Today’s Top Stories
1. Facebook shut down the account of Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority. According to AFP:
The accounts of the 12 administrators of the page, which according to Jaghub had 70,000 followers, were also suspended for 30 days.
A photo of Arafat holding a rifle that belonged to an Israeli soldier abducted in the 1980s by Palestinians in Beirut that had featured on the page was attached to the message from Facebook.
Standing next to Arafat is Mahmud al-Alul, recently elected Fatah deputy chairman.
— Eylon A. Levy (@EylonALevy) February 27, 2017
2. US anti-Semitism rose to the forefront as 29 Jewish community centers and day schools around the US received false bomb threats yesterday.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts may include axing several “special envoy” positions — including one dedicated to combating anti-Semitism. More on that at the JTA and Bloomberg News.
Top US Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein told the Times of Israel that a “pandemic” of anti-Semitism is taking shape around the world. And Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog predicted a wave of American Jewish aliyah, though other government officials had lower key responses.
3. State Comptroller Yosef Shapira was due to release portions of his report on Operation Defensive Shield today. The long-anticipated report is expected to be critical of the Israeli government and IDF, with politicians and senior military officials prepping talking points. The report was not yet released when this roundup was published. The Times of Israel explains:
Leaked copies of the long-awaited report by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira indicate that it will criticize the army’s failures to prepare adequately for the threat of Hamas tunnels during the war, and chastise the political leadership for improperly managing the war effort . . .
As so much of it has been leaked ahead of its release, very little is likely to be shocking in the report, but its publication will allow politicians to discuss the topic more freely in public.
4. Character Assassination: Israel Is Not North Korea: So focused on searching for similarities between Israel and North Korea, a columnist neglects basic facts and glaring differences.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Police began evacuating protesting settlers barricaded in nine homes on the West Bank settlement of Ofra slated for demolition. The High Court of Justice ruled that the homes were built on private Palestinian land and set a March 5 deadline for their demolition. More at the Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel and Haaretz.
• Jibril Rajoub, who was recently appointed secretary-general of Fatah’s central committee, was denied entry to Egypt and deported directly back to Jordan. Reuters reports that Rajoub’s name was on a no-entry list, though no explanation as to why he was on such a list was offered.
• Worth reading: NBC News takes a closer look at Arab-Israelis serving in the IDF.
“It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim, Jewish or Christian,” he said. “We’re all the same with one helping the other.”
• Google will soon enable internet users to virtually explore Palestinian cities. The Google street car, which takes 360 degree photos, is currently driving around Ramallah taking photos of Ramallah, before continuing on to Jericho and Bethlehem. More at the Jerusalem Post.
Around the World
• The Sydney Jewish Museum was briefly evacuated today after — you guessed it — someone made a bomb threat. A police search found nothing.
• US Jewish leaders shared their concern and bafflement over rising anti-Semitism with Haaretz.
Security measures implemented in the United States are very different from those in Europe, where Goldenberg also consults. “Unlike Europe, in the U.S. we will not put armed guards in front of our institutions,” he said. “Our goal is to create a culture of security rather than a security wall.”
• Police are investigating after a number of Miami Beach residents found swastikas etched on their cars.
• JTA: With few safeguards, Jewish cemeteries make easy targets for vandals.
• Anti-Semitic incidents have risen 16 percent in Berlin over the previous year.
• British universities spark free speech row after halting a number of pro-Palestinian events tied to the upcoming Israel Apartheid Week.
• Here’s what else I’m reading today . . .
– Einat Wilf and Adi Schwartz: A very big deal to solve a very big problem
– Sander Gerber: PA pensions for terrorists must be stopped
– Mitchell Bard: Why do we let anti-Semites define anti-Semitism?
– Yoni Ben Menachem: Is Dahlan planning a coup against Abbas?
– Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians: Why a “regional peace process” will fail
– Dow Marmur: Anti- Semitism is masquerading as anti-Zionism
– Chemi Shalev: Trump apologists diminish anti-Semitism and distort reality
Before you comment on this article, please remind yourself of our Comments Policy. Any comments deemed to be in breach of the policy will be removed at the editor’s discretion.