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Why Won’t President Trump Denounce the Recent Anti-Semitic Attacks?

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The People Behind Attacks Wants Jews to Be Afraid and Trump Doesn’t Care

Another round of bomb threats were called in to at least ten different Jewish community centers (JCCs) on Monday, Presidents’ Day, marking the fourth time multiple JCCs were the target of a coordinated terrorist threat during the first month of Donald Trump’s presidency. The Jewish Community Center Association reports 69 incidents at 54 JCCs in 27 states this year alone.

We’ve covered this before here. It’s becoming harder and harder to find new details to share, but, as the Anti-Defamation League has said, “[While we do not] have any information at this time to indicate the presence of any actual bombs at any of the institutions threatened, the threats themselves are alarming, disruptive, and must always been taken seriously.”

There’s something really important here that too many folks aren’t noting: These threats are an attempt to tell Jews that we are not welcome here. They are designed to scare Jews out of congregating together at community centers, synagogues, and, apparently, even burying their dead. These bomb threats are, without question, anti-Semitic attacks. And they are, by definition, terrorism.

Jewish community centers across the country often house preschools, after school programs, senior day programs, and in some cases, share campuses with Jewish day schools and synagogues. So, we’re talking about terrorism designed to target children and seniors, who both need to look to others for their most basic needs – including a feeling of safety and security.

JCCs aren’t exclusively Jewish, either. A significant portion of the membership at JCCs across the country are non-Jews who simply look to the JCC to be their community center. I grew up at JCCs. My first job during high school was at a JCC and even into my professional career I worked at a JCC. 

The person, people, or groups behind these calls want Jews to feel unsafe in the places they feel most welcome. They want Jews to remember that we’re different, that we have a history of being terrorized, and that we’re not wanted here. They chose Jewish community centers for a reason: they’re symbols of Jewish integration into the larger American community, and that type of acceptance and welcome frightens white supremacists.

And President Trump doesn’t care at all. 

Last week he told a Jewish reporter to “sit down” and be “quiet” while explaining (angrily) that he was, at least in his own mind, “the least anti-Semitic person you’ve ever seen in your entire life,” as though that was some sort of suitable answer in response to the sharp rise in anti-Semitism since he won the election. 

He never did mention the uptick in anti-Semitism. He did, however, replay his electoral college win. Again.

I’m not naive enough to think that President Trump can put an end to anti-Semitism, and I’m certainly not foolish enough to think that he’s single-handedly caused all of these anti-Semitic attacks.

For the life of me, though, I can’t figure out why he simply can’t say the words, “The sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks across the country is offensive and unacceptable and it must end now.” I don’t understand why President Trump refuses to say that attempts to terrorize Jewish communities are antithetical to American values and must be stopped.

Is it possible that this is nothing more than the handiwork of noted anti-Semite and presidential counselor Steve Bannon?

I don’t think Donald Trump is anti-Semitic himself. I think he’s so self absorbed he can’t possibly fathom what’s going on. I think he’s such a puppet of Steve Bannon he has no real idea what’s actually happening in the world. I think his staff have made him so insulated and ineffectual he’s nothing more than a symbolic figurehead at this point. 

Donald Trump’s silence on anti-Semitism isn’t a symptom of his own hatred; it’s a symptom of his complete impotence and ineptitude at being president.

And this is only his first month on the job.

  

Robbie Medwed is an Atlanta-based LGBTQ activist, educator, and writer. He’s dedicated more time than is usually considered reasonable to the study of anti-Semitism and really, really likes being super Jewy when white supremacists are around. Follow him on Twitter: @rjmedwed

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WAR CRIMES

‘One Minute to Live, Sir’: Trump Shared Details of Soleimani Assassination With Top Dollar Donors at Mar-a-Lago Fundraiser

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President Donald Trump shared moment-by-moment details of his assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with top high-dollar donors at  Friday night’s fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. The Commander-in-Chief also revealed he authorized the killing, not because of any supposed “imminent threat,” as he has previously asserted, but because intelligence reports, he said, found Solemiani was “talking about bad stuff.”

Killing Solemani as an act of retribution instead of as a preventative measure against imminent attack could be a war crime, legal experts have said.

The Washington Post reports Trump “spoke broadly about Soleimani as ‘the father of the road side bomb’ responsible for ‘every young, beautiful man or woman who see walking around with no legs, no arms.'”

Soleimani “was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’” Trump said, to applause.

The president also gave a blow-by-blow account of Soleimani’s killing.

“‘Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.’ No emotion. ‘two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ Then all of a sudden, boom,” Trump told the group of donors, according to audio recordings the Post received.

The Post also revealed that at Friday’s fundraiser, “Trump is heard boasting about increasing the defense budget by $2.5 trillion. To those who criticized his spending and the growing national debt, Trump said, ‘Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.'”

 

 

 

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CORRUPTION

Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

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In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.

Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”

According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.

“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.

As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.

“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”

You can read more here.

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GOP DISINFORMATION MACHINE

Rod Rosenstein Admits He Authorized Release of Strzok-Page Texts That Spawned Preposterous GOP Conspiracy Theories

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In a court filing released on Friday, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein admitted that he authorized the release of the text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Strzok and Page, who were involved in the Russia investigation prior to dismissal by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and whose extramarital affair inflamed Fox News’ outrage for months, revealed a dislike of President Donald Trump in their text messages, which formed the basis of GOP conspiracy theories that the FBI had been secretly working to bring down the president with the Russia investigation.

Subsequent investigations have failed to find any evidence that Strzok, Page, or any other FBI officials tried to politically target Trump with the power of the agency. However, a recent inspector general report suggests some of their surveillance practices may have been improper and require reform.

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