The creative director of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony has been fired after a Holocaust joke he made during a 1990s comedy skit drew attention this week.
Kentaro Kobayashi, a popular comedian and actor, joked during a television appearance in the 1990s, “Let’s play the genocide of the Jews,” according to a video that began circulating early Wednesday.
By the end of the night, he had been fired — less than 48 hours before the opening ceremony for the beleaguered Olympics, which was rescheduled from 2020 because of COVID-19.
Kobayashi is the second Tokyo Olympics creative director to be fired over offensive comments. His predecessor was fired in March for mocking the weight of a female comedian. The composer for the opening ceremony stepped down this week amid revelations that he had bragged about abusing a child with disabilities.
Seiko Hashimoto, who became the Tokyo Olympics’ committee president in February after her predecessor stepped down over past sexist comments, said she regretted not moving faster in other cases and sought to move swiftly in evaluating Kobayashi’s comments. “As soon as possible we decided we will have to address the issue and we decided on the dismissal,” she said, according to tweets from New York Times reporter Motoko Rich.
Yaffa Ben-Ari, Israel’s ambassador to Japan, tweeted that she was grateful for the swift action.
“As the Ambassador of Israel to Japan and as a daughter of a #Holocaust survivor, I was shocked to hear about the anti-Semitic remarks made in the past by the famous comedian Kentaro Kobayashi,” she wrote. “I expressed to @Tokyo2020 my strong condemnation of Kobayashi’s disgusting act. Such acts should not be associated with Japan nor with the Olympic Games. I value the quick response by @Tokyo2020 that dismissed the director this morning.”
Source: The Jewish News
Wesley Charles Martines, 32, of Los Gatos, was arraigned on July 13 and is being held in Elmwood men’s jail after he was arrested July 9 in connection with possession of assault weapons, multiple silencers, drugs and the making of a pipe bomb.
Campbell, CA police found him “prowling outside a business,” the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office said in a July 15 news release.
“Once again, law enforcement saved lives before the blood and tears flowed,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “All of us have a role in stopping the next mass shooting, suicide, or domestic violence murder. Please call law enforcement if you know that someone is armed and dangerous.”
Campbell police responded to a call about the suspect just after midnight on July 9, when a business owner notified Campbell police about a man, who he could see on his security camera, looking into vehicles on a car lot and into a storage shed.
Police responded quickly and stopped a truck driven by the suspect. Inside the truck, law enforcement discovered weapons, body armor, ammunition inscribed with messages including “To a widow from the Grim Reaper,” drugs, a pipe bomb filled with pellets but no explosive material inside and a journal containing the anti-Semitic and racist writings as well as a plot to go to a sporting goods store, dress as an employee and tie everyone up, according to the District Attorney’s office.
Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism, said her organization was still learning about the specifics of the case at the time of the interview, but the suspect’s behavior reflected a trend of extremist actors for whom specific groups are the targets of their ire.
“While there’s more information that needs to come to light in regards to this particular case, it underscores the grave danger those motivated by hatred pose to our society,” Mendelson said.
The surveillance video captures a brutal scene: A woman is thrown down a flight of stairs and smacks into the subway platform violently enough to fracture a bone in her face. It was May 28, and the woman, in her 60s, was among dozens of people attacked during a spate of anti-Asian violence this year.
It may not even have been the first such attack by the suspect, John Chappell, a law enforcement official said. Two months earlier, Mr. Chappell, who had dozens of prior arrests, had been suspected of lighting an Asian woman’s backpack on fire, the official said. He was released just days after his arrest in May.
Six months into a series of brutal attacks on people of Asian descent across the city, Mr. Chappell’s case underscores the challenges the police and prosecutors have faced in both preventing the violence and punishing those responsible.
Many of the attacks are unpredictable and carried out by people in the throes of mental health episodes, seemingly at random. Officials say they doubt many of the hate crime charges related to the attacks will stick in court, and those arrested are often released quickly. And the Police Department appears to have scaled back its efforts to stop them: An undercover unit intended to prevent anti-Asian attacks has not been active since May after officers faced threats of violence themselves.
But the attacks have continued, and anxiety and trauma still grip many pockets of the city’s Asian communities, where the violence feels fresh even as the spotlight on it has dimmed.
“There’s still this fear that permeates throughout the community,” said Chung Seto, a community leader and political strategist in Chinatown. For many, she said, the fear feels like a continuation of the darkest days of 2020, when city residents were afraid of going outside because of the coronavirus.
Source: NY Times
A Toronto man with a swastika tattoo on his chest was arrested for assault on a Jewish man and ticketed for other offenses aimed at the Jewish community during the past week.
Michael Park, 32, was first arrested on Saturday after police responded to a report of an assault of a 33-year-old man.
Days later, on Tuesday, police were called to Stanley Park “in regards to a man with a swastika tattoo on his chest yelling racial slurs towards an individual.” They identified Park and ticketed him for “interfering with use and enjoyment of the park by others” and using “profane/abusive language.”
