do everything they can to disrupt, and we need to know who those outside agitators are, so that we can work together for the good of America.”

Guttenberg said he thinks that both antisemitism and outside influence and funding are fueling the anti-Israel and antisemitic activity that’s rising in activist spaces, which he said isn’t new since Oct. 7, but has been happening for years.

“I hope the young people are hearing me loudly and clearly: I know many of you, I’ve worked with many of you,” he said. “I’ve talked with many of you who now say, ‘I used to like you, but’ — I hear that all the time. I still believe in you. I believe in your heart. I believe in your ability to be good. And now is your time to stand against hate, to stand against antisemitism, and to be good and to be decent.”

He warned of dire potential outcomes if they continue on the current path.
Israeli flag-raising ceremony in Ottawa will be private, city says
City of Ottawa officials said Israel’s flag will be raised Tuesday in a private event to mark the country’s national day.

In a statement, the city said it has agreed to allow the Jewish Federation of Ottawa to hold a ceremony, but it’s not giving details about where or when it will be.

Last week, the city said it decided to cancel the annual flag-raising event because of concerns it would pose a risk to public safety. No details were provided about security concerns.

That prompted an outcry from local and federal politicians, including Mayor Mark Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe said on Friday that he asked police and city officials to find a way to hold the event safely.
16 Republican senators demand IRS investigate fiscal sponsor of Students for Justice in Palestine
A group of 16 Republican senators is asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate nonprofits that support National Students for Justice in Palestine - including the group’s fiscal sponsor, the suburban New York nonprofit Wespac.

The senators’ letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel, dated May 9, says the agency should investigate whether, by directing funds to NSJP, the nonprofits are supporting terrorism - which would violate their tax-exempt status.

“We should not need to remind you of the heinous support NSJP chapters across the country have voiced for Hamas, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the letter says. “That support has exploded at NSJP chapter-led demonstrations in recent weeks.”

The recent wave of pro-Palestinian campus demonstrations - many of them organized by SJP chapters - has made the investigation especially urgent, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, the letter’s lead signatory, told the New York Jewish Week. A range of Jewish groups have condemned the protests for targeting Jews with antisemitic rhetoric and creating a hostile atmosphere at schools across the country.

“The antisemitism that has popped up on college campuses coast to coast is fundamentally un-American,” Ernst said in a statement, adding, “it is clear these organizations should not receive any favors from our government to do Iran-backed Hamas’s bidding on our own shores.”
Protesters, colleges are about to find out that, yes, the law DOES apply to them, too
George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, who pioneered the class action litigation against tobacco companies, predicts that there will be more lawsuits against the protesters and their backers.

Antisemitism controversy at Columbia University: Key events
- More than 280 anti-Israel demonstrators were cuffed at Columbia and the City of New York campuses overnight in a “massive” NYPD operation.
- One hundred and nine people were nabbed at the Ivy League campus after cops responded to Columbia’s request to help oust a destructive mob that had illegally taken over the - - - - Hamilton Hall academic building late Tuesday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams and police said.
- Hizzoner blamed the on-campus chaos on insurgents who have a “history of escalating situations and trying to create chaos” instead of protesting peacefully.
- Columbia’s embattled president Minouche Shafik, who has faced mounting calls to resign for not cracking down sooner, issued a statement Wednesday saying the on-campus violence had “pushed the university to the brink.”
- Columbia University president Minouche Shafik was accused of “gross negligence” while testifying before Congress. Shafik refused to say if the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is antisemitic.
- More than 100 Columbia professors signed a letter defending students who support the “military action” by Hamas.

If DAs won’t prosecute, victims can sue for false imprisonment

Such class-action lawsuits could be brought for familiar torts (civil-damage actions), such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and tortious interference with existing contractual advantage, as well as less familiar ones such civil conspiracy and prime facie tort, Banzhaf comments.

These victims include not only students and faculty on campus, but people who were trapped in their cars by road-blocking protests, causing them to miss things like flights, or work, or medical appointments.

It only takes one such person to launch a class-action suit on behalf of others affected
Jewish groups add more allegations of antisemitism to their lawsuit against UC Berkeley
Two Jewish advocacy organizations suing the University of California, Berkeley, over a “longstanding, unchecked spread of anti-Semitism” have amended their complaint to include incidents from antiwar protests.

