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NY Officials Urge Floyd Protesters To Get Coronavirus Tests

Demonstrators protest Sunday, June 7, 2020, near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

(AP) As New York City prepared to reopen after a more than two-month coronavirus shutdown, officials on Sunday lifted a curfew that was put in place amid protests of police brutality and racial injustice. But they also urged that demonstrators be tested for COVID-19.

“Get a test. Get a test,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged people who have been participating in rallies and marches in memory of George Floyd.

He said the state planned to open 15 testing sites dedicated to protesters so they can get results quickly.

“I would act as if you were exposed, and I would tell people you are interacting with, assume I am positive for the virus,” Cuomo added.

The call is similar to what officials in Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta have made following massive demonstrations, with free testing set up for protesters who may have been exposed to the virus.

“There is a pandemic going on out there. People are aware of that. I don’t think any of us have forgotten that’s happening,” Jennifer Cota, who was protesting in a Seattle suburb, told KCPQ-TV. “It’s still a risk a lot of people are willing to take.”

Demonstrations across the country Saturday were perhaps the largest one-day mobilization since Floyd died May 25 at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The turnout continued around the globe Sunday even as U.S. cities lifted curfews imposed amid last week’s spasms of arson, assaults and smash-and-grab raids on businesses. Recent days of U.S. protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

New York City prepared to enter its first phase of reopening after shutdowns due to the pandemic. Between 200,000 and 400,000 people are expected to head back to the workplace Monday, with many using a subway system that most New Yorkers have avoided since March because of crowded conditions.

On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted the city’s 8 p.m. curfew put in place for the Floyd protests.

“Last night was the best by far,” de Blasio told reporters. “We had the biggest number of protesters, the fewest arrests, the fewest problems and that convinced me it was time for the curfew to go away. I have no intention of bringing it back.”

He maintained, however, that the city was still debating whether to enforce street closures later in the day. He also said he was “frustrated” by the large number of police officers who were not wearing face masks, describing it as painful to people who may perceive law enforcement was “flouting” social distancing rules.

New York City police pulled back on enforcing the curfew Saturday as thousands took to streets and parks to protest Floyd’s death.

His body arrived in Texas for a final memorial service, said Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. A viewing is planned for Monday in Houston, followed by a service and burial Tuesday in suburban Pearland.

Floyd, a 46-year-old out-of-work bouncer, died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped responding. His death has inspired international protests and drawn new attention to the treatment of African Americans by police and the criminal justice system.

Other memorials have taken place in Minneapolis and Raeford, North Carolina, near where Floyd was born.

At the private service in North Carolina’, mourners sang with a choir as a large photo of Floyd and a portrait of him adorned with an angel’s wings and halo were displayed.

“It could have been me. It could have been my brother, my father, any of my friends who are black,” said Erik Carlos of nearby Fayetteville. “It made me feel very vulnerable at first.”

In Washington, D.C., dozens of National Guard troops from South Carolina were seen checking out of their hotel Sunday shortly before President Donald Trump tweeted he was giving the order to withdraw them from the nation’s capital.

The troops, carrying gear and clothing, sipped coffee and smoked cigarettes as they waited for buses to take them to the airport.

Trump ordered guard troops into Washington to “dominate” the streets after some protests of Floyd’s death turned violent. The city’s mayor called on Trump last week to withdraw outside forces amid days of largely peaceful protests.

Outside the United States:

— A crowd estimated at 10,000, many in face masks, filled a square in front of the main courthouse in Brussels, holding white roses and signs decrying racism. “You think you are tired of hearing about racism? We are tired of experiencing it,” read one placard held up by a young black woman.

— In Italy’s financial capital of Milan, a few thousand people rallied against racism outside the central train station, many of them African migrants or the children of migrants who want to see reforms making it easier to receive citizenship. One held a sign saying, “I Fight For My Kids.”

— Protesters massed by the thousands outside the gleaming new U.S. Embassy in London, where student Darcy Bourne said the demonstration was about “more than just George Floyd, more than just America, but racism all around the world.”

— Thousands wearing masks against the virus massed peacefully in Spain’s main cities, including at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid to denounce racism and chant: “Police murderers!” and “No justice, no peace!” A protest also was held in a central square in Barcelona. (AP)

FBI looks for link between 2 ambush killings of officers

This photo provided by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office shows Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller. Gutzwiller was shot and killed Saturday, June 6, 2020, in Ben Lomond, an unincorporated area near Santa Cruz, Calif., when he and two other law enforcement officers were ambushed by a suspect. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office via AP)


The FBI and local investigators are trying to determine a possible link between the ambush-style killing of a Northern California sheriff’s deputy Saturday night and that of a federal officer who was fatally shot outside the U.S. courthouse in Oakland more than a week ago.

The FBI office in San Francisco confirmed Sunday its investigators were working with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department to determine a possible motive, and links to other crimes committed in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the attack that killed a Federal Protection Service officer and critically wounded another officer on May 29. Both involved shooters in a van.

An active-duty U.S. Air Force sergeant has been arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, and wounding two other officers Saturday.

Gutzwiller “was a beloved figure here at the sheriff’s office,” Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart said.

“Damon showed up today to do his job, to keep this community safe, and his life was taken needlessly,” a visibly shaken Hart said.

On Saturday, deputies responded to a 911 call around 1:30 p.m. about a suspicious van in Ben Lomond — an unincorporated area near Santa Cruz. The caller said there were guns and bomb-making devices inside, Hart said.

When deputies arrived, the van pulled away and the deputies followed. The van went down a driveway at a home and the deputies were ambushed by gunfire and explosives after getting out of their vehicle.

Gutzwiller was wounded and later died at a hospital. Another deputy was wounded by gunfire or shrapnel and struck by a vehicle as the suspect fled. A third officer from the California Highway Patrol was shot in his hand, Hart said.

The suspect, 32-year-old Steven Carrillo, attempted a carjacking and also was shot during his arrest, Hart said. He was being treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Hart said Carrillo will be charged with first-degree murder.

Carrillo had arrived at Travis Air Force Base, 50 miles (81 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco, in June 2018 and was a member of the 60th Security Forces Squadron, a base spokesman said. Carrillo’s wife Monika Leigh Scott Carrillo, who was also in the Air Force, was found dead in an off-base hotel in May 2018 while she was stationed in South Carolina. She was 30. Her death was investigated by the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and ruled a suicide, according to the Air Force.

The FBI has been trying to identify a suspect and motive in the drive-by shooting outside the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building that killed Dave Patrick Underwood, 53, and critically wounded another contracted security officer employed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service. They had been monitoring a nearby protest over the death of George Floyd.

Surveillance cameras captured a white Ford van believed to be driven by the shooter or shooters. The FBI said the vehicle did not appear to have license plates.

