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Rutgers prez denies university apologized for condemning anti-Semitism

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Rutgers prez denies university apologized for condemning anti-Semitism

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway tried to clean up a PR nightmare for the school this weekend after its chancellor and provost denounced a rise in anti-Semitic attacks, then apologized for failing to “communicate support for our Palestinian community members.”

In a statement issued Saturday titled “On Hatred and Bigotry,” Holloway said the university “deplores hatred and bigotry in all forms. We have not, nor would we ever, apologize for standing against anti-Semitism.

“Neither hatred nor bigotry has a place at Rutgers, nor should they have a place anywhere in the world,” Holloway continued. “At Rutgers we believe that anti-Semitism, anti-Hinduism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism, intolerance and xenophobia are unacceptable wherever and whenever they occur.”

The furor began on Wednesday when Chancellor Christopher Molloy and Provost Francine Conway jointly denounced “the sharp rise in hostile sentiments and anti-Semitic violence in the United States” in a statement that also referenced the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, attacks targeting Asian-Americans, and “targeted oppression and other assaults against Hindus and Muslims.”

“This recent resurgence of anti-Semitism demands that we again call out and denounce acts of hate and prejudice against members of the Jewish community and any other targeted and oppressed groups on our campus and in our community,” they said.

On Thursday, after the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine issued a lengthy denunciation of Molloy and Conway’s original statement, the officials issued a second statement, titled “An Apology.”

“As we grow in our personal and institutional understanding, we will take the lesson learned here to heart, and pledge our commitment to doing better,” Molloy and Conway wrote. “We will work to regain your trust, and make sure that our communications going forward are much more sensitive and balanced.”

The second statement was panned by the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter as well as Jewish and pro-Israel commentators — and even Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)

Both statements from Molloy and Conway were deleted from the “Communications” section of the chancellor’s website and replaced with Holloway’s Saturday statement.

On Sunday, Rutgers Hillel issued a statement welcoming Holloway’s message as “an important first step in rebuilding the trust which is essential and desired by all.”

However, the group added that the university “has an established pattern of minimizing antisemitism.”

“The University seems unable to recognize that Jews are a vulnerable minority and that anti-Jewish prejudice is real,” the statement said.

“This repeated erasure of Jewish concerns and identity is painful and bewildering to every member of the Rutgers Jewish community … Rutgers Hillel calls upon the University administration to acknowledge the pain it has caused the Jewish community, and to sit down with us and together forge a new path towards true diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

In a phone interview with the Post Sunday night, Rabbi Yosef Carlebach, the executive director of Rutgers University Chabad House, characterized Rutgers as “a tremendous place for Jewish life” and home to a “thriving, happy Jewish population.”

Carlebach, who has been part of the Rutgers community since 1978, thought university officials had “made a big mistake” with the scope of their statements.

The rabbi said that rather than trying to address recent incidents of anti-Semitism on and around campus — including physical attacks on people who outwardly appear Jewish and the egging of a fraternity house during a Holocaust remembrance event last month — university officials “tried to enter the domain of woke politics.”

“In trying to be everything to everybody,” Carlebach explained, “they turned out to be nothing.”

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Miami Beach building collapse

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Miami Beach building collapse

More than 80 fire rescue units are responding to a partial building collapse this morning just north of Miami Beach and rescues are underway, officials said.

It was a high-rise condominium building and rescues of trapped residents were underway, reports CBS Miami.

A boy was pulled from the rubble of the collapsed condo building and was placed onto a stretcher, NBC 2 News reports.

According to CBS Miami, a man who was evacuated from a nearby hotel said, “The building – one of these huge buildings – gone! … The building – it’s gone. … The whole building’s gone. … Oh my gosh. This is the most insane thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

It’s unclear if there are any injuries. Miami Beach police and fire departments are responding to the building in Surfside. 

Multiple police and fire departments from across Miami-Dade County are also assisting.

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Man sentenced to a year in prison for buying endangered animal parts

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Man sentenced to a year in prison for buying endangered animal parts

A Florida man was sentenced to prison last week for buying parts of dead endangered animals.

Steven Phillip Griffin II, 36, was sentenced to a year and day in a federal lockup after pleading guilty in November to receiving and transporting endangered species in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Griffin was busted after he met undercover wildlife agents in Texas in May 2019 to buy two Southern White rhino horns, four elephant ivory tusks, one African lion skull and three leopard skulls for $9,750, investigators said.

In the two years leading up to the meeting, Griffin communicated with an undercover agent to negotiate the deal, according to the plea agreement.

He told the agent he collects dead animal parts, including skulls and full skeletons and even sent pictures of his collection.

After the meeting, authorities operating with a search warrant seized a variety of animal parts, guns and ammunition from Griffin’s Tampa Bay home.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing firearms and ammunition as a convicted felon.

With Post wires

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Man arrested for taking $1.2M yacht on joyride in upstate NY

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Man arrested for taking $1.2M yacht on joyride in upstate NY

A man was arrested after he stole a $1.2 million yacht and took it for a joy ride from upstate New York to Vermont over one of the Great Lakes, reports said.

And when 56-year-old Robert Morris was busted by police he made the outrageous claim he was only giving it a test drive, according to local reports.

The would-be captain took the 48-foot yacht christened “Volans” from New York’s Rouses Point Marina on Monday morning and was caught after crossing Lake Champlain to a state park off the coast of St. Albans, Vt., WCAX reported.

The boat, a Jeanneau Prestige 500, was located by a US Border Patrol helicopter, NBC 5 reported. Morris was nabbed on Burton Island by the St. Albans Police Department and slapped with multiple charges, including possession of stolen property, the station said.

At a court hearing the day after his arrest, Smith was talkative and said he “was water testing the boat after making mechanical fixes,” WCAX said.

Morris was a wanted fugitive in New Hampshire and had a list of prior arrests, according to WCAX. He had also told cops he was given permission to take the boat and said he was caught bringing the yacht back to its owner, which the owner denies, WCAX said.

The accused, who made an “inappropriate gesture” to the webcam as he left the meeting, will undergo a competency exam, the station reported.

Morris is to be extradited to New York to face additional charges, the report said.

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