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September 11, 2015 1

Marching for Fairness – the NAACP Journey for Justice

After par­tic­i­pat­ing in the his­toric vot­ing rights march from Selma to Mont­gomery on March 21, 1965, Rabbi Abram­son Joshua Hes­chel famously said:

“For many of us the march from Selma to Mont­gomery was about protest and prayer. Legs are not lips and walk­ing is not kneel­ing. And yet our legs uttered songs. Even with­out words, our march was wor­ship. I felt my legs were praying.”


ADL Direc­tor of Inter­faith Affairs Rabbi David Sand­mel and NAACP Pres­i­dent and CEO Cor­nell Brooks on the road to Wash­ing­ton DC as part of the Jour­ney for Justice.


That march played a sig­nif­i­cant role in prompt­ing Con­gress to enact the land­mark Vot­ing Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) – per­haps the most impor­tant and effec­tive civil rights leg­is­la­tion ever passed.   In the half cen­tury since then, the VRA has secured and safe­guarded the right to vote for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. Its suc­cess in elim­i­nat­ing dis­crim­i­na­tory bar­ri­ers to full civic par­tic­i­pa­tion and in advanc­ing equal polit­i­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment is undeniable.

Some­times legs pray.

And some­times legs carry you to Wash­ing­ton DC to demand progress toward jus­tice and fair treat­ment for all.

Today, fifty years after the pas­sage of the VRA, and two years after a deeply trou­bling Supreme Court deci­sion that essen­tially gut­ted the heart of the leg­is­la­tion — marchers are on their way to Wash­ing­ton to demand vot­ing rights pro­tec­tions again.  The NAACP has orga­nized America’s Jour­ney for Jus­tice, which started in Selma on August 1.  The Anti-Defamation League is one of the sup­port­ing orga­ni­za­tions for the 1000-mile march, as we had sup­ported the orig­i­nal Selma to Mont­gomery march.  Then-ADL National Direc­tor Ben Epstein wrote,

“We walked together—more than 3,000 Amer­i­cans: Negroes and whites, min­is­ters, rab­bis, Catholic nuns, stu­dents, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of orga­ni­za­tions, those who belonged to no group other than the human race—all in peace­ful demon­stra­tion against blind vio­lence, in ‘gigan­tic wit­ness’ to the con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed right of all cit­i­zens to reg­is­ter and vote.”

Jour­ney to Jus­tice cul­mi­nates in an Advo­cacy Day on the Cap­i­tal Hill on Sep­tem­ber 16.  Marchers and their sup­port­ers will have dozens of meet­ings with Mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Sen­ate.  The prin­ci­pal focal point for the lob­by­ing will be the need to address the dev­as­tat­ing impact of Shelby County v. Holder, a 2013 Supreme Court deci­sion which gut­ted a key pro­vi­sion of the VRA, dra­mat­i­cally lim­it­ing its effec­tive­ness and reach.

Last Novem­ber – the first major elec­tion since Shelby County – there were new restric­tions on vot­ing in 15 states, endan­ger­ing vot­ing rights for hun­dreds of thou­sands of Amer­i­cans. From voter ID laws that threaten to dis­en­fran­chise African Amer­i­cans, Lati­nos, stu­dents and elderly vot­ers, to cuts to early vot­ing and oner­ous require­ments for voter reg­is­tra­tion, the right to vote is in peril.

The proper response to the Shelby County deci­sion is the bipar­ti­san Vot­ing Rights Advance­ment Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R. 2867).  The VRAA reasserts appro­pri­ate fed­eral over­sight over efforts to change state and local vot­ing laws and pro­vides addi­tional safe­guards for voting.

Since, 1965 reaf­firm­ing the nation’s com­mit­ment to full vot­ing rights for all has never been con­tro­ver­sial.  Each time the VRA came up for reau­tho­riza­tion it has received over­whelm­ing, bipar­ti­san Con­gres­sional sup­port.  The last time Con­gress extended the VRA, in 2006, it did so after an exhaus­tive hear­ings on vot­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion and the impact of the VRA – result­ing in thou­sands of pages of doc­u­men­ta­tion.  The leg­is­la­tion passed over­whelm­ingly: 390 to 33 in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and 98–0 in the Senate.

As we have com­mem­o­rated the 50th anniver­sary of the Vot­ing Rights Act (VRA) this sum­mer, we have been reminded just how far we have come – how impact­ful the VRA has been in ensur­ing the rights of all Amer­i­cans to have their say in our democ­racy.   Jour­ney for Jus­tice marchers and their sup­port­ers are demon­strat­ing that Con­gress must do more than merely com­mem­o­rate anniver­saries of his­toric civil rights vic­to­ries.  They must act.  Now is the time for Con­gress to act to restore the pro­tec­tions of the VRA and secure the right to vote for all Americans.


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September 11, 2015 22

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller promotes anti-refugee rhetoric

“Immi­gra­tion Jihad” is a newly minted term by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller to describe the cur­rent refugee cri­sis in Europe, where thou­sands of refugees are try­ing to find a safe haven for their fam­i­lies away from the war-torn Mid­dle East.

