SPECIAL TASKFORCE TO DEAL WITH CONTINUING VIOLENCE AND HATE CRIMES TARGETING JEWS URGED BY SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER
LOS ANGELES -- Against the backdrop of continuing hate crimes targeting Jews, including violence and vandalism in Chicago and neo-Nazi marches in Florida, the Simon Wiesenthal Center met with top FBI officials from the counterterrorism and criminal divisions at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC.
Center officials urged the immediate creation of a special FBI Taskforce Against Anti-Semitism and the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance - IHRA definition of anti-Semitism by federal law enforcement.
During the meeting, as well as another with a senior official of Homeland Security, the SWC offered to expand its Tools for Tolerance® training to focus on the varied strains of anti-Semitism currently manifesting in the US, in Europe and on social media.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center will update you on these and other incidents in the days and weeks to come. Please support our work so we can continue fighting anti-Semitism and hate in the US and around the world.
MORE THAN A THOUSAND PETITIONERS TO USC: FIX UNFAIR DOUBLE STANDARD WHEN IT COMES TO ANTI-ZIONIST HARASSMENT
Nearly 1,500 petitioners recently demanded the University of Southern California (USC) fix the loophole that permits discrimination and harassment of pro-Israel students to continue to go unaddressed. Specifically, they want USC to expand its harassment policies to protect all students, not just some.
“[T]here is a strong sense among students, faculty and members of the Jewish community that had a USC graduate student’s social media messages threatening to kill Zionists and cursing Jews been directed, instead, against another minority, the University would have responded far more promptly and vigorously to such threatening verbal harassment,” wrote the 1,444 petitioners. “We believe that the source of this unacceptable double standard is USC’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation. Although it states at the outset that ‘all members of the university community should pursue their work, education and engagement in University programs and activities in a safe environment,’ the policy only guarantees a ‘safe environment, free from discrimination and harassment’ to some students and not all students.”
“My friend’s daughter had to leave USC because she couldn't deal with the harassment and threats because she was Jewish and supported Israel,” shared one of the petitioners in the comments section.
"As an independent college consultant, I work with highly qualified students, many of whom are drawn to USC's programs, but repelled by the anti-Zionist sentiment that is so freely expressed on campus. They fear for their safety,” wrote another.
“As a student who applied in the recent application cycle for Fall 2022, I fell in love with USC from my first visit to the campus and knew that I wanted to go there - but it would be greatly disappointing if a university as respected and admired as USC didn't stand for the protection of ALL students. I urge you to ensure that Jewish and Zionist students are treated fairly and equally,” added another.
The issue is coming to light after an uproar over the university’s failure to adequately respond to virulently anti-Semitic and threatening tweets from a USC graduate student. The petitioners would like USC to use this moment to amend USC harassment policies so they protect pro-Israel students and all students from harassment that puts their safety at risk, curtails their free speech and inhibits their participation in campus life.
The petitioners cite two main areas where USC’s harassment policies neglect pro-Israel students. First, students are only protected from harassment if they fall into certain protected identity groups, which Zionist students do not. And the second involves the unequal treatment of students when it comes to freedom of speech and academic freedom. While USC emphasizes its commitment to freedom of expression, when verbal harassment is directed at certain groups, it is no longer considered free speech and will be subject to punishment. Pro-Israel students, again, are not afforded such protection and are left vulnerable to the harmful impact of verbal harassment.
Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA’s director, called this a “double whammy” for pro-Israel students, in a recent Jewish Journal article. “Not only are their harassers afforded free speech protection that is, in effect, license to continue verbally harassing them, but their own freedom of speech and academic freedom are diminished by the harassment.”
To address this gaping inequality, the petitions urged the Advisory Committee to expand the school’s harassment policy to apply the same stringent standard of protection from harassment prescribed by federal and state law to all USC students, not just those who fall into a protected group. “Every student deserves equal protection from harassing behavior that threatens their safety, squashes their self-expression and prevents them from fully participating in campus life, irrespective of their identity or the motivation of their harasser,” noted the petitioners.
AMCHA monitors more than 450 college campuses across the U.S. for anti-Semitic activity. The organization has recorded more than 4,500 anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses since 2015. Its daily Anti-Semitism Tracker, organized by state and university, can be viewed here.
AMCHA Initiative is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism at colleges and universities in the United States.
PUBLIC HEALTH CONTINUES TO STRONGLY RECOMMEND MASKING INDOORS IN PUBLIC SETTINGS TO PROTECT THOSE AT ELEVATED RISK
531 New Positive Cases Reported on Sunday, 1,144 New Positive Cases Reported Today, and 43 New Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County for Sunday and Today
With updated masking guidance now in effect in LA County, Public Health continues to strongly recommend wearing masks indoors in public settings, particularly if you, or someone you live with, is at elevated risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Masks are still required while indoors at all schools until March 12, when masking indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, staff, teachers, and visitors will be strongly recommended. Masks are also required at all healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities, correctional and detention facilities, shelters, and on public transit.
