Skinhead laureate: How Philly poets feel betrayed by former revered poet with white nationalist past

On the last day of January 2014, Frank Sherlock stood at a lectern at City Hall, read his poem celebrating the toughness of a black woman from Point Breeze, and shook the hand of then-Mayor Michael Nutter.

 

Sherlock was named Philadelphia’s second poet laureate that day, succeeding activist Sonia Sanchez. With a long, salt-and-pepper beard at age 44 and a trademark scarf, he looked the part of a bard. Decades before that Friday afternoon, though, Sherlock was a 19-year-old skinhead, expressing himself in vastly different ways as the vocalist for the band New Glory.

 

“We are white nationalists,” Sherlock, who went by “Fran” at the time, told a British zine in 1988. “Subsequently, we hold our beliefs of white power for white people. The Aryan people must forge their own destiny, free from the rule of an alien occupational government that serves no representation to the American white masses.”

On social media last month, the revelation that Sherlock, recipient of a Pew Fellowship in 2013, was once a skinhead tore through Philadelphia’s close-knit poetry community, then rippled out into wider circles, affecting nearly everyone who worked closely with him

 

Defenders have said Sherlock’s redemption, his work with young poets over the last two decades, is being unfairly canceled.

Others say Sherlock’s redemption story reeks of privilege.

“As a white person, you get to say it’s a youthful indiscretion,” Rasheedah Phillips, a lawyer, artist, and “AfroFuturist,” told The Inquirer. “As a black person, the consequence for youthful indiscretion is lifelong poverty and jail.”

Sherlock’s white nationalist past was revealed in a poem, posted to Twitter and later deleted, by poet Amy Saul-Zerby after the two had a contentious interaction at Tattooed Mom on South Street on March 21. Saul-Zerby said friends had told her of rumors about Sherlock’s days as “Fran,” and her quick Google search proved it to be true — including a photo of him in a flight jacket, head buzzed, on the back of the New Glory album.

Saul-Zerby placed the zine quote, republished in The White Nationalist Skinhead Movement: UK & USA, 1979-1993, at the top of the poem.

Sherlock, in turn, went to Facebook and posted a long admission, including how being raised in a “siege mentality” in Southwest Philadelphia, where “fortress-style racism was palpable and suffocating,” influenced his choices.

Many comments lauded Sherlock for being honest about his past and for the work he’s done in the poetry community. But others called him out for excusing his racism. In an interview with The Inquirer last week, Sherlock, now 50 and a freelance writer, reiterated that he wrote about his neighborhood as context, not an excuse.

“I had a limited worldview and got into punk rock,” he said.

 

He recalled Mayor Wilson Goode imposing a state of emergency in 1985 in Southwest Philadelphia, where youths, black and white, were killed in what the New York Times described as “racially motivated acts.”

Sherlock said he hung out with classmates from West Catholic and wasn’t involved in any violence. He said he didn’t consider himself a racist, and wasn’t taught racism.

“But it was around,” he said.

Frank Sherlock stands beside his portrait on the exterior wall of Dirty Frank's bar.
Charles Fox / File Photograph

Frank Sherlock stands beside his portrait on the exterior wall of Dirty Frank’s bar.

Sherlock told The Inquirer he worked on a loading dock at Sears after graduation. He listened to the Clash and Siouxsie and the Banshees and hung out on South Street. He was drawn to working-class punk, which led him to Oi!, a British sub-genre of punk with skinhead ties. Often, he attended shows at Club Pizzaz in Frankford and City Gardens in Trenton.

 

“I got into other bands that were a little more right wing,” he said. “Unity is the theme, and then it’s like pride, and the next step is like, you know, just wanting to have your own thing and blaming other people for your problems. It’s like the transition that we see today. All those dog whistles are the same.”

 

On iTunes, New Glory is listed as a rock band. Other websites describe the music as Oi! or “Rock Against Communism,” which the Anti-Defamation League says is a euphemism for “white power/hate music,” so that it can still be marketed and sold.

The German company that released Backlash did not return requests for comment. Two former members of New Glory declined, though one laughed when asked if he had ever made money from the group. Sherlock says he has never received any proceeds from the record or the lyrics he wrote.

New Glory's lone album, "Backlash," can still be purchased and downloaded online.
Screengrab

New Glory’s lone album, “Backlash,” can still be purchased and downloaded online.

Sherlock and one former member said the band never played live. New Glory was one of many bands on the bill for a “Nazi Woodstock” festival blocked by a Napa County judge in California, according to a 1989 New York Times article, which described the band’s lyrics as “extolling the supremacy of the white race.”

Song titles for New Glory’s Backlash album include “Sarge,” about a homeless veteran, and “Never Surrender.” On the title track, Sherlock sang: “Will we find strength or will we die? Will the New Glory banner fly? Hear the backstreet battle cry… U.S. skinheads will never die!”

“I haven’t listened to that, because it’s a point of great shame for me,” Sherlock said. “I’m mortified and not just that somebody found out, but that it happened at all.”

Sherlock said that as the skinhead world got narrower and the slope into hate more slippery, he chose to back out, to stop blaming others for his life. His mother, he says, wrote him a letter telling him he was “better than this.”

“There were miserable people entrenched in a worldview that was very limited and negative and nasty,” he said. “Saying this 30 years later seems like ‘duh.’ I think that’s pretty obvious to a lot of people. But when I was, like, 19, it wasn’t.”

