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September 8, 2017

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 By Ben Sales NEW YORK (JTA)--The mayors of America's larg- est cities are launching a partnership with the Anti- Defamation League to combat hate and bigotry. Nearly 200 mayors have joined the agreement, which was announced Friday, since it was first circulated Tuesday night among the U.S. Confer- ence of Mayors. The mayors are agreeing to explicitly condemn racism, white su- premacy and bigotry, and to implement educational and public safety programs to safeguard vulnerable popu- lations and discourage dis- crimination. Signers include the mayors of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadel- phia, Washington, D.C, and Phoenix. "For decades, America's mayors have taken a strong position in support of civil rights and in opposition to racism and discrimination of all kinds," the Mayors' Compact reads. "We are now seeing efforts in our states and at the highest levels of our government to weaken existing civil rights policies and reduce their enforcement. We have seen an increase in hate violence, xenophobic rhetoric, and discriminatory actions that target Muslims, Jews, and other minorities." The compact sets out a 10-point program that in- cludes publicly condemning bigotry; ensuring public safety while protecting free speech; training and funding law enforcement to enforce hate crime laws; working with community leaders to combat bigotry; and strengthening anti-bias education programs in schools. Many of the points echo a plan of action that the ADL called on the White House to adopt earlier this week. The group proposed the plan fol- lowing the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Vir- ginia, and President Donald Trump's response, which the ADL and many others have slammed. "The events in Charlot- tesville once again showed us we have much work to do to bring Americans together," said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL's national director on a conference call with report- ers. "We know that hate is on the rise. ADL can't wait any longer for the president to act. ADL is ready to work with communities across the country to combat hate." The announcement of the compact comes during a high-profile week for the ADL, which combats anti-Semitism and bigotry. The group re- ceived $1 million donations from Apple and 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, and announced a partnership with Bumble, a dating app, to block bigoted profiles. Other mayors also por- trayed the compact as a response in part to the presi- dent's equivocation of white supremacists and those who oppose them. Steve Adler, the Jewish mayor of Austin, Texas, who has volunteered for the ADL in the past, said during the call that "mayors don't need a teleprompter to say Nazis are bad." "There's a clear lack of a moral compass," Mayor Shane Bemis of Gresham, Oregon, a city of 100,000 east of Portland, said on the call. "This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, how he has continued to divide us since the election. It is clearly, in my view, an absence of any sort of moral leadership from the president." But mayors were divided on a couple of contentious issues, including the removal of Confederate monuments from cities and how to strike a balance between protecting civil liberties while guard- ing against incitement and threats to public safety. Tom Cochran, CEO of the mayors' conference, said policy on how to deal with Confederate memorials should be left up to individual cities. "This discussion is not about monuments," he said in the call. "This conversation is about coming together to denigrate all acts of hate wher- ever they occur, and making sure we protect public safety while making sure that the right to free speech will always be protected." son S By Sara Debbie Gutfreund Aish Hatorah Resources Taylor Swift's newest~ record-breaking single "Look What You Made Me Do" is eliciting both shock and questions from her fans and her critics. What do the dark lyrics mean? What is she try- ing to say? Many critics of Swift's vengeful-laced song are sur- prised by her rage and hatred of others, but Taylor's deepest hatred is directed at herself. In one of the saddest lines of the song she writes: "I'm sorry, the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now. Why? Oh 'cause she's dead." In some ways her new release is oddly timely. With a few weeks before Rosh Hashanah when we begin the process of asking for for- giveness from both God and people thatwe have wronged, Taylor's vengeful lyrics can help us explore some of the main obstacles we all face in attaining forgiveness. We frequently overlook a crucial step in our journey toward forgiveness: forgiving ours elves. When we look back at the past we often get stuck in a bottomless pit of regret: If I only I had stayed home that day. Why did I waste all that time? Why wasn't I stronger, smarter, better? Why did I willfully ignore the damage I was causing? Here are four obstacles in Taylor Swift's lyrics that can teach us a powerful lesson in how we can forgive and be forgiven. 1. "I've got a list of names and yours is in red under- lined." So often we keep this tally in our minds of everyone and everything that has hurt us, without even knowing that we are doing it. All the times someone ignored us. Or insulted us. Or let us down. We may think this tally somehow protects us from being hurt again, but all it really does is keep our own hearts and minds mired in negativity. Let go of the list. Stop keeping score for your own sake. We are all imperfect and the sooner we can for- give other's imperfections, the sooner we will have the strength to forgive our own. 2. "...all I think about is karma. And then the world moves on, but one thing's for sure. Maybe I got mine, but you'll all gets yours." Hoping others will be punished and wishing bad things for them may bring a sense of relief in the moment, but it inevitably will drag us down. We want God to forgive us despite our mistakes, butwe can't forgive others despite theirs? Part of forgiveness means wishing the same goodness for others that you want in your own life. Forgive as you want to be forgiven. It takes more courage to wish your enemies well that it does to hope they will be given their due. 3."I don't trust nobody and nobody trusts me. I'll be the actress, starring in your bad dreams." When we get hurt, it is tempting to build walls around our hearts and trust no one. If we don't trust others then they can't hurt us again. But if we can't find a way to trust again, we will never find away to love again. When we don't trust others, we are really not trusting ourselves to be strong enough to love and be loved. Healing means building new bridges of con- nection, not new walls to separate us from others. 