When asked how his school taught The Holocaust, Spanish River High School principal William Latson said that "I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event" and that “you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs.”
After a year of anger in Boca Raton, Florida, Latson was finally removed from the job, reports CBS News.
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The school district did not initially punish Latson for his comments. Instead, he received counseling and was encouraged to expand his school's Holocaust curriculum, according to CBS West Palm Beach affiliate WPEC-TV. The district said Latson also visited the U.S. Holocaust Museum to increase his "personal knowledge" of the genocide. But the district announced Monday that Latson would be immediately reassigned because "his leadership has become a major distraction for the school community." ... The district said Latson had "made a grave error in judgment in the verbiage" of his email to the parent.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the "sovereign citizen" movement/conspiracy theory (previously) has grown by leaps and bounds, thanks to a combination of the rise of antisemitism (long a dogwhistle in the movement, now out in the open), an increase in financial desperation and a sense of betrayal, and the movement's ability to realize real cash for its members, who have systematically defrauded the underfunded and resource-strapped IRS of move than $1B.
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Sheryl Sandberg asked Facebook staff to research George Soros because he gave a speech boldly critical of the social media giant as a “menace,” reports the New York Times tonight. Read the rest
When the New York Times published its insider report detailing how Facebook executives had hired the Republic PR firm Definers, known for it dirty tricks campaigns, and then directed it to spread lies linking Facebook's critics to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that George Soros secretly directs political campaigns in the US and abroad, Facebook lied and said that the New York Times was wrong.
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Amid a growing number of lethal anti-Jewish hate attacks, including a gun massacre at a synagogue that left 13 dead, a man shouts “Heil Trump” in a crowded theater. Audience members told a reporter they believed they were about to die in a mass shooting. Read the rest
"Yeah, sure, sorry, whatever," muttered Twitter, while making the "wanking" hand motion.
"This phrase should not have appeared in trends, and we’re sorry for this mistake," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. "This was trending as a result of coverage and horrified reactions to the vandalism against a synagogue in New York. Regardless, it should not have appeared as a trend."
Everything Twitter has said or done about trolls, abuse, harassment, threats, Nazis or "the health of conversations" treats it as someone else's problem. To Twitter these are PR issues, and its solutions are oriented to media coverage. This is why nothing ever really changes, least of all its enthusiasm for product features that might accomplish more. I suspect they can't do better because it is incomprehensible to them. Its understanding of its own product prohibits an understanding of what's bad about promoting "Kill All Jews" a week after 11 were slaughtered by a wingnut. Much that is human is alien to them. Read the rest
A gunman opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh Saturday, killing at least 11 people while shouting "All Jews must die". The man, identified by KDKA as Robert Bowers, opened fire upon police when they arrived, injuring three officers. Bowers, who is white, was then taken into custody
"The scene is very bad inside," said Wendell Hissrich, Pittsburgh's director of pblic safety.
The SWAT team had been talking with the suspect, and he was crawling and injured. Police sources tell KDKA’s Andy Sheehan the gunman walked into the building and yelled, “All Jews Must die.” Sheehan confirmed that eight people were confirmed dead. Others had been shot but the extent of their injuries in unknown at this time. Police have requested that residents stay inside their home as they exchanged gun fire with a suspected gunman.
Squirrel Hill is Pittsburgh's biggest Jewish neighborhood. Social media profiles associated with Bowers (and archived by Laura Rozen before their deactivation) show a Neo-Nazi Qanon true believer ranting about "invaders", "globalists", and the Jews: "there is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation."
"Officials are looking to determine whether or not this was a hate crime," adds ABC News.
Updates: Bowers confirmed as the shooter by KDKA; death toll.
Here's CBS live:
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New York City was vandalized in OpenStreetMap, and as a result renamed as "Jewtropolis" in Snapchat and other applications that ultimately depend on the service for mapping.
The company called it an act of "vandalism" and said it was working with its partner Mapbox to "get this fixed immediately".
In a statement, Snap said the defacement was "deeply offensive".
Screenshots on social media appeared to show other apps had also been affected.
The problem with outsourcing content to third parties is that it pins your reputation to their reliability and trustworthiness. And here there appears to be a chain: Snapchat (etc) pulling data from Mapbox pulling data from OpenStreetMap pulling data from antisemitic users.
I'd been waiting for a major wikipedia page to "fall" to an organized clique on the far right without being successfully reverted to the prior editorial consensus. This incident tastes like an apéritif. Read the rest
Following a crowdfunded restoration, the film of Hugo Bettauer's eerily prescient novel will tour Europe again as anti-Semitism is on the rise. At the film's release, Bettauer was doxxed by local media and murdered by a young Nazi soon after. Read the rest
Anti-Semitic attacks rose faster in 2017 than any time in the past 40 years, The Anti-Defamation League today said. Read the rest
Katy Tur interviewed Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff yesterday, with Tur mostly grilling Wolff on inaccuracies in his book. But what stuck out most was towards the end of the interview, when she asked Wolff if he thought Trump was sexist, racist, xenophobic, and anti-semitic.
Tur: Do you think he's sexist? Wolff: Yes
Tur: Do you think he's racist? Wolff: Um, yes.
