group

‘My life is over’: 21-year-old Charlottesville marcher (White Idiot) whines over ‘outing’ by anti-fascist group

A 21-year-old Honeoye Falls, NY man was outed as a white supremacist after photos of him marching in Charlottesville, VA circulated online.

According to the Livingston County News, Jerrod Kuhn was filmed on Friday and Saturday last week by a BBC documentary crew as he carried a torch on the University of Virginia campus and chanted Nazi slogans and marched with the KKK and neo-Nazis the following day.

Rochester, NY-based group called Eastside Antifascists took still images of Kuhn and distributed 250 fliers bearing his photo throughout the Honeoye Falls area with the slogan, “No Nazis in our neighborhood.”

The fliers explained that Kuhn is a participant and prolific poster at neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, “an avowedly neo-Nazi website around which local groups have been organizing to promote anti-Semitism, white supremacy and violence against LGBTQ communities.”

Kuhn says he’s not a racist, but that he traveled the nearly 500 miles from Honeoye Falls to Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate monument to Gen. Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park.

“It’s a piece of history, and I thought that it should remain,” Kuhn said. “It’s important to me that we preserve American history no matter how ugly the past is it’s associated with.”

“I’m not a neo-Nazi,” he insisted. “I don’t belong to a German workers’ party from 1933. I’m a moderate Republican.”

Other white supremacist marchers from Saturday’s deadly melee have made similar claims, like Washington State University College Republicans president James Allsup, who said, “They have no proof that I’m a racist”when confronted with photos of himself at the white supremacist rally.

“People have a right to know if their neighbor is a violent neo-Nazi just as much as they would if their neighbor was a violent sex offender,” said Peter Berkman of Eastside Antifascists. “I think it’s important that people know the dangers the community faces and we think people having that information is important for them to protect themselves.”

Berkman said that his group has been tracking Kuhn’s participation in online neo-Nazi groups over a period of time, including the Daily Stormer, which has migrated to a Russian domain after a series of U.S. web hosting companies refused to provide it service.

Kuhn now says his life and reputation are ruined in his community and that he and his family are receiving threats.

“I can’t live in this community anymore. I’m in the process of figuring out what I’m going to do,” he complained. “I’m 21 years old and now my life is over in this area.”

“These folks don’t just get to be weekend neo-Nazis and then come home and live comfortably without having people around them knowing who they are,” said Berkman. “It’s important that people know who he is and that this person is in their community and to proceed with caution.”

Advertisements

What you need to know about antifa, the group that fought white supremacists in Charlottesville

Charlottesville

(JTA) — Is it OK to punch a Nazi in the face?

That’s the question animating much of the discussion of Saturday’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which quickly devolved into a brawl between rally-goers and a contingent of anti-fascist counterprotesters known as antifa. Following the clashes, a white supremacist rammed his car into the counterprotest, killing Heather Heyer, 32.

Leaders and activists across the spectrum — except President Donald Trump — have unequivocally condemned the racist, anti-Semitic rally. But they are divided on whether physically attacking white supremacists is justified simply because they are white supremacists.

Some have celebrated the antifa activists for standing up to hate. But others have condemned them alongside neo-Nazis for engaging in violence. And on Tuesday, Trump appeared to equate them with the rabble of white supremacists, branding antifa the “alt-left” and saying “there’s blame on both sides.”

Here’s what you need to know about antifa, the loose network that fights fascists on the streets.

Antifa was born from groups that fought the original fascists.

In 1934, Milwaukee police arrested three leftists who infiltrated a pro-Nazi meeting and began scuffling with supporters of Hitler. The leftists were part of a group of several hundred anti-fascists who entered the meeting, broke it up and pelted the keynote speaker with rotten eggs. The melee ended only after 100 police arrived to restore order.