The federal complaint, filed in the Northern District of California in November by the Louis D. Brandeis Center and Jewish Americans for Fairness in Education, was amended May 3.

The measure is among a handful of discrimination complaints filed against universities since the Israel-Hamas war started in October.

It accuses UC Berkeley of tolerating antisemitism by failing to enforce its anti-discrimination policies on several occasions, including after the disruption of a speech by a former member of the Israeli military.

At the February event, a protest led by antiwar student groups turned violent and several Jewish students said they were physically attacked and intimidated. Campus police intervened after protesters smashed windows and broke a door to the building where the talk event was being held.

“For many Jews, including many Jewish students and faculty at UC Berkeley, a profound connection with the Jewish State of Israel is integral to their Jewish identity,” the Brandeis Center said in a statement. “Excluding Zionists thus effectively excludes Jews.”

A day after the protest, university officials released a statement condemning the violence and saying it would investigate the incident.

“We cannot allow the use or threat of force to imperil members of our community and deny them the ability to feel safe and welcome on our campus,” the officials said. “We cannot cede our values to those willing to engage in transgressive behavior.”

The lawsuit also accuses the university of tolerating an allegedly antisemitic campaign against its law school dean, Erwin Chemerinsky.

In March, after Chemerinsky, who is Jewish, invited graduating law
William Jacobson: Anti-Israel campus protesters have experienced “some kind of psychiatric break”
My interview with Mishpacha Magazine: “I do think it’s a psychological phenomenon, which makes it harder to deal with. It’s almost become a cult, and in order to be accepted into the cult, you have to announce your hatred for Israel, you have to announce support for people who actually hate you. So there’s something that’s hard to address, because you have people who’ve had some sort of mental breakdown.”

I was interviewed recently by the Jerusalem office of Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly, which is targeted at the Orthodox Jewish community in its various forms, about the situation on U.S. campuses.

My interview was one of several interviews as part of an article on Degrees of Hate:

At leading universities across America, the anti-Israel feeling that normally bubbles beneath the surface of the predominating progressive agenda has suddenly taken over normal life.

Class is out as pro-Hamas students intimidate their Jewish peers and tangle with police, all in the name of social justice and supporting the Palestinian cause.

These colleges that are meant to educate America’s elite have been exposed as citadels of intolerance. Institutions founded to develop critical thinking have become hotbeds of support for the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

To observers the world over, the unrest at Ivy League institutions is yet another sign that America itself is in turmoil. Some insist that this will blow over, pointing to the tradition of radical campus activism dating back to Vietnam. But to many who are more closely involved, it all hints at something darker: a shuttering of the academic mind that bodes ill for Israel and for America itself.

The protests raise a host of questions about America’s future. First, is it safe to be Jewish on US college campuses? Are the protests against Israel part of a wider war against Western values? Is there a way forward for Israel advocates on campus?

These questions are at the heart of the testimonies presented here from students and faculty at the schools where some of the most disturbing scenes have been recorded. The rawness and immediacy of these first-person accounts capture the loneliness of being a Jewish student in the post-October 7 world, as well as the stirrings of Jewish pride emerging among those who stand up to be counted.

Students from Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell were interviewed, along with a Rabbi from UCLA, a Israeli Columbia law professor, and a professor at Tauro University.
Pro-Hamas Harvard Group Ends Encampment After University Makes Concessions
Harvard University has negotiated a deal to end a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” that an anti-Zionist student group had erected at Harvard Yard and lived in for nearly three weeks, the school’s president announced on Tuesday.

The agreement was highly favorable to the students, including the processing of reinstatement petitions for those who were placed on “involuntary leave” — a measure which in effect disenrolled the students from school and banned them from campus — and a meeting with the school’s Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility (CCSR) to discuss the possibility of divestment from companies linked to Israel.

“With the disruption to the educational environment caused by the encampment now abated, I will ask that the schools promptly initiate reinstatement proceedings for all individuals who have been placed on involuntary leave of absences,” interim Harvard president Alan M. Garber said in a statement. “I will also ask disciplinary boards within each school to evaluate expeditiously, according to their existing practices and precedents, the cases of those who participated in the encampment.”