Gov. Gavin Newsom extended condolences to Gutzwiller’s family and ordered flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of the slain deputy.

“He will be remembered as a hero who devoted his life to protecting the community and as a loving husband and father,” Newsom said in a statement.

The shooting shocked Ben Lomond, a town of about 6,000 people tucked up in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Resident Kathy Crocker brought a bouquet to the sheriff’s office as Hart gave a news conference about the shootings.

“It just breaks my heart that this keeps happening,” she said, as teary-eyed deputies entered the building.

The sheriff’s office will hold a vigil Sunday at 2:26 p.m., the time they received the call Saturday that Gutzwiller had been shot.

Get the **** Outta Here!’: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey Forced to Leave Protest for Refusing to Defund Police

social media capture

by Joshuua Kaplan (Breitbart) 

Minneapolis protesters told Mayor Jacob Frey (D) he was no longer welcome to demonstrate against the death of George Floyd — an African-American man who died in police custody in the city — after he refused to commit to defunding its police department.

Footage shared to social media shows a masked Frey, who is under fire from both Republicans and Democrats over his response to protests and violent unrest, telling a crowd of protesters that he believes the city’s police department must undergo “structural reforms” and that a “systemic, racist system needs to be revamped.”

Then, one speaker pressed Frey on whether he would defund the police, asking him: “We have a yes or no question for you.  Yes or no, will you commit to defunding the Minneapolis Police Department?

The speaker continued before Frey could respond: “We don’t want any more police, is that clear? We don’t want people with guns in our communities, shooting us down. Do you have an answer? It is a yes or a no.”

“If he says ‘no,’ guess what the fuck we are going to do next year,” the protester added, referring to the mayor being up for re-election next year.

Frey responded “I do not support abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department,” prompting the protester who asked him the question to shout “get the f**k outta here” at him.

Multiple protesters then began to boo Frey loudly and chant “go home Jacob, go home!”

Additional footage shows a downcast Frey then departing the protests amid more booes and chants of “shame!”

On Thursday, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender vowed the council will “dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety.” Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, son of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, echoed Bender’s pledge.

“We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. And when we’re done, we’re not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It’s really past due,” he tweeted.

The following day, Frey signed off on various changes to the police department after an injunction was filed by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which sought a ban on chokeholds and for officers to report unauthorized use of force.

This week, “Squad” members Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) joined calls to “defund the police” in the wake of Floyd’s death.

“The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform,” Omar wrote on social media Friday. “It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.”

Hours later, Ocasio-Cortez said in a congressional primary debate that she is “actively engaged in advocacy” for a “reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion NYPD budget that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] and public housing.”

Last Thursday, demonstrators set fire to a police precinct building in the Minneapolis neighborhood where Floyd died Monday after he was restrained by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.

Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a grocery store.

The 3rd precinct building had been evacuated by order of Frey, who said he was unwilling to endanger lives to protect the building.

“I understand the importance of a precinct,” he said. “[But] the symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers, or the public. We could not risk serious injury to anyone and we will continue to patrol the third precinct entirely.”

By 4:30 a.m. last Friday, protesters and looters were still out on the streets in the neighborhood as several nearby commercial buildings burned unchecked.

As Breitbart News reported: “Minneapolis already suffers from high violent crime rates. In Minneapolis, every 8.15 residents per 1,000 is a violent crime victim. Compare that to the state of Minnesota overall, where only 2.2 residents per 1,000 become a violent crime victim.”

Largely Peaceful Protests Over George Floyd Police Slaying March On

Demonstrators protest Saturday, June 6, 2020, near the White House in Washington, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

By: Steven Sloan, Justin Pritchard & Tom Foreman, Jr.

Massive protests against police brutality nationwide capped a week that began in chaos but ended with largely peaceful expressions that organizers hope will sustain their movement.

Tens of thousands of people marched Saturday with few reports of problems in scenes that were more often festive than tense.

Wearing masks and urging fundamental change, protesters gathered in dozens of places from coast to coast while mourners in North Carolina waited for hours to glimpse the golden coffin carrying the body of native son George Floyd, the black man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police has galvanized the expanding movement.

Collectively, it was perhaps the largest one-day mobilization since Floyd died May 25 and came as many cities lifted curfews imposed following initial spasms of arson, assaults and smash-and-grab raids on businesses. Authorities have softened restrictions as the number of arrests plummeted.

Demonstrations also reached four other continents, ending in clashes in London and Marseille, France. In the U.S., Seattle police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to disperse protesters hurling rocks, bottles and what authorities said were “improvised explosives” that had injured officers, just a day after city leaders temporarily banned one kind of tear gas.

The largest U.S. demonstration appeared to be in Washington, where protesters flooded streets closed to traffic. On a hot, humid day, they gathered at the Capitol, on the National Mall and in neighborhoods. Some turned intersections into dance floors. Tents offered snacks and water.

Pamela Reynolds said she came seeking greater police accountability.

“The laws are protecting them,” said the 37-year-old African American teacher. The changes she wants include a federal ban on police chokeholds and a requirement that officers wear body cameras.

At the White House, which was fortified with new fencing and extra security measures, chants and cheers were heard in waves. President Donald Trump, who has urged authorities to crack down on unrest, downplayed the demonstration, tweeting: “Much smaller crowd in D.C. than anticipated.”

Elsewhere, the backdrops included some of the nation’s most famous landmarks. Peaceful marchers filed across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, where officers pulled back on enforcing a curfew that has led to confrontations. They walked the boulevards of Hollywood and a Nashville, Tennessee, street famous for country music-themed bars and restaurants.

Many wore masks — a reminder of the danger that the protests could exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus.

Roderick Sweeney, who is black, said the large turnout of white protesters waving signs that said “Black Lives Matter” in San Francisco sent a powerful message.

“We’ve had discussions in our family and among friends that nothing is going to change until our white brothers and sisters voice their opinion,” said Sweeney, 49.

A large crowd of Seattle medical workers, many in lab coats and scrubs, marched to City Hall, holding signs reading, “Police violence and racism are a public health emergency” and “Nurses kneel with you, not on you” — a reference to how a white officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

Atop a parking garage in downtown Atlanta, a group of black college band alumni serenaded protesters with a tuba-heavy mix of tunes. Standing within earshot, business owner Leah Aforkor Quaye said it was her first time hitting the streets.

“This makes people so uncomfortable, but the only way things are happening is if we make people uncomfortable,” said Quaye, who is black.

In Raeford, North Carolina, a town near Floyd’s birthplace, people lined up outside a Free Will Baptist church, waiting to enter in small groups. At a private memorial service, mourners sang along with a choir. A large photo of Floyd and a portrait of him adorned with an angel’s wings and halo were displayed at the front of the chapel.

