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  • The first Mom For Liberty to successfully ban Anne Frank went on an antisemitic livestream

    Andrew Lapin|Nov 17, 2023

    (JTA) — A Florida organizer of the right-wing activist group Moms For Liberty who successfully pressed her school district to remove a version of Anne Frank’s diary recently appeared on a livestream banned from YouTube because of its pastor host’s antisemitism. Jennifer Pippin, who chairs the group’s chapter in Indian River County, Florida, appeared in September on the show TruNews, which is hosted by End Times preacher Rick Wiles. Wiles is a conspiracy theorist who has claimed that Jews and Zionists have “attacked Christian culture...

  • White House decries 'grotesque' antisemitic campus activities in support of Hamas attacks

    Andrew Lapin|Nov 10, 2023

    (JTA) — The White House denounced “antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses” in a statement Thursday, condemning students groups that have praised Hamas’ attack on Israel or “call for the annihilation of the state of Israel.” The statement is the most direct critique President Joe Biden’s office has yet made about inflammatory rhetoric surrounding Israel on college campuses, which has spiked following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s war in Gaza against the group, which the United States has designated as a terrorist o...

  • An avowed Holocaust denier is running for school board in Minnesota

    Andrew Lapin|Oct 27, 2023

    (JTA) — One of the candidates on the ballot for an upcoming Minnesota school board election is an avowed Holocaust denier who has called for all Jews to be sterilized and tattooed with the Star of David, all synagogues to be closed and all Jewish children to be forcibly removed from their parents. Vaughn Klingenberg is one of seven candidates on the ballot for three open seats in Roseville, a suburb of the Twin Cities. In addition to his views on Jewish people, which he recently published under his own name on a blog, he also visited two a...

  • ​​Biden's new book ban czar is a longtime progressive Jewish leader

    Andrew Lapin|Oct 20, 2023

    (JTA) – The Biden Administration’s new point person for combating book bans at school districts and public libraries across the country is a gay, Jewish progressive activist who has served as a government liaison to the Jewish and LGBTQ communities. The appointment of Matt Nosanchuk comes as the thousands of book challenges nationwide have focused on books with LGBTQ as well as Jewish themes, in addition to works about race. Nosanchuk was named a deputy assistant secretary in the Department of Education’s civil rights office earlier this month...

  • Texas teacher reportedly fired after reading from Anne Frank's diary to students

    Andrew Lapin|Sep 29, 2023

    (JTA) — A middle school teacher in a district outside Houston, Texas, has been fired reportedly for reading a sexual passage from Anne Frank’s diary out loud to eighth-grade students, the district told local news. The passage came from a 2018 graphic version of the diary by the world-famous Jewish Holocaust victim that restored some portions of the initial book that had been cut from the most well-known editions. “Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation” has also been at the center of several other recent book-related controver...

  • Farrakhan follower leaves meeting

    Andrew Lapin|Sep 29, 2023

    (JTA) – Days after a synagogue in St. Petersburg, Florida, was forced to evacuate services following a bomb threat, the local city council met to discuss a resolution about antisemitism. The resolution was about whether to endorse a definition of antisemitism that its authors and local advocates both say can be a useful first step in fighting hatred of Jews. Notably refusing to cast a vote: A controversial council member and member of the Nation of Islam who voiced multiple objections to the definition, questioned Jewish community leaders a...

  • Member of Goyim Defense League extradited to Netherlands

    Andrew Lapin|Sep 22, 2023

    (JTA) – A prominent member of an American neo-Nazi group has been extradited to the Netherlands, where he will stand trial for projecting an antisemitic message onto the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Robert Wilson is accused of being behind a February incident in which a message was laser-projected onto the house where Anne Frank hid during the Holocaust. The message read “inventor of the ballpoint pen,” a reference to a widely-debunked antisemitic conspiracy theory alleging that Frank’s famous diary is a forgery because it was origina...

  • At least 49 synagogues have been evacuated due to bomb threats in the last 2 months

    Andrew Lapin|Sep 22, 2023

    (JTA) – At least two more synagogues in the United States evacuated their congregants over the weekend following bomb threats, the latest in a series of such calls that have put dozens of congregations on high alert heading into the High Holidays. One of the synagogues was threatened during the pre-Rosh Hashanah Selichot services on Saturday night, in a sign that the perpetrators of the wave of attacks are paying careful attention to when synagogues are holding events before calling in their threats. Since mid-July, at least 49 synagogues in 1...