He added, “There will continue to be deep disagreements and strongly felt emotions as we experience pain and distress over events in the wider world. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to do what we do at our best, creating conditions for true dialogue, modeling ways to build understanding, empathy, and trust, and pursuing constructive change anchored in the rights and responsibilities we share.”

Harvard maintains that it has not granted “amnesty” to any student placed on involuntary leave or charged with violating school rules.

On Tuesday, the group principally responsible for organizing the demonstration, Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine (HOOP), dismissed the deal as duplicitous and issued a warning to the school.

“As a precondition for decamping, administration will retract suspensions. Administration has also offered us meetings regarding disclosure and divestment with members of the Harvard Management Company,” HOOP continued. “We are under no illusions: we do not believe these meetings are divestment wins. These side-deals are intended to pacify us away from full disclosure & divestment. Rest assured, they will not … Harvard beware: the liberated zone is everywhere.”
Progressive LGBTQ student sues Rutgers over 'hostile' environment for Jews: 'Laboratory of antisemitism'
A Jewish student at Rutgers University in New Jersey has been exposed to and damaged by its "laboratory of antisemitism," according to a lawsuit filed this week.

Rivka Schafer is suing Rutgers University, claiming the school failed to protect the safety of Jewish students following a series of antisemitic incidents in recent years, signaling a "toleration of bullying, intimidation, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against Jewish students [which] denies them their right to an adequate educational environment," according to a copy of the complaint reviewed by Fox News Digital. Following Hamas' October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, this "hostility at Rutgers towards Jewish students spiraled out of control."

According to the complaint, an escalating series of incidents led to this conclusion: "The message to Schafer and other Jewish students was clear: ‘Don’t support Israel, we know where you sleep.’"

Schafer, who is an Orthodox Jew, identifies as LGBTQ+ and uses the pronouns "they" and "them," filed the suit in response to the university's failure to act in response to the antisemitic incidents Schafer said have taken place on campus since Oct. 7. In the fall of 2023, Schafer enrolled at Rutgers as an undergraduate student and is one of only a few Jewish students living at Demarest Hall, colloquially known as the "gay dorm," in the 2023- 2024 academic year.

While living at Demarest Hall, Schafer was the target of numerous antisemitic events, according to the lawsuit, which explained that Demarest Hall is "quite different from the traditional on-campus dorm" as most students actively choose to live there, rather than receiving it as part of their housing assignment with the primary purpose of housing students who want to be a part of the tight-knit community for liberal arts. Residents have the option to meet for weekly discussions of relevant topics in the humanities, such as History/Poli Sci, Visual Arts, Cinema Studies, Improv, and Sex, Sexuality, and Gender.

"These groups foster an engaged and diverse community as well as a noted pride for living in Demarest," the lawsuit stated. "The students of Demarest also host frequent events, including coffeehouses, art shows, drag shows, band nights, and more."

"Demarest Hall also offers inclusive housing options, allowing for co-roommate pairings, and providing gender-neutral bathrooms on the second floor," the lawsuit added.
Faculty chair at U of Arizona delays resolution on campus antisemitism
At the University of Arizona in Tucson, the leader of the faculty senate has chosen to hold up a measure opposing antisemitism at the school.

On May 6, faculty senate chair Leila Hudson, who is Palestinian, announced the delay of a resolution to condemn campus antisemitism.

Hudson cited as her justification the May 1 engagement between law enforcement and anti-Israel activist students that included the use of pepper spray and rubber bullets.

The Joint Council on Jewish Life and Antisemitism stated in response that “every day is a day to call out antisemitism; one of these events has nothing to do with the other.”

In a statement, Hudson also said that Congress was “attempting, uniquely, to legislate the meaning of antisemitism in a way which many individual scholars, and many individual citizens, believe will limit free speech in the name of fighting hatred, which I personally oppose.”

