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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘study’

The Bombings, Part II: De Blasio, Obama, And Cuomo: A Study In Contrasts

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

The reactions of New York mayor Bill de Blasio, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, and President Obama are also revealing. The president and the mayor, as true progressives, strove mightily to avoid using the “terror“ word – no doubt fearing that someone might, Heaven forbid, make a Muslim connection.

The identity and background of the arrested suspect show just how off the mark their approach was. To his credit, Gov. Cuomo told it like it was right out of the box.

“A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” the governor said soon after the news broke of the Manhattan attack.

And while Mr. Cuomo initially hesitated to speculate on a foreign connection, once the identity of the suspect was made known, he was quick to say that “today’s information suggests it may be foreign related.”

(In retrospect, how could it have been otherwise? After all, it was immediately known that explosives were placed in a pressure cooker with shrapnel and that there had been an earlier bombing in New Jersey.)

But Mayor de Blasio was not having any of that, and instead refused to acknowledge what everyone knew to be the case: that terrorism was in play. He said:


Here is what we know: it was intentional, it was a violent act, it was certainly a criminal act, it was a bombing – that’s what we know…. To understand there were any specific motivations, political motivations, and connection to an organization – that’s what we don’t know.


But nobody asked him to ascribe specific motivations. Surely he had a duty to assure New Yorkers that he had some handle on the scope of the dangers they faced. And to what would he ascribe the explosions – run of the mill vandalism? Yet it wasn’t until Monday, after the identity of a prime suspect went viral, that the mayor first broached the notion that the bombings may indeed have been terrorist acts.

As for the progressive-in-chief, 72 hours after the Saturday bombings President Obama had yet to utter the word “terrorist” in reference to them – despite the Islamist allegiance of the alleged perpetrator.

Indeed, as if to underscore his refusal to accept, even now, any overarching Muslim connection, the president, who arrived in New York on Sunday for the annual UN General Assembly, declined to accord any special significance to the bombings by passing without stopping at the site of the Chelsea bombing.

At least we can say kudos to Gov. Cuomo.

Editorial Board

Study: Children of Parents Who Were Babies in the Holocaust More Prone to schizophrenia

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Results of a new study at the University of Haifa have shown no difference in the risk of developing schizophrenia between second-generation Holocaust survivors and those whose parents were not exposed to the Holocaust. However, an examination of various sub-groups showed that second-generation survivors whose parents were babies during the Holocaust are at higher risk of suffering from a more severe course of schizophrenia.

“Likely these are transmitted from the parental environment to the child,” Prof. Stephen Levine, the lead author of the study, commented. The study was undertaken by Levine and Prof. Itzhak Levav of the Department of Community Mental Health at the University of Haifa, together with Inna Pugachova, Rinat Yoffe and Yifat Becher from Israel’s Ministry of Health. The study, published in Schizophrenia Research, was based on information on 51,233 individuals who immigrated to Israel through 1966, and was made possible thanks to the cooperation of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health, with funds from Israel Science Foundation.

The study’s population included individuals who experienced the Holocaust directly, while the comparison group was comprised of individuals who immigrated to Israel before the Holocaust began in their countries of origin. All the second-generation subjects were born between 1948 and 1989, and were followed through 2014 to ascertain whether or not they suffered from schizophrenia.

The question of the impact of exposure to the Holocaust among second-generation survivors is the subject of disagreement among researchers. Clinical-based studies have found that trauma increases psychopathology in the offspring of Holocaust survivors, while community based studies have found that there is no such effect among adults, as noted by Levav and collaborators in two large representative samples in Israel.

The researchers sought to examine whether parental Holocaust exposure is associated with schizophrenia among second-generation survivors. The good news is that the association was not significant.

However, a more specific inquiry showed that offspring of mothers with Holocaust exposure in the womb only were 1.7 times more likely to have a more severe course of the disorder. Similarly, offspring of mothers exposed to the Holocaust in the womb and thereafter were 1.5 more likely to have a more severe course than persons not exposed. Offspring of fathers exposed in the womb and thereafter were 1.5 times more likely, and those whose fathers had been exposed at ages 1–2 had offspring whose risk of having a worse course of the disorder was higher than persons not exposed.