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller

As wrench­ing images of Aylan Kurdi, a tod­dler lying dead on a Turk­ish beach after he and his fam­ily sought refuge spurred the world to take action to help save more refugees, Geller advanced her claim that the flow of refugees is a Mus­lim inva­sion that needs to be stopped. “How this new inva­sion will end is anyone’s guess – but it won’t be pretty. Today’s refugee is tomorrow’s jihadist,” Geller wrote on Sep­tem­ber 6 on World­Net­Daily (WND), a con­ser­v­a­tive website.

Geller exploits con­cern over ter­ror­ism to get an audi­ence for her anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim agenda. She equates Mus­lim refugees with ter­ror­ism and pro­motes the idea that every Mus­lim wants to wage Jihad against the West.

She wrote on Sep­tem­ber 6, “The ques­tion no one is ask­ing is why all these peo­ple, all of a sud­den? Did mil­lions of Mus­lims across the Mid­dle East and Africa get a text mes­sage that said, go now? This is clearly orches­trated, and as I pre­vi­ously reported, ISIS warned Europe of an inva­sion of ‘migrants.’ This, too, is an act of war. How many jihadists are among the hordes?”

Geller also con­nected the refugee cri­sis in Europe to the United States. She wrote on her offi­cial blog post on Sep­tem­ber 7, “This is a cau­tion­ary tale for Amer­ica. We must not allow these invaders into our coun­try. This is a hijrah, a migra­tion to Islamize a new land.”

In addi­tion, Geller’s cam­paign against refugees also recy­cles some of her anti-Obama con­spir­acy the­o­ries. In August, she accused Pres­i­dent Obama of reset­tling a large num­ber of Syr­ian refugees as part of a plot to destroy Amer­ica. She claimed, “Obama is bring­ing Mus­lim refugees into this coun­try by the hun­dreds of thou­sands in his unceas­ing pur­suit of the destruc­tion of Amer­ica.” She also called for an end to the U.S. refugee reset­tle­ment program

Geller has waged an anti-Muslim cam­paign for years by hold­ing con­tro­ver­sial events such as the “Draw Muham­mad” con­test, plac­ing anti-Muslim ads on buses, and giv­ing speeches claim­ing that Mus­lim immi­grants pose a threat to the U.S. Her increas­ing anti-immigrant and anti-refugee rhetoric not only con­tra­dicts the Jewish-American val­ues which she claims to defend but it also vio­lates basic human decency.

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September 10, 2015 7

Arabic-Language Anti-Semitic “Jewish Encyclopedia” For Sale On Amazon

The Jews, The Illustrated Encyclopedia

“The Jews, The Illus­trated Encyclopedia”

Unlike most ency­clo­pe­dias, which attempt to offer unbi­ased con­tent on a sub­ject, the Arabic-language book, Al Yahood  Al Maw­sua Al Musawra  [The Jews, The Illus­trated Ency­clo­pe­dia] by Dr. Tareq Al-Suwaidan states a dif­fer­ent goal in its intro­duc­tion: to help learn about Jews and “their wicked­ness, trea­son, and decep­tion which they prac­ticed with all nations so not to be deceived by them and by their promises of false peace.”

The book, which is cur­rently avail­able on Ama­zon for $53.00, includes clas­sic anti-Semitic nar­ra­tives, Holo­caust denial, and other fal­lac­ies to defame Jews. The book ded­i­cates entire sec­tions to dis­cussing how Jews con­trol the media and pol­i­tics, while another chap­ter explains how Jews exploit women.

The intro­duc­tion of this ency­clo­pe­dia includes 11 points described as “The Book Goals,” which sum­ma­rize the anti-Semitic nature of this ency­clo­pe­dia. For exam­ple, one goal is “to learn about the most hos­tile ene­mies of the Ummah [Mus­lim nation]” and to “prove with evi­dence that the Jew­ish faith, which was fal­si­fied, encour­ages them to betray and deceive. It plants in their souls that they are a unique group of humans and they are allowed to exploit oth­ers in the most wicked ways.”

Under a sec­tion ded­i­cated to dis­cussing the Holo­caust, the ency­clo­pe­dia states, “Through huge media and pro­pa­ganda cam­paigns, the Jews used what hap­pened at the hands of the Nazis, to a small num­ber of them, to gain emo­tional and finan­cial sup­port from states around the world.” This sec­tion also claims the well-documented num­ber of Jews who were killed in the Holo­caust may have been greatly exag­ger­ated, cit­ing claims the num­ber was not 6 mil­lion, but rather less than 20,000.

The encyclopedia’s first chap­ter about Jew­ish his­tory con­cludes with a text box that sum­ma­rizes„ “This demon­strates that most of the world’s nations couldn’t live in har­mony with the Jews because of the low char­ac­ter­is­tics they carry, such as the ill treat­ment of oth­ers, decep­tion, greed and vorac­ity which keeps resurg­ing over the ages.”

The Jews, The Illus­trated Ency­clo­pe­dia is not the only anti-Semitic book sold by online retail­ers such as Ama­zon. How­ever, noto­ri­ous anti-Semitic books sold online, such as the Pro­to­cols of the Learned Elders of Zion, are often sold with an edi­to­r­ial review, that explains the anti-Semitic nature of the book. ADL is cur­rently in con­tact with Ama­zon regard­ing includ­ing a sim­i­lar edi­to­r­ial review in Ara­bic for The Jews, The Illus­trated Ency­clo­pe­dia to con­tex­tu­al­ize the encyclopedia’s true nature to the Arab reader.

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