Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin did not mince words at the news of an Old Dominion town’s art and music festival canceling a Hanukkah menorah lighting.
On Sunday, LoveLight Placemaking, the nonprofit that runs Williamsburg, Virginia’s 2nd Sundays Art and Music Festival, canceled a scheduled menorah lighting featuring a local rabbi, citing Israel’s war against the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
“Singling out the Jewish community by canceling this Hanukkah celebration is absurd and antisemitic,” Youngkin tweeted on Monday.
WHITE HOUSE, PENNSYLVANIA OFFICIALS DENOUNCE ANTI-ISRAEL RESTAURANT PROTEST: ‘BLATANT ACT OF ANTISEMITISM’
“The event organizers should immediately reconsider their actions and move forward with the menorah lighting,” the governor continued.
Fox News Digital reached out to LoveLight Placemaking for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
The festival’s founder, Shirley Vermillion, told local press the menorah lighting was canceled because it “seemed very inappropriate” amid Israel’s war with the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas sparked by the deadly surprise terror attacks on Oct. 7.
“The concern is of folks feeling like we are siding with a group over the other… not a direction we ever decide to head,” Vermillion said, adding that Christian and other religious groups were denied performances.
In response to the surprise cancellation, the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula – which organized the Hanukkah menorah lighting – released a statement saying they are “shocked and alarmed” at the decision to pull the event.
“Yet, appallingly, the event organizer claimed that a Chanukah celebration would send a message that the festival was ‘supporting the killing/bombing of thousands of men, women, and children’ – and even went a step further, by offering to reinstate the event if it was done under a banner calling for a cease-fire.”
“We should be very clear: it is antisemitic to hold Jews collectively responsible for Israel’s policies and actions, and to require a political litmus test for Jews’ participation in community events that have nothing to do with Israel,” they continued. “Those standards would never be applied to another community.”
The organization noted that since “October 7th, we have repeatedly seen cases of Jewish people and institutions – including synagogues, Jewish homes and businesses – being targeted, sometimes violently, by those opposed to Israel or its actions.”
“At a time of well-documented, rising antisemitism, the singling out and targeting of Jews is dangerous and harmful, serving to further exclude and alienate our community,” they wrote.
The holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish people continuing to practice their religion in secret as the ancient Seleucid Empire religiously persecuted them, leading to the Maccabean Revolt.
The dreidel game – where people celebrating Hanukkah spin a four-sided top while betting chocolate coins, or gelt – is a direct link to that time.
The persecuted Jews would pretend to be gambling when the imperial soldiers would come by before resuming religious services.
The Hanukkah cancellation comes amid an uptick in antisemitism in America.
Sunday night saw anti-Israel protesters in Philadelphia stop outside of Goldie Falafel, a Jewish and Israeli-owned restaurant in the city.
“Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” the protesters chanted at the falafel restaurant.
The White House and Pennsylvania officials, including Democrat Gov. Josh Shapiro – who is Jewish – denounced the protest as a “blatant act of antisemitism.”
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Former Tennessee deputy gets 70 months for role in Jan. 6 riot
- Former Williamson County Sheriff’s Deputy Ronald McAbee has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
- McAbee pleaded guilty to two counts, one of which was a felony assault charge, for dragging one police officer during the riot and punching another.
- “I wish they were here so I can tell them I’m sorry,” McAbee said of the officers he assaulted, before being sentenced.
A man who was employed as a Tennessee sheriff’s deputy when he assaulted police officers protecting the U.S. Capitol from a mob of Donald Trump supporters was sentenced on Thursday to nearly six years in prison.
Ronald Colton McAbee wore a bulletproof vest with two patches — one that said “SHERIFF” and another bearing an insignia for the Three Percenters militia movement — when he stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. 2021.
During a melee on the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace, McAbee dragged an officer away from a police line and punched another officer who tried to stop him.
MONTANA MAN CONVICTED OF 2 FELONIES, 4 MISDEMEANORS IN JAN. 6 CAPITOL BREACH
McAbee said he never intended to “strike fear or be part of the chaos” on Jan. 6. Neither officer assaulted by McAbee attended his sentencing.
“I wish they were here so I can tell them I’m sorry,” McAbee said before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras sentenced him to five years and 10 months behind bars.
“I take attacks on law enforcement very, very seriously, as I suspect you did before that day,” the judge told McAbee.