When the band split in 1989, Sherlock enrolled at Temple University, studying English. He found meaning in the poems of Pablo Neruda and Yevgeny Yevtushenko, left-leaning, political poets, and his politics turned with them. He started going by “Frank,” he said, not to hide the past but make a change, mentally, into adulthood. For many years, Sherlock said he told new acquaintances about his past. But he said he became less conscious of it over the years while he pursued projects “antithetical” to white nationalism, working with the nonprofit writing program Mighty Writers and the Mural Arts program, and performing at fund-raisers for LGBTQ groups and Hurricane Maria relief.

 

“I guess in my own mind I made this transformation,” he said. “I wanted to transcend that sh—ty past. I felt like I’ve been doing the work that was going in that direction.”

Raquel Salas Rivera, Philadelphia’s current poet laureate, said Sherlock’s omission took away the choice to be his friend. Salas Rivera had “no idea” of Sherlock’s past before it was revealed online and believes he benefited from accolades and money that might have gone to others.

“Do I, as a person of color, have the choice to associate with a white supremacist? This is someone who was my friend,” Salas Rivera told The Inquirer. “The devastation of this is hard to quantify.”

Current Philadelphia poet laureate Raquel Salas Rivera in 2017.
Tim Tai / File Photograph

Current Philadelphia poet laureate Raquel Salas Rivera in 2017.

Saul-Zerby, the poet who outed Sherlock, said in a statement that she was “troubled by the fact that it had been hidden from his closest friends.” Sherlock, she said, had made references to violence in past poems that concerned her, and compelled her to include his past in a poem she wrote about him.

Saul-Zerby said she also believes she offended Sherlock at Tattooed Mom when she didn’t recall that he had read at an event a week earlier. She said she apologized, but he “stormed out” and made the Facebook post about her.

“Poets with attention spans make better poets because. . . attention,” she recalled the post saying.

Sanchez and Yolanda Wisher, the poet laureate who succeeded Sherlock, could not be reached for comment. Poet CAConrad, who wrote a book of poems with Sherlock in 2010, said in a Facebook post that the publisher was asked to pull all copies “in light of Frank Sherlock’s revelation that he was a former skinhead.”

The city’s poet laureate program was run by the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy from its inception in 2012 to 2017, when the Free Library of Philadelphia took over. A library spokesperson, in a statement, said no one involved in the selection committee “was aware of Frank’s hidden history as a member of a white nationalist band from 1988-1989” when he was chosen. Sherlock has since resigned from the committee.

Nutter did not return requests for comment.

The last couple of weeks, Sherlock said, have been among the worst of his life. He said he’s not reading publicly and is deferring to any publisher that decides to pull his work.

Some have come out to defend him.

“Not only is no one allowed to change for the better anymore, no one is even allowed to be understood, much less forgiven,” author Clint Margrave wrote in an essay about Sherlock on Quillette.com, an online literary magazine that promotes “free thought.”

Locally, Heather Phillips, an artist and friend of Sherlock’s from South Philly, said he’s proven himself for decades.

“As a woman of color, I totally understand that people are entitled to be angry and to take time to heal or to even cut ties with Frank if that’s what they need,” she said in an e-mail. “Some people may feel as if they’ve been hoodwinked, but to suggest that he still holds any of those beliefs is absurd.”

Rasheedah Phillips said she shouldn’t have to feel pressured to forgive him.

“He doesn’t get to set the terms for his forgiveness,” she said. “There should be consequences to what he did and that he chose to hide. He benefited from spaces and opportunities other people may have deserved.”

Sherlock said he’s not seeking forgiveness. He plans to “step back, listen, and process” — and hopes to continue to work with whomever will work with him.

Virginia judge rules Charlottesville confederate statues are war monuments

a statue in front of a tree: A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee stands at Emancipation Park August 10, 2018 near downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.© LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee stands at Emancipation Park August 10, 2018 near downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. A Virginia judge has ruled that statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in Charlottesville are war monuments that the city cannot remove without permission from the state.

In a nine-page ruling obtained from the University of Virginia School of Law website, Circuit Court Judge Richard E. Moore said neither the intentions of the people who erected the statues nor how they make people feel change the fact that the statues pay homage to the Civil War. Moore cited state code in his ruling that says it is illegal for municipalities to remove such monuments to war.

“I find this conclusion inescapable,” Moore said. “It is the very reason the statues have been complained about from the beginning. It does no good pretending they are something other than what they actually are.”

Don Gathers, the former chair of the city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces, said he disagreed with the judge’s ruling because it retraumatizes the city.

“Just because something is legal, doesn’t mean it’s right or it’s moral. I’m fearful what this has done is given the vile evilness that descended upon us in August of 2017 to come back,” he said.

The ruling comes nearly two years after the Unite the Right rally, a white nationalist gathering, left counterprotester Heather Heyer dead. The Charlottesville City Council voted to remove the statues in response to the rally, CNN affiliate WVIR-TV reported.

The city also covered the statues with black tarp while it mourned the deaths of Heyer and two troopers who died during the rally. However Judge Moore ruled the tarps had to be removed because the city never defined what a “temporary” shrouding meant. Moore also said the tarps have interfered with the public’s right to see the monuments and enjoy the parks.

Outstanding motions remain in the case, according to Charlottesville spokesman Brian Wheeler.

“The ruling resolves one major legal issue in the case, specifically it sets forth Judge Moore’s opinion that the statues are war memorials,” he said. The judge will decide whether the question of the statues’ removal will go to trial in September, Wheeler said.