  • Watchdog group reports on antisemitism on campus

    Andrew Lapin|Sep 15, 2023

    (JTA) – Nearly one in three current Jewish college students has witnessed or experienced some form of antisemitism on campus, according to a new survey. The survey was released by Jewish on Campus, a student-founded antisemitism watchdog group. It was conducted by the polling firm Ipsos and surveyed more than 1,000 college students nationwide who identify as Jewish, as well as approximately 2,000 who reflect the general population of students and are largely not Jewish. The survey was conducted between March and May and has a credibility i...

  • Six Jewish things to know about Vivek Ramaswamy

    Andrew Lapin|Sep 1, 2023

    (JTA) - Ahead of the first Republican presidential debate, the candidate with the least political experience is making some of the biggest headlines - in part due to his views on Israel. Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur who has never held elected office, is seeing growing support for his long-shot candidacy. A recent poll placed him neck-and-neck in second place with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the crowded GOP field, and the RealClearPolitics polling average places him in...

  • Jewish groups back gun restrictions for domestic abusers in high-profile Supreme Court case

    Andrew Lapin|Sep 1, 2023

    (JTA) – Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it would consider a major case on Second Amendment rights, Jewish groups are joining an effort led by a Jewish organization for survivors of domestic abuse to back gun-rights restrictions for people convicted of domestic violence. Jewish Women International is leading an amicus brief that also includes the organizations representing Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis, along with several interfaith organizations, in the case United States v. Rahimi. The case, which the court anno...

  • 2 synagogues evacuated during livestreamed Shabbat services

    Andrew Lapin|Aug 25, 2023

    (JTA) – At least two synagogues in California evacuated during Shabbat services over the weekend as online trolls targeted Jewish congregations for the fourth straight week with fake bomb and other security threats. At least 26 congregations in 12 states have received the threats, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which is raising alarm about the barrage. The organization believes the instigators are selecting their targets based on the availability of livestreamed services and other events, motivated by their desire to watch the c...

  • Allegation of gender discrimination on United flight comes amid inflamed tensions over gender segregation in Israel

    Andrew Lapin|Aug 25, 2023

    (JTA) — An Israeli reporter is claiming that she was the victim of discrimination by haredi Orthodox men on a recent United Airlines flight to Newark — and that the Israeli flight attendant had sided with the men over her. Neria Kraus’ account ricocheted across the internet while her plane was in the air. Competing accounts of what transpired and soon emerged, with other passengers claiming the reporter’s gender was never an issue and arguing that she had jumped to a conclusion based on a man’s religious head covering. What’s clear is that Krau...

  • South Carolina school district to return Bernard Malamud's 'The Fixer' to shelves after yearlong removal

    Andrew Lapin|Aug 11, 2023

    (JTA) – A school district in South Carolina will return Bernard Malamud’s “The Fixer,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about antisemitism, to shelves nearly a year after it was removed following a parental complaint. The decision made Wednesday by a review committee for the Beaufort County School District concludes another episode in which a Jewish book has gotten caught up in a national book-ban push by conservative parents. The district pulled “The Fixer” and other books from school libraries last fall, citing safety concerns for school empl...

  • Israel passes first law weakening Supreme Court following months of civil strife

    Ben Sales and Andrew Lapin|Aug 4, 2023

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s government has passed a law restricting the Supreme Court’s ability to strike down laws, the first piece of a proposed overhaul of the country’s judiciary that has led to massive street protests and a growing movement of civil disobedience. The vote, which was boycotted by the opposition in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed 64-0 and is a landmark moment in a conflict that has consumed Israel since the beginning of the year and drawn the attention and criticism of world leaders and a range of Diaspora Jewish or...

  • American Anthropological Association votes to boycott Israeli academic institutions

    Andrew Lapin|Aug 4, 2023

    (JTA) – An association for American anthropologists has voted to formally boycott Israeli academic institutions, seven years after shutting down a similar vote, in a sign of the shifting tides of the Israel debate on American college campuses. The American Anthropological Association, which represents thousands of anthropologists in academia and the professional space, announced that its members had voted to endorse a resolution that forbids the association from collaborating with Israeli academic institutions. More than 70 percent of the a...

