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Trump won’t condemn white supremacists, Columbia students vote for BDS, Netanyahu warns of Hezbollah arms stash
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Daily Update

Trump won’t condemn white supremacists, Columbia students vote for BDS, Netanyahu warns of Hezbollah arms stash

Former US Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump clashed during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29, 2020. (Jim Watson, Saul Loeb AFP via Getty Images)
Former US Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump clashed during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29, 2020. (Jim Watson, Saul Loeb AFP via Getty Images)

Students at Columbia College passed a first-ever referendum to boycott and divest from companies that “profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s acts towards Palestinians,” The Jewish Week learned.

According to results we published Tuesday, the student body vote was 1,081 for, 485 votes against, and 205 abstentions.

University president Lee C. Bollinger quickly released a statement Tuesday morning saying that questions about divestment of endowment funds are not decided by referendum, and that the university “should not change its investment policies on the basis of particular views about a complex policy issue, especially when there is no consensus across the University community about that issue.”

In the first presidential debate, President Trump would not explicitly condemn white supremacists when challenged by the moderator.

“Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups, and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence?” Chris Wallace, the Fox News Channel moderator asked the president at the debate Tuesday at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“I’m willing to do that,” Trump said, before immediately pivoting to say, “I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right.” Further pressed by Wallace, the president did not offer a specific condemnation of white supremacy, instead remarking that the far-right group Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by.”

During the same round of questioning in the debate, Biden condemned the president for saying that there were “very fine people on both sides” during a weekend of white supremacist rallies and counter protests in Charlottesville , Va., in 2017.

After the debate, the Trump campaign’s Twitter account posted a thread pointing out that Trump said “Sure” when asked whether he would condemn white supremacy.

Reactions: The Anti-Defamation League’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, tweeted: “POTUS owes America an apology or an explanation.” Former Republican senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said on CNN last night that Wallace “was asking the president to do something he knows the president doesn’t like to do, which is [to] say something bad about people who support him.”

Background: Read a primer on the Proud Boys, a group that has allied with white supremacists. After Trump’s comments, members of the group celebrated on line.

Hezbollah is keeping a secret arms depot in a residential neighborhood in Beirut, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

In a videotaped message to the meeting, the Israeli leader used slides to show the missile factory on a map and in a photo on the ground. The slide with a photo of what he said was the entrance to the factory in the Lebanese capital’s Janah neighborhood included its coordinates.

Netanyahu also said he would be willing to negotiate with the Palestinians on the basis of the Trump peace plan.

Outraged Israelis went to court to block Knesset legislation curtailing public protests during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The new legislation gives the government the power to ban traveling over one kilometer (0.6 miles) from home to attend a protest, and to limit outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 20 people, effectively stifling large weekly demonstrations outside Prime Minister Netanyahu’s official residence, the Times of Israel reports.

A petition filed by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel, a watchdog group, says that the new law hamstrings “one of the fundamental rights in a democracy.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid a visit Monday to the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, Greece, whose members paused Yom Kippur services to welcome the diplomat.

The visit by Pompeo and his wife Susan lasted about 20 minutes, during which the Pompeos were given a tour of the small Thessaloniki Jewish museum. Community members were at first hesitant to interrupt the holy day, but said the high-profile visit would help them in efforts to gain greater recognition of their community’s Holocaust tragedy. JTA reports.

Opinion

Can you be friends with someone whose political views you reject? The Jewish Week’s editor in chief, Andrew Silow-Carroll, writes that politics reflect a person’s values, and that on certain existential issues it would be “moral surrender” to befriend a person who threatens your own most deeply held beliefs.

Sukkot

Sukkot, which begins Friday night, is a time for all Jews to recall the wanderings of the ancient Israelites in the desert those 40 long years. It is also the time for many Jewish men to visit a hardware store for perhaps the first and only time all year, writes The Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt. “Each sukkah, by design, is intended to convey the delicate balance between protection and vulnerability, encouraging us to recognize our ultimate reliance on God’s shelter,” he writes.

Streaming Today

American Sephardi Federation presents Chef Hélène Jawhara-Piñer in a cooking demonstration, “Beans, Chicken, and Brown Nougat,” that combines her fascination with food studies and flair for creating delicious cuisine. Tickets are $4.99 and support Chef Hélène’s forthcoming publications and the ASF’s Institute of Jewish Experience. Register here. 10:00 am.

The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University, in partnership with the Historical Society of Israel, and the International Association of Historical Societies for the Study of Jewish History, presents an exploration of the etrog, or citron, and what it can reveal to us about larger historical trends. With presentations by Joshua Teplitsky, associate professor of History, Stony Brook University; Debra Kaplan, associate professor, Department of Jewish History and director of the Halpern Center for the Study of Jewish Self-Perception, Bar-Ilan University; Alexander Kaye, assistant professor of Israel Studies, Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University; Zev Eleff, associate professor of Jewish History, Touro College and University System; and Christine Hayes, Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale University. 12:00 pm.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev presents a screening and discussion of “Ben-Gurion, Epilogue,” an award-winning documentary that brings to life David Ben-Gurion’s introspective soul-searching and provides a prescient vision for today’s crucial decisions and the future of Israel. Featuring Yariv Mozer, director, and Dr. Adi Portughies, head of the Ben-Gurion Archives at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism. 12:00 pm.

Book Mavens presents author Nessa Rapoport in conversation with Tom Teicholz, discussing her new novel, “Evening.” In crystalline prose, “Evening” delves into the paradoxes of love, ambition, siblings and the way the past continues to inflect the present, sometimes against our will. Rapoport is the author of a novel, “Preparing for Sabbath,” and a collection of prose poems, “A Woman’s Book of Grieving,” as well as the travel memoir “House on the River.” She lives in New York with her husband, artist Tobi Kahn. 8:00 pm.

Join the Jewish Week and UJA-Federation of New York on Oct. 13, 12:30 pm for a conversation with A.B. Yehoshua, one of Israel’s finest novelists, and Stuart Schoffman, the translator of Yehoshua’s new novel, “The Tunnel.” Recently named an “Editor’s Choice” by The New York Times Book Review, “The Tunnel” is a suspenseful and poignant story of a family coping with the sudden mental decline of their beloved husband. Moderated by Sandee Brawarsky, culture editor of The Jewish Week. Free to UJA donors, $18 for new donors. Register here.

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