Things you may not know #1

This will be a new topic idea where I will lay out some very simple things that you may be too brainwashed or stupid to realize on your own. Please do a little research from numerous sources to learn more:

#1. The United States directly alters and influences the politics in other countries. We hear a lot about “Russian Collusion,” but we don’t hear anything in the fake news (CNN, Fox, etc) about the United States manipulating currency and oil, in countries such as Venezuela, to overthrow governments we do not agree with. If you happen to be an enemy of Israel (the owners of the United States government), like Iraq or Syria, you will find yourself under military attack as well. Luckier countries, like Iran, have nuclear weapons, so they only have to deal with economic (as well as social attacks to influence the citizens through social media) attacks.

#2. There is NO rise of hate groups. “White Nationalists” are not everywhere, there is no epidemic of “hate crimes,” the only thing that has changed is the massive increase in the number of agencies reporting so-called “hate crimes” and the fact that too many crimes that are supposedly committed by Whites are easily labeled as “hate crimes” now. While minorities are rarely ever charged with “hate crimes” when their victims are Whites, if it is the other way around, you can be sure the charges will be tacked on.

3. Israel was NOT established following a “holocaust.” Although many people are mislead to believe that Palestine was stolen and given to Jews to emigrate merely to escape the atrocities of a “holocaust,” the fact exists that the Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by England in 1917 announcing the support of a “national home for the Jewish people.”  Lord Rothschild was involved in this scam and I welcome everyone to research the Rothschild family.

4. If one single person is not afforded the 1st amendment right to free speech, no one has free speech. Once you begin justifying who is or isn’t given the right to speak their mind with words, music, etc, there is no true sense of freedom remaining. The freedom of speech was not established to protect “popular speech,” but quite the opposite. Think about it, why would the controlling masses not want you to hear or read about any topic? Wouldn’t simple debate prove outlandish ideas wrong? Since almost every avenue used to reach large numbers of people goes through Google, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, they shape and form the narratives that are allowed to be discussed. Any proud Whites will be censored, terminated or find themselves so far down the search results that it becomes close to impossible to be heard. “To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire

 

 

Portland Antifa group flooded the office of lawyer representing ICE’s union

An Antifa group in Portland decided to punish a lawyer representing the union for Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents by flooding his office. Oregon Live reports Sean Riddell’s law office suffered thousands of dollars in damage from the act of vandalism:

Sometime over the weekend, anonymous vandals stuck a garden hose through the front-door mail slot of lawyer Sean Riddell’s Northeast Portland office and left the water running.

Someone who works in the office — a house converted into business space — discovered the mess about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Riddell and lawyer Christine Mascal, who run separate legal practices under the same roof, wondered if someone targeted one of them because of a case or whether it was a random vandal, Riddell said.

There are photos of the damage here. As you can see, most of the wood flooring on the first floor and the carpeting in the basement have to be torn up and replaced. The drywall in the basement has been pulled down and the paint was ruined along the walls. Riddell believes the damage will amount to several thousand dollars but expects his insurance will cover it.

As for who did it, that was unclear until Willamette Week ran a story about the vandalism Monday. Then the site received an email from a local Antifa group taking responsibility. Willamette Week forwarded the email to Riddell who has since called the police again to alert them. He says his office had security cameras as do other businesses in the area, so the people who did this may have been recorded in the act.

Reporter Andy Ngo, who covers Antifa in the Portland areas, notes that the letter claiming responsibility was published by It’s Going Down, an anarchist news site. It reads in part:

Sean Riddell currently provides legal representation to the National ICE Council, the union which represents ICE agents, in a lawsuit against the city of Portland in response to the Occupy ICE PDX encampment last summer. Sean’s new law office, located in Portland, was purchased partially with the money he’s made from the work he’s done for the National ICE Council. We decided to congratulate him on his new building by unraveling is garden hose, pushing it through his mail slot, and turning on the water. Our goal was to cause maximum economic damage, that should serve as a warning to all individuals and businesses that profit off the human misery perpetrated by ICE…

For a world without borders and prisons. For the free movement of all people. Smash ICE

If the goal was “maximum economic damage” why didn’t they burn the building down? Once you’ve determined that your cause is so just that you are free to break the law, why hold back?

Last year, Riddell notified the city that ICE’s union intended to sue over a decision by Mayor Ted Wheeler during the Occupy ICE protests. The union accused Mayor Wheeler of ordering them to stand down and not respond to 911 calls for help from ICE agents who were trapped inside their own building by protesters. Police also didn’t respond to regular citizens in the area of the Occupy ICE camp when they called 911 for help. The Occupy camp was finally cleared out after Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw went to Mayor Wheeler and said the camp was out of hand. He belatedly agreed to let her act last July. So there’s clearly a bit of revenge in this current act of vandalism. It’s payback for his involvement in the lawsuit over the Occupy ICE camp, a lawsuit which could make things tougher on Antifa in the future.

Finally, the screengrab above (from video shot by Andy Ngo) does come from an Antifa protest in Portland but has nothing to do with this current act of vandalism. I just think the image sort of sums up Portland Antifa.

CNN’s Cuomo forced to explain Antifa comment during interview

 

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo went to bat for Antifa on Monday night, arguing that what he called the group’s “good cause” was not equivalent to the positions espoused by neo-Nazis and white supremacists — but his panelists pushed back right away.

Ever since former Vice President Joe Biden revived the debate over President Trump‘s remarks after the 2017 attack in Charlottesville, Va., Trump has doubled down, insisting he was acknowledging the “very fine people on both sides” of the issue of whether or not to take down the Confederate monuments.

Cuomo brought on CNN commentators Steve Cortes and Rob Astorino to debate the issue. Cortes started by slamming Antifa, who he compared to modern day “brown shirts,” but Cuomo insisted they should not be compared to actual Nazis.

