Non-Jewish spouses of Israeli gays can get nationality

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/13/non-jewish-spouses-of-israeli-gays-can-get-nationality/

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Non-Jewish spouses of Israeli homosexuals can now obtain citizenship under an interior ministry decision applicable since Tuesday.

“The same-sex partner of a person eligible for the law of return, and who does not live in Israel, may also become Israeli,” a ministry statement said, adding that the ruling applies only to married same-sex couples.

Under the law of return, any Jew has the right to ask for, and to be granted, Israeli citizenship.

That right also extends to the partner of the applicant, but had previously been granted only to heterosexual couples.

“Israel’s doors are now open to any Jew and his family, without discrimination based on lifestyle,” Interior Minister Gideon Saar said in a statement.

The Jewish state is considered a trailblazer in the promotion of and respect for gay rights, especially in terms of adoption for same-sex couples.

However, civil marriage does not exist in Israel, where the solemnisation of marriage is entirely controlled by the state rabbinate, and homosexual unions are not in themselves recognised.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/13/non-jewish-spouses-of-israeli-gays-can-get-nationality/

Women Stoned To Death In Syria For Adultery

Tell me again how wonderful Islam is.

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/09/women-stoned-adultery-syria_n_5664828.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

By Bassem Mroue
08/09/2014

BEIRUT (AP) — A cleric read the verdict before the truck came and dumped a large pile of stones near the municipal garden. Jihadi fighters then brought in the woman, clad head to toe in black, and put her in a small hole in the ground. When residents gathered, the fighters told them to carry out the sentence: Stoning to death for the alleged adulteress.

None in the crowd stepped forward, said a witness to the event in a northern Syrian city. So the jihadi fighters, mostly foreign extremists, did it themselves, pelting Faddah Ahmad with stones until her body was dragged away.

“Even when she was hit with stones she did not scream or move,” said an opposition activist who said he witnessed the stoning near the football stadium and the Bajaa garden in the city of Raqqa, the main Syrian stronghold of the Islamic State group.

The July 18 stoning was the second in a span of 24 hours. A day earlier, 26-year-old Shamseh Abdullah was killed in a similar way in the nearby town of Tabqa by Islamic State fighters. Both were accused of having sex outside marriage.

The killings were the first of their kind in rebel-held northern Syria, where jihadis from the Islamic State group have seized large swaths of territory, terrorizing residents with their strict interpretation of Islamic law, including beheadings and cutting off the hands of thieves. The jihadis recently tied a 14-year-old boy to a cross-like structure and left him for several hours in the scorching summer sun before bringing him down — punishment for not fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The group has also brutalized Shiite Muslims and others whom it views as apostates. In neighboring Iraq, Islamic State militants have driven members of the Yazidi religious minority out of a string of towns and villages. Thousands of the fleeing Yazidis have been stranded on a mountaintop for days, a humanitarian crisis that prompted the U.S. to airlift aid to them this week.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/09/women-stoned-adultery-syria_n_5664828.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Antisemitism on rise across Europe ‘in worst times since the Nazis’

From The Guardian UK: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/07/antisemitism-rise-europe-worst-since-nazis

Experts say attacks go beyond Israel-Palestinian conflict as hate crimes strike fear into Jewish communities


The Guardian, Thursday 7 August 2014

In the space of just one week last month, according to Crif, the umbrella group for France’s Jewish organisations, eight synagogues were attacked. One, in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, was firebombed by a 400-strong mob. A kosher supermarket and pharmacy were smashed and looted; the crowd’s chants and banners included “Death to Jews” and “Slit Jews’ throats”. That same weekend, in the Barbes neighbourhood of the capital, stone-throwing protesters burned Israeli flags: “Israhell”, read one banner.

In Germany last month, molotov cocktails were lobbed into the Bergische synagogue in Wuppertal – previously destroyed on Kristallnacht – and a Berlin imam, Abu Bilal Ismail, called on Allah to “destroy the Zionist Jews … Count them and kill them, to the very last one.” Bottles were thrown through the window of an antisemitism campaigner in Frankfurt; an elderly Jewish man was beaten up at a pro-Israel rally in Hamburg; an Orthodox Jewish teenager punched in the face in Berlin. In several cities, chants at pro-Palestinian protests compared Israel’s actions to the Holocaust; other notable slogans included: “Jew, coward pig, come out and fight alone,” and “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas.”

Across Europe, the conflict in Gaza is breathing new life into some very old, and very ugly, demons. This is not unusual; police and Jewish civil rights organisations have long observed a noticeable spike in antisemitic incidents each time the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares. During the three weeks of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009, France recorded 66 antisemitic incidents, including attacks on Jewish-owned restaurants and synagogues and a sharp increase in anti-Jewish graffiti.But according to academics and Jewish leaders, this time it is different. More than simply a reaction to the conflict, they say, the threats, hate speech and violent attacks feel like the expression of a much deeper and more widespread antisemitism, fuelled by a wide range of factors, that has been growing now for more than a decade.