Transgenerational genocide exposure was unrelated to the risk of schizophrenia in the offspring, but was related to a course of deterioration in schizophrenia during selected parental critical periods of early life. This implies an epigenetic mechanism – namely arising from environmental influences on the way genes expressed themselves. The findings inform health policy decision makers about refugees who suffered from extreme adversity, and extend existing results regarding the transgenerational transfer of the effects of famine and stress in parental early life.


‘What’s Changed about Being Jewish in Scotland?’ Fear, Study Finds

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities recently issued the final draft of a report titled, “What’s Changed About Being Jewish in Scotland,” the catalyst for which was the huge spike in anti-Semitic incidents in August 2014 (the time of the Gaza War), when SCoJeC received almost as many reports in a single month as in the entire previous year:

“The large increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Scotland during the third quarter of 2014 following the war in Gaza came as an unwelcome shock, not only to the Jewish community, but to civil society at large. During august 2014 alone, SCoJeC received more than 25 reports relating to at least 12 separate anti-Semitic incidents, almost as many as in the whole of 2013, and police in Scotland advised us that they had received reports of threatening phone calls and e-mails, graffiti on synagogues, and two cases of incitement to break the criminal law. In addition, many people told us that they now felt uncomfortable, anxious, and in some cases even afraid, going about their day-to-day activities as Jewish people in Scotland. Although these absolute numbers may not seem high, the most recent Scottish government figures reveal that, when the size of the different faith communities is taken into account, Judaism is almost 8 times, and Islam 3 times as likely as Christianity to be the victim of religious hatred,” SCoJeC related on its website.

Like the 2012 study, the new report provides a comprehensive overview of what Jewish people in Scotland are thinking, feeling, and experiencing, based on responses from a significant cross-section of the Jewish population of Scotland, spread across the entire country “from the Borders to the Shetlands, from members of the larger Jewish communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the smaller ones in Dundee and Aberdeen, and also from Jewish people who live very many miles from the any Jewish facilities.”

“We heard from Jewish people whose families had lived in Scotland for generations, and people who had very recently arrived in Scotland from other parts of the world,” the organization says, adding, “We heard from members of the Orthodox, Reform, and Liberal Jewish communities, as well as from people with no connection to formal Judaism, from people who had no interest in the Jewish religion or Jewish ritual, but who, in a wide variety of ways, felt connected to Jewish culture or for whom particular foods or melodies evoked their childhood, as well as from people who only found out they were Jewish as adults.”

The following are quotes from the new report. For the full report click here.

“As a child and teenager growing up in Edinburgh, I was proud to say I was Jewish and it was viewed positively by Edinburgh people who often had memories themselves of growing up alongside Jewish people and spoke enthusiastically of that. I am very wary now to be up front about being Jewish in certain circles, and especially after the events this summer [2014].” (F, 60s, Edinburgh)

“As far as the children are concerned we are telling them to be less open about being Israelis. Two years ago it wasn’t like this. It is a question of safety now.” (M, 40s, Edinburgh)

“As more and more of my friends have moved away, I increasingly feel like a minority. I am not aware of any other Jews in my workplace (it is a large organization). I think this has made it even more important to me to represent my race in Scotland. It has also changed in the last year due to the Scottish reaction to Operation Protective Edge, in particular the raising of the Palestinian flag. I am using social media much more regularly to try and educate friends about the situation in the Middle East. (F, 30s, Glasgow)


Study of Israeli Jews and Arabs Causing Rethinking of Heart Disease

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

The idea that plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is protective against coronary heart disease has been part of medical conventional wisdom for five decades. HDL-C has traditionally been considered the most important component of so-called “good cholesterol” HDL. However, drug trials that increased HDL-C have failed to support a causal role for the amount of cholesterol carried in HDL in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

With advances in the separation of lipoproteins by size and functionality, research has intensified to identify HDL measures that may be better predictors of coronary heart disease than the traditional HDL-C. Recent evidence suggests that small, dense, protein-rich particles in HDL may be more atheroprotective than large, buoyant cholesterol-rich particles.

To explore this further, 274 Arabs and 230 Jews residing in Jerusalem were recruited for a new study by researchers at the Braun School of Public Health in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine. This work, led by Prof. Jeremy Kark of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, was undertaken by Dr. Chobufo Ditah, a physician from Cameroon, as his thesis for the Braun School’s International Masters of Public Health (IMPH) program.