“You can talk about Antifa. I’ve watched them in streets protesting in different situations, okay?” Cuomo said. “There are certainly aspects of them that are true to a cause, that is a good cause, they want social justice, they want whatever they want in that context.”

“Not Antifa,” Astorino responded.

“You tell me when that has ever happened with neo-Nazis, where they have ever been doing the right thing,” Cuomo continued.

“Chris, Antifa is not a good cause,” Cortes shot back. “Antifa does not have good aims. Antifa wants political power taken through force. That’s what Antifa is all about. I mean, they are the inheritors of Nazis and brown shirts.”

The CNN anchor clarified that he did not want to “espouse Antifa,” which Cortes argued he sounded like he was.

“You don’t draw a moral equivalency between the neo-Nazis and the people there who fight against them,” Cuomo told Cortes. “You don’t do that in that context because that’s not what we are about.”

He went on to blast President Trump for being “so soft” with his condemnation for white nationalists amid recent synagogue and mosque attacks while being “so loud” against Islamic extremists.

This wasn’t the first time Cuomo apparently tried making the case for Antifa. In 2018, he argued that Antifa’s violence against police was “not equal” to violence carried out by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

FBI probing Antifa plot to buy guns from Mexican cartel, ‘stage an armed rebellion at the border’

The FBI is investigating a supposed radical far-left Antifa plot to “stage an armed rebellion” and “disrupt U.S. law enforcement and military security operations at the US/Mexican border.”

Word of the probe comes after years of the FBI putting greater emphasis on the threat of Antifa activities, with bureau Director Christopher Wray saying the agency is looking into the ideology and individuals associated with the movement.

But according to a December FBI document obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the agency is now tackling actual alleged plots of possible criminal activities that would affect U.S. homeland security.

The FBI report, which wasn’t posted online because the matter is still active, alleged that the anti-fascist activists were looking into buying firearms from a “Mexico-based cartel associate known as Cobra Commander” that would be used to “stage an armed rebellion at the border.”

Antifa, Occupy Wall Street threaten ICE agents

It also warns that the Antifa activists “planned to disrupt U.S. law enforcement and military security operations at the US/Mexican border.”

The document reportedly was shared with multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the CIA and the National Security Administration.

Two law enforcement officials told the Tribune that the investigation is still ongoing but no one has been charged. The leaked document, meanwhile, is an information report supposed to be read only by law enforcement officials, though no security clearance is required.

“This is an information report, not finally evaluated intelligence,” the six-page report states, according to the newspaper. “Receiving agencies are requested not to take action based on this raw reporting without prior coordination with the FBI.”

But two individuals named in the report, Cobra Commander Ivan Riebeling and Evan Duke, say that the alleged plot was unlikely and doesn’t make much sense.

“It doesn’t make any sense that someone in the United States would purchase guns in Mexico,” Riebeling told the Tribune.

“And the Hondurans certainly didn’t bring money to buy guns. It doesn’t make any sense; in fact it’s extremely absurd to say the Hondurans wanted to attack the United States at the border.”

Israel army killed Palestinian paramedic then distributed misleading video

Volunteer Palestinian paramedic Sajed Mizher, was shot by Israeli forces in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on 27 March 2019 [Twitter]

Volunteer Palestinian paramedic Sajed Mizher, was shot dead by Israeli forces in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on 27 March 2019 [Twitter]

 

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed a volunteer paramedic during a refugee camp raid, after which the army distributed a misleading propaganda video.

According to the investigation by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, Sajed Mizher – aged just 17 – was shot in the abdomen while rushing to the aid of a wounded resident.

On 27 March, at around 2.30am, soldiers raided Dheisheh refugee camp located south of Bethlehem, in the southern occupied West Bank. Soldiers arrested a resident, then withdrew.

A few hours later, dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the camp again, and were confronted by local residents who threw stones at the occupation forces.

“During this raid,” B’Tselem noted, “three residents were injured by live fire – one in the shoulder, another in the hand, and a third in the leg. A team of paramedics and volunteers from the camp affiliated with the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) was present during both raids.”

As Israeli soldiers were withdrawing, “one of them shot M.J., 20, a resident of the camp, injuring him in the leg”. Sajed Mizher, “who was wearing a medical crew vest and standing a few dozen meters behind the injured man”, ran to the injured man’s aid.

At that point, an Israeli soldier shot Sajed in the abdomen. Rushed to hospital, Sajed succumbed to his wounds roughly an hour after arrival.

Later that day, the Israeli military spokesperson published video footage in Arabic “showing a paramedic taking off his identifying vest and throwing stones from a rooftop while wearing a white shirt”. As B’Tselem noted, “the footage was presumably intended to justify the shooting of Muzhar.”

However, “B’Tselem’s investigation clearly found that the person captured on film was not Sajed Muzhar, who was shot at a different location, on the main road of the refugee camp.”

“Therefore,” the NGO added, “even for purposes of public relations, the footage the military published is of dubious value at best. It certainly does not constitute an explanation or justification for fatally shooting a 17-year-old volunteer medic.”

Soldiers Have to Shoot at Palestinians. It’s Israel’s Way to Keep Them in Check

Israel admits it: The military is in the West Bank to protect settlements. The notion that we want peace is old fake news

A picture taken from the Israeli settlment of Gilo in Jerusalem, shows an Israeli army watchtower and the occupied West bank city of Bethlehem on the background, on April 17, 2019.
AFP

The soldiers have no choice but to shoot. They have no choice but to hit demonstrators, stone throwers and paramedics who volunteer during confrontations, to kill and wound those who brandish knives. Surprise that the soldiers fire even at youths who are handcuffed and blindfolded belongs to a different era.

