Shorts: U.S.

Finkelstein speech draws protesters

Protesters demonstrated an appearance by Norman Finkelstein, a controversial author and political scientist, on Dec. 11 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Jewish students and community members stood outside the lecture’s venue waving American and Israeli flags. Signs read “Teaching hate will not lead to peace” and “Stop the hate at Case.” The university also received phone calls and e-mails requesting that the program be more balanced, according to Dani Horwitz, who organized the protests under the auspices of Betar of Cleveland.

The Hallinan Project for Peace and Social Justice at CWRU, a university organization, sponsored Finkelstein’s appearance.

In his 2000 book “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering,” Finkelstein accuses Jews of using the Holocaust to justify Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and to extort money from Germany. He is the son of Holocaust survivors. — jta

N.J. store won’t make ‘Adolf Hitler’ cake

A New Jersey supermarket refused to print the full name of a 3-year-old boy named Adolf Hitler on a birthday cake.

The boy’s parents, Heath and Deborah Campbell, are upset that a ShopRite in Greenwich Township, N.J., would not print the name and are accusing the store of being intolerant, the Associated Press reported Dec. 17.

“They need to accept a name. A name’s a name,” said Heath Campbell, who eventually purchased the cake at a Wal-Mart in nearby Pennsylvania. “The kid isn’t going to grow up and do what [Hitler] did.”

Twelve people showed up to Adolf’s birthday party, including several children of mixed race, the AP reported.

“If we’re so racist, then why would I have them come into my home?” Heath Campbell asked.

The couple has two other children: 1-year-old JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, who will be 1 in April. — jta

ADL joins YouTube’s hate-speech battle

The Anti-Defamation League announced Dec. 14 it has officially partnered with YouTube in an effort to combat hate speech and other forms of abuse.

As the largest Web-video hub, YouTube relies primarily on its users to hunt down and delete inappropriate content, or to ban abusive members. While the extent of the ADL’s role in that process is not yet known, the organization has already made a place for itself in YouTube’s new “Abuse and Safety Center,” where users are given advice directly from the ADL on how to confront hate speech.

Hate speech can be more difficult to codify than pornographic or violent content. Many news organizations and media watchdogs use YouTube to dump raw footage, some of which prominently depicts hate speech from countries around the world. While these groups use the footage for educational or reporting purposes, much of it is provided on YouTube without explanation.

For example, it is an open question whether a video of an Iranian professor proclaiming the cartoon Tom and Jerry to be a Jewish conspiracy would be subject to removal, even though it was uploaded by the non-partisan Middle East Media Research Institute. —

Nevada inmate wins kosher ruling

A federal appeals court has handed a victory to a Jewish convert fighting for kosher food in a Nevada prison. In its Dec. 2 ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court must determine the sincerity of Lawrence Seville Parks’ religious beliefs if the trial is to move forward, the Associated Press reported.

Parks has claimed that his constitutional rights were violated because he was initially refused kosher food at Ely State Prison in Nevada on the grounds that he couldn’t show a “hereditary connection” to Judaism or deep understanding of the religion. Parks is a black convert. In September, prison officials began providing Parks with kosher food after he reportedly lost about 45 pounds. The appeals court ruling also determined that his claim for damages isn’t erased because he is now receiving the food. — jta