Today’s antifa (an abbreviation of “anti-fascist action”) sees itself as the ideological descendant of activists like these. Anti-fascist brawlers — many of them communists, socialists or anarchists — began organizing in the 1920s and ’30s to oppose the rising dictatorships in Italy, Germany and Spain through demonstrations and street fights. The groups re-emerged in Europe in the ’70s and ’80s to combat white supremacists and skinheads, and the idea migrated to America, where groups were originally known as “Anti-Racist Action.”

While it’s hard to pin down numbers on antifa in the United States, members and experts say the movement has boomed since Trump’s election. Mark Bray, a lecturer on human rights and politics at Dartmouth College, estimates that there are a couple hundred antifa chapters of varying sizes and levels of activity across the country.

“The threat posed by the ‘alt-right’ in the context of empowerment through Trump made a lot of people concerned about fascist, neo-Nazi, white supremacist violence,” said Bray, author of the forthcoming book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.” “They turned to the Antifa model as one option to resist it. The option of physically confronting these groups has spread among the left and been normalized.”

It has no formal organization or leadership structure.

Like the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter, antifa has no institutional structure or unified plan of action. Much of its activism comes through informal collaboration around certain cities or regions, and individual members taking initiative. Separate Facebook pages exist, for example, for New York antifa, New York City antifa and Western New York antifa.

Long before antifa gets to physical altercations with the far right, members will attempt to prevent white supremacists from assembling or spreading their message. Bray said some antifa members will pressure white supremacists’ employers to fire them.

Daniel Sieradski, a Jewish antifa member who became involved following the presidential election in November, said he and other activists try to pressure venues to cancel white supremacist events, and only show up to counterprotest once that fails. (Sieradski formerly worked at JTA as the director of digital media.)

“I’ve always identified with the spirit of the movement, which is to challenge racists when they come into your community and try to incite hatred and violence,” Sieradski said. “Every effort is made to prevent the Nazis from showing up in the first place. Once they manage to do so, the demonstrations do not get violent until confrontations are provoked.”

Antifa tends to align with the left — and some members are anti-Zionists.

Because antifa is so loosely constructed, it has no formal ideological agenda beyond opposing fascism. But the movement has roots in left-wing movements like socialism or anarchism. Bray said that members may be part of other left-wing activist groups, like the Occupy movement, and subscribe to ideas popular in progressive circles.

The Torch Network, a group of antifa chapters, includes in its “points of unity” opposition to “all forms of oppression and exploitation.” That includes fighting “against racism, sexism, nativism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest, and the most oppressed people.” The group is also pro-choice. Unlike the Movement for Black Lives platform, it does not single out Israel or Zionism.

Bray said that while anti-Zionism is not a focus of antifa, many members tend to be anti-Zionist as part of their far-left activism. Anti-Racist Action groups, he said, had taken part in anti-Zionist events in the past.

Sieradski said, however, that Jews play a significant role in the movement because “we’re fighting Nazis and anti-Semitism is the prime ideological viewpoint of Nazis.”

Antifa has no problem with fighting Nazis …

Antifa has no qualms about scuffling with white supremacists. The group gained publicity in February when it physically fought alt-righters at the University of California, Berkeley, during a speech by alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Tussles with the far right have followed at other events.

Sieradski said violence is a “last resort,” but added there is nothing wrong with responding to anti-Semitic or racist rhetoric with a punch. Those who are advocating ethnic cleansing should be punched, he said, and showing white supremacists that their rallies will end with them being hurt will deter them from assembling.

“When Nazis are screaming epithets in our faces, should we just smile?” Sieradski asked. “They come into our towns and yell at us and threaten us and say they want to kill us. Should we take that sitting down because fascists deserve free speech, too? When someone is threatening you with an existential threat, you fight back. You don’t stand there and take it.”

Antifa members also reject the notion that the movement instigated the violence in Charlottesville or is as guilty as its white supremacist foes. Spencer Sunshine, who counterprotested at the Charlottesville rally and witnessed the deadly car ramming, said there certainly were fights, but there is no comparing antifa with the far right.

“Any equivalence between antifa and fascists is a complete lie,” he said. “We were not armed the way the fascists were, and certainly did not drive a car into crowds. It was a total Nazi rally.”