It belongs to the 1970s or ‘80s, when we still thought that military domination over a population of noncitizens was an accident, a temporary deviation that would soon be corrected. When we hadn’t yet recognized that the soldiers’ role is to protect the spoils of war rather than our existence. When there weren’t yet cameras everywhere to shatter our naivete.

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 25Haaretz

If the Palestinians don’t receive a clear message every day that they’re risking their own lives when they resist our rule, tomorrow they will march by the thousands and tens of thousands, empty-handed or armed with spades and stones, toward the Israeli settlements, outposts, checkpoints and military bases in the heart of a civilian population.

They will march and declare: We want our land back. We want water. We want to be able to travel. We want industry. We also want to plan, build and be built. Imagine tens of thousands marching to the settlements in Jerusalem, imagine the demonstrations of October 2000 multiplied by 100, imagine hundreds of flotillas and marches of return. Then our soldiers and policemen will have to shoot to kill and wound dozens, hundreds, thousands in a single day.

The measured but resolute shooting now keeps all this in check. It’s designed to teach the majority to keep quiet, to be afraid, to seclude themselves in their enclaves for fear that the army will engage in mass killing tomorrow. Not only in Gaza but in the West Bank. And in Israel in Sakhnin and on the coast at Acre as well.

Guys, we’ve come a long way, we’re living in different times. There’s no fake news here. On the contrary, the fake news — that Israel wants peace — belonged to the ‘70s and ‘90s.

Today we speak the truth: The soldiers are in the West Bank to protect the settlement project. In East Jerusalem, which was occupied and annexed, the policemen and employees of private security firms are deployed to enable the settlers to embitter the lives of more Palestinians so that they’ll evacuate their homes for more settlements, which will embitter the lives of more Palestinians so that they’ll abandon or sell their homes and flee.

The settlement project is the essence. It’s Israel’s raison d’etre. It’s what is preparing the ground for minor and major expulsions.

The commanders have no choice but to fully back their soldiers who fire at paramedics, wound and kill them, shoot people in the back and in the groin, riddle with bullets a car that was just minding its own business.

They have no choice but to say that everything is according to the regulations, everything is proper. And indeed, there is no deviation from the orders and rules of engagement.

If we behave otherwise, the Palestinians will conclude that we recognize that they belong to this place between the river and the sea, that we recognize their right to live like anyone else, their right to water, space, planning, their land. The shooting only complements other activities that crowd the Palestinians into cages.

Go to the Triangle area — the Arab villages and towns in the center of Israel — and to the Galilee, and compare a Palestinian village that has become an overcrowded poverty-stricken town to a new Jewish hilltop community. Behind the huge difference there are planners, bureaucrats and ministers. Go to the West Bank and see those yellow gates attached to concrete blocks at the exits on highways. At any moment two soldiers can lock these gates and cut off a village, town or district to let more Israelis grab another real estate bonanza.

Those in charge of law and order have no choice but to ignore settlers who attack Palestinians in their villages, orchards, roads, grazing areas and wheat fields, take over their springs and agricultural pools. The attackers are doing on a small scale (though in a bacchanalia of sacred physical violence) what the bureaucracy of the Civil Administration, the military advocate general and the housing and agriculture ministries have done and are doing on a large scale. Removing people. Scaring them. Crowding them into pens. Forcing them to surrender. Deceiving them.

Forget Trump 

Guys, we don’t have to wait for the “deal of the century.” Annexation is already here. The West Bank does not exist. It’s only pieces that were torn for lack of choice from the West Bank and have become fenced-in reservations because today it’s impossible to implement the expulsion we implemented in 1948 and 1949. That is, it’s still impossible.

Every settlement produces ripples of ostensibly private violence and official violence with a license, and other slices of stolen land that’s given to selected members of the Chosen People.

Every new slice needs another company or battalion to guard it. The soldiers understand that they must do everything possible to protect the Israelis’ right to continue to settle, and that the settlements have a right to continue to expand, to build another mall and bypass road, and to create green parks for themselves from what were once Palestinian orchards or fields. And the people of Israel saw that it was good, and demanded more.

Is it any wonder that the shooting of a handcuffed boy doesn’t interest them?

The Palestinian doesn’t count. He’s not a citizen whose support the senior politician, formerly a military commander, is seeking. The Palestinian doesn’t vote. He isn’t included as a person in the calculations. The larger the number of settlers and the soldiers who guard them, the more Israelis who conclude that the Palestinian is superfluous.

At a time when some of us are reflecting on debating solutions, the settlements, the army, the military and civilian legal experts who defend the settlements and their architects are outlining the future. A future of blood, expulsion and destruction.

Bible is Jewish deed to Land of Israel, settlement envoy tells UNSC

“Even the Romans themselves admitted the land was ours,” Danon said.

In an unusual speech, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon defended the Jewish right to the Land of Israel, including the West Bank settlements when he addressed the United Nations Security Council on Monday afternoon.

Those rights rest on four pillars, Danon said, citing the bible, history, legality and the pursuit of international peace and security.

God gave the land to the people of Israel in Genesis, when he made a covenant with Abraham, said Danon.

He held up a copy of the Bible for all the ambassadors present to see and said, “This is our deed to our land.”

Danon set out his arguments at a time when the international community is bracing itself for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make good on his preelection promise to annex the settlements. The international community holds that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is illegal.

Danon argued that Israel has historical and biblical rights to the Holy Land, including Judea and Samaria.