“It could have been me. It could have been my brother, my father, any of my friends who are black,” said Erik Carlos of nearby Fayetteville. “It made me feel very vulnerable at first.”

Floyd’s body will go to Houston, where he lived before Minneapolis, for another memorial in the coming days.

Protesters and their supporters in public office say they’re determined to turn the outpouring into change, notably overhauling policing policies. Many marchers urged officials to “defund the police.”

Theresa Bland, 68, a retired teacher and real estate agent protesting at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, envisioned a broader agenda.

“I’m looking at affordable housing, political justice, prison reform,” she said.

Congressional Democrats are preparing a sweeping package of police reforms, which is expected to include changes to immunity provisions and creating a database of use-of-force incidents. Revamped training requirements are planned, too — among them, a ban on chokeholds.

The prospects of reforms clearing a divided Congress are unclear.

Back in North Carolina, the Rev. Christopher Stackhouse recounted the circumstances of Floyd’s death for the congregation.

“It took 8 minutes and 46 seconds for him to die,” Stackhouse said at the memorial service. “But it took 401 years to put the system in place so nothing would happen.” (AP)


US Mideast Peace Plan ‘Not Set in Stone,’ Says UN Envoy

New U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft addresses her first Security Council meeting, at United Nations headquarters, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP/Richard Drew)

Kelly Craft communicated the U.S.’ commitment to facilitating negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

By: WIN & AP

In the run up to Israel’s impending annexation of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, commented at a press briefing Friday that the Trump peace plan is “not set in stone” and said the administration has been working to bring Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table to discuss it.

“Until we have dialogue, there’s going to be nothing,” she said. “So I’m really stressing, and really pushing, whether it be through a Quartet” or engagement with Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors at the U.N. that “we have — you have — to get to the table.”

Craft’s mention of the Quartet refers to a group consisting of the United Nations (UN), the United States, Russia and the European Union.

In the run up to Israeli annexation, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said U.N. Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov has also held discussions with the parties on setting up a Quartet meeting to push the so-called two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Last month, Mladenov told Israel it should abandon its plans to annex Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, including the strategic Jordan Valley, despite the fact that Israel has maintained control over this territory since 1967 and over half a million Israelis live there.

Under the U.S. plan envisions leaving about one third of Judea and Samaria will be annexed by Israel, while the Palestinians will continue to control the remainder of the territory, with the possibility of creating an interdependent state, provided they stop their regime-sponsored terror campaign and cease threatening Israel with destruction, in addition to other conditions.

The Palestinians, who seek all of Judea and Samaria, have rejected the plan and refuse to stop paying terrorists who murder and maim Israeli civilians.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said the Palestinians will no longer be committed to any signed agreements with Israel or the U.S. following Israel’s annexation pledge. He has called for negotiations under international auspices, including by the Quartet, to advance a two-state solution.

The Quartet was established in 2002 and has been criticized for its abject failure to get either Israel or the Palestinian Authority to change their policies and negotiate an end to their decades-old conflict.(World Israel News & AP)

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Former MK Rabbi Yehuda Glick Saved from ‘Murderous Lynch’ at Condolence Visit to Arab Family

Former MK Yehuda Glick (Flash90/Miriam Alster)

“Ten people suddenly grabbed me, lifted me up and threw me down a flight and a half of stairs,” the former Knesset member said.

By: Aaron Sull

An Arab suspect involved in the beating of a former Knesset member was released to home arrest Friday.

According to a police statement, the 20-year-old Arab was arrested in eastern Jerusalem on Thursday. He was released Friday after posting a 5000 shekel ($1450)  bond will be under house arrest until his trial, Ynet reported.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, known for his activism in support of the right of Jews to pray at the Temple Mount, was attacked on Wednesday after visiting the family of Iyad al-Halak, an autistic Arab mistakenly shot by Israeli police officers.

“I went in the name of people who want peace, a gesture of goodwill,” Glick told Channel 13.

“When I entered the home and presented myself to the mourners, around ten people suddenly grabbed me, lifted me up and threw me down a flight and a half of stairs,” Glick said.

“I want to thank God Almighty, Creator of the world, for saving my life once again from an assassination attempt,” said Glick.

“What I went through yesterday in Jerusalem was a murderous lynch. As a matter of fact, it concluded with a miracle. Just miraculously, I am alive right now.”

After a relative of Halak helped him escape, Glick was taken to a nearby hospital and was treated for minor injuries.

Halak was mistakenly killed near the Old City of Jerusalem on Saturday by Israeli police. A police statement said Halak was holding a “suspicious object that looked like a pistol” and was ordered immediately to stop, but instead, he fled and was shot by officers.

“No weapon was found at the scene after the area was searched,” the statement said.

Halak’s caregiver, who was present at the scene, told Channel 13 she called on the police to not shoot because the young man was autistic and did not understand their calls to stop.

“He’s disabled, disabled,” Warda Abu Hadid recalled. “Wait a moment, take his ID card, check his ID.”

“Suddenly they fired three bullets at him, in front of my eyes,” she said. “I shouted: ‘Don’t shoot him.’ They didn’t listen; they didn’t want to hear.”

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana defended the officers involved, saying police are “required to make fateful decisions in seconds in an area that has been inundated with terror attacks, and in which there is a constant danger to their lives.”

Following the killing, protesters gathered on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv to protest, comparing it to the killing of George Floyd, an African-American killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

Demonstrators waved red flags and held signs reading “Palestinian Lives Matter,” and “Justice for Iyad, Justice for George.” (World Israel News)

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Prosecutor: 2 Buffalo, NY Police Officers Charged with Assault in Shoving of Elderly Man


By: AP

Two Buffalo police officers were charged with assault Saturday, prosecutors said, after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old protester in recent demonstrations over the death of George Floyd.

Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski, who surrendered Saturday morning, pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault. They were released without bail.

McCabe, 32, and Torgalski, 39, “crossed a line” when they shoved the man down hard enough for him to fall backward and hit his head on the sidewalk, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at a news conference, calling the victim “a harmless 75-year-old man.”

The officers had been suspended without pay Friday after a TV crew captured the confrontation the night before. If convicted of the felony assault charge, they face up to seven years in prison.

McCabe’s lawyer, Tom Burton, said after the arraignment that prosecutors didn’t have any grounds to bring felony charges. He said his client is a decorated military veteran with a clean record as a police officer.

“Nobody started out their day intending to hurt this fellow,” Burton said. He added that if the victim had followed commands to back off, “none of this would have happened.”

A phone message was left with Torgalski’s lawyer.

The footage shows the man, identified as longtime activist Martin Gugino, approaching a line of helmeted officers holding batons as they cleared demonstrators from Niagara Square around the time of an 8 p.m. curfew.