… but has been criticized for its violent tactics.

Antifa has garnered its share of liberal critics who say nothing — even neo-Nazism — justifies violence and the suppression of free speech. Critics also say that antifa’s violence draws attention to the far right and allows white supremacists to claim they are acting in self-defense.

“They’re troubling tactically because conservatives use antifa’s violence to justify — or at least distract from — the violence of white supremacists, as Trump did in his press conference,” the liberal Jewish essayist Peter Beinart wrote Wednesday in The Atlantic. “They’re troubling strategically because they allow white supremacists to depict themselves as victims being denied the right to freely assemble. And they’re troubling morally because antifa activists really do infringe upon that right.”

Following Saturday’s rally, Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted “Whether by #AltRight or #Antifa, no excuses for violence and, keep in mind, this is exactly the response that the bigots seek to provoke.”

Mark Pitcavage, an ADL senior researcher, said his group cannot condemn one side’s violence and condone the other. He added that the attention Charlottesville gained is also energizing the “alt-right” to hold more rallies.

“I don’t know how you can put together a calculus of violence where some sort of act of violence is unacceptable if one group does it but if another group commits it, that’s acceptable,” he said. “We’d just rather not see violence.”

But Pitcavage added that right-wing violence has been far more destructive than antifa’s, which to his knowledge has not led to any deaths. According to a 25-year study by the Cato Institute, nationalist and right-wing terrorists have killed about 10 times as many people since 1992 as left-wing terrorists, which may or may not include those who identify with antifa.

“That doesn’t mean that the sides are equal, the causes are equal,” he said. “It’s important to realize that their violence does in no way compare in numbers or severity to the far-rightist violence in the United States.”

Fighting facists: The group that battled white supremacists in Charlottesville

JTA — Is it OK to punch a Nazi in the face? That’s the question animating much of the discussion of Saturday’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which quickly devolved into a brawl between rally-goers and a contingent of anti-fascist counter-protesters known as Antifa. Following the clashes, a white supremacist rammed his car into the counter protest, killing Heather Heyer, 32.

Leaders and activists across the spectrum — except President Donald Trump — have unequivocally condemned the racist, anti-Semitic rally. But they are divided on whether physically attacking white supremacists is justified simply because they are white supremacists.

Some have celebrated the Antifa activists for standing up to hate. But others have condemned them alongside neo-Nazis for engaging in violence. And on Tuesday, Trump appeared to equate them with the rabble of white supremacists, branding Antifa the “alt-left” and saying “there’s blame on both sides.”

Here’s what you need to know about Antifa, the loose network that fights fascists on the streets.

Antifa was born from groups that fought the original fascists

In 1934, Milwaukee police arrested three leftists who infiltrated a pro-Nazi meeting and began scuffling with supporters of Hitler. The leftists were part of a group of several hundred anti-fascists who entered the meeting, broke it up and pelted the keynote speaker with rotten eggs. The melee ended only after 100 police arrived to restore order.

Today’s Antifa (an abbreviation of “anti-fascist action”) sees itself as the ideological descendant of activists like these. Anti-fascist brawlers — many of them communists, socialists or anarchists — began organizing in the 1920s and ’30s to oppose the rising dictatorships in Italy, Germany and Spain through demonstrations and street fights. The groups re-emerged in Europe in the ’70s and ’80s to combat white supremacists and skinheads, and the idea migrated to America, where groups were originally known as “Anti-Racist Action.”

Battle lines form between white nationalists and antifa protesters at the entrance to Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

While it’s hard to pin down numbers on Antifa in the United States, members and experts say the movement has boomed since Trump’s election. Mark Bray, a lecturer on human rights and politics at Dartmouth College, estimates that there are a couple hundred Antifa chapters of varying sizes and levels of activity across the country.

“The threat posed by the ‘alt-right’ in the context of empowerment through Trump made a lot of people concerned about fascist, neo-Nazi, white supremacist violence,” said Bray, author of the forthcoming book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook.” “They turned to the Antifa model as one option to resist it. The option of physically confronting these groups has spread among the left and been normalized.”

