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Deadly Shooting at Pittsburgh Synagogue

According to police and media reports, Robert Bowers allegedly entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning, yelling, “All Jews Must Die” as he opened fire. As of Saturday evening, the death toll stood at 11, and several people remained hospitalized.

A profile on Gab – a social media site frequented by right-wing extremists – which appears to belong to Bowers, showcases his virulent anti-Semitism. The vast majority of the posts are anti-Semitic in nature, using language like “Jews are the children of satan,” “kike infestation,” “filthy EVIL jews” and “Stop the Kikes then worry about the Muslims.” Other posts repeat standard white supremacist slogans, such as “Diversity means chasing down the last white person.”

The main photo on the Gab account is of a digital device showing the number 1488, a combination of two popular white supremacist numeric symbols.

The “14 Words” is a reference to the most popular white supremacist slogan in the world: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
88 is a white supremacist numerical code for “Heil Hitler.” H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 = HH = Heil Hitler.
The account’s tagline (by the top photo) reads, “Jews are the children of satan. (john 8:44) --- the lord jesus christ is come in the flesh.”

One of the most recent posts, criticizes HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which has been instrumental in providing aid to refugees. It also echoes anti-immigration language about hordes of murderous “invaders.” “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."

Among the additional anti-Semitic posts to this account:
“Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation.”
“Amazing amount of division on gab today, glad the overwhelming jew problem has been solved so we can now fight with each other.”

“First Trump came for the Charlottesville 4 but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. The Trump came for RAM but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for the Proud Boys but I kept supporting Trump because he is better than Hillary Clinton. Then Trump came for me and the was no one left to suppor...”

“Why hello there HIAS! You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided:" He included an image of a HIAS "National Refugee Shabbat” event.
"Trump is a globalist, not a nationalist. There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation. #Qanon is here to get patriots that were against martial law in the 90's to be the ones begging for it now to drain muh swamp. But go ahead and keep saying you are #Winning"

Posted an anti-immigration video titled “The Mass Migration Agenda,” he commented “diversity for you but not for Jew.” He has also retweeted anti-Semitic and anti-immigration posts from notorious anti-Semite Patrick Little.

Posted his own variation of MAGA: “Make Ovens 1488° Again.”

Referred to Jews as “oven dodgers” and “filthy vile degenerates.”

Posted photographs of firearms he appears to own.

A month before the October shooting, Bowers posted this threat against Jews: “just want to put this psa out there for all the vile degenerate oven dodgers. The goyim know. This is becoming increasingly obvious. Eventually it will not be safe here for you and you will be unable to leave. It takes time to convert your stuff to shekels and flee. Time is critical. That is all.”

Over the last two decades, white supremacists have targeted the Jewish community in the United States via a range of terrorist acts, conspiracy theories and plots. During that same time, Pittsburgh has seen a number of shootings involving white supremacists. In 2000, Richard Baumhammers went on a shooting spree targeting minorities, including Jews. In 2009, Richard Poplawski ambushed and murdered three police officers.

ADL Condemns' 'Absurd' U.N. Special Session on Jerusalem

New York, NY, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned the United Nations General Assembly emergency special session on “Israeli illegal actions” in East Jerusalem as “absurd” and “yet another chapter in the U.N.’s long record of single-minded focus on Israel.” The final vote, rejecting any recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was 128 in favor, 9 against, with 35 abstentions.

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:

Given the numerous pressing issues confronting the world today it is absurd that the General Assembly called an emergency special session to, yet again, excoriate Israel. No emergency special session has been convened to discuss Syria or Burma or a myriad of other crises. Indeed, of ten such special sessions convened over the history of the U.N., seven have been convened with the sole purpose of criticizing Israel.

While today’s session was held to critique the U.S. government’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the session was yet another chapter in the U.N.’s long record of single-minded focus on Israel. It is notable that countries engaged in severe crises – including Yemen, Syria, Iran, Venezuela and Bangladesh, among others – spoke from the podium and declared Israel and Jerusalem the leading issue in the world.

The General Assembly once again has failed to play a constructive and fair-minded role in encouraging peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Instead of helping to promote engagement, it has deepened the divide.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt Honored for Tech Innovation on 'Recode 100' List

The rankings honor 100 innovative business leaders across industries
New York, NY, ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt has been named to the first-ever Recode 100 list, placing him among some of the top luminaries in tech, business and media “who mattered in 2017.”

The entry, No. 77 on the list, credits Greenblatt for “evolving the century-old Anti-Defamation League to fight white supremacy, anti-Semitism and other forms of extremism in the digital age” and describes now the storied civil rights organization is ramping up its work with social media and tech firms in Silicon Valley and looking at ways to use new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, to sanitize platforms of hate speech, rather than relying on human filters.

“We shouldn’t be surprised that extremists exploit new media,” Greenblatt tells Recode. “Fifty years ago, extremists were hiding behind hoods and burning crosses. Today, they’re hiding behind avatars and burning up Twitter.”

Under Greenblatt’s stewardship, ADL recently launched its Center for Technology and Society, focused on tackling its civil rights mission in the digital space at a time when online hate tears at the fabric of our society. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the new Center examines the issue globally, bringing a proactive approach by working in partnership with industry, government, academia, and nonprofit groups to develop smart strategies and practical solutions to address today’s biggest challenges.

