Anti-semitism and New York

Feeling reminded of the following quote from the New York Times article Is It Safe to Be Jewish in New York?:

If anti-Semitism bypasses consideration as a serious problem in New York, it is to some extent because it refuses to conform to an easy narrative with a single ideological enemy. During the past 22 months, not one person caught or identified as the aggressor in an anti-Semitic hate crime has been associated with a far right-wing group, Mark Molinari, commanding officer of the police department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, told me.

Wonder if that latter claim is still the case after the most recent mass shooting targeting a Kosher deli in that vicinity. Was seeing various tweets like this in the parts of Twitter that I see which seem to hint at this being Trump-inspired. Who committed this latest attack though? Seems to have been someone affiliated with the Black Hebrew Israelites. If that name rings a bell here's where I suspect you last heard of them:

In January, a video of a confrontation involving students from Covington Catholic High School in northern Kentucky at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington went viral, appearing to show the students yelling at a Native American activist.

The students later said they had been responding to a group of Hebrew Israelites, and further video footage showed the group had begun screaming invective at them and the activist.

After the conflagration, some of the Hebrew Israelites involved described it as a win, for elevating the fringe group to the national stage.

Wonder how much new coverage of this will highlight any of the complexity there, and the relative risk of being the victim of a hate crime. Going back to that first New York Times article:

Contrary to what are surely the prevailing assumptions, anti-Semitic incidents have constituted half of all hate crimes in New York this year, according to the Police Department. To put that figure in context, there have been four times as many crimes motivated by bias against Jews — 142 in all — as there have against blacks. Hate crimes against Jews have outnumbered hate crimes targeted at transgender people by a factor of 20.

The New York Times has previously noted that "many of the assailants arrested by the police have been young men of color", amongst them a Democratic volunteer "working on initiatives to combat hate crime, sexual assault and domestic violence" who was prominent enough to have been profiled in the New York Times.

The best conclusion to me is perhaps the following:

More random links

The truth about cats' and dogs' environmental impact
"Okin says he found that cats and dogs are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. If Americans' 163 million Fidos and Felixes comprised a separate country, their fluffy nation would rank fifth in global meat consumption"
Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle: Evidence from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident
"We estimate that the increase in mortality from higher electricity prices outnumbers the mortality from the accident itself, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production has contributed to more deaths than the accident itself."
Igbo Excellence on Twitter
"I noticed African Architecture isn’t really showcased compared to Asian, European, Middle Eastern and Indian. So here is a thread of African Architectural styles."

Random links

The Orbital Index
"since light travels faster in a vacuum than in glass, satellite links could provide better latency than terrestrial fiber for distances greater than ~3,000 km."
We Are Living in Historic Times. Or Are We?
"Danto suggests that history’s arc is essentially unpredictable. Even the wisest people will have no idea whether a current event is a world-changer. Is that claim correct? A research team, led by Joseph Risi at Microsoft Research, recently tried to test that question. The answer is: Not quite, but pretty close."
Propagation of Error: Approving Citations to Problematic Research
"Using data from over 3,000 retracted articles and over 74,000 citations to these articles, we find that at least 31.2% of the citations to retracted articles happen a year after they have been retracted. And that 91.4% of the postretraction citations are approving—note no concern with the cited article. ... Data suggest that problematic research was approvingly cited more frequently after the problem was publicized.'

Protesting in Lebanon

This seems to me one of the more interesting protests going on around the planet at the moment:

I remember bumping into this in history class. You have, e.g., the Ottoman-era millet system which set different legal codes for those officially affiliated with particular regions, and then there's the current approach in Lebanese politics:

Lebanon’s power-sharing system based on 18 recognized religious sects dates back to French colonial rule, allocating posts for each of the country’s communities and forming the basis of its major political parties.

An illustration of what this looks like (courtesy Wikipedia since I couldn't quite remember what the exact allocations were):

The 1943 National Pact, an unwritten agreement that established the political foundations of modern Lebanon, allocated political power on an essentially confessional system based on the 1932 census. Seats in parliament were divided on a 6-to-5 ratio of Christians to Muslims, until 1990 when the ratio changed to half and half. Positions in the government bureaucracy are allocated on a similar basis. The pact also by custom allocated public offices along religious lines, with the top three positions in the ruling "troika" distributed as follows:

  • The President, a Maronite Christian.
  • The Speaker of the Parliament, a Shi'a Muslim.
  • The Prime Minister, a Sunni Muslim.

The lesser the extent to which you can guess what group someone falls into the easier it seems likely to change. The Lebanese case in a way is anti-identity-politics but doesn't quite map to more-commonly-discussed instances of the same.


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