It has no formal organization or leadership structure

Like the “Occupy” movement and “Black Lives Matter,” Antifa has no institutional structure or unified plan of action. Much of its activism comes through informal collaboration around certain cities or regions, and individual members taking initiative. Separate Facebook pages exist, for example, for New York Antifa, New York City Antifa and Western New York Antifa.

Jewish Antifa activist Daniel Sieradski. (CC BY-SA 3.0 Mobius1ski/Wikipedia)

Long before Antifa gets to physical altercations with the far right, members will attempt to prevent white supremacists from assembling or spreading their message. Bray said some Antifa members will pressure white supremacists’ employers to fire them.

Daniel Sieradski, a Jewish Antifa member who became involved following the presidential election in November, said he and other activists try to pressure venues to cancel white supremacist events, and only show up to counter-protest once that fails.

“I’ve always identified with the spirit of the movement, which is to challenge racists when they come into your community and try to incite hatred and violence,” Sieradski said. “Every effort is made to prevent the Nazis from showing up in the first place. Once they manage to do so, the demonstrations do not get violent until confrontations are provoked.”

Antifa aligns with the left — and some members are anti-Zionists

Because Antifa is so loosely constructed, it has no formal ideological agenda beyond opposing fascism. But the movement has roots in left-wing movements like socialism or anarchism. Bray said that members may be part of other left-wing activist groups, like the Occupy movement, and subscribe to ideas popular in progressive circles.

The Torch Network, a group of Antifa chapters, includes in its “points of unity” opposition to “all forms of oppression and exploitation.” That includes fighting “against racism, sexism, nativism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest, and the most oppressed people.” The group is also pro-choice. Unlike the Black Lives Matter platform, it does not single out Israel or Zionism.

Bray said that while anti-Zionism is not a focus of Antifa, many members tend to be anti-Zionist as part of their far-left activism. Anti-Racist Action groups, he said, had taken part in anti-Zionist events in the past.

Sieradski said, however, that Jews play a significant role in the movement because “we’re fighting Nazis and anti-Semitism is the prime ideological viewpoint of Nazis.”

Antifa has no problem with fighting Nazis…

Antifa has no qualms about scuffling with white supremacists. The group gained publicity in February when it physically fought alt-righters at the University of California, Berkeley, during a speech by alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Tussles with the far right have followed at other events.

Sieradski said violence is a “last resort,” but added there is nothing wrong with responding to anti-Semitic or racist rhetoric with a punch. Those who are advocating ethnic cleansing deserve to be beaten up, he said, and showing white supremacists that their rallies will end with them being hurt will deter them from assembling.

“When Nazis are screaming epithets in our faces, should we just smile?” Sieradski asked. “They come into our towns and yell at us and threaten us and say they want to kill us. Should we take that sitting down because fascists deserve free speech, too? When someone is threatening you with an existential threat, you fight back. You don’t stand there and take it.”

Antifa members also reject the notion that the movement instigated the violence in Charlottesville or is as guilty as its white supremacist foes. Spencer Sunshine, who counterprotested at the Charlottesville rally and witnessed the deadly car ramming, said there certainly were fights, but there is no comparing Antifa with the far right.

“Any equivalence between Antifa and fascists is a complete lie,” he said. “We were not armed the way the fascists were, and certainly did not drive a car into crowds. It was a total Nazi rally.”

…but has been criticized for its violent tactics

Antifa has garnered its share of liberal critics who say nothing — even neo-Nazism — justifies violence and the suppression of free speech. Critics also say that Antifa’s violence draws attention to the far right and allows white supremacists to claim they are acting in self-defense.

“They’re troubling tactically because conservatives use Antifa’s violence to justify — or at least distract from — the violence of white supremacists, as Trump did in his press conference,” the liberal Jewish essayist Peter Beinart wrote Wednesday in The Atlantic. “They’re troubling strategically because they allow white supremacists to depict themselves as victims being denied the right to freely assemble. And they’re troubling morally because Antifa activists really do infringe upon that right.”