Two officers push Gugino backward, and he hits his head on the pavement. Blood spills as officers walk past. One officer leans down to check on the injured man before another officer urges the colleague to keep walking.

The police officers “knew this was bad,” Flynn said of the video. “Look at their body language.”

The video of the encounter sparked outrage online as demonstrators take to cities across the country to protest racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes.

“I think there was criminal liability from what I saw on the video,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a briefing Saturday. “I think what the mayor did and the district attorney did was right, and I applaud them for acting as quickly as they did.”

“What we saw was horrendous and disgusting, and I believe, illegal,” he added.

But dozens of Buffalo police officers who were angered over their fellow officers’ suspensions stepped down from the department’s crowd control unit Friday. The resigning officers did not leave their jobs altogether.

A crowd of off-duty officers, firefighters and others gathered on Saturday outside the courthouse in a show of support for the accused officers and cheered when they were released.

“It was tremendous, tremendous to see,” John Evans, president of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, told WIVB-TV. “I just think it’s a strong indication of the outrage basically over this travesty.”

Flynn said he understood the concerns of officers who don’t feel they are being supported and pointed out that he’s also prosecuting protesters “who have turned into agitators” and “need to be dealt with as well.”

“There will be some who say that I’m choosing sides here,” he said. “And I say that’s ridiculous. I’m not on anyone’s side.” (AP)

Defund the Police? Only if You’re Willing to Sacrifice Jewish Security

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he was going to seek to cut the budget for the LA Police Department by $100 million to $150 million. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The obligation to pursue justice is not negotiable. Neither is the rule of law. Jews and all minorities need both to feel safe.

By: Jonathan S. Tobin

If your synagogue were under attack from a shooter, would you want a social worker to arrive in response to your 911 or a squad of armed policemen? You may think that when you’re in danger, a cop with a gun is your best chance of survival. But the murder of an African-American man by a Minneapolis policeman and America’s history of racism have led some to demand revolutionary change, rather than merely justice for the perpetrators and better police training. And to them, you’re part of the problem.

In the course of the last week, support for a movement to “defund the police” has spread across the nation. Protesters, liberal groups and many in the media have embraced the notion that the answer to police violence is to get rid of the police.

The actual facts about police shootings don’t back up the notion that there is an epidemic of police murders of unarmed African-Americans caused by systemic racism. But the perception that this is true has become so deeply embedded in the national consciousness that an idea about disarming and even abolishing the police, which would have been dismissed as a crackpot notion not long ago, is now being seriously debated in the mainstream media, and even advocated by some community leaders and politicians.

Indeed, as part of his response to the furor over the murder of George Floyd, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that he was going to seek to cut the budget for the LA Police Department by $100 million to $150 million.


While some will cheer if this money is diverted to programs to benefit the African-American community, it may not sound like such a good idea to some of the city’s citizens who want more security, rather than less, after this week’s protests led to rioting and looting. Among them are the LA Jews who were cleaning up the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel graffiti on one synagogue, as well as the owners of Jewish businesses that were attacked and looted.


In the wake of increased incidents of anti-Semitic violence in the last two years, including two murderous shooting attacks inside synagogues, American Jews have been rightly focused on providing greater security for their institutions. This has meant communities and Jewish organizations have been relying on greater cooperation with law-enforcement agencies and seeking a greater police presence at potential Jewish targets.


A report produced by the Secure Community Network, an initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations created in response to this rising threat, recommended that synagogues hire police officers to guard them rather than security guards.


But the push for more police protection for vulnerable Jewish targets has placed even liberal groups like the Anti-Defamation League on the wrong side of an argument in which some Jews are joining with other leftists to denounce the whole idea of the police. Indeed, a group calling itself Jews for Racial and Economic Justice is promoting a campaign to demand that the New York City Council shift funding from the police to social services. As an op-ed in The New York Times recently argued, what we need are more social workers and less police.


According to an article in The Forward, the impetus for this movement is the belief that Jews of color see police as a threat to their security, rather than as protection. But support for this notion seems more about intersectional ideology in which Jews are labeled as white, and therefore, by definition, members of the oppressor class. Part of this is the effort by BDS groups like Jewish Voice for Peace to promote the anti-Semitic blood libel that Israel is training American cops to kill blacks.


The radicals who seek to exploit a unique moment in history think that divisions about race, President Donald Trump and the use of force to put down the rioting have all created an opportunity to get something more than just police reform.


Sensible people know that we don’t have to choose between justice and preserving the rule of law. And if anyone ought to know that, it is a Jewish community and other minority groups that depend on both in order to feel safe.


While the ideologues are successfully promoting the slogans about abolishing and defunding the police, polls show that both black and white Americans, including those who think the cops are prejudiced, want more police protection, not less.


Indeed, the problem in many poor urban areas with minority populations is that high crime rates and violence there are in part caused by neglect of these neighborhoods by law enforcement, rather than systemic racism and police violence.


The police are not perfect. Some can be bullies or corrupt. And as we saw in Minneapolis, some are capable of murder. But the overwhelming majority of officers are brave individuals who do a difficult and dangerous job with a far greater chance of suffering injury or death in the line of duty than their critics want to admit. And if you’re in trouble, then they’re likely to be your best bet for survival—no matter your race or religion.


The impulse to demonize law enforcement or to treat all efforts to maintain public order—and to defend the safety and the property of citizens at risk from rioters—as illegitimate or evidence of fascist oppression is madness.


Fashionable liberal opinion has been hijacked by extremists who teach contempt for American ideals, and who see the country and our police as irredeemably racist. But it’s also particularly foolish for a community that has endured a surge of anti-Semitic attacks in the last year to join with those who wish to abolish or defund to the point of irrelevance the only group that can deter or adequately respond to such incidents. Any Jewish group that wants to defund the police isn’t just wrong. Those who succumb to this delusion will have on their hands the blood of future victims of violence that only the cops could stop. (


Jonathan S. Tobin is editor in chief of JNS—Jewish News Syndicate. Follow him on Twitter at: @jonathans_tobin.


Protest Arrests Logjam Tests NYC Legal System, Bail Reform

Protesters take a knee before continuing their march on the Brooklyn Bridge after attending a memorial service for George Floyd, on Thursday, June 4, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Floyd, an African American man, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

By: Tom Hays

A wave of arrests in the New York City protests over the death of George Floyd has strained the criminal justice system and ignited a debate over whether bail reforms have allowed smash-and-grab looters to get off easy.

So far, there have been well over 2,000 arrests in the past week as police sought to impose order across the city. Public defenders say too many of those arrested have been detained for too long in cramped and unsanitary conditions while authorities figure who should receive summonses for minor violations and go free, or be charged in criminal complaints and face arraignments done remotely because of the outbreak.

