CT News

CT woman heads up new watchdog group that aims to battle violence and hatred nationwide

By Jackson Richman

Liora Rez

(JNS) Established at the beginning of this year, the mission of StopAntisemitism.org has been to counteract anti-Israel bias and Jew-hatred on college campuses in the United States.

For example, it took part in launching a petition calling on Temple University in Philadelphia to fire Marc Lamont Hill, a professor of media studies and urban education, for inflammatory comments made last month at the United Nations, calling for Israel’s annihilation. (Hill was fired by CNN, where he served as a commentator, though the administration at Temple has stood by Hill.)

Now its calling is greater than stopping antisemitism.

Enter the Center for Combating Hate in America (C4CHA). It will serve as an active watchdog group, as well as a resource to fight hatred and violence nationwide.

“Within a short time after we started our activities, it became clear that the challenge of hatred and bigotry in America extend beyond antisemitism,” C4CHA director Liora Rez told JNS. “The rise of antisemitism is only a symptom of a bigger issue in the U.S. As concerned citizens, we felt it’s important to be proactive in combating the dangers of hatred in America, which threatens our values and way of life. We can no longer be lame ducks waiting for the next attack.”

Rez, a resident of Connecticut, added, “Given the challenges that we face, we believe that there is a strong need for a new organization that addresses the threat of hate and violence in America.”

C4CHA released a report earlier this month about the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which was allegedly behind the posting antisemitic fliers around Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, where 11 Jewish worshippers were killed during Shabbat-morning services on Oct. 27 at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue.

The report features a comprehensive background about the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, in addition to the contacts of its key individuals, including their address(es), phone, email, voter registration and associations.

Rez remarked that her organization will “complement” similar watchdog groups fighting hatred from both sides of the ideological spectrum and from religious radicals.

“C4CHA will work to curb the freedom of hate groups and their ideology in America by calling citizens to submit information about such groups, events and campaigns, which will allow C4CHA to research, document and create a database of individuals, organizations and networks associated with radical hate groups, and their influence on American politics, our public schools, universities, think tanks, media and government offices,” she explained.

“The ultimate goal,” she said, “is to expose and alert the appropriate authorities about their activities at the same time that we engage concerned citizens and organizations who are willing to combat them.”

Besides combatting antisemitism, Rez is also a strong supporter of Israel.

A powerful force in the social media world, Rez unfailingly promotes the Jewish state to her 91,000+ followers through her Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat accounts and her website and blog, all under the brand “The Jewish Chick.”

The Ledger first reported on Rez a year ago after she returned from a November 2017 trip to Israel organized by the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP), an international non-profit headquartered in Rockville, Maryland that takes Jewish women – many unaffiliated – to Israel to strengthen their Jewish involvement. The trip included 30 Jewish women who, like Rez, are all so-called “media magnets.”

Born in Kaunas, Lithuania to Jewish parents, Rez and her family immigrated to America when she was four, settling in Cleveland, where there is a large Russian population.

“Like so many immigrants from the former USSR there was no religion in the home. You were told you were Jewish and that was it,” she told the Ledgerin a January 2018 interview.

A graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelors of Science degree in neuroscience, she also received an MBA in finance and worked for 10 years in the structured business world. She came to Connecticut when her now ex-husband was transferred to the area.

In 2013, she began her Instagram page. Touted as “Where Fashion and Judaism Collide,” Jewish Chick’s Instagram postings feature shots of Rez modeling assorted designer outfits, shoes and handbags.

“I said I was just some Jewish chick and that became my handle.”

In 2015 when Instagram really took off, her number of followers grew and in 2016 she started The Jewish Chick Facebook page, which veers more to the Judaic and Zionistic.

Part of this article is culled from “On the Road in Israel” (CT Jewish Ledger, Jan. 19, 2018)

CAP: Liora Rez (right) at the Kotel in November 2017 with fellow “media magnets” Anabelle Blum (left) and Jeannette Kaplun.

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