An additional charge of assault with a weapon was added after police learned Park allegedly threw an object at the caller who first alerted police to Park’s behavior.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto expressed their appreciation for the Toronto Police Service’s response to the most recent anti-Semitic incidents.
“Like all members of society, Jews should be able to walk down the street with confidence in our safety and security. We are grateful for the immediate response of the Toronto Police Service to these incidents,” the two groups said in a joint statement. “Anti-Semitism is a scourge that is quickly spreading throughout Canada and around the world. Over the past few months, Jewish Canadians—already the most targeted religious minority in this country, according to Statistics Canada—have witnessed an alarming rise in hate-motivated harassment, vandalism and assault.”
While neither assault case filed against Park has been officially stated as hate crimes as of yet, the Toronto Police Service explained, “When suspected hate-motivated offenses are reported to police, the investigation will be led by a divisional investigator. The Hate Crime Unit will be made aware and specialized officers from that unit will support the investigation as needed.”
Source: Cleveland Jewish News
A New York City museum dedicated to telling Chinese American history marked its reopening to the public on Wednesday, with an exhibit on Asian Americans and racism that it curated partially through submissions gathered during the pandemic and a surge of anti-Asian bias incidents around the country.
The opening was a long time coming for the Museum of Chinese in America, not only because of the pandemic shutdown of over a year but because of a fire that ravaged though the space where its collection was housed in January 2020. Luckily, most of the collection was salvaged.
Looking back, there was a question of “how were we going to survive, but we kept pivoting,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, the museum’s president.
That included a lot of virtual programming, including the call for submissions that became part of “Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism,” opening to the public on Thursday.
In the exhibition, the outer walls are a running history of sorts, a timeline showcasing the racism and bigotry that’s been turned toward Asian and Asian Americans throughout their generations in the U.S.
They touch on the treatment of the earliest Asian immigrant communities, how stereotypes connecting them and disease have a long history, to more recent issues like the treatment of Middle Eastern and South Asian communities in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The anti-Asian bias of the pandemic is on display, with a timeline including top government officials using anti-Asian slurs as names for the coronavirus and blaming China for its existence.
There’s also a listing of various attacks that had Asian victims, like the shootings at spa businesses in Georgia in March, where six women of Asian descent were among the eight people killed.
Read the complete article at: ABC News
The U.N. General Assembly acknowledged a link between terrorism antisemitism in its recently passed Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) for the first time—a move that has been applauded by pro-Israel and Jewish organizations.
The GCTS, which lays out the world body’s strategy for combating terrorism, is required to be reviewed and passed every two years.
The latest version, passed on June 30, “Recognizes with deep concern the overall rise in instances of discrimination, intolerance and violence, regardless of the actors, directed against members of religious and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, antisemitism, Christianophobia and prejudice against persons of any other religion or belief.”
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan pointed out the condemnation of antisemitism in a speech to the General Assembly on July 6.
“For Israel, the adoption of the GCTS is, unfortunately, not a theoretical or academic exercise,” he said. “During the weeks we sat here debating this resolution, Israeli civilians from our capital in Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and Ashkelon, sat in bomb shelters because of Hamas’s relentless terror attacks.”
The addition is the first time that GCTS has officially recognized the existence of anti-Semitic terrorism.
“We welcome the GCTS’ acknowledgment of the upswing in hate speech and terrorist attacks targeting religious and ethnic communities, which included an explicit condemnation of antisemitism, in line with the findings of the Secretary General’s report on global terrorism,” he said. “We have all witnessed anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish communities around the world, including here in the streets of New York, in recent weeks. It is critical that the international community take a clear stance against these attacks and develop additional tools to combat such appalling assaults against Jewish and other groups.”
Read the complete article: Cleveland Jewish News
Last week, California’s Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a new $40 million ethnic studies policy. In its press release, the district noted, “The policy and efforts to develop an Ethnic Studies framework are informed by and will include Critical Race Theory and the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum.” This is exactly what the Jewish community feared and fought tirelessly for nearly two years to prevent, as the state wrote, and rewrote, its Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). Now, however, the Jewish community finds itself back at square one.
A little background is in order.
During the summer of 2019, California’s State Board of Education released a proposed ethnic studies curriculum, intended to be used in all California public high schools, that was blatantly anti-Semitic. It omitted information on American Jews and anti-Semitism, used classic anti-Semitic stereotypes and tropes, and was blatantly anti-Zionist.
And the reaction was fierce. Twenty-thousand Californians, all 16 members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus and dozens of organizations, including the Jewish Community Relations Council, Anti-Defamation League, Simon Wiesenthal Center, StandWithUs, American Jewish Committee and Israeli-American Council, raised serious alarms over the proposed curriculum. The Jewish Caucus stated the curriculum would “marginalize Jewish students and fuel hatred and discrimination against the Jewish community,” and Governor Gavin Newsom promised the original curriculum “would never see the light of day.”
The State Board of Education (SBE) went back to the drawing board and, a year and a half and numerous revisions later, a fourth iteration that included lessons on Jewish Americans and eliminated overt anti-Semitic content was approved by the SBE. However, there was still one very big problem – individual school districts are autonomous and can use any ethnic studies curriculum they choose, including the original rejected version. And for the last two years the original dethroned drafters have been hard at work lobbying individual school districts to do just that.
