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The Daily TIP: Did UNC Promote Sarsour Talk by Using Photo of Berlin's Holocaust Memorial?

Posted by Tip Staff - February 22, 2019

Did UNC Promote Sarsour Talk by Using Photo of Berlin's Holocaust Memorial?
U.S. Begins Global Campaign to Decriminalize Homosexuality after Iran’s Execution of Gay Man
Macron Tells Jewish Community that France Will Adopt IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism
Israel Launches Initiative to Get More Women Leading Tech Startups

Did UNC Promote Sarsour Talk by Using Photo of Berlin's Holocaust Memorial?

As I recently reported in the Tower, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) is hosting their Minority Health Conference on February 22, featuring keynote speaker Linda Sarsour. The American-Palestinian activist is known for her hostility towards Israel, having said “nothing is creepier than Zionism” and advising Muslims not to “humanize” Israelis.

Community members are now concerned that the UNC-CH Minority Health Conference may have exploited the Holocaust by using what appears to be a picture of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial to promote the conference on social media. A number of Jewish community members confidently informed me that the image in question, posted to Facebook by the Minority Health Conference on February 19, is of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial.

Michael Abramson, Chairman of the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust, a state agency organized under the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, said, "The Holocaust or any Holocaust Memorial commemorating the Holocaust, should not be used as an advertising tool to promote a political event. When an organization invites Linda Sarsour to speak, the organization is opening itself to politicizing its conference."

A UNC-CH graduate student remarked, “The conference organizers seem to have a definite fixation on Jews and the topic of Israel. One would expect an academic conference on public health to focus on public health.”

I contacted conference organizers and UNC officials to verify the source of the picture and to ask why the picture was being used to promote the Minority Health Conference. Within 90 minutes of my inquiry, the post was deleted. A UNC spokesperson later responded, “That was an unfortunate and regrettable mistake made by a student conference volunteer. The image has since been removed and replaced.”

To read the complete essay, please click here.

U.S. Begins Global Campaign to Decriminalize Homosexuality after Iran’s Execution of Gay Man

The Trump administration has kickstarted a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality in dozens of countries following the reported hanging of a young gay man in Iran, Benjamin Weinthal wrote in The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The initiative is aimed in part at denouncing the Islamic Republic over its abysmal human rights record.

Iran publicly hanged a 31-year-old man in the southwestern city of Kazeroon on January 10 after finding him guilty of violating the country’s draconian anti-gay laws. A court said he had engaged in “lavat-e be onf,” sexual intercourse between two men, which carries the death penalty.

Gay sex has been illegal in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks dispatch, Iran's regime executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians since the mullah’s rise to power.

On Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in Berlin hosted LGBT activists from across Europe for a strategy dinner to coordinate a push for decriminalization in places that still outlaw homosexuality, specifically in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean, NBC News reported.

“It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct,” a U.S. official told the network.

The initiative is spearheaded by United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-placed openly gay person in the Trump administration. Grenell has long been an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime and a champion of international gay rights.

The ambassador recently described the hanging of the young Iranian man as “a wake-up call for anyone who supports basic human rights,” in an article published in BILD, Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper.

Read more at The Tower.

Macron Tells Jewish Community that France Will Adopt IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism

In a major address on Wednesday night, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism to combat rising levels of anti-Jewish hate, Ben Cohen reported in The Algemeiner.

Speaking at the annual dinner of the French Jewish umbrella group CRIF, Macron said: “For the first time in many years, antisemitism is killing people again in France.” He vowed that, in response, the country would “draw new red lines.”

The French president also equated anti-Zionism — the belief that Jews have no right to an independent state in any part of their ancestral homeland — with anti-Semitism. “We must name the evil: antisemitism is hiding behind the mask of anti-Zionism,” he explained.

Macron observed that concern over rising levels of anti-Semitism across the continent had, in the recent past, generated “too much indignation, too many words, not enough results.”

“The time has come for acts,” he said.

French authorities revealed last week that the number of anti-Semitic acts in the country soared in 2018, jumping a whopping 74% compared to the previous year. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner decried the “poison” of hate that is seeping into French society as he revealed that the total number of recorded anti-Semitic acts, which rose from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018.

In his remarks to the audience, CRIF president Francis Kalifat noted that “in 2018 as in previous years, French Jews were insulted, harassed, threatened, robbed, assaulted or beaten because they were Jews.”

Kalifat previously voiced his frustration over a lack of action to combat anti-Semitism in France.

“Our hope is to see this definition integrated into French law. Today, the main vector for antisemitism is anti-Zionism and this definition states clearly that anti-Zionism isn’t just criticism against Israel,” he added.

Read more at The Tower.

Israel Launches Initiative to Get More Women Leading Tech Startups

In Israel, only 8 percent of startups are led by women. And while that’s not very different from the rest of the world, it does imply that Startup Nation isn’t actually that nationwide.

In response, the Israel Innovation Authority, the government body in charge of supporting research and development in Israel, will launch a designated incentive program for female-led startup initiatives.

The goal of the grant program is to minimize the gender gap in Israel’s high-tech ecosystem by helping women entrepreneurs meet basic challenges such as funding and networking with potential investors.

According to the IIA, the program seeks to incorporate women in the high-tech industry and increase their contribution to the growth and prosperity of the economy in general and the high-tech industry in particular.

In 2017-2018, the percentage of applications submitted by female entrepreneurs to the IIA’s Early Stage Incentive Program was only about 10% of total applications. With the new initiative, the IIA hopes to double the number of women it supports within two years.

Under the incentive program, women-led startups will be eligible for research and development grants of up to 75% of the company’s R&D funding in the first year of the program, and 70% of funding in the second year, with a budget cap of up to ₪2.5 million in the first year and ₪4.5 million in the second year.

In addition, the IIA plans on opening a dedicated support program for women to enable access to all the support tools available through the organization.

(via Israel21c)

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