Sunday, April 23, 2017

The more dramatically Eastern European Jews progress socio-economically, the more strenuously they identify with “marginalized groups” and seek to undermine the white Christian majority population

Paul Gottfried reviews David R. Verbeeten’s The Politics of Non-Assimilation: Three Generations of Eastern European Jews in the United States in the Twentieth Century. According to Gottfried, Verbeeten's book is a goldmine of sociological evidence about the Eastern European Jews who migrated to America at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ukip candidate standing against Andy Burnham in mayoral election is a bible-burning Orthodox Jewish rabbi

An Orthodox Jewish rabbi who is standing for Ukip in a mayoral election burned a bible and posted the pictures on social media. Shneur Odze, who is standing against former Health Secretary Andy Burnham in Manchester, reacted with fury when he found a religious tract in his synagogue which purported to be a Jewish bible. Odze took the book – which he believes was placed there by a proselytizing religious sect – out into the street and set fire to it. He then put pictures of the event on Twitter under the comment: "Grateful to whoever put a missionary bible amongst our synagogue’s books. Was wondering what I’d burn my Chametz [food forbidden at Passover] with." Odze explained that his actions were in line with Orthodox tradition because it was a Hebrew new testament purporting to be a Jewish bible, produced by "an extreme proselytizing Christian sect of former Jews trying to convert practicing Jews to a belief in Christ as the prophesied Messiah."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Two studies by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto and their collaborators from the United States, Britain, France and China, show that six- to nine-month-old infants demonstrate racial bias in favor of members of their own race and racial bias against those of other races

In the first study, “Older but not younger infants associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music”, results showed that after six months of age, infants begin to associate own-race faces with happy music and other-race faces with sad music. In the second study, “Infants rely more on gaze cues from own-race than other-race adults for learning under uncertainty”, researchers found that six- to eight-month-old infants were more inclined to learn information from an adult of his or her own race than from an adult of a different race. “The findings of these studies are significant for many reasons,” said Dr. Kang Lee, professor at OISE’s Jackman Institute of Child Study, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and lead author of the studies. “The results show that race-based bias already exists around the second half of a child’s first year. This challenges the popular view that race-based bias first emerges only during the preschool years.” Researchers say that these findings are also important because they offer a new perspective on the cause of race-based bias. “When we consider why someone has a racial bias, we often think of negative experiences he or she may have had with other-race individuals. But, these findings suggest that a race-based bias emerges without experience with other-race individuals,” said Dr. Naiqi (Gabriel) Xiao, first author of the two papers and postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Islamic terrorism: A bomb exploded in a church north of Cairo that was packed with Palm Sunday worshippers, killing at least 25 people and wounding 71 others

The attack in the Nile Delta town of Tanta was the latest in a series of assaults on Egypt's Christian minority, which makes up around 10% of the population and has been repeatedly targeted by Islamic extremists. It comes just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt. A local Islamic State affiliate claimed a suicide bombing at a church in Cairo in December 2016 that killed around 30 people, mostly women, as well as a string of killings in the restive Sinai Peninsula that caused hundreds of Christians to flee to safer areas of the country.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Jewish privilege: How did less than stellar high school student Jared Kushner get into Harvard?

Donald Trump’s son-in-law was accepted into the Ivy League university in the wake of a $2.5m pledge made by his parents. New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5m to Harvard University not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school. Administrators at Jared’s high school described him as a less-than-stellar student and expressed dismay at Harvard’s decision. “There was no way anybody in the administrative office of the school thought he would on the merits get into Harvard,’’ a former official at the Frisch school in Paramus, New Jersey, said. “His GPA [grade point average] did not warrant it, his SAT scores did not warrant it. We thought, for sure, there was no way this was going to happen. Then, lo and behold, Jared was accepted. It was a little bit disappointing because there were at the time other kids we thought should really get in on the merits, and they did not." Charles Kushner has a criminal record. Five years after Jared entered Harvard, the elder Kushner pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax violations, illegal campaign donations and retaliating against a witness. Charles Kushner had hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was cooperating with federal authorities. Kushner then had a videotape of the tryst sent to his sister. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Envoys from African nations in the Indian capital, Delhi, have condemned the handling of recent attacks on Nigerian students in the city