Hudson said the faculty senate needed more time to deliberate on the statement. “Wrestling with the language on this matter has been challenging,” she said. “I have failed to come up with language on this matter that I think we could easily pass.”
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee ‘caved’ to anti-Israel protesters, say congressman, Jewish orgs
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee reached a deal on Sunday with anti-Israel protesters two weeks after the latter set up tents on campus “in defiance of a state rule banning camping on campus property,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Mark Mone, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, stated on Sunday that the “voluntary dismantling of the encampment is the safest conclusion for everyone.”

In response to the protesters’ demands, the public university called for a ceasefire in Gaza and “for the release of the remaining Israeli and international hostages held by Hamas and the release of Palestinian men, women and children held as hostages in military detention in Israel” and condemned “the destruction of universities in Gaza.”

It also agreed to meet with four student representatives to hear their pitch for the university to boycott the Jewish state. To the anti-Israel protesters’ demand that the school cut ties with private companies that do business with Israel, the university said that it is prohibited by law to do so.

“UWM supports the civic engagement of students and encourages protestors to make their concerns heard with lawmakers, as it does with all student advocacy issues,” it added.

The university also said it would review its study-abroad programs to make sure that they do not discriminate.
Biden Civil Rights Chief Calls Columbia Students 'Inspiration' in Graduation Speech, Ignores Anti-Semitism
The Biden administration’s civil rights chief Kristen Clarke praised Columbia Law School’s graduating class as an "inspiration" on Monday—but made no mention of the surge of anti-Semitic demonstrations on the campus that have drawn international attention this spring.

"Being back here at Columbia Law School, to witness and experience your graduation, is an immense source of renewal and inspiration," said Clarke, who graduated from the school over two decades ago, in her keynote address. "I hope that you will use your law degree to make our nation a more just and equitable place."

Clarke, the head of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, has so far resisted calls from Jewish leaders to investigate anti-Semitic protests at Columbia and other universities. Her address to the law school comes as members of Congress have questioned her ability to prosecute attacks against Jews at Columbia, given her history of associations with anti-Semitic activists.

Clarke’s speech also followed an announcement last week from over a dozen federal judges saying they would not hire new graduates of Columbia Law School due to the rise in bigotry at the university.

Columbia has been roiled by anti-Israel demonstrations that have at times turned violent. Anti-Israel protesters have called for killing supporters of the Jewish state, assaulted Jewish students, burned Israeli flags, and chanted at Jews to "go back to Poland."

Last week, the Columbia Law chapter of the National Lawyers Guild issued a statement declaring that "No Jew is safe until everyone is safe, and no Jew is free until Palestine is free."

Clarke made only one mention of anti-Semitism during her speech, as part of a list of examples of discrimination.

"Justice is working tirelessly to prosecute hate crimes, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia," said Clarke.

Ben & Jerry's board says pro-Palestinian campus protests are 'essential' to democracy
The board of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, a brand owned by Unilever, said that the pro-Palestinian protests sweeping US college campuses and graduation ceremonies are "essential" to democracy.

The Vermont-based frozen dairy dessert maker, sold on some college campuses, called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza in January.

“Lunch counter sit-ins, student-led protests against the Vietnam War and Apartheid South Africa, and now the campus protests in solidarity with Gaza, all are part of our rich history of free speech and non-violent protest that makes change and is essential to a strong democracy,” the independent board said in a statement. Three years ago

Three years ago, Ben & Jerry's announced it would stop selling its ice cream in the Palestinian territories, saying it was "inconsistent" with its values, and leading parent company Unilever to look for a "new arrangement" for selling the ice cream in Israel.

Unilever then offloaded its Israeli Ben & Jerry's business to a local licensee, keeping the ice cream for sale in the country. The Ben & Jerry's board sued to try to block the sale, and the lawsuit was later "resolved."

Unilever is now planning to spin out its ice cream unit by 2025 in an effort to simplify its business.
UNC Diverts DEI Funds Toward Campus Police: Report
The board of trustees at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, voted unanimously on Monday in favor of disbanding its diversity, equity, and inclusion program and diverting the millions of dollars in funding toward campus security, according to a report.

The UNC trustees’ decision to redirect $2.3 million in DEI funding came amid tumultuous anti-Israel protests on campus and growing backlash against DEI nationwide, the Raleigh News & Observer reported on Monday.

