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May 31, 2013

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PAGE 2A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 31, 2013 By Alina Dain Sharon Abraham H. Foxman, na- tional director of the Anti- Defamation League (ADL), on June 4 is releasing his new book 'Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet,' co-written with attorney Christopher Wolf, a pioneer in Internet law. The book discusses how racists and anti-Semites are using the Internet to disseminate their hateful information and poses tough questions about the responsibility of the public to fight against this phenom- enon in the U.S., whose laws highly protect free speech. Foxman gave the following exclusive interview to about the book. ADL National Abraham Foxman. Justin Hoch Director Why did you decide to write about this topic now? Foxman: "In the last 10 years we've seen a commu- nication revolution in terms of the Internet changing the way we talk to each other. It had magnificent impact, but it also provided a super highway for communicating hate. That's why we decided to do a book to analyze this and to alert people out there that, yes, it's a wonderful addition to the way we communicate, but be aware that it's also a very serious, threatening vehicle for bigots, racists and anti-Semites." Has hate speech online been identified and appropri- ately defined? "We live in the Unit- ed States, where the First Amendment and freedom of expression is of a high social, democratic and moral value. But now we're finding a situ- ation where this new freedom is destroying privacy, even destroying civility, so at what point does it cross the line? "Look at the issue of bully- ing. Bullying is an expression of free speech, if you will, in the school yard, on the sports field, [but] ...bullying is big- otry, [it is] 'I don't like you because you're tall [or]... 'I don't like you because you're Jewish.' We've lived with it and almost tolerated it for many years. Now comes the Inter- net, and bullying becomes cyber-bullying, and now we're seeing kids killing themselves. It's one thing to manage bul- lying in a court yard, and it's quite another if you're being projected globally in this man- ner. In the book we're trying to say that first and foremost we need to better understand [Internet hate's] impact and take responsibility for it. A lot of people have responsibility: parents, schools, and probably more so the providers, the people who disseminate this stuff. Hopefully the book will open up a vibrant debate as to where responsibility lies before we rush to legislation or litigation." How does U.S. treat hate speech differently than other countries? "The U.S. is unique in terms of our Constitution and First Amendment. I don't think there's any country in the world that has such a broad, encompassing protection of freedom of speech. In Europe Foxman on page 15A Palgrave Macmillan The cover of Viral Hate: Containing Its Spread on the Internet, a new book by ADL National Director Abraham Foxman covering the chal- lenging intersection of online hate and free speech. By Linda Gradstein forkeepingthechildreninline, areas. Since theLebanonWar "My daughter had a full- has held more drills than "I've already done it now The Media Line Others, wearing neon-yellow, in 2006, Israel's Home Front scale panic attack that time," ever before this year, she said. since I was in first grade and were the"medical profession- Command has been holding Navon recalls. "She started Some, like today's drill, were my job is to help the younger As the siren began to wail, als" carrying a stretcher and this drill. But this year, with crying, and wouldn't leave my mandated by the government, children," Yarden Baloul, 12, the children ran quietly down first-aid kits. After ten rain- both Hizbullah terrorists in side. Now, every time I tell her Others were initiated by the a soft-spoken girl with long the steps of the Science and utes, thechildrenwereallowed south Lebanon and Syrian there's going to be a drill she school. Israeli soldiers also brownhairandbracestoldThe Technology Elementary back upstairs, making much President Bashar AI-Assad says,'Butwhat if there's a real came to the school to explain Media Line. "I'm a little afraid SchoolinPisgatZeev, anorth- more noise than they did on threatening missile strikes missileattackduringthedrill?' preparedness to the children, of a war but I live on the first ern suburb of Jerusalem built the way down. on Israel, it seems more nec- When we went down to the Defense experts estimate floor so I can get to the shelter on post-1967 land. They sat on It seemed a lot for a 12-year essary, shelters today, I looked over to there areabout200,000 rockets in my building pretty quickly." thefloorinthefourclassrooms old to handle. "Eventhoughit'sjustadrill, make sure she was OK."and missiles pointed at Israel Her friend ShiranAsraf, 12, inthebasement, alloutfittedas "It was scary--it felt like it it imitates the realitywe live in No-nonsensevice-principal from Lebanon, Syria, Gazaand admitted that she sometimes bomb shelters. The air quickly was real," Netanel Maimann, daily,"OritNavon, afifthgrade ShoshiHaverman, carryinga Iran.AnIsraeliarmyspokesman gets scared when she hears became stuffy in the window- 11, a short blond boy with a teacher at the school told The megaphone, says she's pleased saidthe armywasinvestigating sirens. less rooms, shy smile told The Media Line. MediaLine."Ifeelscared, both with how the drill went. apossiblemissilelaunchedfrom "I know the school is just The teachers handed out "I thought I was prepared but formystudentsandformyown "Within 90 seconds, all Lebanon after residents in the trying to prepare me for life crayons and pages to color, then the siren went off and children." 