(Dr. Ditah, who received the Faculty of Medicine’s award of excellence for his MSc thesis and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the IMPH program, credits the Pears Foundation of Britain for enabling him to study at the Hebrew University. The IMPH program is made possible by donors who provide full scholarships to students from low-income countries, with the Pears Foundation endowing the largest number of scholarships and underpinning the associated alumni network. Dr. Ditah currently serves as a Medical Referent with the humanitarian NGO Doctors Without Borders, overseeing the implementation, evaluation and reorientation of medical interventions in host countries.)

The researchers used Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to identify the numbers and sizes of plasma HDL particles, and helical CT-scanning to identify calcification in their coronary arteries, reflecting the overall burden of coronary atherosclerosis. With these data in hand, they looked for associations between the concentrations and sizes of different HDL particles, and coronary artery calcification.

Their findings, published in the prestigious journal Atherosclerosis, showed a statistically significant inverse association of both the number of HDL particles (HDL-P) and the concentration of small and medium-sized HDL particles (MS-HDL-P) with coronary artery calcification, after adjusting for age, statin use, smoking, and other factors. There was no association between large HDL-P and coronary artery calcification in either population group. The association with HDL-C was weaker and inconsistent between men and women.

“Our findings indicate that HDL-P and MS-HDL-P are better independent markers of coronary artery disease, as reflected by coronary artery calcification, than HDL-C, at least in this bi-ethnic population of Israelis and Palestinians,” said Dr. Chobufo Ditah.

“With a better understanding of HDL’s complexity and a better ability to measure its components, it is now possible to move past HDL-C to more refined measures that better reflect HDL’s role in coronary heart disease risk. Based on the accumulating evidence, incorporation of MS-HDL-P or HDL-P into the routine prediction of coronary heart disease risk should be considered,” said Prof. Jeremy Kark.

“These findings support previous reports, based on studies in other population groups, suggesting that small dense HDL particles are protectively associated with risk of coronary heart disease. The consistency of this finding in a new population of urban Arabs and Jews, using different disease outcomes and different separation methods, add more strength to those findings,” added Dr. Ditah.

Participants in this research are affiliated with the following institutions: Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine; Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine; Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem; Mankon Sub-Divisional Hospital, Cameroon; LipoScience, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, USA.


New Study: Alarming Spike in Campus Anti-Semitism in 2016

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

Nearly 100 more incidents of anti-Semitism occurred on campus during the first six months of 2016 compared with the first six months of 2015, according to AMCHA Initiative’s mid-year study released today. In addition, calls for Israel’s elimination on campus tripled, and that expression highly correlated with actions that harm Jewish students.

“The growing problem of campus anti-Semitism is no doubt a serious threat facing the Jewish community, but this disturbing and dangerous spike and the bolder, more brazen, methods of those perpetrating this hate are particularly alarming,” cautioned Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative director and co-founder.

The study, which examined anti-Semitic activity from January to June 2016 on more than 100 public and private colleges and universities with the largest Jewish undergraduate populations, found that 287 anti-Semitic incidents occurred at 64 schools during that time period, reflecting a 45% increase from the 198 incidents reported in the first six months of 2015.

The study also revealed the following disturbing trends:

Suppression of speech approximately doubled from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, 14 incidents that restricted Jewish students’ civil rights by suppressing their speech, blocking their movement or hindering their assembly were found on 12 campuses. These incidents reflect a significant increase from the first half of 2015, in which eight incidents of suppression occurred on seven campuses.

Expression denying Israel’s right to exist nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016 and correlated with actions intended to harm Jewish students. The first half of 2016 saw an almost three-fold increase in the number of campus incidents that contained expression opposing the existence of Israel, a recognized form of anti-Semitism by global leaders such as President Obama, Pope Francis and the prime ministers of Canada, Britain and France and the world’s preeminent scholars of anti-Semitism. There were 43 such incidents in 2016 compared to 15 during the first half of 2015. In fact, expression opposing the existence of Israel highly correlated with conduct that targeted Jewish students for harm.

Divestment resolutions are fueling anti-Semitism. In 2016, the student governments of 10 schools in the study considered anti-Israel divestment resolutions. Of these 10 schools, eight showed the largest increase in anti-Semitism from 2015 to 2016. Conversely, seven of the nine schools in the 2015 study that considered or voted on divestment resolutions showed a marked decrease in anti-Semitic activity in the first half of 2016 when no divestment resolution was considered. The two schools that did not decrease in anti-Semitic activity hosted discussions and votes on divestment.