The backlog prompted The Legal Aid Society to file a lawsuit earlier this week demanding that the New York Police Department release people held in violation of a requirement to get them in front of a judge within 24 hours — a situation that one defense lawyer said “appears to be designed to retaliate against New Yorkers protesting police brutality.”

Patricia Miller, who heads the city’s Special Federal Litigation Division, called the allegation “disingenuous” and “exceptionally unfair.”

The NYPD and court system are “working within the confines of a pandemic and now suddenly called upon not only to secure orderly protesting, but also to address rioters who are committing burglaries, destroying private property, and assaulting fellow New Yorkers,” Miller said in a statement.

On Thursday, Judge James Burke sided with the city, saying there could be exceptions to the 24-hour rule because of logistical challenges caused by what he called “a civil unrest crisis within the overarching Covid-19 crisis.”

The legal landscape shifted again on Friday when District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced his office would drop illegal assembly and disorderly conduct cases related to the demonstrations.

“The prosecution of protestors charged with these low-level offenses undermines critical bonds between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” Vance said.

Accusations that New York law enforcement has violated civil rights and due process while policing mass demonstrations aren’t new.

After the NYPD arrested more than 1,800 people demonstrating at the 2004 Republican National Convention, a state judge ordered the release of more than 550 who had not seen a judge. Another 400 cases were later dismissed based on videotape evidence that contradicted the original charges.

In 2014, the city agreed to pay nearly $600,000 to a group of Occupy Wall street protesters to settle a civil right case accusing police of arresting them for “expressing their views.”

During the current unrest, police have arrested hundreds of alleged looters — a subset described as opportunists not connected to the peaceful protest movement — on burglary charges accusing many of raiding high-end retail outlets in Manhattan shopping districts like SoHo. Vance vowed this week to target the offenders for “aggressive prosecution.”

But arraignment information on a sampling of the Manhattan cases from earlier this week show most defendants were charged with third-degree burglary, a lesser offense that has resulted in their release under a new state law that does away with cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes.

The defendants included a woman whom police say was caught taking $2,000 of merchandise from an Ugg store and a man caught rummaging through a Dolce & Gabbana boutique. An exception was a man held on bail after he was charged with second-degree burglary alleging a police officer suffered injuries while arresting him.

Police officials have suggested that people who get released will do it again. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also weighed in this week, saying prosecutors “should charge these looters — they should charge them with (second-degree burglary), and they should be held and set bail.”

On Twitter, a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said in most cases, there wasn’t enough evidence to support the more serious burglary charge. The tweet cited a statement by the District Attorneys Association of New York saying just because someone used a brick or hammer to smash windows isn’t grounds to bump up the charge unless those objects “are used in a way that would cause serious physical injury to someone on the other side.” (AP)


Mob Rule at the New York Times

The New York Times building in New York City. Photo Credit: AP 

By: WFB Editorial Staff

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) made a compelling argument on Wednesday for deploying federal troops to quell the rioting and looting that has afflicted cities across the country. But instead of bringing order to the streets, Cotton’s column has hurled a Molotov cocktail into the New York Times.

The still-raging fire has revealed a near-total breakdown of leadership and discipline at the paper and put the lie to long-running claims by Times brass about the distinction between the paper’s news and editorial arms. The wokest cub reporters and graphic designers have led a successful coup and are now liquidating dissenters.

“The buck stops here” is a worthy precept for managers. It is not one that the Times‘s editorial page editor, James Bennet, seems willing to adhere to under threat of mob justice for the accomplices to Cotton’s thought crimes.

His response to the backlash was to disclaim any involvement in the column’s publication. Instead, Bennet told staffers that he hadn’t actually read the piece before publication and declined an interview request with his own paper on the subject, as did his deputy, James Dao. The Times‘s news report on the controversy blamed a 25-year-old editor whose use of emojis on an internal Slack channel has now been leaked and dissected.

That Bennet, a former White House correspondent and Jerusalem bureau chief at the paper, is among the handful of executives contending to succeed Times executive editor Dean Baquet tells you everything you need to know about the state of leadership at the Times.

Compare Bennet’s response with the Wall Street Journal‘s handling of protests from reporters on its news side over a recent opinion section headline they argued was offensive to China. The powers that be at Dow Jones expressed regret for causing offense but remained unmoved, even when the Chinese revoked the credentials of its news reporters operating in their country. Unlike at the Times, the news and opinion sections have no revolving door or cross-pollination.

Bennet’s underlings have comported themselves with the same childishness as their boss. When opinion contributor Bari Weiss shared her analysis of the “civil war” convulsing the paper, her colleagues didn’t just assail her views, they accused her of willful dishonesty and of acting in bad faith, the new catchall for any argument suddenly beyond the pale of woke discourse. A member of the Times editorial board, Carol Giacomo, retweeted the following sentiment about Weiss: “Anyone who has participated in this person’s rise in the journalism world should be ashamed.”

As the members of the opinion pages treated each other, so were they treated by Times brass. Just hours after Bennet issued a statement defending the decision (was it his?) to publish Cotton’s op-ed, a spokeswoman for the paper announced that, actually, the piece did not meet unidentified editorial standards. Cotton’s office has said it received no advance notice that the paper would denounce what it had previously sanctioned and no explanation for what standards the senator’s work had failed to meet.

The entire incident has confirmed the cynical view of many on the right that there is no meaningful distinction between the Times‘s editorial and news operations. Consider the fact that the deeply partisan Nikole Hannah-Jones’s 1619 Project is, ostensibly, a news project, and that Baquet, the paper’s news chief, has called his hiring of Hannah-Jones “one of the proudest moments” of his career. The paper’s newly anointed newsletter scribe, David Leonhardt, has moved seamlessly between the paper’s news and editorial sides. (Baquet reportedly expressed his pride at the solidarity Times staffers showed in the face of dissenting opinion. It is unclear whether he praised their collegiality.)

Six of the 15 members of the Times editorial board are former news-side reporters, with most of the rest coming from likeminded publications like the Boston Globe, which was previously owned by the Times. Both Bennet and Dao, his deputy, are former Times reporters, with Bennet enmeshed in the Medici-like intrigue surrounding the succession of the news throne. That makes it easier to understand their spinelessness in the face of an uproar from the paper’s newsroom, of which they were once members.

