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Lawmaker blames Rothschilds for wildfires • GameStop thing inspires anti-Semites • Bernie Sanders gives tzedakah
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Daily Update

Lawmaker blames Rothschilds for wildfires • GameStop thing inspires anti-Semites • Bernie Sanders gives tzedakah

MITTEN DRINNEN: Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) sits in the bleachers at the US Capitol during the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. After the photo became an Internet sensation. Sanders' team raised over $1.8 million for charity. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
MITTEN DRINNEN: Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) sits in the bleachers at the US Capitol during the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. After the photo became an Internet sensation. Sanders' team raised over $1.8 million for charity. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the freshman Republican from Georgia who embraces the QAnon conspiracy theory, also speculated that the Rothschilds financed a space beam to start California’s wild fires.

Jewish space lasers” started trending in Twitter on Thursday after Media Matters for America reported on a 2018 Facebook post by Greene, who has alarmed colleagues with her incendiary social media history. Her post describes a convoluted scheme in which “Rothschild Inc” may have financed a laser satellite to start the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, in order to (stay with us here) lower land prices for a rail project backed by California’s governor.

The Rothschild banking family is often at the center of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In other posts, Greene has lambasted “Zionist supremacists” and advanced the “great replacement” theory, which accuses Jews of conspiring to undermine white-majority countries by bringing in non-white immigrants.

Multiple Democrats are seeking to expel Greene from Congress, citing her expression of conspiracy theories, her accusations that the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were “false flag” operations, and past social media posts threatening violence against lawmakers.

Reactions: Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida said, “Many members of Congress are afraid to be in the building with her.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuked Republican leaders for coddling Greene and appointing her to the House Education Committee. “What could they be thinking?” she asked.

NBC removed a story about a Biden official’s family donations to AIPAC, saying the article did not meet its standards.

The left-wing investigative magazine Mother Jones earlier had reported that a foundation named for Anne Neuberger, the top Biden cybersecurity official, and her husband Yehuda had given more than $500,000 to the pro-Israel lobby. Unnamed officials in the NBC report asked whether Neuberger could be impartial in her dealings with Israel, a major exporter of cybersecurity and surveillance technology.

A number of national Jewish groups, including AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said the stories falsely insinuated that Neuberger, an Orthodox Jew, is not fully loyal to the United States. Mother Jones has not retracted its version of the story.

Related: Right-wing media are challenging the appointment of Maher Bitar, a Palestinian American who is the National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence programs, because he engaged in pro-BDS advocacy more than a decade ago, during and shortly after college.

Reaction: The White House on Thursday blasted the “recent spurious accusations against our staff.”

We don’t really understand the GameStop stock trading story, but we can show you the various Jewish angles.

On Tuesday, the video gaming retailer’s stock price rocketed up over 90% after mostly small-time investors went on an enormous contrarian buying spree. In response, the online trading app Robinhood shut down the trading around GameStop, AMC and other companies in an effort to curb market “volatility.”

Now the Jewish stuff: Anti-Semitic groups are latching onto the moment, noting that Steve Cohen and Gabe Plotkin, two Jewish investors who are also two of the most successful hedge fund chiefs on Wall Street, appeared to have taken a financial hit as a result of the wild trading. Meanwhile, Ryan Cohen, CEO of the pet products company Chewy, is the largest stakeholder in GameStop. You know: “The Jews” profited off the scheme, but also shut it down.

The New York Mets angle: Cohen is the new owner of the Mets, and fans are worried that the financial hit Cohen took might curb his spending on the team. (The Mets’ previous owners, the Wilpon family, took a huge hit in the Bernie Madoff scandal.)

Queens Assemblymember Nily Rozic and New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on Thursday called on the state and city to expand Holocaust education and hate crime awareness in middle and high schools.

Rozic’s legislation, Assembly Bill A472, calls for an audit of how the Holocaust is taught in schools. The two Democrats also urge additional outreach, resources and teacher training to help students identify misinformation.

“The egregious display of anti-Semitism during the attack on our nation’s Capitol and uptick in hate crimes around our city are a wake-up call that we must re-commit to educating our young people on the dangers of prejudice and bigotry,” said Stringer, a mayoral candidate, in a statement.

Bernie Sanders is using his superstar social media status to raise money for charity.

A photo of the Jewish senator from Vermont, showing him at the presidential inauguration ceremony wearing homemade mittens, went viral last week. In response, Sanders’ website sold a variety of merchandise with the image on it, including sweatshirts and mugs, pledging to donate the proceeds to charity.

So far, the site has raised $1.8 million for Meals on Wheels, the culinary training program Feeding Chittenden, the youth development Chill Foundation, senior centers in the state and Bi-State Primary Care for dental care, the Associated Press reports.

Opinion

When President Biden calls for unity, he doesn’t mean unanimity. “Unity and the exercise of political power are not contradictory, as long as leaders and followers, the majority and the minority, have faith that they share a common purpose and a sense of mutual obligation,” writes Jewish Week editor in chief Andrew Silow-Carroll.

Shabbat Shalom

The Song of the Sea, recited this Shabbat, reminds us how poetry captures a moment of clarity and divinity relating to the past, present and future. “The whole Torah is a prose poem,” writes Rabbi Neil Fleischmann, “but the specific song poems that appear in the Torah are concentrated expressions of truth, saying things with broken lines.”

More wisdom: Hospitality means seeing the angel in every human being, writes Rabbi David Wolpe.

Around the Agencies

American Jewish Committee appointed Myra Clark-Siegel as director of AJC Westchester/Fairfield. Clark-Siegel served for over 10 years in Jerusalem and Los Angeles as director of communications and senior strategic counsel for AJC’s Project Interchange. Before joining the AJC staff, Clark-Siegel served as communications director for the National Partnership for Women & Families; vice president of Ruder Finn Israel, and account director at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.

Streaming

Miami Jewish Film Festival presents a screening of “The Tattooed Torah,” followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, Holocaust educators and the narrator, Ed Asner. Based on a children’s book, the film recounts the true story of the rescue and restoration of a small Torah from Brno, Czechoslovakia, and teaches the Holocaust not only as a period of destruction but also as an opportunity for redemption. Tickets are free – the WATCH NOW link will be available online here. Sunday, 2:00 pm.

The Workers Circle will present a Yiddish Schmooze featuring Zalmen Mlotek, the Artistic Director at the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Director of Yiddish Programming Nikolai (Kolya) Borodulin will talk with Mlotek about Yiddish theatre and the work and legacy of his parents, both famed Yiddishists. Register here. Sunday, 2:00 pm.

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