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September 29, 2017     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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September 29, 2017

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 PAGE 13A Leader of far-right Ger- man party says Jews have nothing to fear (JTA)--Jews should not fear the strong election showing by the Alternative for Germany, a leader of the populist far-right party said. "There is nothing in our party, in our program, that could disturb the Jewish peo- plewho live here in Germany," co-party head Alexander Gauland told reporters Mon- day, a day after AfD garnered more than 13 percent of the vote to finish third in German national elections. Gauland also said that he was ready to meet with Ger- man Jewish leaders "at any time." Chancellor Angela Merkel was re-elected to a fourth term and reportedly has rejected the idea of including AfD in a coalition government "Unfortunately, our worst fears have come true: A party that tolerates far-right views in its ranks and incites hate against minorities in our country is today not only in almost all state parliaments but also represented in the Bundestag," the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dr. Josef Schuster, said in a statement issued late Sunday. "I expect all our democratic forces to unveil the real face of the AfD and to expose the party's empty, populist promises. The goal that should unite all democratic parties: to make it clear to the voters that the AfD is not an alternative, so that it can land where it belongsmunder the 5 percent hurdle!" The council called on the parliament to "fight for democracy and to defend its valuesvehemently" in the face of the AfD successes. The Anti-Defamation League called AfD's entrance into the national parliament "a disturbing milestone in modern German politics," saying the party is "proudly extremist, anti-immigrant, and anti-minority." The party leaders have made anti-Semit- ic statements and played down the evil of the Nazi regime, the ADL also said in its statement. "Chancellor Merkel has a strong track record of protect- ing the Jewish community and other minorities," CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. "We appreciate that she has excluded the possibility of AfD joining her coalition, and we count on her strong leadership going forward to diminish the appeal of AfD among German voters." Hundreds of protesters gathered in cities throughout Germany on Sunday evening to protest the AfD's election successes. In the Alexander- platz public square in central Berlin, protesters chanted "Racism is not an alternative," "AfD is a bunch of racists" and "Nazis out!" Canadian Jews can now get kosher medical mari- juana MONTREAL (JTA)--Ca- nadian Jews could get hala- chically high for the High Holidays: A Quebec company became the first in Canada to obtain kosher certification for its medical marijuana on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. The certification was grant- ed to the Hydropothecary Corp a medical marijuana producer based near Ottawa, by the Vaad Hakashrut, a kosher certifier in Ottawa. "According to the Torah, according to the Talmud, this is something that if we are able to help [sick people], that is my obligation," Rabbi Levy Teitlebaum of the Vaad told The National Post. The company's CEO, Se- bastien St-Louis, said in a statement: "As the only medi- cal marijuana company in Canada with kosher-certified processed products, we take great pride in having the sup- port of the kashrut council." In 2016, Montreal kosher certifiers said medicinal pot needed kosher certification because it is ingested, while certifiers in Toronto said it did not because it is being used as medicine. Belgian court sentences Holocaust denier to visit 5 Nazi camps and write about it (JTA)--A court in Belgium has ordered a former law- maker convicted of Holocaust denial to visit a Nazi concen- tration camp every year for the next five years and write about his experiences. Laurent Louis, 37, was given the unconventional sen- tence lastweek by the Brussels Court of Appeal, The New York Times reported. In June 2015 he was con- victed and given a six-month suspended jail sentence and fined over $20,000 by the Cor- rectional Tribunal of Brussels for making statements that consciously downplayed the atrocities committed by the German occupation ~orces that ruled Belgium during World War II. The trial cen- tered on online statements he made that questioned the number of Jews killed in Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. During his time in parlia- ment, Louis was respon- sible for a number of actions perceived as provocative to Belgian Jews and resistance fighters. In 2014, Louis said in par- liament that "the Holocaust was set up and financed by the pioneers of Zionism." He also posed outside parliament while standing on an Israeli flag and holding a portrait of Bashar Assad, Syria's president. Louis entered parliament as a representative of the small center-right People's Party, but he was later kicked out. In a statement issued Sept. 20 following the ruling, Louis said he would carry out the ruling and "repent every year in a death camp." He said the sentence would be "very educational andverypowerful on a human level," and called it a chance to "denounce cur- rent genocides," according to the Times. Louis has called Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip a genocide and said Zionism was worse than Nazism. Anthony Weiner sen- tenced to 21 months in prison over sexting scandal (JTA)--Former congress- man Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl. Weiner, 