”From the book of Genesis; to the Jewish exodus from Egypt; to receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai; to the gates of Canaan; and to the realization of God’s covenant in the Holy Land of Israel; the Bible paints a consistent picture. The entire history of our people, and our connection to Eretz Yisrael, begins right here,” Danon said.

The Bible is accepted by all three monotheistic religious, Danon said, adding that “The Quran itself accepts the divine deed of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.”

Historically there was a Jewish kingdom on the land during Biblical times with Jerusalem as the capital with its Jewish Temple, that was built twice and destroyed twice – first by the Babylonians and second by the Romans, Danon explained.

“Even the Romans themselves admitted the land was ours. Those of you who have visited Rome may have seen that Emperor Titus famously commemorated his victory and the Jewish expulsion by building an enormous arch on the Via Sacra in Rome. If you look at the Arch, it includes an illustration of his men carrying away the menorah from the Jewish Temple,” Danon said.

The Romans attempted to destroy that link by renaming the land Palestina, Danon said. After the Romans, the land was conquered by the Crusaders and then the Ottoman Empire. A Jewish community remained in the land over the next 2,000 years, but the bulk of the Jewish people were in exile, he explained.

“For two millennia, Jews across the world continued to pray three times every day for our long awaited return home to Zion and Jerusalem. As we just said on Passover last week, as we do every year, ‘Next year in Jerusalem!’” Danon said.

He then turned to the issue of international law, starting with the 1917 British Balfour declaration that set out “a national home for the Jewish people” in the land of Israel after Great Britain had taken over that territory from the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.

Danon explained that in presenting the document, British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour wrote that the “declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.”

“In 1922, the mandate of the League of Nations not only stated its support for the establishment of a Jewish national home, it encouraged and facilitated the return of Jews in the diaspora to our homeland. It confirms, and I quote, ‘the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country,’” Danon said.

He added that these documents were Zionist documents and showed that Zionism appeared in international law.

Danon also pointed to the 1945 UN charter which speaks of the right of peoples to self-determination and to the rights of member states to defend themselves from armed attacks.

In 1947, the UN partitioned the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state, the Jews accepted the plan and the Arabs rejected it and then attacked the nascent Jewish state, Danon said.

The 1948 armistice lines that marked the end of the Independence War, “were never considered international borders. They were simply lines designating the end of the first battle in the Arab war against Israel,” Danon said.

“It was the Arabs who insisted that the armistice lines would not be permanent borders,” he added.

“Because these lines are not borders, the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, to this day, do not cross any international borders. They are built on strategic land for Israel’s security and, as agreed by the parties in the Oslo Accords, would be classified as final status issues,” he concluded.

On the issue of security, he noted that Arab leaders had chosen violence long before settlements were built. The PLO was established in 1964, three years prior to the Six Day War in 1967.

“What did they need to liberate before 1967? And in 1964, not a single settlement existed in Judea and Samaria, and our right to exist was still rejected,” he said.

“To blame the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria for the lack of peace between Israelis and Palestinians would be a deliberate oversight of history at best,” he said.

Danon listed the plans the Arabs had rejected starting with the 1937 Peel Commission Report, the 1947 UN Partition Plan, the 1948 Israeli truce offer, the 2000 Camp David Summit, the 2001 Taba Summit, and the 2007 Annapolis Conference.

Israel, he said, is still waiting for a response to 2008 offer of by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. With regard to the US 2014 peace process, Danon blamed the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying he chose Hamas.

The Palestinians, Danon said, have already rejected the anticipated peace plan by US President Donald Trump.

He charged that the UN’s continued support for Palestinians that rejects peace proposals and its attacks against the party offering solutions, weakens the international body.

“It is dangerous to praise the side that encourages hatred and bankrolls terrorism,” Danon said.

“There should be no reward for rejectionism. There should be no prize for aggression,” he added.

Danon then put forward four pillars on which peace would be based in the future. This includes: Palestinians recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; an end to Palestinians incitement; regional cooperation and acceptance of Israel’s security needs.

“We are ready to work together. We are ready to talk. And we are ready to create a better future for our children. It is only when the four pillars of the past and the four pillars of the future are accepted that peace will come,” Danon said.

Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansor who spoke before Danon said that it was the Palestinians who had a historic and legal right to the land, but that it had given up some of that right when it had accepted a state on the pre-1967 line.

That state, Mansour said, must provide the Palestinians with full sovereignty.

Any action by Israel to hold onto territory over the pre-1967 line and to build there, is illegal and a form of occupation and colonization, Mansour said.

Mansour warned Israel against taking any steps to annex the settlements in the West Bank, which he said.

“The international community must stop normalizing this occupation,” Mansour said.

“Occupation, annexation and human rights violations can never be accepted as just and normal and can never be accepted as the new normal, no matter the spin or the pretext,” he said.

Israel a “racist apartheid state under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” and warned that the US has emboldened Israel’s flouting of the law, further fueling its .

“Israel’s expansionist appetite is growing. Just listen to their recent cyclical statements on their intent to annex the illegal settlements” and their “blatant dismissal of Palestinian rights,” Mansour said.

Balfour Declaration letter written

So much for the “Holocaust” theory of why Israel was established…

 

On November 2, 1917, Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour writes an important letter to Britain’s most illustrious Jewish citizen, Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, expressing the British government’s support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The letter would eventually become known as the Balfour Declaration.

Britain’s support for the Zionist movement came from its concerns regarding the direction of the First World War. Aside from a genuine belief in the righteousness of Zionism, held by Lloyd George among others, Britain’s leaders hoped that a statement supporting Zionism would help gain Jewish support for the Allies.

