News Roundup for April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Report: Anti-Semitic assaults in US doubled in 2018, AP
The New York-based group counted 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents — either harassment, vandalism or physical assault — in 2018. That is a 5% decrease from the 1,986 incidents reported in 2017, but the third-highest total since ADL began tracking the data in the 1970s. The 2017 number marked a 57% increase over 2016 and was the highest tally ADL had counted in more than two decades.

In California, Home to Many Hate Groups, Officials Struggle to Spot the Next Threat, New York Times
Shaila Dewan and Ali Winston write, “California has more organized hate groups than any other state — it has chapters for street-fighting skinheads and black nationalists, Holocaust deniers and Muslim haters. But the perpetrator of a mass shooting at a synagogue near San Diego on Saturday, law enforcement officials said, was not a member of any of them. Instead he was the product of a landscape that is both increasingly restive and fractured, where hate groups have gone underground, avoiding social gatherings and concerts, and newcomers need only the internet to become self-radicalized and violent.”

The Palestinian Authority Is Collapsing, and Annexation Could Follow, Haaretz
David Rosenberg writes, “It lost its biggest source of revenue and with it, its last raison d’etre. The PA’s demise will leave a vacuum annexationists would love to fill.”


‘Our great shame’: Poway shooting suspect’s family releases public apology, NBC News
Earnest’s family apologized for their son’s alleged actions in a statement released through their attorney Monday. “To our great shame, he is now part of the history of evil that has been perpetrated on Jewish people for centuries,” the statement said.

Fewer Women and Arabs, More Religious and LGBT: 21st Knesset to Be Sworn In, Haaretz
A series of special events will be held at the Knesset, in an attempt to imbue a regal and ceremonial atmosphere as 49 fresh members prepare to take their seats in the plenum.

Israel’s attorney general says he won’t delay a pre-indictment hearing for Netanyahu, JTA
Israel’s attorney general has rebuffed a request from lawyers for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone the next stage in the corruption investigation targeting him. Avichai Mandelblit told the Netanyahu legal team on Sunday that a pre-indictment hearing cannot be delayed and must take place before July 10.

Israel Accuses Islamic Jihad of Rocket Launch, Limits Gaza Fishing Zone in Response, Haaretz
Israel minimized on Tuesday the fishing zone for Gazans from 15 nautical miles down to six, after a rocket fired overnight Monday landed in Israeli waters. It named Islamic Jihad officials directly, publishing their photos, and laid responsibility for the attack on the organization, an unsual move as it normally holds Hamas accountable for aggression coming out of the Strip.

Israeli ambassador calls New York Times ‘cesspool of hostility’ on Holocaust Remembrance Day, JTA
The Israeli ambassador to the United States linked The New York Times to the “Jew-hatred of growing parts of the intellectual class.” Ron Dermer was speaking Monday in the U.S. Capitol at the annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance organized by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was an unusually political attack on a day and at an event organized by an institution that generally focuses on the historical meaning of the Holocaust.

EU Joins Call for Israel to Stop Deportation of Human Rights Watch Director, Haaretz
The European Union called on Israel Tuesday not to deport Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director of Human Rights Watch, after Israel revoked his work permit due to his involvement in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. During a meeting of the UN Security council, of which Israel is a member, the Finnish representative, Kai Sauer, said on behalf of the EU, “We are concerned that, within the current political landscape, those on all sides who seek to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians are undermined.”

Israel protests after outgoing French ambassador to US calls it apartheid state, JTA
Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned the France’s ambassador for reprimand, over statements made by the outgoing French ambassador to the United States in which he said Israel is already an apartheid state.

Celebrities denounce proposed boycott of Eurovision in Israel, The Guardian
Their letter states that Eurovision’s “spirit of togetherness” across the continent is “under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division”.

Ambassador To Israel Urged Top Orthodox Rabbis To Pray For Trump’s Reelection, The Forward
United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman urged top rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak to pray for President Trump’s reelection in 2020.

Opinion and Analysis

Here’s Why It’s So Hard For The Government To Stop Violent White Nationalists, The Forward
Aiden Pink writes, “Soon after the Trump administration took charge of the Department of Homeland Security, it gutted the working group in charge of fighting domestic radicalization and revoked a six-figure grant to an organization that works to de-radicalize former white nationalists, instead concentrating solely on domestic Islamic terrorism. Democrats have been reluctant to push for restored funding for de-radicalization programs because they don’t trust the Trump administration to spend the money as directed, a House Democratic aide told the Forward last month.”

Reporting from Jerusalem: ‘the focus is always on how the story is told’, The Guardian
Oliver Holmes writes, “The obsession with the media comes down in part to an argument I hear a lot – that the Israeli government’s real problems are not due to what it does but rather in its failure to effectively communicate its message. In January, I attended a conference entitled, Israel and Image: The Global Battle for Israel’s Good Name […] What was not considered during the talk was that Israel might not have a public relations problem. I have never witnessed such a savvy, dynamic PR operation for any cause or country.”

On the social media ‘battlefield,’ the Israeli army has weaponized snark, JTA
Sam Sokol writes, “The IDF’s social media team is fully aware of its edgy, and occasionally controversial, branding. Earlier this year, the team leader, Maj. Keren Hajioff, appeared to revel in that reputation, posting a picture of herself and her soldiers dressed as trolls — a nickname for social media users who like to bait their enemies.”

Palestinian Fund Freeze: Who Will Help Netanyahu Save the Oslo Accords This Time?, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “Israeli cuts and warnings in Ramallah over economic collapse have become a ritual that always ends with some solution. But with fewer international checks and balances, the situation may quickly deteriorate.”

Israeli soldiers routinely detain Palestinian children for throwing rocks, Vox
Salwa Sadek writes, “A few weeks ago, a Palestinian teenager was shot and seriously injured by Israeli soldiersas he attempted to flee their custody — despite the fact that he was already handcuffed and blindfolded. Osama Hajahjeh, was among a group of Palestinian youths who were arrested for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Tuqu’. Earlier this month Israeli troops also arrested Zein Idris, a 9-year-old Palestinian boy, at his school in the West Bank city of Hebron and held him at a nearby military base for under an hour.”

Israel’s Rabbis Think Genetic Testing Can ‘Prove’ Jewishness. They’re Wrong, Haaretz
Noah Slepkov writes, “The Israeli rabbinate, pushing DNA tests, has fallen into the trap of 19th century racial science: Jewishness is an identity, not a genetic construct – and it can’t be measured in a lab.”