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October 7, 2015 0

Alibaba Takes Stand Against Materials Promoting Hitler

AlibabaEar­lier this month, the Anti-Defamation League noti­fied Alibaba,the largest online sales ser­vice com­pany, about Hitler masks and other Hitler titled items avail­able through their service.

Sub­se­quently, Alibaba removed the prod­ucts and sus­pended the ven­dor in com­pli­ance with their pol­icy stip­u­lat­ing that “gen­er­ally pro­hibits mate­ri­als pro­mot­ing Nazism.”

They also indi­cated that they rely on the help of cus­tomers and groups like ADL to iden­tify list­ings that go against their poli­cies and, as a result, have included a new “Report Sus­pi­cious Activ­ity” link on every listing.

ADL appre­ci­ates Alibaba’s respon­sive­ness to this issue and has invited the com­pany join ADL’s Best Prac­tices and Cyber-Safety Action Guide initiatives.

Alibaba, based in China, has been in oper­a­tion since 1998 and is one of the largest online mar­ket­places with daily trans­ac­tions in excess of $30 million.

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January 29, 2015 0

AFA Ousts Bryan Fischer As Spokesperson But He Remains A Radio Host

Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fis­cher

Bryan Fis­cher, who reg­u­larly spews anti-LGBT rhetoric, often liken­ing the LGBT com­mu­nity to Nazis, has been ousted as a spokesper­son for the Amer­i­can Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion (AFA), a reli­gious right orga­ni­za­tion, accord­ing to a report on The Rachel Mad­dow Show. Fis­cher is for­merly the direc­tor of issue analy­sis for gov­ern­ment and pub­lic pol­icy at AFA.

Although the AFA has not released a pub­lic state­ment on Fis­cher, a spokesper­son for the group told Mad­dow that Fischer’s state­ments com­par­ing gays to Nazis con­tributed to their deci­sion to remove him as spokesper­son. The AFA may be attempt­ing to appear more palat­able to the pub­lic in light of a Jan­u­ary 31 trip to Israel the orga­ni­za­tion is spon­sor­ing for Repub­li­can National Com­mit­tee members.

Fis­cher, how­ever, still main­tains his posi­tion as a radio show host on Amer­i­can Fam­ily Radio, where he has courted con­tro­versy with his extreme state­ments about the LGBT com­mu­nity, Mus­lims, and African-Americans. He often uses his radio show, “Focal Point,” as well as arti­cles to den­i­grate groups he opposed.

This month, Fis­cher argued that “homo­sex­u­als” should not be allowed to run for office, say­ing, “It’s a form of sex­ual per­ver­sion and remem­ber, we’re going to have to choose between the gay agenda and Chris­tian­ity.” Aside from refer­ring to homo­sex­u­al­ity as a per­ver­sion, Fisher con­stantly used Holo­caust analo­gies to com­pare con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians who oppose homo­sex­u­al­ity to Jews per­se­cuted under the Nazis. In Fischer’s mind, LGBT activists were the Nazis.

In April 2012, Fis­cher declared, “We’re get­ting to the point where these homo­fas­cists are going to force us to wear on our sleeve some kind of iden­ti­fy­ing marker so peo­ple will know who the racists and the homo­phobes and the big­ots are.” He added, “Remem­ber when the Jews in Nazi Ger­many, they had to wear a yel­low star of David on their sleeve? We’re get­ting to the point where that’s where they’re going to make us do.” Fis­cher also said that the Nazi Party was formed in a gay bar in Munich.

Fis­cher also railed against Mus­lims. This month, Fis­cher said that “Allah rep­re­sents a demon God.” In 2011, Fis­cher claimed that Muslims—and by exten­sion, Jews– were not pro­tected by the First Amend­ment. He argued, “The First Amend­ment was writ­ten by the Founders to pro­tect the free exer­cise of Chris­tian­ity.” He added, “Islam is enti­tled only to the reli­gious lib­erty we extend it out of courtesy.”

In yet another dis­turb­ing state­ment, Fis­cher said that wel­fare had destroyed African-American fam­i­lies because young black women “rut like rab­bits” in the expec­ta­tion that they would get finan­cial awards for hav­ing chil­dren out of wedlock.

Despite Fis­cher being removed as a spokesper­son for AFA, he will still be able to reach thou­sands of peo­ple with his radio show.

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August 7, 2014 0

Reflecting on Israeli Society During the Conflict: The Best and the Worst

With Israel scal­ing down its oper­a­tions in Gaza and a cease­fire begin­ning to hold, Israeli soci­ety will now reflect on the last four weeks. Out of this fright­en­ing and tense period, one source of inspi­ra­tion and opti­mism has been the sense of sol­i­dar­ity and close­ness felt by Israelis.

Across the coun­try, peo­ple of every age and polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tion clam­ored to help and “do some­thing.” Israelis mobi­lized to show sup­port for the IDF sol­diers serv­ing on the front – peo­ple sent food, care pack­ages, sup­plies — even washed uni­forms.  Oth­ers offered to host res­i­dents of the south who left their homes for fear of the unend­ing fall of rock­ets and blare of warn­ing sirens. Thou­sands went to funer­als and shivas for the fallen sol­diers – par­tic­u­larly those of the “lone” sol­diers – whose fam­i­lies live out­side Israel. Mass prayer vig­ils were held.

Funeral of IDF Soldier Max Steinberg

Funeral of IDF Sol­dier Max Steinberg

But while we can cel­e­brate in this wide­spread feel­ing of unity and gen­eros­ity, we can­not deny that other, trou­bling ten­den­cies also emerged over these past weeks.

Some who pub­licly dis­agreed with Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion were called “trai­tors” and in some cases, even “Nazis.” Some protest­ing the con­flict were phys­i­cally attacked. Ten­sions with Israeli Arabs have grown. Many were out­raged by reports of some groups of Israeli Arabs who cel­e­brated in the killing of IDF sol­diers. This hos­til­ity inten­si­fied in both speech and action, and there were reports of iso­lated vig­i­lante attacks on Israeli Arab tar­gets. Indeed, when an East Jerusalem Pales­tin­ian attacked a Jerusalem city bus with a con­struc­tion vehi­cle, killing one, out of con­cern for their phys­i­cal safety of Arabs in the vicin­ity, police quickly moved to ensure their safety.

As we begin to think about “the day after,” Israelis must think about how to har­ness the pos­i­tive while reduc­ing the neg­a­tive. We must fig­ure out how to build on the sense of unity and gen­eros­ity while still valu­ing the exchange of dif­fer­ent view­points, and ensur­ing that respect­ful dis­course thrives.

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