“These are the worst times since the Nazi era,” Dieter Graumann, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told the Guardian. “On the streets, you hear things like ‘the Jews should be gassed’, ‘the Jews should be burned’ – we haven’t had that in Germany for decades. Anyone saying those slogans isn’t criticising Israeli politics, it’s just pure hatred against Jews: nothing else. And it’s not just a German phenomenon. It’s an outbreak of hatred against Jews so intense that it’s very clear indeed.”

Roger Cukierman, president of France’s Crif, said French Jews were “anguished” about an anti-Jewish backlash that goes far beyond even strongly felt political and humanitarian opposition to the current fighting: “They are not screaming ‘Death to the Israelis’ on the streets of Paris,” Cukierman said last month. “They are screaming ‘Death to Jews’.” Crif’s vice-president Yonathan Arfi said he “utterly rejected” the view that the latest increase in antisemitic incidents was down to events in Gaza. “They have laid bare something far more profound,” he said.

Nor is it just Europe’s Jewish leaders who are alarmed. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called the recent incidents “an attack on freedom and tolerance and our democratic state”. The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has spoken of “intolerable” and clearly antisemitic acts: “To attack a Jew because he is a Jew is to attack France. To attack a synagogue and a kosher grocery store is quite simply antisemitism and racism”.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/07/antisemitism-rise-europe-worst-since-nazis

TERF War: The New Yorker’s One-Sided Article Undermines Transgender Identity

From Bitch Magazine: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/terf-war-the-new-yorkers-one-sided-article-undermines-transgender-identity

by Leela Ginelle
August 1, 2014

Reading Michelle Goldberg’s recent New Yorker article “What is a Woman? The Dispute Between Radical Feminism and Transgenderism” made me feel sick.

The article is meant to paint a clear picture of a longstanding debate within feminist groups about whether transgender women should be accepted as women, profiling several feminists and exploring the history of current discussions about the push to exclude transgender women from “women only” spaces. But in the process, it paints trans identity as suspect, does nothing to counter the hurtful misconception that trans women are either “men” exercising entitled “male privilege” in deeming themselves female or sexual fetishists acting out “erotic compulsions,” and holds up authors who’ve written book-length academic works delineating these ideas as noble, aggrieved scholars.

While this may sound like speculative fiction set in a world where trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) theories have conquered queer and gender studies communities, it’s not. Instead, it’s something more disheartening: a one-sided profile that’s sympathetic to writers and activists who’ve spent their careers working to marginalize and persecute the already-oppressed transgender community.

Trans-exclusionary radical feminists posit that transgender women can never be considered women. At their worst, they argue that transgender women are malicious in their deceit, aiming to infiltrate female-only spaces with the goal of harassing or raping other women. These are the feminists who campaign against gender-neutral bathrooms and support the exclusion of transgender women from other women-only spaces.

In the article, it feels like Goldberg personally has a low opinion of social justice activists—that’s the view presented in her other recent article “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars.” One of the biggest problems in the New Yorker piece is that Goldberg presents trans people’s self-definitions as opinions: “Trans women say that they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies.” TERF’s views are presented the same way, following the previous statement with this one, “Radical feminists reject the notion of a ‘female brain.’ They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential.”

Reading this passage, one might think TERFs and trans people have a philosophical or semantic debate. Trans people’s identities, for which they and their allies are waging a worldwide human rights campaign to define as legally legitimate—backed by decades of medical and psychological data—and TERFs’ hateful academic theories carry equal weight and import. If those two sides were balanced in the piece, readers might walk away with a shoulder shrug, “Who knows whether trans identity is legitimate or not?” The title of the piece certainly encourages this confusion, making it a question as to whether transgender women should be seen as women.

But the piece isn’t even balanced. In a response to Goldberg’s piece published on Autostraddle, Mari Brighe noted that Goldberg cited 14 radical feminists, quoting nine and including two quotes from books. In contrast, she quoted only four trans women, including no quotes from books;  two of her trans sources actually support radical feminist viewpoints. Likewise, Goldberg quotes TERFs misgendering trans women repeatedly, never mentioning that trans women find such language dehumanizing and hurtful. “Sadly, what she presents is a disturbingly one-sided view of the situation that relies on heavily anecdotal evidence, uncited claims and debunked theories, and ignores the extended campaign of harassment and attack that the trans community has endured at the hands of radical feminists,” writes Brighe.

Continue reading at:  http://bitchmagazine.org/post/terf-war-the-new-yorkers-one-sided-article-undermines-transgender-identity

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Predatory Lending (HBO)

Christo-Nazi Nut Job Bryan Fischer agrees with ISIL: Iraqi Yazidis are “devil worshipers”

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A Trans Woman on Saving MichFest

Why?

The Michigan Women’s Music Festival hasn’t been relevant in over 30 years.

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kayley-whalen/a-trans-woman-on-saving-michfest_b_5653291.html

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