It is unclear how the Times retroactively concluded that Cotton’s piece, which appears to have no factual issues, did not meet its editorial standards. The mystery and, indeed, the entire sordid episode, is a sign of the rot at the Times, where internal politics and nastiness are trumping any effort at making the country’s leading journalistic institution a hospitable place for ideas that don’t sit in the coffee shops of Park Slope and Montclair. (Washington Free Beacon)


How Messaging Technology is Helping Fuel Global Protests

Anjel Newmann, 32, kneels while scanning her phone during a peaceful rally in Providence, R.I. on Friday, June 5. Newmann said she’s mostly using Instagram and Facebook to organize protests while people younger than her are using Snapchat. (AP Photo/Matt O'Brien)

By: Barbara Ortutay & Amanda Seitz

Protesters are using a variety of technology tools to organize rallies, record police violence and communicate during the marches sweeping the U.S. and other countries following the death of George Floyd. Some of that involves secure messaging services like Signal, which can encrypt messages to thwart spies. Those apps, along with others for listening to police scanners and recording video, are enjoying an uptick in popularity. But experts say convenience and reach remain key, which favors standbys like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. White nationalists, however, are also turning to apps like Telegram to blast disruptive messages to their supporters, hoping to wreak havoc on demonstrations.

When a friend shared a Facebook post with Michelle Burris inviting her to protest in downtown Washington, D.C., last Saturday, she knew she had to go. So she bought a Black Lives Matter mask from a street vendor before marching the streets of the district with a “No Justice, No Peace” sign.

After that march ended, she pulled up details on Instagram for a car caravan demonstration just a few blocks away. “It was extremely powerful, not only Facebook but Instagram,” Burris said. “It was very easy to mobilize.”

Protesters are using a variety of technology tools to organize rallies, record police violence and communicate during the marches sweeping the U.S. and other countries following the death of George Floyd. Some of that involves secure messaging services like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram, which can encrypt messages to thwart spies. Those apps, along with others for listening to police scanners and recording video, are enjoying an uptick in popularity.

But experts say convenience and reach are key. “Reaching as many people as possible is the number one criterion for which platform someone is going to use,” said Steve Jones, a University of Illinois at Chicago media researcher who studies communication technology.

That means Twitter, Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram remain the easiest ways for people to organize and document the mass protests. Facebook’s tools remain popular despite a barrage of criticism over the platform’s inaction after President Donald Trump posted a message that suggested protesters in Minneapolis could be shot.

“I don’t want to support or be a part of something that is possibly supporting Trump and his racist, hate filed spew,” said Sarah Wildman, who’s been to three protests in Atlanta and has used Instagram exclusively to locate and to document the demonstrations she attended. But she said she feels that, at this point, “the benefits of Instagram outweigh not using it.”  

Half a century ago during the civil rights protests, Jones said, it was almost impossible to know what was going on during a protest. “There was a lot of rumor, a lot of hearsay,” he said. “Now you can reach everyone almost instantaneously.”

Wildman said she uses Instagram’s “live” function to find out what is happening during protests, especially when protesters in the back might not know what’s happening at the front. At one, she said, people started yelling that police were using tear gas — but it wasn’t true, which she learned by checking Instagram.

Organizers are also using Telegram, an app that allows private messages to be sent to thousands of people at once, creating channels for specific cities to give updates on protest times and locations, as well as updates on where police are making arrests or staging. One New York City Telegram channel for the protests grew from just under 300 subscribers on Monday to nearly 2,500 by Friday.  

During a peaceful rally in Providence, Rhode Island, on Friday, Anjel Newmann, 32, said that while she’s mostly using Instagram and Facebook to organize, younger people are using Snapchat. The main problem: It’s hard to tell which online flyers are legitimate. “That’s one of the things we haven’t figured out yet,” she said. “There was a flyer going around saying this was canceled today.”

The simplicity of shooting and sharing video has also made possible recordings of violence that can spread to millions within moments. A smartphone video of Floyd’s death helped spark the broad outrage that led to the protests.  

Apps like Signal are seeing an uptick in downloads according to Apptopia, which tracks such data. Signal was downloaded 37,000 times over the weekend in the U.S., it said, more than at any other point since it launched in 2014. Other private messaging apps, such as Telegram and Wickr, have not seen a similar uptick.

One new user is Toby Anderson, 30, who also attended the Providence rally on Friday. Anderson, who is biracial, said he downloaded the encrypted Signal app several days earlier at the request of his mom. “She’s a black woman in America,” he said, worried about his safety and eager to grasp any additional measure of security she could.

Meanwhile, apps like Police Scanner and 5-0 Police Scanner, which allow anyone to listen to live police dispatch chatter — and may be illegal in some states — racked up 213,000 downloads over the weekend, Apptopia said. That is 125% more than the weekend before and a record for the category. Citizen, which sends real-time alerts and lets users post live video of protests and crime scenes, was downloaded 49,000 times.  

On the down side, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism said in a blog post this week that it has found white nationalists using Telegram to try to wreak havoc during the protests.  

“Some, especially those in the accelerationist camp, are celebrating the prospect of increased violence, which they hope will lead to a long-promised ‘race war,'” the ADL said Monday. “They are extremely active online, urging other white supremacists to take full advantage of the moment.”  

In one Telegram channel, the ADL found, participants suggested murdering protesters, then spreading rumors to blame the deaths on police snipers.

Others want to further exacerbate racial tensions. “Good time to stroke race relations” and “post black live’s don’t matter stickers,” a user posted — with misspellings — to the Reformthestates Telegram channel, according to the ADL. (AP)


UN Agency: Iran Violating all Restrictions of Nuclear Deal

Iran has continued to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium and remains in violation of its deal with world powers, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said Friday. Photo Credit: AP

By: Kiyoko Metzler & David Rising

Iran has continued to increase its stockpiles of enriched uranium and remains in violation of its deal with world powers, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported the finding in a confidential document distributed to member countries and seen by The Associated Press.

The agency said that as of May 20, Iran’s total stockpile of low-enriched uranium amounted to 1,571.6 kilograms (1.73 tons), up from 1,020.9 kilograms (1.1 tons) on Feb. 19.

Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, it allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).

The IAEA reported that Iran has also been continuing to enrich uranium to a purity of up to 4.5%, higher than the 3.67% allowed under the JCPOA. It is also above the pact’s limitations on heavy water.

The nuclear deal promised Iran economic incentives in return for the curbs on its nuclear program. President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal unilaterally in 2018, saying it needed to be renegotiated. Iran has since slowly violated the restrictions to try and pressure the remaining nations to increase the incentives to offset new, economy-crippling U.S. sanctions.

The ultimate goal of the JCPOA is to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. Since the U.S. withdrawal, Iran has stockpiled enough uranium to produce a weapon, although the government in Tehran insists it has no such goal and that its atomic program is only for producing energy.

According to the Washington-based Arms Control Association, Iran would need roughly 1050 kilograms (1.16 tons) of low-enriched uranium — under 5% purity — and would then need to enrich it further to weapons-grade, or more than 90% purity, to make a nuclear weapon.

With the nuclear deal in place, Iran’s so-called breakout time — the period Tehran would need to build a bomb if it chose to — stood at around a year. As Iran has stepped away from the limits of the 2015 deal, it slowly has narrowed that window.