Following Saturday’s rally, Anti-Defamation League National Director Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted “Whether by #AltRight or #Antifa, no excuses for violence and, keep in mind, this is exactly the response that the bigots seek to provoke.”

Whether by  or , no excuses for violence and, keep in mind, this is exactly the response that the bigots seek to provoke pic.twitter.com/wmrD9fbivK

View image on Twitter

Mark Pitcavage, an ADL senior researcher, said his group cannot condemn one side’s violence and condone the other. He added that the attention Charlottesville gained is also energizing the “alt-right” to hold more rallies.

“I don’t know how you can put together a calculus of violence where some sort of act of violence is unacceptable if one group does it but if another group commits it, that’s acceptable,” he said. “We’d just rather not see violence.”

White nationalists clash with counter-protesters in the street after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP)

But Pitcavage added that right-wing violence has been far more destructive than Antifa’s, which to his knowledge has not led to any deaths. According to a 25-year study by the Cato Institute, nationalist and right-wing terrorists have killed about 10 times as many people since 1992 as left-wing terrorists, which may or may not include those who identify with Antifa.

“That doesn’t mean that the sides are equal, the causes are equal,” he said. “It’s important to realize that their violence does in no way compare in numbers or severity to the far-rightist violence in the United States.”

Brazilian Israelis launch group to help growing stream of newcomers

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Amid growing immigration from Brazil to Israel, Brazilian Jews living in the Jewish state established an organization devoted to facilitating the absorption of the newcomers.

Olim MeBrasil, or Immigrants from Brazil, was registered Tuesday as a nongovernmental association in Israel.

“The idea came with the increase in olim coming from Brazil year after year, and the forecast is that this increase is not temporary and will continue during the upcoming years,” the group’s vice president, Gladis Berezowsky, told JTA. “It’s an NGO by Brazilians for Brazilians.”

Olim is the Hebrew-language word for people who make aliyah, or immigrants to Israel, according to its Law of Return for Jews and their relatives.

The NGO’s main goals are to “improve the absorption of olim in Israel and improve access to information about Israel for all potential olim from all across Brazil,” Berezowsky added.

Brazil has approximately 120,000 Jews. Brazilian Jews were the sixth largest group to make aliyah in 2016 with some 700 olim, according to the Jewish Agency.

Yigal Palmor, the Jewish Agency’s director of public affairs and communications, told JTA that his organization expects a 30 percent increase in aliyah from Brazil this year, to 900 people, though he added that the factors that result in aliyah are too varied to allow for an accurate forecast.

In 2015, nearly 500 olim came from Brazil – nearly double the 2014 tally of 280.

Brazil’s business sector is attempting to weather the country’s worst financial crisis, in which a stagnant economy is buoyed primarily by foreign investments. The country’s currency, the real, has lost about half its value against the dollar since 2011. But political instability, the result of corruption scandals at the highest levels, is scaring off investors.

Brazil has relatively low levels of anti-Semitic incidents. Many members of the country’s Jewish community enroll their children in Jewish schools with intensive Hebrew-language programs and Zionist youth movements.

The newly arrived Brazilian ambassador in Tel Aviv, Paulo Cesar Meira de Vasconcellos, praised the new organization’s goals.

“We welcome all types of groups of Brazilians working to help Brazilians. There are currently 12,000 and more to come. I wish plenty of success and that the organization continues the exceptional work of its founders supporting the engagement of new Brazilians,” he told JTA.

In 2014, the Beit Brasil project was created to support Brazilian immigrants in Israel as well as potential immigrants in Brazil. The 120-member network of Brazilian volunteers spread across the Jewish state is a branch of the Latin American Organization in Israel, or OLEI.

HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS GROUP SLAMS RESULTS OF CLAIMS CONFERENCE TALKS

 

Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA released a withering statement on Thursday, slamming the outcome of negotiations between the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German government.