53, who had pleaded guilty in May to one charge of transferring obscene ma- terial to a minor, wept as the sentence was handed down Monday in a Manhattan feder- al court. He must also register as a sex offender for life for his inappropriate conversations with the North Carolina teen. The once-rising star in the Democratic Party had faced up to 10 years in prison. "Weiner, a grown man, a father, and a former lawmaker, willfully and knowingly asked a 15-year-old girl to display her body and engage in sexu- ally explicit conduct for him online," prosecutors wrote. "Such conduct warrants a meaningful sentence of in- carceration." Last fall, then-FBI Director James Comey cited emails involved in the Weiner case to reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton's private server less than two weeks before the presidential elec- tion. The FBI shut down the investigation days later, saying that nothing new or damaging had come to light, but Clinton has blamed the new probe in part for her loss to Donald Trump. Weiner's troubles date back to 2011, when the Jew- ish lawmaker resigned from Congress after tweeting an explicit photo. He has since been involved in multiple sexting scandals, and his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide, is in the process of divorcing him. The girl involved in this case, whose name has not been officially released, has said that she initiated the contact with Weiner for politi- cal reasons. She sold her story multiple times, including to the British Daily Mail tabloid for $30,000. Netanyahu postpones settlement committee meeting at US request JERUSALEM (JTA)--In advance of a visit by President Donald Trump's special en- voy Jason Greenblatt, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Ne- tanyahu has agreed to a U.S. request to postpone a meet- ing of a settlement planning committee. Greenblatt is scheduled to arrive Tuesday in Israel to continue discussions toward restarting peace talkswith the Palestinians, the Israeli media reported, citing unnamed White House officials. Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew, reportedly will then spend Sukkot in Israel with his family. Netanyahu told a meet- ing of the Security Cabinet on Sunday evening that he would postpone the meeting scheduled for this week of the West Bank Civil Admin- istration's planning commit- tee, which is set to approve hundreds of units of new housing construction in several settlements, follow- ing a request from the Trump administration. Netanyahu metwith Trump last week prior to the start of the United Nations General Assembly, which both leaders addressed. The Israeli leader also met with Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, a key White House adviser and Trump's Jewish son-in-law. The announcement of the planning committee's agenda had been postponed until after the New York meetings to avoid friction, Haaretz reported. Netanyahu also told the Security Cabinet about his meetings with President Ab- del Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt and other world leaders on the sidelines of the General Assembly. NJ children's performer arrested on child por- nography charges (JTA)--A New Jersey music teacher and singer who has performed for children at synagogues, JCCs and camps over the past two decades was charged with receiving and distributing child por- nography. Eric Komar, 46, was charged Tuesday in U.S. Mag- istrate Court in Newark after being arrested last week by special agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, ac- cording to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey. He is being held without bail Komar used a peer-to- peer file-sharing program to obtain and distribute im- ages and videos that featured prepubescent children being sexually abused, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Following his arrest, Ko- mar allegedly admitted to having "a large library of child pornography" contain- ing "thousands of images and videos," the Forward reported, citing court documents. The charge against Komar carries a prison sentence of five to 20 years as well as a $250,000 fine. Ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson quits anti- war foundation after retweeting anti-Semitic art|tie (JTA)--Former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson resigned from the board of an anti-war foundation after retweeting an article accusing American Jews of pushing the U.S. into a war with Iran. Wilson, whose paternal grandfather was Jewish, made the announcement on Sunday about leaving the the Ploughshares Fund in aseries of tweets. "Actions have consequenc- es, and while I have been honored to serve on the board of the Ploughshares Fund to avoid detracting from their mission, I have resigned," Wil- son said in consecutive tweets. "I take full responsibility for my thoughtless and hurt- ful actions, and there are no excuses for what I did." She also tweeted that she was "horrified and ashamed" for retweeting articles from the Unz Review website"with- out closely examining content and authors." "The white supremacist and anti-Semitic propaganda espoused by this website is disgusting and I strongly condemn it," she also tweeted. Wilson, a former opera- tions officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, had her identity leaked to the press by an official in President George W. Bush's administration in 2003 and left the agency in 2005. A 2010 film about the affair, "Fair Game," portrayed the popular theory that her cover was blown as political retribution for an article by her husband charging that the White House manipulated intelligence