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July 1, 2016 2

Iranian Commemoration of Al-Quds Day Includes Anti-Semitic and Harsh Anti-Israel Expressions

Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, which takes place on the last Fri­day of Ramadan, was ini­ti­ated in 1979 by Aya­tol­lah Khome­ini, leader of the Islamic rev­o­lu­tion in Iran, as a show of sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tini­ans and to assert the Islamic claim over Jerusalem. While events are held around the world, in Iran, it is often marked by a hate­ful demon­stra­tion of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sen­ti­ment, man­i­fest in gov­ern­ment orga­nized ral­lies and other activ­i­ties. Before this years’ Al Quds day (July 1), Iran’s lead­er­ship ral­lied the coun­try.  Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Khamenei called its com­mem­o­ra­tion and sup­port for the oppressed Pales­tini­ans an impor­tant reli­gious duty.

The Islamic Prop­a­ga­tion Coor­di­na­tion Coun­cil in a state­ment called for wide­spread par­tic­i­pa­tion in Quds Day demon­stra­tions and asked them to repeat the same slo­gans “Death to Amer­ica, Death to Israel and Death to inter­na­tional Zion­ism and Impe­ri­al­ism.” It was reported that in one Quds Day demon­stra­tion, plac­ards were held up which called for Israel’s destruc­tion by the year 2040, and peo­ple chant­ing “Death to Amer­ica” threw stones at a mock Statue of Lib­erty. In advance of Al Quds day, Iran’s Fars news agency pub­lished a wave of harsh anti-Semitic and anti-Israel car­toons, some with clas­si­cal anti-Semitic themes, such as Jew­ish world dom­i­na­tion, depict­ing the world under the con­trol of a Jewish/Israeli octo­pus, worm or spider:

Oth­ers are of a more anti-Israel nature, yet sim­i­larly con­spir­a­to­r­ial in that they imply Israel is a part of a broader, if not global, U.S. plot. One depicts Israel as a dog oper­ated by the U.S. against Gaza, while another shows the U.S. and an Arab fig­ure – most prob­a­bly rep­re­sent­ing the Saudi royal fam­ily who are bit­ter rivals of the Islamic Repub­lic – form­ing together a Star of David, as though they are work­ing in the ser­vice of Israel and the Jews.

Other car­toons depict an Israel on the verge of destruc­tion.  One depicts an Israeli fig­ure run­ning away just before a dam with a Star of David col­lapses, as a result of a mass of peo­ple, with the cap­tion “Death to Israel”. Another car­toon shows an Israeli sol­dier drown­ing in blood rep­re­sented by the red part of the Pales­tin­ian flag.

Other car­toons demo­nize Israel by deform­ing the appear­ances of an Israeli sol­dier shown with satanic ears and with teeth shaped like nuclear mis­siles, while another of for­mer Israeli pres­i­dent Shi­mon Peres depicts him as a demonic figure.

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June 20, 2016 5

LGBT Communities at Risk: Another Case for Immigration Reform

By Jonathan Green­blatt
CEO of the Anti-Defamation League

This blog orig­i­nally appeared on Medium

The assault on the les­bian, gay, bisex­ual and trans­gen­der (LGBT) com­mu­nity in Orlando last week­end that left 49 dead and more than 50 wounded in its wake was in many ways unprece­dented and, in many oth­ers, far too famil­iar. It was the dead­liest mass pub­lic shoot­ing in Amer­i­can his­tory. And it shat­tered sacred moments of mul­ti­ple communities.

First and fore­most, it vio­lated Pride Month, des­ig­nated as the time of year when LGBT peo­ple and their allies can cel­e­brate their dif­fer­ence. The vio­lence occurred dur­ing the week­end when we marked the Jew­ish fes­ti­val of Shavuot — the cul­mi­na­tion of a 49-day count between our fes­ti­val of lib­er­a­tion from slav­ery in Egypt and the moment when the Jews remem­ber receiv­ing the wis­dom of our holy Torah at Mount Sinai. And the attack tore at the peace of Ramadan, when Mus­lims seek to be closer to God and to focus on their inner selves.

All of the Abra­hamic reli­gions are rooted in texts that pave the way to peace. It is in these times that we must find those strands of faith which bind us together. Already, many faith com­mu­ni­ties have come together in cities across the coun­try, united in grief, stand­ing in sol­i­dar­ity with the LGBT com­mu­nity, and look­ing for answers as to how a lone gun­man with hatred in his heart could wreak such devastation.

But even in this moment, we must take note that it is not just in this coun­try where the LGBT com­mu­nity is at risk. Across the globe, LGBT peo­ple face per­se­cu­tion, legal­ized dis­crim­i­na­tion, and the threat of both state-sanctioned vio­lence and bru­tal­ity at the hands of non-state actors.

