News Briefs: Soviet Jewry Freedom Movement Leader Dies and More

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Mark Talisman
Mark Talisman (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kristopher Wilson via Wikimedia Commons)

Mark Talisman, Leader in Soviet Jewry Freedom Movement, Dies at 78

Mark Talisman, who helped write legislation crucial to the free Soviet Jewry fight and had a lengthy career in Jewish advocacy, died July 11, according to JTA. He was 78.

As chief of staff in 1972 to Ohio Rep. Charles Vanik, Talisman wrote a bill — directly targeted at the Soviet Union, which prohibited Jews from leaving the country or practicing their religion — that tied U.S. trade relations to a country’s emigration policy.

Known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, the bill was signed by President Gerald Ford in 1975. Talisman is credited with “calling all 435 representatives’ offices, sometimes speaking with members dozens of times before they added their name to the growing list of cosponsors,” according to Gal Beckerman’s When They Come for Us We’ll Be Gone.

Also in 1975, Talisman created the Washington Action Office for the Council of Jewish Federations of North America. For 18 years he served as its director.

“Mark had an amazing impact in the many venues and causes to which he devoted his life. He was a person who answered the call of hineni,” said Jewish Federations of North America Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Wilf.

President Jimmy Carter appointed Talisman founding vice chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council in 1980. The council raised private money for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened in 1993.

Talisman and his wife, Jill, founded the Project Judaica Foundation in 1983 to assist efforts in rescuing and exhibiting historic or threatened Judaica. And Talisman helped created the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA in 2000.

Penn Law Professor Makes Controversial Comments About Immigration

University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax made controversial comments about immigrants during last week’s inaugural National Conservatism Conference, Vox reported.

During an immigration panel Wax said immigrants are too loud and responsible for an increase in “litter.”

She said she favored an immigration policy favoring immigrants from Western countries over non-Western ones, saying, “that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites.” She denied that her statements were racist, saying her problem with non-white immigrants is not biological but cultural.

Wax is no stranger to controversy.

A video surfaced in March 2018 of Wax claiming she has not seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the law school’s class, and “rarely, rarely in the top half.”

“I can think of one or two students who’ve graduated in the top half of my required first-year course,” Wax said during the September 2017 video.

In response to what he called a “mismanaged” situation, former Yves Saint Laurent CEO and New York private equity firm founder Paul S. Levy stepped down from his positions as University of Pennsylvania trustee emeritus and Penn Law School overseer.

Neo-Nazi Website Publisher Ordered to Pay $14M to Trolled Victim

Daily Stormer website publisher Andrew Anglin was ordered by a federal judge on July 15 to pay $14 million to a Jewish real estate agent in Montana he told his readers to troll, JTA reported.

All photos and posts Anglin used to troll Tanya Gersh, her husband and 12-year-old son in 2016 were ordered removed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch. Anglin had called on his readers to commit a “troll storm” — online harassment — against Gersh after he accused her of trying to force from a mountain resort community the mother of a white nationalist.

A U.S. District Court must approve Lynch’s recommendations.

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