While any mask is better than no mask, it is important to recognize that well-fitting respirators provide the most protection, especially for those at elevated risk. Respirators such as a N95, KN95 and KF94 are designed to filter out very small particles, with N95 and KN95 respirators filtering at least 95% of airborne particles and KF94s filtering at least 94%. Respirators that fit well and provide a tight seal on the face provide more protection than a cloth mask or a medical mask. They may be less comfortable because they fit more tightly. When choosing a respirator, residents should consider how well it fits and read the manufacturer instructions on how to wear, store, and clean or properly dispose of the respirator.
While well-fitting medical masks, also called surgical masks, provide less protection than respirators, they are better than cloth masks. The best medical masks have a nose wire and at least three layers of non-woven or spun bound fabric and melt-blown fabric, which are often made of polypropylene. Cloth masks without a filter or layer of synthetic non-woven material provide the least amount of protection.
At all sites where masking indoors is no longer mandatory, employers are required to offer, for voluntary use, medical grade masks and respirators to employees working indoors in close contact with other workers, customers and/or members of the public.
Note that Public Health may also require masking at businesses or worksites during an outbreak, as masking, along with other mitigation strategies, are effective in slowing outbreaks. For the week ending March 5, there were a total of 78 active outbreaks across non-healthcare, non-residential, non-educational settings in L.A. County. That represents a 45% decrease when compared to the week ending on February 26.
Worksites are required to report clusters of three or more cases within 14 days to Public Health as part of a broader strategy to ensure workplace safety and protect employees. Worksites can report a cluster to DPH online or by phone at (888) 397-3993.
Workers who are concerned about possible COVID-19 or other workplace safety concerns, or that an employer may not be following the County Health Officer Order or other requirement, have several options for filing a complaint. To file a complaint with Public Health, which can be submitted anonymously, workers can call our Environmental Health Customer Call Center at (888) 700-9995 or by clicking on the “Report a Problem” at www.ph.lacounty.gov/eh. To file a complaint with Cal/OSHA about employee safety, workplace safety, or hazardous conditions, workers can call (833) 579-0927 or email the local Cal/OSHA Enforcement Office that serves the location of the job site.
“I send my heartfelt condolences and wishes of healing to the countless people who have lost a loved one to this pandemic,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Although masking is not required, both the state and our Public Health Department are strongly recommending masking, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public spaces. And those who are at elevated risk, or who live with someone who is at elevated risk, should wear a well-fitting respirator, as they provide the best protection against COVID-19. COVID related illness can be quite dangerous for many, since even those initially experiencing relatively mild illness can go on to develop long COVID. Taking sensible precautions remains the best way to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
Today, Public Health confirmed 43 additional deaths, 531 cases on Sunday and 1,144 new cases being reported today. Of the 43 new deaths reported for Sunday and today, two people were between the ages of 30-49, 12 were between the ages of 50-64, 12 were between the ages of 65-79, and 17 were aged 80 years or older. Of the 43 newly reported deaths, 35 had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 31,046.
Public Health has reported a total of 2,805,119 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 1.0%.
There are 731 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 11,488,400 individuals, with 22% of people testing positive.
DID YOU SEE FEUER’S PERFORMANCE FROM THE FIRST TELEVISED DEBATE?
LOS ANGELES -- Wondering where you can see Mike in conversation next? On March 15, Tuesday, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Feuer will appear at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall 2022 Mayoral Series in A conversation with Dan Schnur, USC, UC-Berkeley, Pepperdine, Politics Professor, at the Ebell of Los Angeles. The full video from the first live debate as here, click this link.
It is official! With the help of over 50 volunteers from San Pedro to Silver Lake to the northern Valley, Feuer's team collected enough signatures to put us on the Primary Ballot in June. The lifeblood of our campaign is volunteers and Feuer said they could not have done this without community support from every corner of the city. He extended a sincere thank you to our superstar volunteers.
Now that Feuer is officially on the ballot, his campaign to voters across L.A has officially begun. All the best!
SWC: US MUST CUT OFF ALL DIPLOMATIC COOPERATION WITH PUTIN
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged President Biden to immediately cut off all diplomatic cooperation with Russia on the Iranian nuclear negotiations and climate change and to recall the US Ambassador from Moscow.
“It is incomprehensible that while millions of innocent Ukrainians are cowering in bomb shelters and subways when its government and institutions are being targeted for destruction, that the US State Department can still believe it can be diplomatic business as usual with Vladimir Putin’s regime. There can be no diplomatic niceties with Russia while its invading troops murder, maim, and displace, innocent Ukrainians,” declared Rabbi Marvin Hier, CEO and Founder and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action of the SWC.
“Serious sanctions are an important component of responding to Putin’s invasion, but those moves to isolate Russia are mocked by making believe that anyone can still trust any statement made by his foreign minister or his diplomatic representatives.”
“Were he alive today, our namesake, Nazi Hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, who was born near Lviv, and who emerged after World War II as the conscience of the Holocaust, would be leading the demand for the world’s democracies, led by the United States, to act decisively against the unprovoked attack by a superpower against a peaceful neighbor,” they added.
DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE IS MARCH 31, 2022
LOS ANGELES, CA - The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor recently unanimously approved a motion authored by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis, First District, and co-authored by Sheila Kuehl, Third District, on increasing participation in the State's emergency rental assistance program.
On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 was signed into law. ARPA established the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA 2), and authorized the direct allocation of funds to states, the District of Columbia, units of local government, territories, and high-need grantees. On June 28, 2021, the State of California adopted AB-832, establishing a State administered rental assistance program to manage ERA 2 funding on behalf of participating jurisdictions. On November 2, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a motion authorizing the County to participate in the State's Rental Assistance Program for ERA 2 and notified the Treasury of the Board’s intent to have the State of California administer the ERA 2 program funds on behalf of the County. The emergency rental assistance programs provide relief for low-income tenants with rent and utility arrears between the months of April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2022.
“I am thankful to Governor Newsom and his administration for rolling out a successful program which has been very effective in distributing critical rental assistance to our most vulnerable in the County," said Supervisor Solis. "However, it is disheartening to still see very low participation of tenants and landlords in hard-hit communities like East LA and parts in the San Gabriel Valley, which indicates that more work needs to be done to increase participation. With over 66,000 unhoused residents, tackling our housing and homelessness crisis remains the County’s number one priority. If you’re in need of rental assistance, I urge you to please visit stayhousedla.org or call 1-888-694-0040 as soon as possible."
As of February 15, 2022, the online “dashboard” for the state-administered rental assistance program indicated that 234,869 applications had been received from Los Angeles County. However, data suggests that many eligible tenants and landlords in the County have not yet applied for assistance. For example, the Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey suggests that there may be hundreds of thousands of additional households with rent debt that are likely eligible for ERAP but have not applied. Furthermore, few of the County’s 1.1 million low-income rental households have applied for prospective rental assistance.
“The state announced last week that it would stop accepting applications for its COVID rental assistance program at the end of March, so we are putting our pedal to the metal to make sure that every eligible LA County resident has a chance to submit an application," said Supervisor Kuehl. "There are potentially tens of thousands of eligible renters who have not yet applied for assistance and we have to reach them in the next few weeks so they can get the assistance they need to help them rebound from the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.”
The motion approved today directs the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) and the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) to immediately expand and supplement current outreach and awareness efforts to increase participation in the emergency rental assistance programs by March 31, 2022 deadline. The motion additionally directs LACDA and DCBA, working with community partners, to bolster existing efforts to ensure that tenants have one-on-one assistance with completing emergency rental assistance applications that are submitted prior to the March 31 deadline. Furthermore, the motion authorizes LACDA and DCBA to supplement current expenditures with whatever funds are necessary to achieve the goals outlined in the motion.
L.A. COUNTY HOMELESS INITIATIVE UNVEILS $556.4M DRAFT
BUDGET FOR FY 2022-23
As part of its continuing budget process, the Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative publicly released a preliminary draft spending plan of $556.4 million for fiscal year 2022-2023.
The amount represents a 5.5% increase over the $527.1 million approved for the current fiscal year, and includes $465.6 million raised through Measure H, a 1/4 cent sales tax approved by County voters in 2017 to fund a 10-year campaign against homelessness.
Homeless Initiative Executive Director Cheri Todoroff hosted a public webinar with officials from several County Departments, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and the Los Angeles County Development Authority to provide a detailed briefing on the draft funding recommendations and to address questions from the community.
Los Angeles County residents are invited to submit written comments online from now through May 10 and attend a March 9 virtual public hearing to provide verbal comments. The public feedback will help inform the final funding recommendations that will be presented to the Board of Supervisors in May.
UCLA TO HOST “REMEMBERING POSSIBILITY”
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA will host “Memory and Photography in Liquid Time,” on Thursday, March 10 at 4 p.m. in 314 Royce Hall, UCLA Campus. This is an in-person event that is open to the public.
The event will feature Marianne Hirsch (Columbia University) with Michael Rothberg (UCLA) Etta. This event is a Milton Leve Scholar-in-Residence Lecture, and hosted by the 1939 Society Lecture in Holocaust Studies
This discussion will consider how the vulnerable times of the Covid-19 pandemic prompt a rethinking of trauma and memory studies, and of their temporalities. Scholars and artists involved in memory studies have displaced the linear time of progress with the recursive temporalities of traumatic return. How has the enlarged and suspended present we are living now, and our ever more uncertain and delayed future, prompted us to rethink earlier painful histories and their after-effects? This talk will consider several recent post-Holocaust photo-based art projects that allow us to theorize the “liquid time” of possibility and repair.
Note: Masking is required for all indoor UCLA Organized Events. Non-UCLA community members attending the event must show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative COVID test (within last 24 hours) upon entry. UCLA affiliates (e.g., faculty, staff and students) attending an indoor or outdoor Organized Event must show their UCLA COVID-19 Symptom Monitoring Clearance Certificate showing “cleared for events and venues." Details of UCLA's COVID protocols can be found here.
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