David Boliek, chairman of the UNC board, told the outlet that he believes "there’s administrative bloat in the university," adding that "any cuts in administration and diverting of dollars to rubber-meets-the-road efforts like public safety and teaching is important."

Trustee Marty Kotis in Monday’s board meeting denounced the anti-Israel protesters for destroying campus property, taking down the American flag, and forcing police officers to put up gates on campus.

"North Carolinians are watching all this, and they are not happy," Kotis said in the meeting. "I think it’s imperative that we have proper resources for law enforcement to protect the campus. And that means our property, and that means our flag as well."

"It’s important to consider the needs of all 30,000 students, not just 100 or so that may want to disrupt the university’s operations," Kotis told the News & Observer.

Amsterdam University closed for 2 days after anti-Israel activists storm building
The University of Amsterdam says it will remain closed for two days, after police moved in to end an anti-Israel protest at one of its campuses on Monday.

The university’s board said it had canceled all classes Tuesday and Wednesday and has closed all buildings as it said it cannot guarantee safety for those on campus.

The university has been the scene of violent clashes between protesters and riot police three times in the past week, as activists who demand that the university cuts all ties with Israeli institutions blocked and occupied campuses.

Protests began on Monday when university staff and students staged a walkout in in response to the violent end to an occupation of a university building on May 8.

The university’s board said the protest had been peaceful until a group of masked outsiders joined the original group and started blocking entrances and emergency exits and caused serious damage to the building and its library.

Protesters, atop makeshift barriers of desks, bricks and wooden pallets used fire extinguishers to push back police, local television showed. Reuters video showed officers in riot gear struck protesters on the head with batons and knocked down the barricades, dragging many young students away as hundreds of others shouted, “Shame on you!”

PreOccupiedTerritory: Birthright Now Offering Progressive Students One-Way Trips To Gaza (satire)
An organization that has brought a generation of North American Jewish youth on weeklong visits to Israel to connect with their people’s history and heritage announced an expansion initiative today, to include those who disavow their connection with Israel and instead wish to show solidarity with Palestinians: a trip to the coastal Mediterranean territory under the administration of Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that has vowed to repeat the slaughter of October 7, 2023.

Birthright International issued a press release today to herald its new Gaza Solidarity Project, to appeal to Jews who reject Jewish sovereignty in the ancestral Jewish homeland and who sympathize with those whose violent opposition to Jewish sovereignty has immiserated them for generations.

“We are pleased to announce a program that will expand our offerings to those who recoil from the ‘Zionism’ of the original Birthright initiative,” the press release read. “Already, numerous local entities have volunteered to ‘take care of’ these visitors. It is an exciting time to be a young American Jew.”

A Birthright board member who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that the GSP program will cost the organization less than its sister program that takes youths to Israel who have never done so themselves as part of an organized group. “It’s not just the lower costs in general in the Gaza Strip,” she explained. “That is of course a notable consideration, but ultimately, we only have to pay for one way. The participants are not expected to return.”
‘Digital Guillotine’: Online Leftists Organize Against Celebs Who Haven’t Weighed In on Israel-Hamas War
Leftists on social media are organizing against celebrities and influencers who haven’t publicly weighed in on the Israel-Hamas war, putting the popular figures on what they call a “digital guillotine.”

“It’s time for the people to conduct what I want to call a ‘digital guillotine,’ a ‘digitine,’ if you will. It’s time to block all the celebrities, influencers, and wealthy socialites who are not using their resources to help those in dire need,” said TikTok user @ladyfromtheoutside, who reportedly started the movement with her viral video.

“We gave them their platforms. It’s time to take it back, take our views away, our likes, our comments, our money, by blocking them all on social media and digital platforms,” the TikTok user continued.

The TikTok user then “sentenced” former model and internet personality Haley Kalil — also known as Haley Baylee — to the “digitine” for saying “Let them eat cake” at the Met Gala.