The main announcement highlighted by the Claims Conference on Wednesday was that Holocaust survivors of the death trains, pogroms and ghettos in Iasi, Romania, will for the first time be eligible to receive compensation pensions. It also announced an increase in the in-home services budget for 2018, from $399 million to $462m.

 

But the Foundation, which is often critical of both the Claims Conference and the compensation process in general said: “Once again, the Claims Conference announcement of their so-called negotiations will mean little to thousands of survivors in dire need of serious health care, mental health care and all the rest of the services they currently are deprived of for lack of resources that Germany should have provided to so many deserving of help.”

The foundation represents Holocaust survivors in the US, fighting for their rights and raising awareness about the hardships and poverty they face.

While welcoming the “long overdue” announcement regarding the victims of the Iasi massacres, the group said that it “cannot be used to obscure the broader failure of the negotiations – once again.”

According to the foundation, $462m. allocated to in-home services is “tragically low when compared with survivors’ real-life needs, and when spread across the 67,000 survivors worldwide the Claims Conference said it served last year.”

It highlighted that funds for emergency services “are desperately and widely needed by Holocaust survivors and obscenely underfunded.”

Since 1952, the Claims Conference has negotiated for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs.

The organization administers compensation funds, recovers unclaimed Jewish property, and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust survivors and preserve the memory and lessons of the Holocaust.

There are an estimated 500,000 Holocaust victims alive today. Approximately 20% of them live in the US.

Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA maintains the Claims Conference’s role as an intermediary between Germany and the survivors is unnecessary. “It is time to end the piecemeal, secret negotiations that have failed to alleviate the poverty and suffering of so many survivors,” it argues. “Survivors need and deserve a comprehensive program of care fully funded by Germany for a new life, worry free for the last part of their lives. These funds should be channeled to the survivors through the US government or directly to survivors.”

Indigenous Australians (Subhumans) form pro-Israel group

SYDNEY — A group called Indigenous Friends of Israel was established by indigenous Australians in what organizers said was a bid to counter growing support in the country’s Labor party for recognition of a Palestinian state and to boost bipartisan support for Israel.

Spokesperson Munganbana Norman Miller said the national organization is concerned that the Labor Party is “going down a dangerous path” in its attempt to get individual states and then federal Labor endorsement of a Palestinian state while Palestinian leaders do not accept the right of Israel to exist and continue to support terrorism.

Miller spoke Thursday from the north Queensland city of Cairns, an area with high concentrations of indigenous Australians.

“I support a two-state solution and Israel has offered it in 1947, 2000, 2008 and 2014,” he said, “but Arab leadership including Yasser Arafat and current Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas have rejected it. Also, Hamas who are in control of Gaza have vowed to annihilate Israel and drive every Jew into the sea. It is a terrorist organization, recognized as such by the Australian and other governments,” he said.

“At this stage there is no viable Palestinian state until the governments of the West Bank and Gaza sort out their difficulties. Who will the Labor Party and possibly Labor in government recognize?”

Miller told JTA that unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state is likely to further discourage the Palestinians from coming to the negotiating table, which he believes they have been reluctant to do.

A future Palestinian state, which could require land swaps to make it viable, “needs to recognize Israel as a Jewish state with secure borders and call off terrorism, including spending millions of overseas aid money on payments to the families of terrorists and promoting hatred of Jews [among] its schoolchildren,” he said.

“It is simply untrue to maintain that Israel is an apartheid state,” he added. “As Indigenous people, we know what apartheid is. Israel is a beacon of democracy in the Middle East and has Arab members of the Knesset and has Arabs living peacefully and working in all walks of life enjoying their democratic freedoms.”

How the GOP shooting affected an Israeli anti-abortion group’s anniversary celebration

Louie Gohmert

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Speakers at a Washington function for an Israeli group that discourages abortion said the shooting attack on Republican Congress members the day before was a reminder of the sanctity of life.