4. "Look what you made me do." The title of the song displays the biggest obstacle to forgiveness: blame. Blam- ing others for what goes wrong in our lives abdicates responsibility for our actions. At its core, it is a statement to ourselves that we are helpless and weak, that we are victims of our lives instead of cre- ators, that we are accepting someone else's script instead of writing our own. No one can make us destroy ourselves. While we may not always be able to choose our circumstances, we always choose who we become. We can forgive and be forgiven. We can use our pasts, both the good and the challenging, as building blocks for the future. And we can choose to be the writers of our own stories instead of the victims in someone else's script. As Taylor Swift's song spreads across the world, let's use it as reminder of how to let go of blame, revenge and mistrust so that we can attain true forgiveness. Sara Debbie Gutfreund received her BA in Eng- lish from the University of Pennsylvania and her MA in Family Therapy from the University of North Texas. 987 365 214 621 438 759 546 892 1 73 536142 124798 879653 498537 752961 613284 281379 367415 945826 By Scan Savage An upcoming "blacklist" of major international com- panies with business ties to Israeli communities in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem rep- resents yet another attempt by anti-Israel actors in the United Nations to single out and demonize theworld's only Jewish state, experts say. The U.N. Human Rights Council had voted to approve the database of businesses last year, defying objections from the U.S. and Israel. U.N. High Commissioner for Hu- man Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein sub- mitted a draft of the blacklist to the countries where the businesses are based. He is expected to receive a response from those nations by Sept. 1, and the UNHRC will publish the database by the end of this year. American firms on the list include Caterpillar, TripAdvi- sor, Priceline andAirbnb, The Washington Post reported. "[The blacklist] is the latest incarnation of the decades- long Arab boycott and yet another singling out of Israel by the U.N. Because Israel, the Jewish state, alone is singled out, the intent and impact is anti-Semitic," Anne Herz- berg, a U.N. expert and the le- gal advisor for the Jerusalem- based NGO Monitorwatchdog group, told Similarly, Israel's Ambas- sador to the U.N. Danny Danon described the list as "an expression of modern anti-Semitism reminiscentof dark periods in history.', While the list will have no legal consequences for Israel or the companies involved, its opponents say it could put pressure on the U.N. Security Council to take action. Supporters of the list draw inspiration from efforts to target international busi- nesses that were involved in apartheid- era South Africa as well as Arab-led boycotts of Israel as a means to pressure the Jewish state to change its policies regarding the Palestinians and the disputed territories. But Michal Hatuel-Ra- doshitzky, a research fellow for Israel's Institute for National Security Studies, said the list will likely do the opposite and undermine any chances for a two-state solution. "First and foremost, this is because such a 'blacklist' serves to strengthen the common Israeli perception of a hostile international community which is united against the Jewish state," Hatuel-Radoshitzky told JNS. org. She said, "This paradigm strengthens the hardliners and works against the moder- ate camp that perc elves the two-state solution--which ultimately necessitates com- promises from Israel--as the desired alternative." UN's credibility The blacklist also "serves to undermine the credibility of the UNHRC in specific and to further taint the U.N. in general," Hatuel-Radoshitzky said. Since taking over as U.N. secretary-general in January, Portugal's Ant6nio Guterres has attempted to take a more evenhanded approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after years of disproportion- ate criticism of Israel by the world body. "As secretary-general of the United Nations, I consider that the state of Israel needs to be treated as any other state," Guterres said in an address to the World Jewish Congress in April. "I have already had the opportunity to show that I'm ready to abide by that principle even when that forces me to take some decisions that cre- ate some uncomfortable situ- ations," he added, referencing a move he made to squash a report by former U.N. official Rima Khalaf that called Israel an "apartheid state." Herzberg said that while it does not appear Guterres is in favor of the of the blacklist, it might be impossible for him to stop its release. "Due to the U.N. bureau- cracy and the dominance of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, it would be dif- ficult if not impossible for the secretary-general to halt the process," she said. According to Herzberg, such reports are often com- piled by a "narrow sector" of political activists and NGOs, many who are linked to terror groups and the BDS move- ment. "Many U.N. officials were formerly employed by these partisan organizations and harbor extreme anti-Israel views," she said. US response The Trump administra- tion recently urged the hu- man rights commissioner, Hussein, not to publish the blacklist. U.S. Ambassador UN on page 15A