“Haley Baylee, for your ignorant decision to attend the $75,000 ticket Met Gala and recite, ‘Let them eat cake,’ while you have done nothing with your 10 million flowerer platform as people are starving in and dying, we sentence you to the digitine,” the TikTok user declared.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman accuses Israel of 'onslaught against innocent civilians' during primary debate
In a heated debate Monday night, Rep. Jamaal Bowman attacked his primary challenger, George Latimer, over receiving funding from pro-Israel donors. Bowman also accused Israel of an “onslaught against innocent civilians.”

Latimer staked out a centrist pro-Israel position, demanding the release of hostages held by Hamas as part of a ceasefire, and condemning some chants by pro-Palestinian student protesters as hate speech. He said Palestinian terror was to blame for the conflict.

Latimer also took shots at Bowman, accusing him of taking a one-sided “anti-Israel approach.”

The debate was the first of the closely-watched Democratic primary in New York’s 16th district, and saw the two candidates shouting over each other while disagreeing on the Israel-Hamas war as well as domestic issues.

The district covers southern Westchester County, where Latimer serves as county executive, and a sliver of the Bronx. The debate, held in White Plains, took place in front of a studio audience and was hosted by the local News 12 channel.

The race in a blue district is seen as a bellwether for Democrats, as centrists and progressives in the party have split over the Israel-Hamas war. War rhetoric

The war has emerged as a focal point in the race: Bowman has aligned himself with Israel’s most vehement critics in the party, accusing Israel of “genocide,” calling for the US to curb weapons shipments to israel - and alienating large parts of the district’s sizable Jewish population.

He angered Jewish voters early in the war by urging a ceasefire on October 16 in a statement that did not mention Hamas, terrorism or Israeli hostages. The liberal Israel lobby J Street rescinded its endorsement of Bowman in January over his rhetoric on the war.

Latimer has taken a vocally pro-Israel stance that aligns with President Joe Biden and more moderate Democrats. He supports aid to Israel and has focused his criticism on Hamas. He visited Israel in November on a trip organized by the Westchester Jewish Council.

Group touts Hoboken mayor Ravi Bhalla as supporter of anti-Israel protests
An advertisement for an event with Hoboken, N.J., Mayor Ravi Bhalla, challenging Rep. Rob Menendez (D-NJ) in New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District, labels Bhalla as a pro-cease-fire candidate supportive of campus anti-Israel protests.

The advertisement was circulated by a group called Muslims of New Jersey, which hosted the event, and describes Bhalla as its favored candidate over Menendez. The flier attacks Menendez for his AIPAC endorsement, and for being “against ceasefire in Gaza” and “against students right to protest.”

The event took place Saturday morning in Jersey City.

“Ravi Bhalla engages with all communities in the diverse 8th Congressional District. That certainly includes the Muslim community, which is an integral and vital part of the fabric of the region,” Bhalla spokesperson Rob Horowitz said. “He communicated his same consistent position on Israel/Gaza at this afternoon’s event as he has communicated in media appearances and to interested parties no matter their point of view. “

“Ravi Bhalla supports Israel’s right to defend itself and ensure its national security. This imperative is underscored by the horrific Oct. 7th terrorist attack, which Ravi spoke out about at the time and continues to decry,” Horowitz continued.

“At the same time, he believes Israel must do a much better job of limiting the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza and of ensuring that food and other provisions are allowed in to prevent famine and improve desperate overall conditions. He backs a negotiated cease fire with the return of all the hostages and believes all efforts must continue to be made by the United States to bring that result about.”

Horowitz said that Bhalla “supports a two-state solution as still the only viable long-term path to peace.”

Addressing the campus protests, Horowitz said Bhalla “supports free speech, but not violence, destruction of property nor harassment of Jewish students. And he is a vocal opponent of Antisemitism, Islamophobia or any other form of bigotry and racism.”

AEI: The American Dream Lecture Series: Ruth Wisse on Antisemitism in the United States
The United States is confronting the greatest rise in antisemitism in decades. Following Hamas’s October 7 massacre, the Anti-Defamation League reported a 337 percent increase in antisemitic incidents—experienced in synagogues, on campuses, and by Jewish individuals and businesses nationwide. As John Podhoretz has observed, the situation is “a national onslaught that has no precedent in American history or American life.”

