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Utah rabbi meets with Entrata bosses after ex-executive’s dissident comments

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Meeting with Rabbi Samuel Spector in Utah on Friday afternoon proved an emotional experience for some of the board members of the Lehi-based tech company. Entrata.

Some cried, Spector said, as they apologized profusely for counter-opinion recently made by Entrata co-founder and former board member Dave Bateman.

They also asked their guest to talk about the history of anti-Semitism in Utah and told him they wanted to make a “transformative gift” for Salt Lake City’s Kol Ami Congregation, where Spector serves as rabbi.

“It was one of the most moving encounters I’ve ever had in my life,” Spector said Friday. “I cannot say enough good things about this organization.”

Bateman resigned on Tuesday from Entrata after sending an anti-epidemic email to political leaders in Utah calling the COVID-19 vaccine a plot to “wipe out the American people” and blaming the effort on “the Jews.”

Bateman’s email, sent early Monday from entrata.com , citing an uninteresting conspiracy theory that says a vaccine is an attempt, fueled by global “elite,” including Bill Gates and George Soros, to destroy the planet.

Bateman’s email contained an anti-Semitism protest, blaming “the Jews” for a nefarious plot that involved secretly replacing the Catholic pope with a member of the Jewish faith. He wrote that it happened in 2013 with the elevation of Pope Francis.

There is no supporting evidence for any of Bateman’s claims. Conspiracy theories has floated in a number of different iterations as of September 2020.

Spector praised Entrata’s swift action in removing all ties to Bateman and said board members told him on Friday that the former chief executive had agreed to sell all of its shares. yourself in the company.

An Entrata public relations representative said in a statement that the executive team found Spector’s visit “extremely beneficial” and was pleased he found it valuable, too.

Regarding Bateman stock, he noted a Tweet sent Friday from Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds in which he wrote that the company had informed Dave Bateman that he must quickly divest his shares and Bateman agreed to “cooperate with that process”.

Spector called Entrata’s board members “the most genuine people I’ve ever met.” He was sorry to hear that some of their children were now being picked up at the school, although Entrata, the rabbi added, “everything went right.”

He also said Entrata had set a great example by reaching out to him and learning more about Judaism, adding that the board asked him to come back and hold a workshop about it. anti-Semitism for the entire company.

“That’s what we need to do with any form of bigotry,” he said. “Let’s say ‘that’s wrong, and we don’t want to be involved with that.’ … I’m really proud of Entrata for being able to do that. ”

‘Being a Jew is scary anywhere’

Spector said his initial reaction to Bateman’s email was to think that, unfortunately, these types of comments are not uncommon.

Sometimes prejudice goes beyond words. Last spring, a swastika was scratched on the door of Chabad Lubavitch of UtahSugar House Synagogue. In 2018, Kol Ami Congregation increased security measures in response to some anti-epidemic incidents. And, in 2017, a Bomb threat forced evacuation by IJ Salt Lake City and the Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center.

Even so, Spector doesn’t believe anti-Semitism is necessarily more prevalent in Utah, and he feels as safe here as a Jew might feel.

“Being a Jew anywhere is scary. … There is always the possibility of an anti-epidemic attack of some kind,” said Spector. “[But]As Jews, the most important day of our year is Yom Kippur, which focuses on forgiveness. … Most people in the world are our friends. ”

In addition to recent support from Entrata, he said Wyoming Governor Spencer Cox, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are all ” extremely good,” opponents of religious bigotry.

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City has spoken out against Bateman’s email, calling on members “who have heard conspiracy theories that our Jewish brothers and sisters have somehow infiltrated their homes.” church or our world” to “immediately block any source that promotes such nonsense.”

For anyone who believes Bateman’s baseless claim that the COVID-19 vaccine is an American murder plot, Spector points out that everyone at Kol Ami Congregation must be vaccinated to participate in the events. service.

“This is not a Jewish conspiracy to infect non-Jews,” he said. “We’re getting the vaccine because we realize it’s already saving lives.”

Where do these conspiracy theories come from?

Religious scholar Matthew Bowman says the practice of placing Jews at the center of conspiracy theories goes back a millennium or more.

Bowman, head of the Mormon department at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California, is finishing the first widely published book on alien abduction cases in the US. His research for the project led him to teach a class on conspiracy theory.

Although Bateman’s claims are outrageous, Bowman said, he is actually repeating some “very typical theories,” especially those put forward by British conspiracy theorist David Icke.

“They are not news,” he said, “to anyone who has paid attention to conspiracy theories over the past few decades.”

Blaming conspiracies on the Jews, Bowman said, goes back to the anger of many early Christians who believed that the Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death.

This attitude spread to medieval Europe, where Jews were rejected and mistrusted by Christians, Bowman said. He added that there were periods in both Britain and Spain in which Jews were asked to convert to Christianity or leave the country.

They also faced the idea of ​​bloody libel: the false belief that Jews sacrifice babies to Christianity.

With the Catholic Church forbidding its members from charging interest on loans, the Jewish stereotype of greedy moneylenders emerged.

Bowman said Jewish conspiracy theories spread in the modern era when, in the early 20th century, a Russian military officer forged a document purporting to be minutes of a meeting of leaders. international Judaism, in which they plot to take over the world.

The document, titled “Protocols of Elders in Zion,” was created just before the communists took over the country, Bowman said. Karl Marx was a Jew, and Russian officials wanted to rally the population against him.

However, the document has gained worldwide fame and has in many ways become “the founding text of modern conspiracy theory,” Bowman said. “It ties together these modern anxieties about the big institutions that control our lives with this really old story of anti-Semitism.”

The idea of ​​a secret tape infiltrating organizations – whether Jewish or Illinati or “deep national” – remains somewhat popular among contemporary conspiracy theorists. But anyone who studies conspiracy theories, says Bowman, can quickly realize that they are just the same ideas packaged over and over again.

Having that knowledge, he said, “makes us more likely to remove it when you realize the cliche plot behind it.” [and] make it easier [it] serious.”

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/01/08/tears-flow-entrata/ Utah rabbi meets with Entrata bosses after ex-executive’s dissident comments

Mike Sullivan

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