Right-wing commentator Ann Coulter pulled out of a controversial speech at the University of California, Berkeley, earlier this week after losing the backing of conservative groups that had sponsored her appearance — a move that disappointed those on the “alt-right” who saw it as a sign of weakness.
“It’s a sad day for free speech,” Coulter told The New York Times.
White nationalist leader Richard Spencer, who faced public opposition and a court battle before his appearance at Auburn University earlier this month, criticized the move.
“Is not a ‘sad day for free speech,’ Ann. It’s a sad day for ‘conservatives.’ Your movement is a collection of cowards,” he wrote on Twitter.
Spencer also vowed on Twitter that he “will absolutely go to #Berkeley within the next year,” adding, “never back down.”
Other “alt-right” online figures chimed in.
“Your surrender is all the more pathetic considering @RichardBSpencer won with fewer resources and less support at Auburn @AnnCoulter,” wrote blogger Mike Enoch, whose The Daily Shoah podcast popularized the triple parenthesis meme, known as “echoes,” used online to indicate Jews or perceived Jewish influence.
(JTA) — The student government at Montclair State University reportedly voted down a resolution calling on the school to boycott Israel.
The measure was defeated Wednesday by a vote of 11-1, with six abstentions. An earlier survey aimed at gauging student support for the measure found that 64 percent of students at the New Jersey school were opposed.
The defeat of the resolution, which was initiated by the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, was commended by the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, which is active on college campuses.
The parents of Michael Kadar, the Israeli teenager accused of launched fake bomb threats at dozens of American Jewish institutions and starting his own Web-based document forgery and weapons sales operations, said their son was not responsible for his actions given severe neurological deficits.
“We are so, so, sorry,” the two told the Times of Israel.
“People want him to apologize. They want him to say sorry… He does not understand the concept,” the mother, identified as G., told the newspaper.
According to the parents, their son was a strange child from soon after his birth: dyslexic and incapable of socializing normally, while also showing an exceptional ability to recognize patterns and learn systems.
The two said that they were forced to seek treatment for him in America, where he was eventually diagnosed as having a brain tumor in a location that was difficult to operate on, leading to autism and other personality deficits. They claim to have been unaware of what their son was doing, and have asked for donations to pay for their legal and medical expenses.
“Not many parents have suffered more than we have,” G. said. “This is a sick child.”
WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A think tank that monitors Holocaust restitution issues reported that Poland is the only European Union nation that does not comply with an international understanding allowing for the return of Jewish property seized during World War II.
The report by the European Shoah Legacy Institute notes that the countries of Western Europe developed legislation after the war that regulated the return of Jewish property. However, Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina “stand alone as the only countries that have failed to establish a comprehensive private property restitution regime for property taken either during the Holocaust or Communist eras.”
American Jews and non-Jews of former Polish citizenship, for example, have long complained that Poland’s restitution system is “especially cumbersome, challenging, time consuming and expensive for claimants outside of Poland,” as the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for Holocaust issues explained in 2015.
The study, said to be the most comprehensive ever of immovable property restitution, found that most Western European states have complied or substantially complied with the principles of the Terezin Declaration, the 2009 agreement by 60 countries that pledged to create laws that would help return plundered assets to Jewish victims and their heirs.
JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s population stands at 8.68 million on the eve of Israel Independence Day.
The figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday ahead of the nation’s 69th birthday on Monday show that the country’s population is growing by nearly 2 percent a year and that there are 10 times as many Israelis today as there were when the state was founded in 1948.
Some 6.48 million residents of Israel are Jewish and account for 74.4% of the population, and 1.8 million Arabs make up 20.8%. Non-Arab Christians and other ethnic groups make up the 4.4%, of Israel’s population.
In the last year, there were 174,000 births and 44,000 deaths. The population also increased some 30,000 by new immigrants.
Seventy-five percent of the current population was born in Israel, compared to 35 percent who were born in the area in 1948.
Forty-four percent of Jewish Israelis consider themselves secular, with 24 percent identifying as traditional but “not so religious.” Eleven percent say they are religious/Orthodox and 9 percent say they are ultra-Orthodox.
Eight-nine percent of Israeli adults say they are “satisfied with their lives”; 52% “estimate that their lives will be better in the future.”
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