To shed light on this issue, Harvard University’s Ruth Wisse will deliver AEI’s fifth American Dream Lecture. A renowned scholar of Yiddish literature, Jewish history, and culture, Dr. Wisse will explore the evolution of American antisemitism and discuss its unprecedented rise in recent months. How can we effectively counter what Dr. Wisse has called “the escalation of anti-Jewish politics in America”?

Citing safety concerns, Nashville hotel cancels pro-Israel summit
A Nashville hotel has pulled out of hosting a pro-Israel event, stating that it had received “threats.”

The Israel Summit—scheduled for May 20 to May 22 at the Sonesta Nashville Airport Hotel—is being coordinated by HaYovel, a Christian organization that facilitates volunteer service work in Israel, and the Israel Guys, a pro-Israel media initiative that grew out of HaYovel.

The inaugural event, which is expected to draw about 500 people, is billed as a “gathering of pro-Israel supporters who unconditionally support Israel’s right to be sovereign in the entirety of the land of Israel, including Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.”

As many as 400 participants have already booked rooms at the hotel, which has now canceled their reservations.

Speakers for the event include Knesset member Ohad Tal; former U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann; journalist and author Caroline Glick; International spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron Yishai Fleisher; National Religious Broadcasters president Troy Miller; the Land of Israel Network’s Rabbis Jeremy Gimpel and Ari Abramowitz; Israel365 CEO Rabbi Tuly Weisz; and many others.

The summit also includes a concert featuring Israeli musician Yair Levi, a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Shayetet 13 unit, Israel’s equivalent to the Navy SEALs. The concert is scheduled for May 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Israel365, a co-sponsor of the event, said the hotel consulted with local police who “were concerned that the hotel, their guests, local businesses and attendees to the Israel Summit would be in physical danger due to the threatening nature of the calls and messages they received.”
The Israel Guys: BREAKING: Nashville Hotel Cancels The Israel Summit | Is This the End of Free Speech in America?
Breaking news - in violation of freedom of religion and freedom of speech, the hotel that was slated to host the Israel Summit in Nashville, TN next week has canceled our contract. Unfortunately, threats and pressure from pro-Palestinian, pro-Hamas, pro-Iranian protestors has made it to the Bible Belt, and we’re disappointed that Nashville decided to cave to the enemies of Israel AND democracy.

A call to collective action: Confronting antisemitism in Chile
En route to her cousin’s wedding, a pregnant woman, her husband, and their seven-year-old son found themselves trapped in their car, encircled by a mob of angry, hostile rioters.

The mob shook their vehicle while screaming “genocidal murderer” at the young boy. Their aggression intensified upon noticing the pregnant woman’s stomach, as they shouted, “Pregnant! You’re carrying a genocidal murderer inside!”

On March 28, 2024, an antisemitic attack occurred at the Estadio Israelita, the local Jewish Community Center in Santiago, Chile. Waving Palestinian flags and signs bearing hateful insults and slogans, this incident is one of many faced by Chile’s Jewish community, particularly since the October 7th assault by Hamas on Israel.

The mother’s poignant reflection on the experience highlights the profound emotional toll of antisemitic hostility and the pressing imperative to address it. She expressed, “It’s a primitive feeling deeply ingrained and passed down. It doesn’t allow any kind of introspection or dialogue. It’s not driven by politics, religion, or advocacy for human rights. It’s hatred, period.”

As the Anti-Defamation League’s senior vice president of International Affairs, and as former Israeli ambassador to Chile, I’m deeply troubled by the alarming escalation of anti-Jewish sentiment in Chile.
Three men in court over ‘Isis-inspired’ plot to kill Jews in north-west England
Two men who allegedly plotted to carry out an Islamic State-inspired gun attack against the Jewish community have appeared in court.

Walid Saadaoui, 36, of Crankwood Road, Abram, and Amar Hussein, 50, of no fixed abode, are accused of plotting a terror attack designed to cause "multiple fatalities using automatic weapons" in north-west England, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard on Tuesday.

The two men had intended to target "the Jewish community in the North West of England and members of both law enforcement and military" as part of an "Isil or Daesh-inspired terrorist attack", prosecutors told the court.

Both are charged with the preparation of terrorist acts between December 13 2023 and May 9 2024.