In a statement, the African Heads of Mission said that the attacks were "xenophobic and racial". Indian authorities had failed to "sufficiently condemn" the attacks or take "visible deterring measures", the envoys added. The students were attacked recently in Greater Noida, close to Delhi. Five Nigerian students were attacked by crowds, while another was beaten by a mob inside a shopping mall. The violence was prompted by the death of a local teenager due to a drug overdose. His parents blame Nigerian students for giving him the drugs. In May 2016 a Congolese man was beaten to death in Delhi after an argument over an auto-rickshaw. Three months before that, a Tanzanian student was assaulted and partially stripped by a mob in the southern city of Bangalore. A Nigerian man living in Goa was stabbed to death in 2013. Meanwhile, police say that a Kenyan woman accused of faking a race attack in Greater Noida will be deported. The woman said that she had been dragged out of a taxi by five men two days after the mob violence, but police said their investigation and the taxi's GPS tracker proved her story wrong. Her visa had expired, they added.

Researchers from King's College London have used a genetic scoring technique to predict reading performance throughout school years from DNA alone

The study shows that a genetic score comprising around 20,000 of DNA variants explains 5% of the differences between children's reading performance. Students with the highest and lowest genetic scores differed by a whole two years in their reading performance. These findings highlight the potential of using genetic scores to predict strengths and weaknesses in children's learning abilities. According to the study authors, these scores could one day be used to identify and tackle reading difficulties early, rather than waiting until children develop these problems at school.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Israeli prosecution seems oddly reluctant to move against Rabbi Yosef Elitzur of Yitzhar, one of the authors “The King’s Torah,” a controversial tome offering halakhic conditions under which it is permissible to kill non-Jews

Elitzur has failed to respond to letters summoning him to a hearing ahead of possible legal proceedings against him. The first such letter was sent in December 2016, after Attorney-General Avichai Mendelblit announced intentions to indict, subject to a hearing for Elitzur. Under the law, the prosecution must wait at least a month between sending a summons to a hearing and putting the defendant on trial without hearing his side first. That 30-day hiatus ended in January 2017, yet no indictments have been served. A three-month delay in filing charges after sending a letter on a hearing is highly unusual and unreasonable, especially after the delays in the case already. Elitzur is one of the leaders of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva. Back in 2009, in an op-ed that may be used in his prosecution, he called for violence against Arabs, writing: “If the Arabs win because of violence against Jews, the Jews can also win through violence against Arabs. The strength of women, children and the old can be utilized to block a given road and during that time, a harsher action can be taken against hostile elements down that same road.” In another article, Elitzur praised perpetrators of anti-Arab hate crimes known as “price tag” attacks, and said that “while no one wants to live in a state of anarchy, there are times when we must live by the rules of the jungle and show evil gentiles that Jews can also play that game.”

Marvel executive admits that emphasis on diversity has alienated readers

Marvel’s vice president of sales has blamed declining comic-book sales on the studio’s efforts to increase diversity and female characters, saying that readers “were turning their noses up” at diversity and “didn’t want female characters out there”. Over recent years, Marvel has made efforts to include more diverse and more female characters, introducing new iterations of fan favorites including a female Thor; Riri Williams, a black teenager who took over the Iron Man storyline as Ironheart; Miles Morales, a biracial Spider-Man and Kamala Khan, a Muslim teenage girl who is the current Ms Marvel. But speaking at the Marvel retailer summit about the studio’s falling comic sales, David Gabriel said retailers had told him that fans were sticking to old favorites. “What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity,” he said. “They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.” He added: “I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales … Any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up.”

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Mexican newspaper in the border city of Juarez says that it is closing due to the climate of insecurity and impunity for killings of journalists in one of the world's deadliest countries for media workers

Norte executive Oscar Cantu Murguia informs readers of his decision in a farewell letter titled "Adios!" Cantu cites the recent murder of journalist Miroslava Breach in the city of Chihuahua, which like Juarez is in Chihuahua state. Breach was a reporter for La Jornada and had also collaborated with Norte. She was the third Mexican journalist killed in March 2017, notes the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. Cantu writes that he is not prepared for any more of his journalists to pay the price of insecurity. At least 38 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 1992 for motives related to their work, according the Committee to Protect Journalists.