The Center also partners with the leading entrepreneurs and innovators who are reinventing our world, conducts cutting-edge research, and applying ADL’s expert analysis and reporting to enable online civility and stop cyberhate.

The Recode 100 honors the leaders, movement-starters, engineers, negotiators, and creatives, who have been the most productive and innovative people this year across the industries Recode covers: tech, media, commerce, transportation and more.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and ADL Announce Lab to Engineer New Solutions to Stop Cyberhate

New York, NY -  Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and other leading technology companies are joining with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds, to establish a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab to counter the growing amount of hate speech online. Engaging engineers and focused on technical solutions, the companies and ADL will collaborate to exchange ideas, investigate areas of common risk and opportunity, and seek to devise new approaches to identify and address cyberhate.
This strategy builds on recent models where leading companies have cooperated on large-scale issues of the public interest, such as addressing terrorism content online, by leveraging their collective resources and ideas. Each company will draw on these best practices to inform its approach to hate speech online. ADL will convene, advise on policy considerations, and offer insight on how hate and extremist content manifests – and constantly evolves – online.
“For all its promise, the Internet unfortunately has become a space where perpetrators of hate reach new recruits, harass and intimidate minorities, and spew hateful ideologies,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “As some of the most popular platforms, these companies have an added responsibility to do everything within their power to stop hate from flourishing on their watch. ADL has worked in partnership with leading technology companies for many years, and we look forward to tackling this pressing challenge together.”
The initiative will be managed by ADL’s Center for Technology and Society in Silicon Valley, which leads cyberhate issues and advocacy for the League.
“Building a global community that is safe and supportive means engineering new solutions to solve new problems,” said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook. “We work hard to create a safe environment on Facebook, which is why we're excited to be expanding upon our partnership with the Anti-Defamation League to establish a Cyberhate Problem-Solving Lab. Along with other tech companies, some of the best minds in engineering will work alongside the ADL, an organization with a long track record of fighting bigotry and defending free expression, to help us rise to the occasion.”
“We believe meaningful progress in safety measures and policies can best be informed in partnership with others, so we’ll continue to collaborate with leading advocacy organizations, like ADL, to work towards solutions,” said Colin Crowell, VP of public policy and philanthropy at Twitter. “We are committed to making the Twitter experience safe, secure, and enjoyable for everyone."
The Anti-Defamation League has been working with leading technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter to address the problem of online hate while at the same time respecting free speech. Together, ADL and the companies have devised and implemented strategies to counter the proliferation of hate speech online.
This collaborative work led to ADL’s 2014 Best Practices for Challenging Cyberhate, which established guidelines for the tech industry to help prevent the spread of online hate speech.
Since Greenblatt became CEO in July 2015, ADL’s focus on combatting cyber hate has expanded dramatically. This new lab partnership is the organization’s latest advancement in its effort to address the cutting-edge of hate in America today.

ADL to Challenge Justice Department Religious Liberty Guidance Calls it a “Roadmap for Discrimination”

New York, NY- - The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern about guidance issued by the Department of Justice on how the Trump Administration should interpret religious liberty protections in federal law.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, issued the following statement:
This is a destructive and discriminatory policy that is using religious beliefs as an excuse to weaken anti-discrimination laws and to infringe on the rights of religious minorities, women, and LGBT persons. The government should not be in the business of sanctioning discrimination in the name of religion. ADL will continue to stand up against government-funded religious discrimination in Congress, in federal agencies, and in the courts.
ADL believes that true religious freedom is best achieved when all individuals are able to practice their faith or choose not to observe any faith; when government neutrally accommodates religion, but does not favor any particular religion; and when religious belief is not used to harm or infringe on the rights of others through government action or others in the public marketplace.
The Department of Justice’s twenty-five page memo, sent to all federal agencies, contains twenty principles of religious liberty and accompanying interpretations of constitutional and federal statutory protection for religious liberty that violate each of these fundamental principles.
The bottom line is this: the government should not sanction discrimination in the name of religion and should not fund it.
While the memo contains useful affirmations for accommodating religious practice in the military and the federal workforce, the overarching impact of the guidance is to create a deeply-problematic roadmap for discrimination against religious minorities, LGBT people, and women – including hiring and firing on the basis of religion, religious practice in government-funded jobs, and restrictions on women’s equality and reproductive freedoms. Indeed, this guidance is the basis for an interim Department of Health and Human Services regulation that effectively eviscerates the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate by allowing any employer to opt out of this requirement based on a religious or moral objective. The memo also opens the door to proselytizing of beneficiaries in federally-funded social welfare programs
Moreover, the DOJ guidance gives short shrift – just a passing reference – to the government duty to avoid endorsing a particular religion or religious belief.
There is much that can be done to oppose the memorandum. The Justice Department guidance is just that – guidance for the federal government agencies. It does not change current law and it is not binding on federal courts and state governments, legislatures, or courts.
ADL will challenge the new contraceptive mandate rule by submitting comments to the Department of Health and Human Services and look to file a legal brief in one of three lawsuits already filed against the rule. And we will continue to oppose any other effort to permit government-funded or sanctioned religious discrimination in Congress, in federal agencies, and in the courts.
No American should be treated like second-class citizens due to their religious beliefs and practices, or who they love.
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