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The Daily TIP: Despite Concerns of Jewish Students, UNC Going Ahead with Sarsour Talk at Medical Conference

Posted by Tip Staff - February 19, 2019

Despite Concerns of Jewish Students, UNC Going Ahead with Sarsour Talk at Medical Conference
Seven MPs Quit Labour over Party's Failure to Address Anti-Semitism
Iranian FM Zarif Defends Regime's Abuses Saying, "I am a Human Rights Professor"
Single of Israeli Pop Stars, Static & Ben El, Premieres in U.S.

Despite Concerns of Jewish Students, UNC Going Ahead with Sarsour Talk at Medical Conference

In 2018, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) gained national attention when it was revealed that a required textbook for almost 19,000 students was found to blame Jews for not tapping into their inner strength to resist during the Holocaust.

Now, UNC-CH is in the news again for its insensitivity toward Jewish students. As I recently reported in The Tower, UNC-CH is hosting their Minority Health Conference on February 22, featuring keynote speaker Linda Sarsour. Sarsour is known for her hostility toward Israel, having said “Nothing is creepier than Zionism” and advising Muslims not to “humanize” Israelis.

One UNC graduate captured the public outrage by writing on Facebook, “I’m an alum of UNC. No more donations from me if you allow this Jew hater to speak.”

A university spokesperson told me that Sarsour is being paid $2,500 and will be reimbursed travel and expenses for her keynote address. University officials were quick to distance themselves from Sarsour’s invitation to speak with the excuse that it is a student- run conference; yet, Sarsour’s keynote is co-sponsored by both the UNC Gillings School of Public Health and the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. While University officials may be correct that a state free speech law prevents them from uninviting Sarsour, there is no state law requiring UNC departments to co-sponsor Sarsour’s speech. And there is no state law preventing UNC departments from revoking their sponsorships of Linda Sarsour’s speech.

Through prestigious department sponsorships, UNC is publicly embracing Sarsour’s keynote appearance. In fact, UNC’s Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies became a co-sponsor of Sarsour’s speech only about a week ago. The sponsorship came well after Hillel, many local residents and many UNC alumni expressed strong concerns to the university.

To read the complete essay, please click here.

Seven MPs Quit Labour over Party's Failure to Address Anti-Semitism

Seven Labour politicians have quit Britain's main opposition party over leader Jeremy Corbyn's failure to tackle anti-Semitism and his approach to Brexit, the BBC reported Monday. They will sit as a new, independent group of MPs while planning their next steps in the worst Labour split for nearly 40 years.

Luciana Berger, a prominent Jewish MP from Liverpool – who required special police protection at Labour’s 2018 annual conference after she had received threats from members for confronting anti-Semitism in the party – said: “I cannot remain in a party that I have come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally antisemitic.”

Earlier this month, Berger was threatened with deselection from the party over her criticism of Corbyn.

Alongside Berger, Chuka Umunna, Mike Gapes, Ann Coffey, Chris Leslie, Gavin Shuker, and Angela Smith announced they would be breaking away from the Labour Party at a press conference “relating to the future of British politics.”

“It was nearly a year ago that we saw the unprecedented event of a minority community – the Jewish community – taking to Parliament Square to demonstrate against the Labour party,” Berger observed. “And yet since then, despite the mountain of evidence, we have only seen the situation of racism against Jewish people get worse.”

Berger said the party’s leadership had “wilfully and repeatedly failed to address hatred against Jewish people within its ranks,” adding, “I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation.”

Mike Gapes added that he was "sickened that Labour is now perceived by many as a racist, anti-Semitic party,” while Chris Leslie charged that Labour under Corbyn had been "hijacked by the machine politics of the hard left.”

The MPs said they will continue to serve in Parliament under the newly-formed Independent Group.

Read more at The Tower.

Iranian FM Zarif Defends Regime's Abuses Saying, "I am a Human Rights Professor"

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif refused to answer questions about his regime's human rights abuses, indignantly telling an interviewer, "I am a human rights professor," Al Arabiya reported Monday.

The exchange occurred at the Munich Security Conference, when moderator Lyse Doucet of the BBC asked Zarif about Iran's human rights record, including the imprisonment of eight environmentalists.

"I am a human rights professor, I have taught human rights for over 30 years,” Zarif proclaimed to Doucet. He elaborated, saying that Iran saw human rights not only as a "moral nicety," but as a "security requirement" for his regime.

At the end of the exchange, Zarif said, "Let's not take the high moral ground, because you certainly don't have it."

Zarif's defensiveness about Iran's human rights record comes just days after a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) documented that the Islamic Republic had arrested, imprisoned, or executed at least 860 journalists since its founding in 1979.

The foreign minister has frequently defended Iran's record on human rights and other excesses, even when evidence shows otherwise.

In 2015, activists mocked Zarif when he told Charlie Rose in an interview, "We don’t jail people for their opinions. But people who commit crimes, who violate the laws of a country, cannot hide behind being a journalist or being a political activist.”

Zarif was responding to a question about Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian's incarceration. His comment came shortly after RSF reported that Iran was one of the world's biggest jailers of journalists. At the time 46 journalists and Internet activists were reported as jailed by the Islamic Republic after “unfair trials and held in inhuman and degrading conditions.”

Read more at The Tower.

Single of Israeli Pop Stars, Static & Ben El, Premieres in U.S.

The wildly popular Israeli pop duo Static & Ben El released a US single, “Tudo Bom,” following its premiere on Z100’s syndicated radio program “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show.”

The track released by S&B Entertainment Ventures LLC/Caroline, featuring Latin singing star J Balvin performing with the Israeli duo, is available for download or streaming here.

The official video premiered on YouTube February 15.

Static & Ben El’s video for the original 2017 recording of “Tudo Bom” (Portuguese for “everything’s good”) ranks as one of the most-viewed videos in Israeli YouTube history.

Built on a baile (Portuguese dance) funk groove, “Tudo Bom” shows the playful spirit behind Static & Ben El’s creative process.

“I love Brazilian music, so one day we decided to make a Brazilian-inspired song just to get that out of my system,” said Static, the stage name of 28-year-old Leeraz Rousseau. His singing partner Ben El Tavori, 27, is the son of Israeli Mizrahi music star Shimi Tavori.

“I brought the Brazilian vibe with my rapping and Ben El brought the Middle Eastern vibe with his singing, and it all came together just like that,” said Static.

Working with producer Yarden “Jordi” Peleg, the co-vocalists have engaged more people worldwide than any other Israeli band, racking up some 350 million global combined streams and amassing more than a million followers on social media.

ISRAEL21c reported a year ago that Static & Ben El signed a $5 million deal with Capitol Records. They were among the judges on the “Rising Star for Eurovision” competition that wrapped up February 12 with the selection of Kobi Marimi to represent Israel at the May song contest.

Static & Ben El are currently in the United States being introduced to radio and press across the country.

(via Israel21c)

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