On November 2, Balfour sent his letter to Lord Rothschild, a prominent Zionist and a friend of Chaim Weizmann, stating that: “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

The influence of the Balfour Declaration on the course of post-war events was immediate: According to the “mandate” system created by the Versailles Treaty of 1919, Britain was entrusted with the administration of Palestine, with the understanding that it would work on behalf of both its Jewish and Arab inhabitants.

Orthodox Jews worry about widening discrimination over measles scare

Orthodox Jews worry about widening discrimination over measles scare
A Jewish man and his three sons walk down a street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on April 24. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

A bus driver tries to speed past a Hasidic Jew waiting at a Brooklyn bus stop — then holds a scarf over her face when he finally boards.

Worried parents complain about Orthodox students flooding the Bronx Zoo.

Jet Blue flight attendants force a well-known Hasidic singer to undergo an humiliating questioning after fellow passengers suspected his children had measles.

As a measles outbreak grows, Orthodox Jews say they are facing a punishing wave of discrimination and profiling by public officials and ordinary people alike.

“There is this fear of an Ebola-type situation which is just not the case at all,” said Alexander Rapaport, a community activist who runs Masbia, a network of kosher food banks and soup kitchens in Brooklyn. “People are very confused.”

Rapaport and others blame the city for singling out Hasidic neighborhoods and for messaging that encouraged panic in the wider community.

“That’s where the seeds for this were planted,” he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in two Brooklyn zip codes as the nationwide outbreak has grown to 704 cases of the disease which was once eradicated from the U.S. So far more than 50 parents have already been slapped with citations for allowing unvaccinated children in public places like parks.

The de Blasio administration declared a public health emergency in select zip codes in Williamsburg, following a measles outbreak affecting the Orthodox Jewish community.
The de Blasio administration declared a public health emergency in select zip codes in Williamsburg, following a measles outbreak affecting the Orthodox Jewish community. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

Jewish leaders say they share officials’ zeal to promote universal vaccination and want to debunk myths spread by a tiny minority of so-called anti-vaxxers in the Jewish world.

But they insist that it’s 100% wrong to profile or discriminate against Hasids or visibly Orthodox Jews because of unfounded suspicions they could be infected or unvaccinated.

And they say the city has contributed to the panic by repeatedly singling out the Hasidic community, without backing up the scare tactics with money to fund education campaigns.

“People are facing real discrimination because of how they look or who they are,” said Chaskel Bennett, an Orthodox community activist who helped organize 500 doctors to back vaccination. “That’s not acceptable in this country.”

Rapaport recounted a story of a non-Jewish client who asked a Hasidic businessman if he was vaccinated — and asked him to email an invoice instead of meeting in person.

“Even a joke can be very hurtful,” Rapaport said.

Ezra Friedlander, a public relations professional who works with ultra-Orthodox organizations, noted that Hasidic Jews already face widespread discrimination from the general public over their distinctive dress and hairstyle.

“They’re already being profiled every day — and this just makes it worse,” he said.

Alicia McCauley, a spokeswoman for the city Human Rights Commission, urged anyone who feels they have been discriminated against over their religious or ethnic background to file a complaint. It was not immediately clear whether any complaints have been filed over the measles issue.

Robert Krakow, a lawyer who unsuccessfully sued to block the city’s emergency declaration, called the trend blatant anti-Semitism.

“Measles doesn’t discriminate between Jews and those of other religions,” he said.

Police: Lindenwold woman died trying to sell a phone to a stranger

WILLINGBORO – A woman found slain inside her parked car here had arranged to meet a stranger for the sale of a cellphone, authorities said Tuesday.

Maribely Lopez, 21, of Lindenwold was killed with a single shot to her head as she sat outside a vacant home on the night of March 6, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.

Her would-be customer, 20-year-old Marvin A. Coleman Jr. of Willingboro, was charged with murder Tuesday.

An investigation showed the suspect had arranged to buy a phone from Lopez through the OfferUp app, the prosecutor’s office said.

“But instead of buying the phone as planned, Coleman executed Lopez by firing a shot through the partially opened driver’s side window,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Investigators believe the shooting occurred around 11 p.m.

A Medley Lane resident called police after noticing Lopez’ body just before 8:30 a.m. the next day, the statement said.

“Arriving officers found Lopez in the driver’s seat of her Ford Focus with the engine still running,” it said.

“The phone that was advertised for sale was discovered by investigators inside of the car,” the statement added.

It said a motive for the killing remains under investigation.

Coleman was arrested Tuesday afternoon following a traffic stop near his home on the first block of Marlboro Lane.

Coleman’s home is a short walk through a field to the spot where Lopez was shot, the prosecutor’s office said.

Prosecutor Scott Coffina warned people planning transactions with strangers to exercise “appropriate caution, such as utilizing safe transaction zones that many of our local police departments maintain in the parking lots of their stations.”

Willingboro’s police station has a dedicated area in its parking lot, where people can meet to complete transactions under 24-hour video surveillance, noted Lt. Chris Vetter.

Coleman, who’s  also  charged with weapons  offenses, was being held in Burlington County Jail. He awaits a hearing in Superior Court, Mount Holly.

Two Suspects Arrested After Mechanic Shot And Killed By Stray Bullet In Front Of Auto Repair Shop

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Two suspects have been arrested after a mechanic was shot and killed by a stray bullet in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia earlier this month. Michael Gleba, 56, of Bensalem, was struck by a stray bullet while working on a car in front of his auto repair shop on the 4800 block of Benner Street on April 11.

Police say they have arrested 19-year-old Shabazz Sweets and 25-year-old Eric Smith.

Both are charged with murder, criminal conspiracy and other related offenses.

