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The Daily TIP: SPLC, Emily's List Distance Themselves from Women's March Amid Anti-Semitism Scandal

Posted by Tip Staff - January 14, 2019

SPLC, Emily's List Distance Themselves from Women's March Amid Anti-Semitism Scandal
Iran Increased Persecution of Christian Minority at Christmas Time
Weapons Experts: Archives Show that Iran was Likely Developing Nuclear Warheads
Israeli Group Buys Section of Endangered Belize Reef to Protect Biodiversity

SPLC, Emily's List Distance Themselves from Women's March Amid Anti-Semitism Scandal

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is the latest organization to distance itself from the Women’s March over allegations of anti-Semitism, as the January 19 annual march is overshadowed by criticism of the leadership’s affiliation with and failure to denounce Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The SPLC has designated the Nation of Islam as a hate group.

The Daily Beast reported on Friday that the SPLC will not partner with the Women’s March this year. A spokeswoman for the group said that “other projects were a priority,” but clarified that SPLC will continue to support marches at the local level in areas where the group is active. Asked whether the co-chairs’ affiliation to Farrakhan played a role in the cancelation, the spokeswoman reiterated that the group had other priorities.

Two years ago, the SPLC released a glowing endorsement of the Women’s March. The group said that “As an official partner of the march, the Southern Poverty Law Center stands in solidarity with its organizers’ vision — that ‘women’s rights are human rights’ — and with the march’s mission to bring together communities ‘insulted, demonized and threatened by the rhetoric of the past election cycle.”

The SPLC added that “through our core issues, we work to protect the rights of the working poor, LGBT, and undocumented immigrant women whom the Women’s March on Washington seeks to unite.”

The Women’s March leaders Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez are under intense pressure from local branches of which several have disbanded, defected or distanced themselves from the national leadership over allegations of racism.

The Daily Beast reported that EMILY’s List, a political action committee that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office, is also absent from the Women’s March list of 2019 partners. Meanwhile, The National Council of Jewish Women told The New York Jewish Week that they would not partner with the organization this year.

Iran Increased Persecution of Christian Minority at Christmas Time

The Islamic Republic of Iran has launched a brutal crackdown on the country’s Christian minority before and after Christmas, Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reported for Fox News on Saturday.

Weinthal cited a report by the Iranian group Alliance for Rights of All Minorities, which said on December 30 that “nine Christians were arrested in Karaj, Iran on alleged charges of affiliation with Christian Zionists and recruitment of Muslims to home churches. The arrests are also based on fears that this group intends to harm Iran and insult Iran.”

Open Doors UK, a Christian human rights organization, noted that just weeks earlier the Iranian regime had unleashed another crackdown on practicing Christians that resulted in the incarceration of more than 100 people. The campaign of intimidation was meant to prevent Christians from spreading their faith during the Christmas period the group said.

Non-Muslims in Iran are prohibited from publicly expressing their religious affiliation, and any attempt to convert a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death. The right to choose, change, or leave one’s religion is considered apostasy and also carries the death penalty.

“The Iranian regime has long persecuted Christians, Baha’is and other religious minorities. The recent uptick in repression, specifically targeting Christians and Christian converts, is alarming and unacceptable," Sen. Marco Rubio (R - Fla.) told Fox News. "The U.S. must continue to raise the cases of individual political prisoners and pressure the Iranian regime to end its gross human rights and religious freedom violations.”

Despite Christians being protected by the Iranian constitution as a recognized minority, Iranian security services regularly raid church services, arrest worshippers, and confiscate religious symbols and literature. Since 2010, approximately 550 Christians have been arbitrarily arrested because of their religious beliefs and activities. Over 90 are currently lingering in prison on trumped-up charges. Human rights organizations have stated that Christian prisoners are subjected to severe beatings, sexual assault, and torture.

Weapons Experts: Archives Show that Iran was Likely Developing Nuclear Warheads

Documents in the Iranian nuclear archive captured by Israel last year show that Iran built an underground facility, which was likely used for the development of nuclear warheads, a paper published Friday by the Institute for Science and International Security charged.

The paper — written by David Albright, a former weapons inspector and president of the institute; Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Frank Pabian, a former inspector for the IAEA; and Andrea Stricker, a senior policy analyst at the institute — reports the Iranian documents show that under the Amad Plan there was a project for designing the warhead for a nuclear weapon.

The Amad Plan is Iran's nuclear weapons research program. After 2003, it was restructured and parts of it were made covert. One project associated with Amad was called Project 110. Under Project 110 was the Shahid Boroujerdi project.

The documents in the archive show that Iran built an underground tunnel at the Parchin military site to accommodate the secret research of the Shahid Boroujerdi project.

"The purpose of Project Shahid Boroujerdi was most likely the production and fabrication of uranium metal components for nuclear warheads," the paper asserted. "Although uranium is not directly mentioned in any of the documents available to the Institute, the most logical choice of materials to be handled in this facility is uranium."

"Overall," the paper assessed, "this site’s location and layout would connotate a production-scale facility rather than a research and development facility." The files Israel recovered from Iran didn't document all of the equipment in the facility or the expected annual production of weapons-grade uranium the facility could produce. However, the paper estimated — albeit "with a high degree of uncertainty" — that the facility could produce enough enriched uranium for 2.5 to 3.3 nuclear weapons annually.

Israeli Group Buys Section of Endangered Belize Reef to Protect Biodiversity

The Turneffe Atoll on the Caribbean island of Belize is the largest and most biologically diverse coral reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Destructive and unsustainable development have damaged or destroyed Turneffe’s coral reef, backreef flats, seagrasses, and mangrove forests, according to the Turneffe Atoll Trust (TAT).

But hope is on the horizon, thanks to a $30,000 crowdfunding campaign by the Israeli-led international nonprofit organization This is My Earth (TiME).

According to TiME founder and CEO Prof. Uri Shanas, a conservation biologist at the University of Haifa-Oranim, the funds will enable TAT to buy and protect a five-acre strategic parcel of the Turneffe Atoll and ensure there will be no development on what Shanas calls “an amazingly beautiful spot.”

TiME donors, who can contribute as little as $1 annually toward purchasing and protecting land in biodiversity hotspots, vote online to determine which targeted projects will receive the crowdfunds. At the end of each year, TiME allocates donations according to the voting results.

With the funds raised in 2016 and 2017, “we have purchased two parcels in the upper Amazon and they are protected areas now. Hundreds of kids and adults from all over the world but mostly from Israel have participated in this successful story,” Shanas tells ISRAEL21c.

He explains that habitat loss is the main driver of species extinction. Tropical forests, home to two-thirds of the world’s biodiversity, are fast disappearing due to urbanization, climate change, deforestation, and commercial exploitation – in the case of Turneffe, a hotel project.

All lands acquired by New York-based TiME are given to indigenous peoples working in collaboration with local conservation organizations to protect the land.

Shanas also reports that TiME’s educational program in English, Hebrew and Arabic is becoming popular in schools.

“Kids learn with the TiME program about conservation, geography, language and social sciences, and discuss issues such as democracy, equity, responsibility and activism,” he says.

(via Israel21c)

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