Bilel Saadaoui, 35, of Fairclough Street, Hindley, also appeared before the court accused of making arrangements for Walid Saadaoui - who is his brother - after his death.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to disclose information about an act of terrorism between the same dates.
California man, who tried to kill two Jews in Los Angeles, to plead guilty
A former resident of Riverside, Calif., who shot and wounded two Jewish men in February 2023 as they left synagogues in Los Angeles, agreed to plead guilty to hate crimes and firearms offenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Jaime Tran, 29, faces life in federal prison for each of two counts of hate crimes with intent to kill and life in prison and mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years each for two counts of “using, carrying and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence,” per the U.S. Justice Department.

In a plea agreement that prosecutors filed on Tuesday, Tran would be sentenced to 35 to 40 years in prison.

“This defendant sought to murder two men simply because they were Jewish,” stated Martin Estrada, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California. “Rather than allow these horrific crimes to divide us, however, our community came together and swiftly brought the perpetrator to justice. Hate and intolerance have no place in America.”

Krysti Hawkins, acting assistant director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office stated that she hopes “that members of the Jewish community take some solace in knowing that he will not be in the position to target their fellow members.”

Per the plea agreement, Tran admits that he drove to the heavily Jewish Pico-Robertson area of Los Angeles on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, singled out a Jewish man, who was wearing a yarmulke and leaving synagogue, on each day and shot each intending to kill him. (Both victims survived.)
Hitler admirer who crashed truck into White House pleads guilty
Sai Varshith Kandula, 20, of Missouri, who attempted to drive a U-Haul truck into the White House, has entered a guilty plea that could get him up to 10 years imprisonment, though prosecutors have suggested eight. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 23.

Kandula smashed the truck he rented in Herndon, Va., into the north barriers of Lafayette Square outside the White House on May 22, 2023, leading to his felony charge of depredation of government property. He almost hit two bystanders.

Law enforcement discovered a swastika flag in Kandula’s backpack but no weapons. He reportedly said that he admired Adolf Hitler and the “great history” of the Nazi regime.

Kandula, a resident of St. Louis, said he crashed the truck because he sought to kill the president and take charge of the country. He declared that he “would hurt anyone that would stand in my way.”

His attorney, Scott Rosenblum, said that his client took medication for schizophrenia and that he planned to have a medical specialist speak in court during sentencing.

Israel marks 76th Independence Day, at war, with ‘hearts full of sorrow and pain’
Israel marked a subdued 76th Independence Day on Tuesday with muted celebrations and “hearts full of sorrow and pain” in light of the war with Hamas in Gaza, with the losses of the past months and the plight of the hostages foremost in national events.

More than seven months after Hamas’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel, the day saw ongoing conflict inside Gaza, rocket fire on southern Israel, and attacks across the northern border by Hezbollah.

Previous Independence Days have seen hundreds of thousands of Israelis flock to parks and beaches for barbecues and picnics with friends and family, but this year most were largely empty.

US President Joe Biden sent a letter to President Isaac Herzog, congratulating him on Israel independence and wishing for a more peaceful year ahead as Israel marked the holiday

In his letter to Herzog, Biden noted that as the first country to have recognized Israel’s independence in 1948, the US is proud of its “enduring relationship with Israel.”

“Our bonds are underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests and cultural affinities,” Biden wrote amid strained ties in recent weeks, which have come about in part due to the US’s opposition to a full-scale IDF offensive in Rafah, where Israel says four of Hamas’s remaining six battalions are located. People at the beach in Tel Aviv on Israel’s 76th Independence Day, May 14, 2024. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“This past year has been deeply painful, as Israel suffered the worst attack in its history on October 7, 2023,” Biden continued, acknowledging the somber mood that has underpinned Israel’s 76th Independence Day, the first since the October 7 massacre, when Hamas terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people and abducted 252 — 128 of whom are still held in Gaza. “But the people of Israel have shown tremendous strength and resilience.”

The US president reiterated that he is a “lifelong supporter of Israel” and that “the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad.”

“I look forward to our nations’ continuing to work together to forge a brighter future for all our people,” Biden added. “I hope that the coming year brings more peace and joy than suffering.”

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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