Tur: Xenophobic? Wolff: ... Yeah.
Anti-semitic? Wolff: ...“I think he’s aware of who is Jewish in a way that feels creepy,”
And then Tur, who did a fine job with the interview up until now, quickly moves on to another topic! Such a creepy thing to hear, and she didn't ask him to elaborate.
Here's the full interview:
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Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church says he's working with Vladimir Putin to convene a Church-based inquiry into whether the execution of the royal family by revolutionaries in 1917 was actually a Jewish ritual killing; this appears to be an actual thing the Russian state is about to do, with many details confirmed in a public statement by Moscow's General Prosecutor.
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Facebook released a statement regarding ProPublica's expose of the company offering antisemitic ad targeting options (previously).
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On the record statement by Rob Leathern, product management director at Facebook:
“We don't allow hate speech on Facebook. Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes. However, there are times where content is surfaced on our platform that violates our standards. In this case, we've removed the associated targeting fields in question. We know we have more work to do, so we're also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”
Points on Background:
• Some businesses choose to target people who self-report their education or employer (i.e. an alumni association promoting events to former students).
• We noticed that some self-reported education and employer fields that violate our community standards were made available in our ads interface.
• We have removed the fields of study in question, and are implementing new measures to keep offensive self-reported profile traits from being used in campaigns.
• We’re considering things like limiting the total number of fields available or adding more reviews of fields before they show up in ads creation.
• It's also worth noting that given the incredibly small size of these audiences, we don't believe the purposeful inclusion of these groups in ad campaigns is at all common or widespread.
Facebook removed several antisemitic ad categories after ProPublica asked about them and "promised to improve monitoring."
Want to market Nazi memorabilia, or recruit marchers for a far-right rally? Facebook’s self-service ad-buying platform had the right audience for you.
Until this week, when we asked Facebook about it, the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of “Jew hater,” “How to burn jews,” or, “History of ‘why jews ruin the world.’”
Surely what Facebook means by "monitoring" is monitoring what Facebook exposes about itself, not what Facebook itself monitors.
ProPublica (having bought ads targeted at the antisemitic categories and verified their fulfillment) offers this tobesure about how it all works:
"In all likelihood, the ad categories that we spotted were automatically generated ... Facebook’s algorithm automatically transforms people’s declared interests into advertising categories."
It can't be racist, it's just a computer program! Read the rest
Mike Shaughnessy, professor of German at Washington & Jefferson College, translated a letter written one Ernst from Cologne, to his cousin in Pittsburgh, U.S.A. Sent in 1936—after Hitler's rise to power, but before World War II and the Holocaust—it refers glibly and approvingly to the removal of Jews from civil life, even as it reflects the anxieties and growing paranoia of life under fascist government.
Köln, Machabäerstrasse 46. January 6, 1936.
Dear Wilhelm and Family!
I’ve been waiting a while to get a letter from you in which you would send me the letter from Mr. Früh about your inquiry. Apparently you haven’t received anything, so I’ll inform you that I’ve had to give the government very positive, specific details about our ancestry and where our assets are currently.
You told me a lot previously, but I need more specific details. I thought you had heard something from Mr. Früh that could be useful to me. Please be so kind and tell me everything, even the smallest details. The matter is indeed starting to take shape. I haven’t heard anything from Gersweiler and Mr. Kugler also seems to know nothing. People here keep speculating about everything and are becoming suspicious of each other. I don’t have a lot of news to report. I wrote to that guy “Becker” in Hundheim. Maybe I’ll hear something there.
Things in Germany are looking up thanks to our Führer and the cleansing of the population from the Jews (Those exploiters who are the misfortune of humanity). Read the rest
Central Michigan University's College Republicans threw a Valentines event where attendees got gift bags prepared by the university's young, upstanding Republicans, including this one, bearing a likeness of Adolf Hitler and the message, "my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews." Read the rest
Ironically named Whitefish, Montana seems to be a hotbed of American anti-Semitism. Blessed with a number of Jewish residents, as well as the mother of Richard Spencer, leader of the white supremacist National Policy Institute, this small town is suffering from Trumpism's open season on non-whites.
In response to an email from a local realtor, who happens to be jewish, asking Spencer's mother if she'd like to sell, bigots will march in Whitefish showing off their guns.
The ADL has this to say:
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Andrew Anglin, the neo-Nazi who runs The Daily Stormer, a blatantly racist and anti-Semitic website, has ratcheted up his campaign of harassment against the Jewish community in and around Whitefish, Montana, including announcing an armed march in the town by white supremacists that he has scheduled for January.
Whitefish is the part-time home of Richard Spencer, a prominent spokesperson within the white supremacist alt right, and his parents. Spencer’s mother claimed in a recent article that she was being harassed to sell her property in the town because of her son’s views. As evidence, she made public emails between herself and a realtor, who happens to be Jewish, though Spencer’s mother did not point this out.
On December 16, Anglin reacted to the article by encouraging his “troll army” of neo-Nazis and other white supremacists to contact Jews in the small town and oppose their “Jew agenda.” Moreover, Anglin posted photos to his website of a number of Jewish residents of Whitefish, including a child, and superimposed a yellow Jewish star with the word “Jude” on the pictures.