McAbee will get credit for the two years and seven months that he already has served in jail since his arrest.
Prosecutors recommended sentencing McAbee to 12 years and seven months in prison. Only six Jan. 6 riot defendants have received a longer prison sentence than that.
McAbee expressed condolences to the families of rioters and police officers who died on Jan. 6 and the days that followed. Minutes before assaulting an officer, he performed CPR on Rosanne Boyland, a Georgia woman in the mob who died during the riot.
“I’m sorry for all the families that lost someone,” McAbee said.
But the judge noted that McAbee appeared to be proud of his violent “exploits” on Jan. 6. A day after the riot, McAbee smiled and held a newspaper with the headline “INSURRECTION” as he posed for a photograph with a friend, prosecutors said.
“Notably, he did not mention anything about Ms. Boyland or attempting to help her,” Contreras said.
McAbee pleaded guilty to two counts, including a felony assault charge, before a federal jury convicted him of five other counts after a trial last year.
McAbee was on medical leave from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee when he and a friend drove to Washington, D.C., and attended then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House on Jan. 6.
McAbee wore brass knuckle gloves and a shirt bearing a Three Percenters emblem and slogans. Three Percenters refers to the myth that only 3% of Americans fought in the Revolutionary War against the British.
After watching rioters clash with police outside the Capitol, McAbee joined the fray near a tunnel leading to an entrance on the Lower West Terrace. Metropolitan Police Department officer Andrew Wayte was on his back on the ground when McAbee grabbed one of his legs and dragged him away from his fellow officers.
“When other officers attempted to assist their fallen colleagues, McAbee interfered with their efforts, cursing at them and striking one of them,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
McAbee then lifted the officer up by his torso, causing him to cry out in pain before they slid together down a set of steps. He pinned the officer down for more than 25 seconds as other rioters attacked him and fired pepper spray at his face.
Defense attorney Benjamin Schiffelbein said McAbee was trying to alert police when he “briefly moved” Officer Wayte and pointed at Boyland’s body.
“Mr. McAbee placed himself in an impossible situation: stand and watch as a woman lay dying in front of officers who did not notice her, or to try to help her,” Schiffelbein wrote in a court filing.
A medical examiner’s office later determined that Boyland died from acute amphetamine intoxication.
After his attacks on police, McAbee “sought camaraderie and favor” from other officers still fighting off the mob.
“Can I get in?” he asked, tapping the “sheriff” patch on his vest. “I can’t go back that way, man.”
Two men charged with McAbee were also convicted of assaulting Officer Wayte, whose injuries prevented him from returning to work for months. Justin Jersey, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison. The other, Clayton Ray Mullins, was sentenced to two years and six months of imprisonment.
McAbee previously served as a deputy for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia before leaving in November 2020 to join the sheriff’s office in Tennessee. McAbee worked for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office until March 23, 2021, according to prosecutors.
More than 1,300 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Over 800 of them have been sentenced, with roughly two-thirds receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from a few days to 22 years.
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ICE says Georgia murder suspect's brother was previously arrested, but detainers were ignored
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Thursday the brother of the suspect charged with the murder of Georgia student Laken Riley was arrested multiple times in Athens, Georgia, in 2023, but its requests to take him into custody were ignored.
Diego Ibarra, a Venezuelan national, was arrested last week and charged with green card fraud.
His younger brother, Jose, is charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another in the homicide of Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student.
LAKEN RILEY MURDER SUSPECT’S BROTHER FIRED FROM UGA DINING HALL JOB AFTER PRESENTING FAKE GREEN CARD
Jose Ibarra is accused of killing Riley while she was jogging along a popular pedestrian loop around Lake Herrick on the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens Feb. 22. The two brothers from Venezuela were living in the United States illegally. ICE confirmed Jose’s illegal status earlier this week.
In a statement Thursday, ICE said Diego Ibarra had first entered the U.S. April 3, 2023, near Eagle Pass, Texas, but was removed via the COVID-era Title 42 process. He reentered April 30 and was enrolled into “Alternatives to Detention,” by which migrants are monitored via GPS tracking when released.
BROTHER OF UGA MURDER SUSPECT CHARGED WITH GREEN CARD FRAUD
He was released May 12, 2023, but by May 25 was judged to have bolted from the program after abnormalities with his GPS tracking device. Enrollees can be tracked in a number of ways, including a bracelet or a cell phone app. Last year, the administration pushed for a reduction in ICE detention beds and more funding for ATD but is now pushing for more detention beds.