Read the complete article at: Jewish News Syndicate
Anti-Defamation League President Jonathan Greenblatt blasted Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Wednesday after she defended comments equating the U.S. and Israel to the Taliban and said Jewish members of Congress weren’t “partners in justice.”
The far-left “Squad” member made the comments during a Tuesday appearance on CNN, telling host Jake Tapper she didn’t regret the previous remark that led to Jewish House Democrats calling her remarks offensive and House Republicans introducing a censure resolution against her.
“I’ve welcomed any time my colleagues asked to have a conversation to learn from them, for them to learn from me,” Omar said after Tapper asked her if she regretted her earlier comment. “I think it’s really important for these [House] members to realize that they haven’t been partners in justice.”
“They haven’t been engaging in seeking justice around the world and I think I will continue to do that. It is important for me as someone who knows what it feels like to experience injustice in ways that many of my colleagues don’t,” she added.
Greenblatt responded to Omar’s comment by blasting her on Twitter, calling her remarks “ignorant” and “offensive.”
“To accuse Jewish members of not being involved in “justice” is ignorant of their records, and especially offensive when it’s an effort to distract from your own [anti-Semitic] statements. Rep. Omar needs to lead with accountability, not denial — definitely not blaming the victim,” he wrote.
Omar also faced mounting criticism from other prominent figures, with Parents Defending Education vice president Asra Nomani saying, “This is what a modern day Muslim Supremacist looks like,” and Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein calling her an “[i]gnorant antisemite.”
Source: Fox News
Also read: ADL: Anti-Semitic acts increase in Ohio,
Ilhan Omar Ilhan Omar – Omar also faced mounting criticism from other prominent figures, with Parents Defending Education vice president Asra Nomani saying, “This is what a modern day Muslim Supremacist looks like,” and Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein calling her an “[i]gnorant antisemite.”
Authorities in Winthrop, Mass., are investigating whether a white man who shot and killed two Black people on Saturday as a possible hate crime.
A retired Massachusetts State Police trooper and a U.S. Air Force veteran were shot and killed by a man, who was later fatally shot by police, after he crashed a stolen work truck into a building, according to authorities.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said that David L. Green and 60-year-old Ramona Cooper were “executed” by 28-year-old Nathan Allen Saturday afternoon.
The shootings are being investigated as possible hate crimes because Rollins said “troubling white supremacist rhetoric” in Allen’s handwriting was discovered by investigators. That handwriting contained anti-Semitic statements and racist statements against Black people, according to Rollins.
“He walked by several other people that were not Black and they are alive,” Rollins said. “They were not harmed. … They are alive and these two visible people of color are not.”
Winthrop police Chief Terence Delehanty said his department received a call shortly before 2:45 p.m. Saturday about the crash involving the stolen truck that leveled a building. He confirmed that no one was inside the building at the time of the crash.
After the crash, authorities said Allen exited the vehicle and proceeded to flee on foot. At some point shortly thereafter, Allen is believed to have shot Cooper and Green. Green was pronounced dead at the scene, while Cooper was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where she was later pronounced dead.
Delehanty said one victim, later identified as Cooper, was found by Winthrop police on Shirley Street, about a half-block away from the scene of the crash. Green, meanwhile, was engaged by the suspect in an alleyway between two houses that was further down the street.
According to Rollins, Cooper was shot three times in the back and Green was shot four times in the head and three times in his torso.
Read the complete article at: wbal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday condemned anti-Jewish statements heard at protests over the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Mrs Merkel called for calm and warned “whoever takes hatred of Jews to our streets places himself outside our constitutional order”.
“Those who bear hatred towards Jews in the street, those who incite racial hatred put themselves outside our Basic Law,” she said in her weekly podcast.
“Such acts must be punished severely.”
The head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany also condemned anti-Semitic chants made during the protests.
Police made about 60 arrests last Saturday and about 100 officers were hurt when the rally turned violent.
Some participants at marches in towns across Germany shouted anti-Semitic slogans, which Mrs Merkel said was “unacceptable”.
Others burnt Israeli flags and in one case the entrance to a synagogue was stoned.
Police said a Jewish man was punched in the face and abused with anti-Semitic language while walking home early on Saturday.
They said the 41-year-old victim, wearing a traditional skullcap, or kippa, passed three other men in Duerer Square at about 2.15am.
One of three punched him in the face, knocking him against a shop window, and used an anti-Semitic slur.
The victim was taken to hospital, where he was treated and released.
Police said the men had not been found.
Source: The National News
“Such acts must be punished severely.” The head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany also condemned anti-Semitic chants made during the protests. Police made about 60 arrests last Saturday and about 100 officers were hurt when the rally turned violent.Some participants at marches in towns across Germany shouted anti-Semitic slogans, which Mrs Merkel said was “unacceptable”. Others burnt Israeli flags and in one case the entrance to a synagogue was stoned. Angela Merkel