Across the globe, LGBT peo­ple face per­se­cu­tion, legal­ized dis­crim­i­na­tion, and the threat of both state-sanctioned vio­lence and bru­tal­ity at the hands of non-state actors.

We have seen the mem­bers of the Islamic State ter­ror­ist group (ISIS) lit­er­ally throw indi­vid­u­als from rooftops, sim­ply for being sus­pected of the “crime” of being gay. Hamas exe­cutes indi­vid­u­als with­out trial for the same “offense.”The Islamic Repub­lic of Iran also has been known to hang young men sus­pected of homosexuality.

The vio­lence in Orlando and the ele­vated risk of vio­lence that LGBT peo­ple face around the world can­not be sep­a­rated. There is some debate about the motives of the gun­man, Omar Mateen. Dur­ing the crime, he claimed alle­giance to ISIS and his appar­ent homo­pho­bia is con­sis­tent with their big­oted teach­ings. At the same time, some have claimed he was wrestling with his own repressed sex­ual identity.

What­ever the cause, accord­ing to the U.S. Office for Refugee Reset­tle­ment, an esti­mated 3,500 LGBT refugees land on our shores every year, seek­ing to escape tor­ment in their home­lands. This also is true of the mil­lions of Mus­lims flee­ing the bru­tal­ity tear­ing apart their home­lands, such as the civil war in Syria or the destruc­tion of Iraq. They are not alone — we also see other embat­tled minori­ties, includ­ing Chris­tians from the Mid­dle East and abused women from around the world com­ing to our shores, seek­ing refuge from vio­lence and oppression.

As we pause and con­sider World Refugee Day, our com­mon human­ity and Jew­ish val­ues com­pel us to hear their cries and embrace these victims.

The notions espoused by cer­tain pub­lic fig­ures of refus­ing refuge to the down­trod­den, or reject­ing wid­ows and chil­dren at our bor­ders sim­ply because of the sins of a hand­ful of their co-religionists, is not a pol­icy. It’s a trav­esty, an affront to all notions of decency. We can do bet­ter on behalf of those who have lost everything.

To date, the trickle of such refugees per­mit­ted entry into this coun­try pales in com­par­i­son to the scores of mil­lions who come to our shores every year through busi­ness and tourism visas. In 2015, the U.S. Depart­ment of Stateapproved 10.8 mil­lion non­im­mi­grant travel visas, as com­pared to 531,463 immi­grant visas.

Nonethe­less, we should strengthen the screen­ing processes to ensure that those who come to our shores are legit­i­mate refugees who need our sup­port. And indi­vid­u­als hail­ing from illib­eral democ­ra­cies undoubt­edly need edu­ca­tion and inte­gra­tion to main­stream them into our lib­eral democ­racy to ensure they embrace and under­stand our civic cul­ture and com­mon values.

On this day, as we acknowl­edge and ele­vate the plight of refugees around the world, let us root our work in chesed, the Jew­ish value of benev­o­lence and com­pas­sion. Let us remind our­selves that we were once strangers, as we are told in the Torah and as we have expe­ri­enced through­out history.

Let us remind our­selves that we were once strangers, as we are told in the Torah and as we have expe­ri­enced through­out history.

We can anchor this approach in the endur­ing words of Emma Lazarus, inscribed on the Statue of Lib­erty: “Give me your tired, your poor; Your hud­dled masses yearn­ing to breathe free….” And we can gal­va­nize this com­mit­ment by reclaim­ing what the ter­ror­ist attempted to take from us in Orlando — our com­mon humanity.

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June 2, 2016 6

Winners of Iran’s Holocaust Cartoon Contest Announced

A French car­toon­ist with a long record of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel art work has been named the win­ner of Iran’s most recent Holo­caust car­toon con­test.  Zeon, who the Iran­ian media said was arrested in the past for his “anti-Zionist” car­toons in 2015, won the $12,000 prize.  His win­ning work fea­tures what appears to be the entry gate of a Nazi-era death camp atop a cash reg­is­ter with six mil­lion in cash inside.

The next day, the Iran­ian Cultural-Art Masaf Insti­tute announced a new  car­toon con­test – this time call­ing for sub­mis­sions on the  “Zion­ist Caliphate” that will focus on “Zion­ism, ter­ror­ism and racism” and “ISIL ter­ror­ism and geno­cide in the name of reli­gion and to the ben­e­fit of the Zion­ists.” Con­spir­acy the­o­ries link­ing ISIS and Israel are com­mon in the region.

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