Trump’s anti-Muslim retweets prompt backlash in Washington: ‘The president is racist’

Deputy DNC chair Keith Ellison, Lindsay Graham and Arizona senator Jeff Flake condemn Trump’s tweeting of anti-Muslim videos posted by far-right group

A top Democrat condemned Donald Trump as a “racist” hours after the president retweeted a series of anti-Muslim videos on Wednesday that were posted by the deputy leader of a British far-right group.

Related: Theresa May condemns Trump’s retweets of UK far-right leader’s anti-Muslim videos

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Guardian wins Walkley for film on Bolivian disability rights campaign

Gold Walkley goes to Fairfax’s Michael Bachelard and Kate Geraghty for coverage of Islamic State occupation of Mosul

The Guardian has won a Walkley award for a moving documentary which told the story of people with disabilities in Bolivia who marched across the Andes to the seat of the government in La Paz, asking to speak to the president, Evo Morales.

The film-maker Daniel Fallshaw was awarded a Walkley for best camerawork for the documentary called The Fight at the 62nd annual Walkley awards, which were held in Brisbane on Thursday night.

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In Unprecedented Move, 10 Democratic Senators Write to Israeli Leader Netanyahu and Demand He Halt Demolition of Palestinian Village

In a startling demonstration of support for Palestinian human rights from Capitol Hill, ten Democratic Senators wrote a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday urging him to halt the impending demolition of two Palestinian and Bedouin towns.

Israel has been actively planning the demolition of the West Bank Palestinian village of Susiya for months. Its government claims that the village is not authorized, despite the fact that it is in the occupied West Bank, which is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory.

For the past couple years, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has been a lone voice on the issue, writing directly to Netanyahu to demand he halt the demolition. Feinstein’s efforts have been successful, as Israel has put off Susiya’s demolition multiple times.

But there are reports that Israel will begin demolishing structures in the village within weeks.

On Wednesday, Feinstein finally got some backup. She was joined by nine other Democratic caucus Senators — Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Pat Leahy, Illinois’s Dick Durbin, Delaware’s Tom Carper, Minnesota’s Al Franken, Massachusetts’s Elizabeth Warren, New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich, Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, and Hawaii’s Brian Schatz — in a letter from her office demanding Israel not demolish Susiya and the Bedouin town Khan Al-Amr.

The letter is unusually strong in its description of Israeli government behavior. “Instead of forcibly evicting these communities, we encourage your government to fairly re-evaluate Susiya’s professionally developed master plan and provide the residents of Khan Al-Ahmar equal building rights. Your government’s threats to demolish these communities are particularly distressing in light of the Israeli Civil Administration’s efforts to dramatically expand settlements throughout the West Bank,” it reads.

What makes the letter so remarkable is that there has been traditionally little criticism of Israeli human rights violations from members of Congress. Even some of the progressive senators who signed onto Feinstein’s letter had in the recent past defended Israeli government abuses.

For instance, in 2014, Sanders angrily defended his vote for a resolution backing up Israel’s actions in the Gaza war to a crowd at a Vermont town hall, citing the threat from Hamas to Israel.

But the past few years have also seen an explosion of activism aimed at pressuring Democrats to improve on this issue. After Palestinian American activists were ejected from a Sanders campaign event in Boston in 2015 for carrying banners pressuring the presidential candidate on the issue, the Sanders campaign responded by apologizing. Sanders then went on to tap a top Palestinian American activist — New York’s Linda Sarsour — as a surrogate, and denounced Hillary Clinton’s unwillingness to criticize Israeli treatment of Palestinians at a New York debate. More recently, Sanders met with Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro.

In 2014, Warren more or less repeated Netanyahu talking points about the war in Gaza, simply defending Israel’s right to self defense as the country bombarded civilian infrastructure. She also literally bolted away from a question about Gaza at the liberal Netroots Nation conference.

But shortly after she offered a defense of Israel’s actions during the war, Warren was confronted at a town hall by activists who objected to her pro-Netanyahu stance. A Holocaust survivor asked the senator if she believed Palestinians also had a right to self-defense. Warren softened her tone, said that they did, and said the “direction we ought to be moving is not toward more war.” And more recently, Warren came out against legislation that would criminalize activists who boycott Israel or its settlements.

Lara Friedman, the president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, praised the Feinstein letter both on its merits and the political weight of having so many prominent senators joining on.

“The substance of the letter is terrific and this list of signers makes a tremendous statement,” she said.

But she also insisted that Israel should cease the demolitions not just due to political fallout with the United States, but for moral and legal reasons as well.

“On the Israeli side I hope they would take seriously the fact that, as [Israeli human rights organization] B’tselem has said, moving these people would constitute a war crime. I hope that Israel would take that seriously, separately from senators weighing in. I hope that they would take seriously that taking an action like this is counter to the values of a Jewish democratic state. This just adds to that.”