to make the case for invading Iraq. The article she retweeted, titled "Americas Jews Are Driving America's Wars," included several anti-Semitic tropes, including that Ameri- can Jews are guilty of dual loyalty to Israel, and that Jews control the media, the entertainment industry and politics. The article by Phillip Giral- di concludes: "We don't need awar with Iran because Israel wants one and some rich and powerful American Jews are happy to deliver. Seriously, we don't need it." Ploughshares Fund, which works to reduce nuclear threats and prevent a new arms race days, issued a state- ment condemning Wilson's original tweet of the article, saying she "seriously erred." "Ploughshares Fund con- demns in the strongest terms what we believe to be white supremacist and anti-Semitic propaganda espoused by this site. The prejudices pro- mulgated by this site are an affront to American values and human decency," the statement said. Wilson tweeted the article out on Thursday, during the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Later in the day she tweeted: "OKfolks, look, I messed up. I skimmed this piece, zeroed in on the neocon criticism, and shared it without seeing and considering the rest." "I missed gross undercur- rents to this article & didn't do my homework on the platform this piece came from. Now that I see it, it's obvious. Apologies all. There is so much there that's prob- lematic AF and I should have recognized it sooner. Thank you for pushing me to look again. I'm not perfect and make mistakes. This was a doozy. All I can do is admit them, try to be better, and read more thoroughly next time. Ugh," she also tweeted. Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg tightens ad policy in face of 'Jew hater' controversy (JTA)--Allowing hateful terms as options was "a fail on our part," Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg said in apost in which she also defended targeted advertising. Sandberg also announced in the message posted on Facebook last week that the company is strengthening its policies and tools on targeted ads. ProPublica, an investiga- tive website, reported earlier this month that a news web- site was able to target ads at Facebook users who expressed interest in "Jew hater" and "how to burn Jews." Facebook removed the categories after being alerted to their exis- tence and said it would seek to prevent such categories from popping up for potential advertisers. Sandberg wrote in her post: "Seeing those words made me disgusted and disappointed - disgusted by these sentiments and disappointed that our systems allowed this. Hate has no place on Facebook- and as a Jew, as a mother, and as a hu- man being, I know the damage that can come from hate. The fact that hateful terms were even offered as options was totally inappropriate and a fail on our part. We removed them and when that was not totally effective, we disabled that targeting section in our ad systems." She defended targeted advertising, which allows companies to place ads based on demographics on the buying history of consum- ers, or on behavior and self- identification. Facebook relies heavily on algorithms to find and highlight content. "Targeted advertising is how Facebook has helped millions of business grow, find customers, and hire people," Sandbergwrote. "Oursystems match organizations with potential customers who may be interested in their products or services. The systems have been particularly powerful for small businesses, who can use tools that previously were only available to advertisers with large budgets or sophisticated marketing teams. Sandberg said Facebook would clarify its advertising policies and tighten enforce- ment processes to ensure that content that goes against Facebook's community stan- dards cannot be used to target ads; by adding more human review and oversight to the automated processes; and by creating a program to encourage users to report potential abuses directly to the company. "We hope these changes will prevent abuses like this going forward," Sandberg note, adding that Facebook has had "a firm policy against hate." Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Facebook sent out Happy New Year messages to users it believed to be Jewish. But many who received the mes- sage are not Jewish and may have received the greetings because they followed a group with a Jewish theme or posted a message on the Facebook page of a Jewish friend, Mash- able reported. "We send messages about religious moments to people in countries where a large proportion of the popula- tion observes the religion, or where the religious date is a public holiday," firm policy against hate. "We may also show the message to people who've expressed interest in the holiday." Swedish court moves neo- Nazi march on Yom Kippur farther from synagogue (JTA)--A court in Sweden has rerouted a neo-Nazi march on Yom Kippur farther away from a synagogue. The Gothenburg adminis- trative court ruling concern- ing the Sept. 30 march by the far-right Nordic Resistance Movement overrode the sug- gested route by police. The court also shortened the route. The group had initially wanted to march on the main streets of Gothenburg, but the police offered an alternate route taking demonstrators only about 200 yards from the main synagogue in Sweden's second largest city. An outraged Jewish com- munity appealed the police decision earlier this month along with several other groups. The Anti-Defamation League and the World Jewish Congress were among others to protest. Among other factors, the court said it considered the fact that the route would have passed near the synagogue on JTA on page 15A