  • The Jewish story behind 'Oppenheimer,' explained

    Shira Li Bartov and Andrew Lapin|Jul 28, 2023

    (JTA) - Today is not just "Barbie" release day - moviegoers are also planning to fill theaters across the United States to see Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" biopic. Many hope it will answer a question that has long divided Americans and the country's understanding of its history: Who exactly was J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb? Oppenheimer's name has become "a metaphor for mass death beneath a mushroom cloud," in the words of Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, whose 2005... Full story

  • A kosher baker and a synagogue in fierce squabble over rainbow Pride treats

    Andrew Lapin|Jul 14, 2023

    (JTA) — The request for rainbow-frosted cupcakes came from a repeat customer — a local synagogue that had relied on the West Orange Bake Shop to make kosher desserts for its special events. But this year, bakery co-owner Yitzy Mittel decided to decline the order. He couldn’t bring himself to produce the Pride-themed goods. Mittel, an Orthodox Jew, had made a similar cake for an order the year before. But the experience unnerved him, he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, because his understanding of Jewish law holds that LGBTQ symbols are “anti...

  • Netanyahu speaks with and praises Elon Musk, who has recently drawn criticism from multiple Israeli ministries

    Andrew Lapin|Jun 30, 2023

    (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he spoke by phone with Elon Musk on Sunday, calling the businessman and Twitter CEO “a person whose intelligence and contribution to humanity I greatly appreciate.” The tech mogul, currently the world’s richest individual despite notching steep losses at Twitter, has drawn controversy for his tweets about the Holocaust survivor and liberal megadonor George Soros and about Israeli data on COVID-19. The U.S. antisemitism envoy, Deborah Lipstadt, decried the Soros tweets as traffic...

  • Jewish family behind OxyContin, will pay $6B

    Andrew Lapin|Jun 30, 2023

    (JTA) – The Sackler family, the Jewish billionaires whose marketing of the painkiller drug OxyContin fueled the United States’ ongoing opioid epidemic, will receive full immunity from all civil legal claims in exchange for spending up to $6 billion on addiction treatment and prevention programs. The decision to grant immunity by a federal appeals court panel Tuesday effectively ends the thousands of civil lawsuits that have been filed against Purdue Pharma, the Sacklers’ company, over opioid deaths. But it clears the way for the company to de...

  • A new version of the famous Holocaust diary is being called 'Anne Frank pornography' and getting banned from schools

    Andrew Lapin|Jun 23, 2023

    (JTA) - Among the many books that conservative parents have recently asked their children's schools to remove is a lushly illustrated version of the most famous Holocaust diary. The graphic adaptation of Anne Frank's diary, published in English in 2018, has found itself at the center of a growing number of controversies involving book removals from school libraries. A small number of passionate activists have pushed for the book to be removed from schools in Florida and Texas, calling it...

  • 'Leopoldstadt' and 'Parade' are big Tony Awards winners

    Andrew Lapin|Jun 23, 2023

    (JTA) – Broadway made a statement about antisemitism Sunday evening, as two high-profile shows on the subject this season — the play “Leopoldstadt” and the musical revival “Parade” — pulled in multiple major Tony awards. Some of the shows’ honorees, in turn, made statements of their own linking hatred of Jews with other forms of hatred, including homophobia and anti-transgender sentiment at a time when trans inclusion is under attack in many places. “Leopoldstadt,” Tom Stoppard’s epic semi-autobiographical play about three generations of...

  • Holocaust drama 'The Zone of Interest' wins runner-up prize at Cannes Film Festival

    Andrew Lapin|Jun 16, 2023

    (JTA) - "The Zone of Interest," a sobering drama about a Nazi commander's behavior during the Holocaust, won the Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, as one of several new arthouse films about the legacy of antisemitism that premiered at the festival. Based on a novel by Martin Amis, the film is a fictional portrayal of the life of Rudolph Hoess, the real-life Auschwitz death camp commandant. It shows his family's efforts to live blissfully unaware of the atrocities their...

  • In 'Oppenheimer' trailer, the atomic bomb is born – and Einstein weeps

    Andrew Lapin|May 19, 2023

    (JTA) – "Oppenheimer," the hotly-anticipated Christopher Nolan biopic about the Jewish nuclear physicist who developed the atomic bomb, will include another familiar Jewish face when it opens this summer: Albert Einstein. A new trailer for the drama, released last week, includes a brief glimpse of the scientist's unmistakeable visage, as rendered by the Oscar-nominated Scottish character actor Tom Conti. Underscoring the gravity of the bomb's development, this Einstein has foregone his usual c...

  • Florida rejects Holocaust education textbooks in clampdown on 'woke' instruction

    Andrew Lapin|May 19, 2023

    (JTA) — Florida’s state education department rejected two new Holocaust-focused textbooks for classroom use, while forcing at least one other textbook to alter a passage about the Hebrew Bible in order to meet state approval. The books were rejected as part of a broader review of new K-12 social studies material. According to documents provided by the state, the education department did not approve any new texts on the Holocaust this year. Reached by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a spokesperson at the department’s press office was unabl...

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