Anti-Zionism, particularly Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activities, anti-Zionist student groups, and faculty boycotters, remain the strongest predictors of anti-Semitic incidents on campus. Consistent with 2015, this study revealed that anti-Semitism was twice as likely to occur on campuses where BDS was present, eight times more likely to occur on campuses with at least one active anti-Zionist student group such as SJP, and six times more likely to occur on campuses with one or more faculty boycotters. In fact, schools with more faculty boycotters and more BDS activity tended to have more incidents of anti-Semitic activity.

Schools to watch in 2016: the schools with the largest increase from 2015 to 2016 are Columbia University, Vassar College, University of Chicago, NYU, University of Minnesota, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), University of Wisconsin (Madison), University of Florida and the University of Washington.

“Instead of just boycotting Israel, the anti-Zionists are now boycotting Jewish students,” stated Professor Leila Beckwith, AMCHA co-founder and one of the study’s lead researchers. “Sadly, all too often it is not debate but hate. The lines between political discussions on Israeli policy and discrimination toward Jewish students are being blurred. Anti-Zionists are attempting to harm, alienate, and ostracize Jewish students; it is Jewish students’ civil rights that are being trampled. To properly address this rise in anti-Jewish bigotry, universities must adopt a proper definition of contemporary anti-Semitism and use it to educate the campus community about the distinct line between criticism of Israeli policies and discrimination against Jewish people.”

The report concluded with recommendations for university administrators including (1) adopting a definition of anti-Semitism that identifies all forms of anti-Jewish bigotry, including when criticism of Israel crosses the line into anti-Semitism; (2) allocating resources to educate students and faculty about contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish discrimination; and (3) establishing clear guidelines about free speech protected under the First Amendment and conduct which violates others’ civil rights, including disrupting or shutting down campus events and restricting free speech and right of assembly.

Read full copy of today’s report.


Study: German Extreme Left also Extremely Anti-Semitic

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

An online survey of 36,000 people conducted by the Free University Berlin (FU) suggests that anti-Semitic attitudes among the German far-left are more widespread than has been generally believed, Die Welt reported.

34% of individuals identified by the study as belonging to the “extreme left” agreed with the statement that Jews had “too much influence” in Germany.

Among the “radical left,” — which, unlike the “extreme left,” supports democracy and the German constitution, 16% agreed with the statement.

Altogether, 10% of Germans surveyed agreed Jews had “too much influence” in Germany.

The Freie Universität Berlin, often abbreviated as FU Berlin or just FU, is one of the most prominent universities in Germany.

Individuals identified by the survey as being on the extreme left and radical left made up 17 percent of respondents.

A high proportion of the far left agreed with the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are “greedy.” 34% of the extreme left, and 13% of the left agreed with the statement, while across the entire political spectrum only 8% did.

The researchers, Monika Deutz-Schroeder and Klaus Schroeder, also examined the use of violence by the far left, concluding that while the far left does not represent an immediate threat to German democracy, its propensity to violence is probably going to increase.

14% of respondents on the extreme left consider politically motivated violence to be justified, compared with only 7% across German society.

Schroeder complained to Die Welt that the extreme left’s connections to many politically motivated acts of violence are not reported. For example, according to the official report, 600 violent crimes each year are carried out by leftists who are not identified as “extremists.” But Schroeder argued that, by definition, “anyone who tries to create political change through violence is an extremist. Period.”

David Israel

New Harvard Study Debunks Racist Cop Narrative

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

A timely new study just released by a Harvard economics professor concludes that while blacks are more likely than whites to be confronted by police, there is no evidence that blacks are more likely to be shot by police officers. In some instances, blacks are actually less likely to be shot.

These results fly in the face of the contentions of groups like Black Lives Matter and some government officials that African-Americans tend to be singled out for lethal treatment by law enforcement personnel – contentions that have helped fuel the violent reactions to recent fatal shootings of blacks by police.

The author of the study, Rolando G. Fryer, Jr., an African-American economics professor, looked at more than 1,300 police shootings in Texas, Florida, and California between 2000 and 2015. He described the findings as “the most surprising result of my career.”

The study does not address individual instances of police bias and excess, but it does make a compelling case that the problem needs to be approached more realistically and with greater nuance and precision.

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/new-harvard-study-debunks-racist-cop-narrative/2016/07/13/

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