The ICE statement said he has several arrests in Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, but that ICE detainers — requests that ICE be notified when an illegal immigrant is being released for a transfer to ICE custody — were not honored.
The Athens-Clarke County Police Department told Fox News Digital it is not responsible for ICE notifications and does not have access to immigration status. It said that is instead handled by the Clarke County jail and directed Fox to the Clarke County Sheriff’s office, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why the detainers were not honored.
The revelation comes a day after Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz repeatedly rejected the characterization Athens is a “sanctuary” city.
“There’s been no legislation from this government that’s created sanctuary city status,” he said.
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Fox reported this week that Diego Ibarra was fired from the University of Georgia after it was discovered he presented a fake green card to work at the school’s dining hall.
“Diego Ibarra presented a fake green card to the hiring unit to begin a temporary position as a dishwasher in Bolton Dining Hall at the University of Georgia on Feb. 6, 2024,” UGA spokesperson Greg Trevor told Fox News Digital in a statement.
Diego then failed to “submit further documentation required to keep the job and was never paid by the university” before he was “fired,” Trevor added.
The White House on Wednesday issued a statement to Fox News Digital calling on local governments to work with ICE on deporting violent criminals.
“We welcome local law enforcement’s support and cooperation in apprehending and removing individuals who pose a risk to national security or public safety,” a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Wednesday in response to a question about its stance on sanctuary cities.
“When a local jurisdiction has information about an individual who could pose a threat to public safety, we want them to share that information with ICE.
“Just since May 12, DHS has removed or returned more than 565,000 individuals, the vast majority of whom crossed the southwest border. (The) 565,000 removals and returns is more than every full fiscal year since 2013.”
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.
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Stephen A. Smith scolds Biden for pushing ‘racial tropes’ after fried chicken dinner with Black family
Stephen A. Smith scolded President Biden for recently sharing a fried chicken dinner with a Black family, saying it wasn’t “the greatest look” and admitting former President Trump would have been deemed racist for doing the same thing.
Earlier this month, President Biden joined a Black family in North Carolina at their home to eat with a man named Eric and his two sons. In a YouTube video posted by the president’s campaign, they picked up food from Cook Out, a popular chain known for burgers, BBQ and chicken. Biden told the kids he got them chicken fingers, and said he ordered a hamburger for himself, but the optics of fried chicken on the table irked the ESPN host.
“First of all, we all know about racial tropes, do we not? Racist tropes. You ever heard of that? Where people sit up there and try to use things to intimate something else of a racially insensitive nature. So Black folks with the president and fried chicken ain’t the greatest look,” Smith said Wednesday on “The Stephen A. Smith Show.”
ESPN’S STEPHEN A. SMITH RAILS AGAINST ‘$53 MILLION PILOT PROGRAM FOR ILLEGALS,’ PREDICTS TRUMP VICTORY
While ESPN has made attempts to stay away from politics, the network allows Smith to discuss anything he wants on his, and he used the platform to also criticize Biden’s decision to eat unhealthy foods.
“What the hell are you doing eating fried chicken? You’re 81,” Smith said.
“What 81-year-old you know is munching on fried chicken? You ain’t been in the greatest health in a lot of people’s eyes, you know, so eating some fried chicken ain’t the greatest look,” he continued, before making a third point.
“That is the kind of scene, that is the kind of imagery you and your team decided to provide? Really? Really? Sitting down eating fried chicken, come on man,” Smith said. “This is the same dude who was a senator in the 90s pushing the crime bill. You know, that crime bill that led to mass incarceration for an inordinate amount of Black folks.”
Smith added Trump would be criticized as racist if he recorded a similar video and posted it online.
STEPHEN A SMITH FIRES BACK AT LEBRON JAMES OVER MEDIA COVERAGE OF JOEL EMBIID INJURY: ‘TELL THE FACTS’
“If we’re being fair, if we saw Donald Trump sitting down in a Black household, eating fried chicken with a father and a son, what would we say? You know folks out there would be calling it racist,” Smith said. “Well, if it’s racist for him, and I’m not saying it would be, but if it’s racist for him, why wouldn’t it be racist for Biden?”
Smith then made it clear he was not calling Biden racist, but simply making a point.
“You’ve given people that ammunition,” he said.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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