However, that doesn’t mean Iran would immediately rush toward building a bomb if all the materials were in place.

Before agreeing to the nuclear deal, Iran enriched its uranium up to 20% purity, which is just a short technical step away from the weapons-grade level of 90%. In 2013, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium was already more than 7,000 kilograms (7.72 tons) with higher enrichment, but it didn’t pursue a bomb.

As the country has expanded its nuclear program, Iran has been open about the violations and continues to allow inspectors for the U.N. atomic agency access to facilities to monitor their operations.

It remains in violation of all the main restrictions outlined by the JCPOA, which Tehran says it hopes will pressure the other nations involved to increase economic incentives to make up for hard-hitting sanctions imposed by Washington after the U.S. withdrawal.

Though Iran has been hard hit by the new coronavirus pandemic, the IAEA said it has maintained its verification and monitoring activities in the country, primarily by chartering aircraft to fly inspectors to and from Iran.

It cited “exceptional cooperation” from authorities in Austria, where it is based, and Iran in facilitating the operation.

The agency raised concerns, however, about access to two of three locations it identified in March as places where Iran possibly stored and/or used undeclared nuclear material or undertook nuclear-related activities without declaring them to international observers.

Activities at all three sites are thought to have been from the early 2000s. The IAEA said in its current report that it had determined that one site had undergone “extensive sanitization and leveling” in 2003 and 2004 and there would be no verification value in inspecting it.

It said Iran has, for more than four months, blocked access to the other two locations, one of which was partially demolished in 2004 and the other at which the agency observed activities “consistent with efforts to sanitize” the facility from July 2019 onward.

The watchdog agency added that Iran has also “not engaged in any substantive discussions” with the IAEA to answer its question about possible undeclared nuclear material and activities for almost a year. (AP)

Giuliani Slams DeBlasio for Mishandling Riots in NYC; Hizzoner Says No Force Used on Protestors

. Photo Credit: AP

Edited by: JV Staff

It appears that New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio is under fire from all sides in how he has been handling the violence that has engulfed the Big Apple in the form of riots and looting of luxury stores. These acts of violence emerged from protest marches that have been taking place daily in the city since George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis was murdered by a white police officer. 

Many have queried as to precisely how the looters of luxury shops in SoHo such as Dolce & Gabanna, Chanel and others of that ilk managed to get away with massive theft.

The NY Post reported that a local person who had been eyeing the movements of the looters for days said that they consist of rival groups are a significant in size and alacrity and are large in terms of numbers. The local said the groups are a “very well-organized looting scheme.”

According to the local resident, there are two groups that he has been monitoring. He said that the first group has a caravan of high end vehicles including Mercedes-Benz’ and even the British made Bentley.

The local said the groups have been spending their time breaking in to luxury shops . 

 “This is a real business. This isn’t angry protesters in any way shape or form,” said the man, whose name has been removed because he was receiving threats.

“This is organized crime happening really, really well.”

Now, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has served as legal counsel for President Trump has also weighed in on the issue. According to a report in the NY Post, the former mayor minced no words in his sharp criticism of Mayor DeBlasio.

He said that DeBlasio is unfit for the office and is “intellectually challenged.”

“The mayor’s performance is dreadful. He’s doing everything you can do that’s wrong, just like he did during the pandemic,” the former mayor said. “I have already urged the governor to remove him. I know it’s an extraordinary thing but … He is acting in such an irresponsible way,” Giuliani declared.

Giuliani served two terms as mayor on New York City (from 1994 to 2001) and crafted his legacy as a successful crime fighter. He took over from former Mayor David Dinkins. During the Dinkins administration, the city endured more than 2,000 murders per year and deadly race riots in Crown Heights and Washington Heights, according to the NY Post report.

 “Dinkins never lost the complete respect of the police department. He didn’t do things where he went on the warpath against them,” Giuliani said, adding that if he were still in charge he would have pre-empted the riots.

“It would have been solved about two weeks ago. They never would have gotten beyond the first car they burned, rock they threw, person they beat up,” he said. “If you throw a rock you get arrested, if you spit at a cop you get arrested … Call me a Nazi or Hitler. I don’t care.”

 “I have been told by as reliable a source as you can get that he interferes with the police chiefs,” Giuliani said. “He goes around and calls up individual chiefs and tells them what he wants — and that is largely that he doesn’t want any bad incidents.”

Zuckerberg-Funded Scientists: Rein in Trump on Facebook

In this Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about "News Tab" at the Paley Center, in New York. Dozens of scientists doing research funded by Zuckerberg say Facebook should not be letting President Donald Trump use the platform to spread "misinformation and incendiary statements.” Sixty professors at leading U.S. research institutions signed a letter Saturday, June 6, 2020, asking Zuckerberg to be less tolerant of harmful language. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

By: AP

Dozens of scientists doing research funded by Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook should not be letting President Donald Trump use the social media platform to “spread both misinformation and incendiary statements.”

The researchers, including 60 professors at leading U.S. research institutions, wrote the Facebook CEO on Saturday asking Zuckerberg to “consider stricter policies on misinformation and incendiary language that harms people,” especially during the current turmoil over racial injustice.

The letter calls the spread of “deliberate misinformation and divisive language” contrary to the researchers’ goals of using technology to prevent and eradicate disease, improve childhood education and reform the criminal justice system.

Their mission “is antithetical to some of the stances that Facebook has been taking, so we’re encouraging them to be more on the side of truth and on the right side of history as we’ve said in the letter,” said Debora Marks of Harvard Medical School, one of three professors who organized it.

The others are Martin Kampmann of the University of California-San Francisco and Jason Shepherd of the University of Utah. All have grants from a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative program working to prevent, cure and treat neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

They said the letter had more than 160 signatories. Shepherd said about 10 percent are employees of foundations run by Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

The letter objects specifically to Zuckerberg’s decision not to at least flag as a violation of Facebook’s community standards Trump’s post that stated “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to unrest in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a black man, while in police custody. The letter’s authors called the post “a clear statement of inciting violence.”

Twitter had both flagged and demoted a Trump tweet using the same language.

In a statement, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative noted that the philanthropic organization is separate from Facebook and said “we are grateful for our staff, partners and grantees” and “respect their right to voice their opinions, including on Facebook policies.”

Some Facebook employees have publicly objected to Zuckerberg’s refusal to take down or label misleading or incendiary posts by Trump and other politicians. But Zuckerberg — who controls a majority of voting shares in the company — has so far refused.