200 students and staff were northern city of Metulla heard when it could really happen," whichmostkidsignored.Afew my heart jumped. My partner Navon says her own daugh- downstairs and in the pro- booms overnight, shesaid."IwasgladthatIcould readbookswhileothersplayed Michael started gathering the ter Tair, a first-grader at tected area," she said. "We do "Israel is the most threat- help the younger children stay cards. Some of the youngest kids together and then I got the school, was very fright- have a few children we know ened state in the world," organized and go down to the students, sitting on the floor, control of myself and started ened during last November's get very scared and we try to Prime Minister Bainjamin shelter more quickly. If there looked scared. One little boy to help. Once we got to the week-long clash with Hamas prepare them and give them Netanyahu toldhis cabinet on was chaos, theywouldn'tmake was crying, shelter I calmed down." gunmen in the Gaza Strip. extra attention." Sunday. "We are prepared for it down in time." The sixth graders, the old- Named "Steadfast Home Duringthattime, Hamasfired When a little boy started any scenario." Asraf, who wants to be an est class in the school, were Front 1," the drill included hundreds of missiles, most of to cry, she says, his teacher Yet, for all the drama and actress, saysshe doesn't follow responsible for running the two sirens--oneat 12:30p.m. which landed in southern Is- hugged him and gave him excitement, for these sixth the news that closely. drill,whichsimulatedamissile aimed at schools and work rael.Forthefirsttime, though, watertodrink.Hesooncalmed graders in this northern Je- "I know a war could hap- attack on the school. Some-- places, and one at 7:05 p.m. rocketslandednearJerusalem, down, she said. rusalem school, the drill was pen, but I really don't like to wearing turquoise vests-- aimed at getting families to and twice sirens sounded in Because of the tense po- just another part of a normal think about it," she said. "It's were the"ushers,"responsible enter shelters or protected the city. litical situation the school school day. too scary." By Dan Pine j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California As a professor of Jewish reli- gion, Steve Weitzman studies the lives of biblical figures from Abraham to Zipporah. Now, thanks to his collaboration with genetics researcher Noah Rosenberg, he may be able to examine their DNA as well. The two Stanford University professors teamed up last se- mester to offer a course they called "From Generation to Generation: The Genetics of Jewish Populations." The San Francisco-based Koret Foundation underwrote the one-unit, pass/no-pass class. Over the course of the se- mester, Weitzman, Rosenberg Steve Castillo/Stanford University Professor of Jewish culture and religion Steve Weitzman (left) and evolutionary biologist Noah Rosenberg. and a weekly lineup of guest lecturers looked at a wide range of topics--from Jewish genetic diseases to assisted reproduction in Israel to the eugenics theories central to the Nazi ideology. 1st ChoiceJ-Iome Companion Services "Touching our Customer's fives one at a time" Best Prices Quality Services 555 Winderley Place Ste. 300 Maitland, FL. 32751 Call 321.594.3579 24 hrs./7 Days a Week www.1 stchoicehomecompanion, com Caring for you in gout" home Through it all, the two discovered some common ground between the scholarly and scientific exploration of Jewish history. "You can see genetic simi- larities among Jewish popula- tions from different locations," Rosenberg said in a recent interview. "So despite the fact that the populations migrated so many times, there is a com- mon signature that connects ]Jewish populations] in terms of genetic ancestry." Weitzman, the director of Stanford University's Taube Center for Jewish Studies, said the Human Genome Project, which mapped in full the hu- man genetic code, sparked the idea for the course. He began wondering: Could this revolu- tionary information play into his study of Jewish antiquity? Then last year he met Rosen- berg, an associate professor of biology and a newly hired researcher at a Stanford lab that explores evolutionary biology and human genetics. "I was fascinated by his re- search," Weitzman said, "and looking for ways for Jewish studies to connect to the life sciences. When I learned about Jewish origins and Jewish mi- gration patterns, we thought about ways to do something together." Rosenberg looked at migra- tion patterns of Jews, South Asian Indians, Native Ameri- cans and others. One key differ- ence between Jews and other groups is the time scale: Jews have been migrating for a far shorter period. "We're interested in de- mography, migration and evolutionary history on the time scale of a few thousand years," Rosenberg said. "The long tradition of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences suggests hypotheses about history we can test genetically." Based on available archeo- logical sources, scientists cannot trace the Israelites any further back than 1200 BCE in terms of what Weitzman called "provable evidence." However even that wall may eventually come down. "One of the lectures [in the series] was by a pair of arche- ologists and a geneticist using genetic analysis to understand the ethnic profile of Israelites in the early period," Weitzman added. "This is so new, they can only envision the research." Jewish genetics is a long- established field. Researchers have made strides in treating Jewish genetic diseases, such as Tay-Sachs. Today the inci- dence of Tay-Sachs is practi- cally nonexistent thanks to pre-natal testing. Is there such a thing as a Jewish gene? Rosenberg said no. "It's not that there are any particular genetic types found in Jews and nobody else," he noted. "Certain types are found throughout the world but in different frequencies in different populations. One frequency may be 15 percent in Jews and 10 percent in every- one else. If you take enough of these markers that have slight differences in populations, you can distinguish an individual as a member of a group. We're talking about extremely small genetic differences." The next step for the two professors is putting together a series of papers for an upcom- ing special issue of the journal Human Biology, an issue that Stanford is calling "the first interdisciplinary scholarly volume on Jewish genetics in the genome era." Rosenberg and Weitzman also want to continue building bridges between the fields of genetics and Jewish studies. For a straight-up science guy like Rosenberg, working with Weitzman has been life altering. "One thing that came clear to me over the course of the collaboration," he said, "has been this deeper un- derstanding of the connec- tions between the cultural, historical and genealogical conceptions of Jewish iden- tity as a whole." Dan Pine is a staff writer for j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California, from which this article was re- printed by permission.