“As the world becomes more and more secular, we forget where we came from,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said at the June 15 event in a Capitol Hill office building marking the 40th anniversary of EFRAT. “We forget the importance of and the special nature of what is life.”

EFRAT is an Israeli organization that encourages women considering abortion to have and raise their children, providing them with counseling and information on pregnancy as well as baby items like strollers, cribs and clothing. It does not lobby against Israel’s relatively liberal abortion laws.

Other speakers also referred to the June 14 shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, that wounded five people at a practice for Republican Congress members and their staffers ahead of a charity game the next day against Democrats.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the third-ranked Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, is still in hospital suffering from serious wounds.

The shooter, a 66-year-old Illinois man who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the presidential race and had obsessed on social media about President Donald Trump and other Republicans, was shot dead in return fire by Capitol Police.

“It’s bad enough that bad things happen in the world, which we’re reminded of just yesterday with the shooting,” said Joshua London, a lobbyist for the Zionist Organization of America.

“EFRAT sends a message that life is sacred. It is a blessing. Life is worthy of our love. It is worthy, every day in and day out, of our work.”

A number of Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Louie Gohmert of Texas, spoke at the event.

“I’m usually a little more effervescent, but we’ve had a tough couple of days here and it’s going to be tough for a while to come for our majority whip,” Gohmert said.

Franks noted his long history of pro-Israel activism, but also spoke of his opposition to abortion.

“When we turn our back on the innocent, not only does that say something about who we are, not only does that diminish who we are, but it also has its own built-in consequences,” he said.

The event honored Eli Schussheim, the organization’s president, and Woli Stern, its director.

EFRAT, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing unwanted abortions, celebrated its 40th anniversary at the Capitol.

Alan Dershowitz (Kike) explains why he is assisting a group accused of promoting female genital mutilation

Alan Dershowitz

(JTA) — Alan Dershowitz is advising a Muslim group accused of promoting female genital mutilation to instead adopt a variation of the Jewish circumcision ritual.

Dershowitz, the retired Harvard law professor who has worked on a number of high-profile cases, was hired recently as a consultant to a team defending two Detroit-area doctors and a wife one of the doctors who are charged with conspiring to perform female genital mutilation on two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota.

The Associated Press first reported that Dershowitz and a Michigan-based defense attorney, Mayer Morganroth, were hired by Dawat-e-Hadiyah, an international organization representing a small Shia Muslim sect.

Dershowitz will not be representing the defendants in court. On Monday, he told JTA that he is advising the group as to how its followers can fulfill its religious legal obligations while protecting the rights of young girls and staying within the bounds of U.S. law. Dershowitz stressed that he opposes female genital mutilation, which often involves the removal of parts or all of a girl’s labia or clitoris.

Instead, Dershowitz is advising the group to adopt a ritual in which the girl undergoing the rite will receive a pinprick that draws a drop of blood from the clitoral hood. Men who convert to Judaism and have already been circumcised undergo a similar ritual, called “hatafat dam brit,” which is the basis for Dershowitz’s suggestion.

“I am categorically opposed to female genital mutilation and I agreed to consult with this group in order to help end it,” Dershowitz said. “If that happens, it will be a win-win. It will help protect young girls and it will help protect religious rights.”

Dershowitz, whose high-profile clients included O.J. Simpson and Claus von Bulow, has recently challenged critics of President Donald Trump who claim the president should be charged with obstructing justice if testimony by former FBI Director James Comey is true.

In his interview with JTA, Dershowitz clarified that he opposes many of Trump’s actions, but that the president has the legal authority to stop the FBI investigation into conversations that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had with the Russian ambassador. Comey testified that he felt “directed” by Trump to do just that.

On Friday, Trump retweeted a tweet by Dershowitz saying, “We should stop talking about obstruction of justice. No plausible case. We must distinguish crimes from pol[itical] sins.”

Dershowitz said he doesn’t like the fact that Trump fired Comey nor had a private meeting with the former FBI chief.

“I’m not defending Trump or the administration,” he said. “I’m defending civil liberties. I don’t want to see statutes expanded beyond all reason.”