Top photo: A Palestinian boy walks while backdropped by his home village of Susiya, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, July 24, 2015.

The post In Unprecedented Move, 10 Democratic Senators Write to Israeli Leader Netanyahu and Demand He Halt Demolition of Palestinian Village appeared first on The Intercept.

Today, Trump Made the Most Flagrant Bigots Proud. They See Him as Their Leader. Why Wouldn’t They?

I know it’s hard to keep up, but this morning President Donald Trump did something so dangerous, offensive, and problematic that it must be confronted head-on. In my circles, we are wary of playing what we call the “Oppression Olympics,” where one horrible moment of bigotry gets ranked against the next, but I am forced to say that what Trump did this morning is a low moment for a very low presidency.

As he does most mornings, Trump woke up and began his daily tweet-fest. Each tweet could be legitimately critiqued and dissected. This morning, however, there were three very disturbing retweets that we must confront like our lives depend on it — because for some of us, it does. I truly believe that Trump — who, I remind you, is the president of the United States and has over 44 million followers on Twitter alone — has just endangered millions of people.

Trump has just endangered millions of people. The videos Trump promoted are pieces of hateful, anti-Muslim propaganda.

Trump retweeted several videos from a group called Britain First, a far-right, white supremacist group. The videos Trump promoted are pieces of hateful, anti-Muslim propaganda. One of the videos, purporting to be of a young Muslim immigrant assaulting a young Dutch man, appears to be an absolute hoax. There is no indication that the perpetrator of the attack is a Muslim. As my colleague Rob Mackey wrote, Britain First has a long history of distorting videos and releasing misleading information to promote its hateful cause; the group is a purveyor of bigoted hoaxes.

The more you learn about Britain First, the worse it gets. Jayda Fransen, the group’s deputy leader, is a widely known bigot in the U.K. This is not just my opinion: She has been convicted of a hate crime for brutally harassing a young Muslim mother in front of her children. Ten days ago, she was arrested in Belfast in a separate incident and charged with “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior.”

On Wednesday, Fransen was thrilled with Trump’s retweets, posting an all-caps message about it: “DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA!” she wrote. After thanking Trump, Fransen then went on a tweeting spree, in which she appears to openly accept that the videos were hateful, Islamophobic, and anti-Muslim.

The British reaction gives us an idea of how bad things are. David Lammy, a Labour member of parliament, was outraged. “Trump sharing Britain First,” he tweeted. “Let that sink in. The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours.”

Again: The president of the United States is sharing outrageous hate videos from a convicted hate-monger with the world. Maybe your ability to be disturbed ran out a long time ago, but this is beyond the pale. I have spoken this morning with over a dozen of my closest Muslim friends and colleagues. Without fail, each of them was not only deeply offended by what Trump has done, but they also each felt like the president of the United States just mainstreamed hate and violence against them.

Suddenly a convicted hate leader who most of the world had never heard of feels empowered. She has been amplified and given a platform beyond her wildest dreams. She is now literally thanking God for Donald Trump. Now she is being interviewed by CBS and forced into the American mainstream.

Today, Trump made the most flagrant bigots among us proud. They see him as their leader. Why wouldn’t they?

All of this goes right back to square one with Trump. He had long since targeted Muslims and made an entire religion the focus of his ire. During his campaign, he said, “I think Islam hates us” and threatened to ban all Muslims from coming to the U.S. After entering office, Trump attempted to enact a more limited “Muslim ban,” focusing on only a handful of Muslim countries. With the courts striking down the bans over and over again, Trump has been forced to moderate his policies. But his tweets today prove it is unadulterated hate and Islamophobia that drive him.

Just like he did after Trump’s middling remarks about the violence surrounding a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer, one of America’s leading white supremacists David Duke is again thanking Trump for his actions today. That kind of sums it up. Today, Trump made the most flagrant bigots among us proud. They see him as their leader. Why wouldn’t they?

These hate-mongers are feeling empowered, and so are their followers. Hate crimes are on the rise in the U.S., according to FBI statistics, especially against Muslims. That’s what I mean when I say Trump is putting people in real danger. With Trump promoting the worst anti-Muslim hate, things are steadily getting more and more precarious for our Muslim brothers and sisters in the U.S. and across the world.

I wondered how much worse things could get coming from Donald Trump. Today proves that we’re not even close to rock bottom.

The post Today, Trump Made the Most Flagrant Bigots Proud. They See Him as Their Leader. Why Wouldn’t They? appeared first on The Intercept.

YouTube is testing its own version of Stories

YouTube announced today that it's rolling out the Community tab — a social feature released among a few select creators last year — to all creators with more than 10,000 subscribers. However, it noted that a new video function is in the works as we…