Police say Gleba was shot when four men began shooting at each other during a drug deal, near Northeast Speedometer Services on Benner Street.

Two others have also been arrested in connection to Gleba’s shooting death: 20-year-old James MacGregor and 28-year-old Timothy Sherfield.

Police Asking For Public’s Help Finding Suspect Wanted For Easter Murder In Pottstown

POTTSTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – Police are asking for the public’s help finding a suspect wanted for the murder of a 25-year-old man on Easter. Authorities say 31-year-old Stephen Moore has been charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Joshua Smith at 625 Industrial Highway in Pottstown.

Police say Moore’s last known address is in Pottstown but has since fled. Moore has ties to both the Reading and Camden, New Jersey, areas.

Officials say Moore is a black male with black hair and brown eyes. He’s 5-foot-7 and weighs about 150 pounds.

Smith was found shot multiple times on Sunday.

According to police, at the time Smith’s body was found, an officer began following a silver Jeep speeding down Industrial Highway. The jeep crashed at the intersection of High and Wilson Streets and the male driver fled the scene on foot.

Investigators found that the jeep is owned by Moore’s wife and both Moore and Smith were seen leaving Smith’s residence earlier on Easter.

Police recovered two handguns and two cellphones from the jeep.

If you have any information about Moore’s location, call police at 610-970-6570.

NY Times’ Facebook investigation unearths George Soros, ADL and Chuck Schumer controversies

“Look who’s showing me the dirty pictures!” is the punchline to a great psychiatry joke about a patient who can’t stop thinking about sex.

We at JTA don’t think everything is about the Jews, but there is a strong Jewish thread — really, three threads — in the big New York Times investigation of Facebook. Wednesday’s story examined how Facebook struggled to fend off criticism over its role in the 2016 elections, its sharing of fake news from Russia and its oversharing of privacy data.

Dueling charges of anti-Semitism are part of the story, which has already led Facebook to fire a PR firm associated with its aggressive efforts at reputation repair.

Picture 1: Facebook asks the ADL for help

According to The Times investigation, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook execs knew early that bad actors were manipulating their social media site to spread disinformation during the elections. But instead of directly addressing the issues and coming fully clean, they fought back against its critics with “delays, denials and a full-bore campaign in Washington.”

Among those critics was a group called Freedom from Facebook, which showed up at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee weighing complaints against the company. As a Facebook executive spoke, members of the group “held aloft signs depicting Sandberg and Zuckerberg, who are both Jewish, as two heads of an octopus stretching around the globe.”

The Times reports that a Facebook official “quickly called the Anti-Defamation League” to complain that the imagery was anti-Semitic. That afternoon, ADL tweeted a warning that “[d]epicting Jews as an octopus encircling the globe is a classic anti-Semitic trope,”adding: “Protest Facebook — or anyone — all you want, but pick a different image.”

The Times notes that the criticism “was soon echoed in conservative outlets,” which also tried to link Freedom from Facebook to what one publication called “extreme anti-Israel groups.”

An ADL spokeswoman said the tweet was routine, and The Times says that while ADL and Facebook have teamed up in the past to fight online hate, ADL at times has also been sharply critical of the company. In a tweet Wednesday, Nick Confessore, one of The Times reporters on the story, reinforced that ADL’s tweet “was consistent with past warnings that ADL has made against employing similar imagery in other contexts.”

Picture 2: Again with George Soros?

Some of the juiciest bits in The Times expose involve Facebook’s decision to hire Definers Public Affairs, a Republican-led firm that uses political campaign-style tactics to help companies with a PR problem. Among its efforts on Facebook’s behalf was a research document blaming the liberal philanthropist George Soros with funding Facebook’s critics, directly and indirectly.

The Times acknowledges that Soros was a “natural target”: He has been critical of Facebook. Definers urged reporters to probe connections between Soros and groups that were members of Freedom from Facebook.

Soros, of course, has also been cast as a villain in a web of conspiracies concocted by the right and far right. The ADL, among others, has noted that many of these conspiracies traffic in classic anti-Semitic themes about world domination (Soros himself has been depicted as an octopus in social media, and an alleged right-wing fanatic has been charged with sending a homemade bomb to his home).

On Thursday, Soros’ Open Society Foundations leveled the anti-Semitism charge explicitly. In a letter to Sandberg, its president wrote, “I was shocked to learn from the New York Times that you and your colleagues at Facebook hired a Republican opposition research firm to stir up animus toward George Soros. As you know, there is a concerted right-wing effort the world over to demonize Mr. Soros and his foundations, which I lead — an effort which has contributed to death threats and the delivery of a pipe bomb to Mr. Soros’ home. You are no doubt also aware that much of this hateful and blatantly false and Anti-Semitic information is spread via Facebook.”

Definers defended its oppo research on Soros, saying all of its work is “entirely factual and based on public records.”

Nevertheless, Facebook must have decided, among things, that identifying itself with an effort to discredit a public figure who too often is depicted as the head of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy (on their own site, no less) was not a good look.

On Thursday, the social media giant said it had ended its relationship with Definers.

Picture 3: Chuck Schumer for the defense

Among the friendly politicians that Facebook turned to for help was Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who in 2016 “raised more money from Facebook employees than any other member of Congress,” The Times reports. Schumer also has a personal connection to the company: His daughter works at its New York office.

In July, a Facebook employee told The Times, Schumer confronted Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a Facebook critic and author of legislation to regulate the company and other big tech firms. “Back off,” Schumer told Warner, according to The Times account.

The post NY Times’ Facebook investigation unearths George Soros, ADL and Chuck Schumer controversies appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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