We should stop talking about obstruction of justice. No plausible case. We must distinguish crimes from pol sins http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/06/08/alan-dershowitz-president-trump-could-have-just-pardoned-michael-flynn 

Photo published for Dershowitz: No Plausible Case That Trump Obstructed Justice

Dershowitz: No Plausible Case That Trump Obstructed Justice

Alan Dershowitz reminded everyone that President Trump could have just pardoned former national security advisor Michael Flynn and stopped the FBI’s investigation into Flynn’s conversations with the…

insider.foxnews.com

 

Pence to speak at Christian pro-Israel group’s annual summit

(JTA) — Vice President Mike Pence will address the annual summit of Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israel group in the country.

Pence will speak at CUFI’s conference in Washington, D.C., which is taking place on July 17-18, the group announced Tuesday.

Pastor John Hagee, who founded CUFI in 2006, praised the Trump administration in a statement.

“We are deeply honored that the vice president will be joining us at our Washington Summit this summer,” Hagee said. “From the day President Trump took office, and each day since, the U.S.-Israel relationship has grown stronger and more vibrant. We are extremely grateful for the Trump Administration’s strong support of the Jewish state.”

During the yearly summit, thousands of Christian supporters of Israel gather in Washington to show their support for the Jewish state. CUFI has over 3.5 million members.

Hamas said to arrest group of ‘Israeli agents’ in Gaza

Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip have arrested a group of suspects accused of being Israeli agents, media close to Hamas’s military reported on Monday.

“Hamas internal security forces are currently undertaking a large campaign to pursue Israeli agents, during which a group has been arrested and others are being pursued,” the Palestinian news site al-Majd, which is linked to Hamas’s Izz-a-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing, wrote.

The arrests came after Hamas declared Sunday that it would crack down on “collaborators” with Israel over the recent assassination of one of its terror chiefs, Mazen Fuqha, which it blames on Israel.

“The gates of repentance are open before [Israeli] agents, and to repeat anyone who hands themselves in will be under protection and will receive a lenient punishment,” a Hamas security source told al-Majd.

The body of Hamas official Mazen Faqha is carried by members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, during his funeral in Gaza city on March 25, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

In the Hamas-controlled Strip, an arrest for purported collaboration with Israel means an almost-certain death sentence.

Since Hamas took power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, 96 death penalties have been handed down, mostly by military courts and often for spying on behalf of Israel, said Hamdi Shaqura of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Many, but not all, of the death sentences have been carried out.

At least 21 death sentences were handed down in Gaza in 2016 alone.

Faqha was shot dead on March 25 near his home in Tel el-Hawa, a neighborhood in southwestern Gaza City, with a silencer-equipped weapon. He sustained four bullet wounds to the head during an ambush in his underground parking garage, reports in Gaza said.

Mazen Faqha, upon his release after the Shalit deal in 2011. (Screen capture Twitter)

Hamas leaders have been vowing revenge against Israel ever since.

Israel has not acknowledged any involvement in the assassination, and on Sunday Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman intimated it was an inside job.

“Hamas is known for its internal assassinations — let them look there,” he said.

Abu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing, quickly rejected Liberman’s insinuation.

Illustrative: A gallows is prepared for an execution in Gaza, 2013 (AP/Gaza Interior Ministry)

“We affirm that no one is responsible for the crime apart from the Zionist enemy, and it will not succeed in any of its declared or hidden attempts to disclaim or to shuffle the cards,” he said.

Faqha, 38, originally from the West Bank, had received nine life sentences for planning a 2002 suicide bombing in Israel in which nine people were killed and 52 were wounded.

He was freed as part of the 2011 prisoner exchange for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and deported to Gaza. He was believed to have been responsible for recent Hamas terror cells in the West Bank.

In a speech broadcast at a memorial service for Faqha in Gaza last week, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said that “If Israel decided to change the rules of the game, we accept the challenge.

“The Zionist occupier took from us a great hero and for this we will not sit quietly,” he added.