On Friday, Zuckerberg said in a post that he would review “potential options for handling violating or partially-violating content aside from the binary leave-it-up or take-it-down decisions”

“I know many of you think we should have labeled the President’s posts in some way last week,” he wrote. “Our current policy is that if content is actually inciting violence, then the right mitigation is to take that content down — not let people continue seeing it behind a flag. There is no exception to this policy for politicians or newsworthiness.” (AP)


Latin America Fatalities on the Rise as Global COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 400,000

Cemetery workers in protective clothing maneuver the coffin of 57-year-old Paulo Jose da Silva, who died from the new coronavirus, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, June 5, 2020. According to Monique dos Santos, her stepfather mocked the existence of the virus, didn't use a mask, didn't take care of himself, and wanted to shake hands with everybody. "He didn't believe in it and unfortunately he met this end. It's very sad, but that's the truth," she said. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Edited by: JV Staff

Latin America, specifically Brazil and Mexico, are seeing increases in the number of coronavirus-related cases and deaths, as the global death toll nears 400,000.

Globally, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is more than 6.8 million, while the death toll stood at 398,321 Saturday night, Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Research Center reported.

The United States is the world’s hardest-hit nation, with more than 109,000 deaths and nearly 1.9 million confirmed cases. On Saturday, it reported 746 coronavirus-related deaths in the previous 24 hours, according to Johns Hopkins.

While the U.S. has suffered the largest number of COVID-19-related deaths and confirmed cases, on a per capita basis, several European countries, such as Italy, France and Spain, have a higher death toll.

But Latin America has seen an increase in the number of cases and deaths, with the region tallying nearly 1.2 million confirmed cases and more than 60,000 deaths, according to CNN. Tolls are also rising sharply in Mexico, Peru and Ecuador, the French news agency reported, adding in Chile, deaths have risen by more than 50 percent in the past week.

On Wednesday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a virtual news conference, “We are especially worried about Central and South America, where many countries are witnessing accelerating epidemics.”

Brazil has the second-highest number of confirmed cases worldwide, with 645,771, and it ranks third in deaths, with 35,026, Johns Hopkins reported Saturday. Mexico ranks 14th in the number of cases worldwide, with 110,026, but is seventh overall in the number of COVID-19-related deaths, with 13,170, the university reported.

On Saturday, Brazil’s Health Ministry removed months of coronavirus data from public view. The ministry also stopped giving a total count of confirmed cases and the death toll.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro defended the move, saying on Twitter: “The cumulative data … does not reflect the moment the country is in. Other actions are underway to improve the reporting of cases and confirmation of diagnoses.”

Bolsonaro has downplayed the dangers of the pandemic and argued against lockdown measures to prevent the virus’ spread.

Neither Bolsonaro nor the ministry gave a reason for erasing most of the data on the website, Reuters news agency reported. The site had been a key public resource for tracking the pandemic. The page was taken down Friday and reloaded Saturday with a fraction of the data, reflecting only deaths, cases and recoveries within the past 24 hours, Reuters reported.

Late Saturday, the ministry reported 27,075 new confirmed infections and 904 coronavirus-related deaths since its Friday update, according to the news agency.

On Friday, Bolsonaro threatened to pull out of the WHO over “ideological bias,” arguing the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus are worse than the disease itself.

A week ago, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was ending funding and membership in the WHO, after criticizing the agency and accusing it of helping China in a coverup of the coronavirus pandemic. The virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

In Europe, which suffered great losses earlier in the pandemic, countries are slowly reopening. Some countries in the European Union have opened borders to other European visitors. But on Saturday, the European Union said it hopes to open all borders to travelers by early July, at the start of the summer travel season.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the United States and in several cities across the globe Saturday, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of an African American man in police custody.

Demonstrators, ignoring warnings that mass protests could trigger spikes in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, rallied over racial injustice and police brutality in cities, including London, New York, Sydney and Minneapolis, where George Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.  (VOA)


PLO Flags Galore at Radical Left’s Anti-Annexation Rally in Tel Aviv

The rally was attended by over a thousand leftist protesters, some of them waving the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag. Photo Credit: INN

Thousands of radical left-wingers take part in an anti-annexation rally in Rabin Square, some waving PLO flags

By: A7 Staff:

During a rally of the radical left in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv on Saturday night, head of the left-wing Meretz party MK Nitzan Horowitz claimed that “annexation [of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria] is a war crime and one against peace and democracy that’ll cost us thousands of lives.”
The rally was attended by over a thousand leftist protesters, some of them waving the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flag.

The current government is receiving support — a real push from the American administration,” Horowitz said. “That’s where the real initiative is coming from. This insanity is going to be a tragedy for both Jews and Arabs.” Horowitz called out Knesset members from Labor and Blue and White: “You’ve already betrayed your supporters by stealing their votes. Don’t let [Prime Minister Netanyahu] steal the country.”

Joint Arab List MK Jabar Asakla told supporters to “oppose the Israeli occupation, apartheid, racism, supremacy, and annexation plan of the joint right-wing government — an annexation that stands contrary to all international regulations and ethical guidelines, that won’t get anything done, and will only destroy all efforts towards a just peace agreement.”

Head of the Joint Arab List MK Ayman Odeh addressed protesters via a video recording. He said the country was at a “historic crossroads, with one path leading to a [bi-national state] and the other towards hatred, violence and apartheid; a reality in which the future of every child will be determined by his nationality and his entire life spent as a second-class citizen.”

“There is only one future, and it is the common one,” he asserted.

Meretz faction head MK Tamar Zandberg said, “The ‘Deal of the Century’ has nothing to do with what is good for us, Israelis and Palestinians living here in the Middle East. It’s a cursed deal between a man trying to win the elections and another trying to run away from justice. [US President Donald] Trump is not a friend of Israel’s. Netanyahu isn’t good for Israel. It’s a deal that will officially make Israel an apartheid state. Sovereignty without citizenship is apartheid. Saying the truth about apartheid is not extreme. Turning Israel into a country ostracized by the global community is extreme. Inflicting moral injustice upon millions — that’s extreme.”

“Now’s the time to oppose the plan. To fight using all means at our disposal and not back down. Jews and Arabs [need to] create a real challenge to the right that will be able to choose peace instead of occupation and annexation,” she stated.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a failed Democratic candidate for the presidency in 2020, also addressed protesters in a recorded video, telling them: “Like you I believe that the futures of the Israeli and Palestinian people are intertwined and that all of your children deserve to live in safety, freedom and equality. For that to be possible, the plans to illegally annex any part of the West bank must be stopped.”

Shlomo Karai of the Likud reacted to the speeches at the rally, saying: “We have a Fifth Column within us who’re hoping that the riots in the US will make their way here as well. It’s of no surprise to anyone that this kind of event looked more like a scene from Gaza than of concerned residents [leading a peaceful protest] in Tel Aviv. You can oppose Israel’s plan to apply sovereignty to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, but whose interests are you really looking out for? The [terrorist] flags and anthem that were sung.”

“Your destroyers will come from within you,” he quoted the Biblical admonition. (INN)

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