News from July 27 to August 1

Goodbye for now, but not forever!

Hey everyone! 

For those of you who don’t know, I started News of the Jews because in college, I found that for a variety of reasons, my friends struggled to form opinions and stay informed about Jewish and Israeli developments. So, about two years ago, I began writing this newsletter to help my friends better understand their community. (Special shoutout to Yair Rosenberg, Max Neuberger, Ethan Helfand, Alex Landy, and everyone else who helped me get the newsletter off the ground and supported me over the last couple of years!)

Never had I thought that News of the Jews might turn into what it is: a newsletter read by hundreds of people, including leaders in business, government, and academia. I also never thought that it would be so helpful for non-Jewish folks, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the publication’s wide reach. 

Now, though, after over 100 editions (roughly totaling over 150,000 words!), I’m sadly going to have to pause the newsletter. I’m starting a new job, and I want to make sure that I am 100% focused on my work. Of course, that doesn’t mean there won’t ever be a News of the Jews in the future. It just means that for now, I have to take an indefinite break. So, as I said last week, while it’s goodbye for now, it’s not goodbye forever. 

Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at (I’ll continue to monitor my email) and follow me on Twitter @skaps9. Also, don’t forget about the Official News of the Jews Media Guide! Thank you all for graciously hosting me in your inbox every week, and thank you so much for reading!

Jewish/Israeli news sources:

Since I won’t be sending out the newsletter every week, I figured it might be helpful for everyone if I provide a list of some of the main sources that I would use to write the newsletter. Please note that there are tons of great publications and I will inevitably miss many of them in this list. Also, these descriptions are very general and just represent my experience, so if yours has been different, no worries! I’d recommend all of them!

Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA): JTA is a great, neutral news service that covers everything from domestic Jewish news to Israel. They have really talented writers and produce top-notch articles.

Forward: A phenomenal newspaper, Forward is one of the oldest Jewish publications around. Like JTA, Forward covers a lot of ground, but it features a more expansive opinion section.

Tablet: Tablet is a magazine that tends to run feature-length pieces on a variety of subjects. Tablet’s writers are excellent. (Make sure to check out their podcast, “Unorthodox”)

Jewish News Syndicate (JNS): JNS has a good mix of reporting and editorials, and its pieces are written really well. As the name suggests, many newspapers publish JNS articles.

Jewish Journal: Jewish Journal tends to run many syndicated pieces, though it does have a bunch of its own writers who are very talented. 

Jewish Insider: Jewish Insider is known for its fantastic daily newsletter that gives you the inside scoop on national politics from a Jewish angle (I highly encourage you to subscribe). Jewish Insider also has great features and election coverage.

Jerusalem Post: The Jerusalem Post has some really great writers. I’ve found that they do a great job with analysis (in particular of security and defense-related news).

Times of Israel: The Times of Israel is really impressive in how much news they can publish, and the speed at which they can do it. In my experience, the Times of Israel is the best place to go for breaking news out of Israel.

Haaretz: Haaretz has a robust combination of news, analysis, and commentary. Its English-language coverage is some of the most in-depth of the Israeli publications. 

Alma: Alma specializes in teen-focused news. I’ve found that they often have some great entertainment coverage. 

Kveller: Kveller targets an older audience than Alma, but it has a similar style. Alma also has some really good entertainment coverage. 

Honorable mentions:

It wouldn’t be a true News of the Jews without some honorable mentions!

Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat wins an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo” by Idan Zonshine (JPost)

Israel's cabinet set to pass new state budget” by Gil Hoffman (JPost)

US, UK blame Iran for deadly strike on ship with Israel ties, weigh response” by Emanuel Fabian (TOI)

Deborah Lipstadt to be named State Dept antisemitism envoy” by Gabby Deutch and Marc Rod (Jewish Insider)

A guide to kosher food (and vegan options) at every Major League Baseball stadium” by Rob Charry (JTA)

In close Ohio special election, Jewish vote could determine outcome” by Jacob Kornbluh (Forward)

This Ultra-Orthodox Mom Is the Face of a New Adidas Campaign” by Bonnie Azoulay (Kveller)

The Olympic cardboard beds were finally defeated — by the Israeli baseball team” by Mira Fox (Forward)

House narrowly passes $3.3 billion in military aid to Israel, includes new oversight provision” by Dmitriy Shapiro (JNS)

Ben & Jerry’s Jewish co-founders back company’s decision on boycott” (JNS)

“Israel's Lior Raz on virtual premiere of new Netflix series 'Hit & Run'” by Hannah Brown (The Jerusalem Post)

Israel becomes first country to start third vaccine shot to those over 60” (JNS)

Thank you all so much for reading!

News from July 19 to July 25

Special announcement, Ben & Jerry's ends West Bank sales, Israeli cyber firm faces human rights abuse allegations

Hey everyone. A quick note before I get started. Sadly, I’m sorry to announce that after a lot of thought and consideration, next week’s News of the Jews will be the last for the foreseeable future. I’m going to be starting a new job soon, and I want to ensure that I can put 100% effort into it. Of course, once I get my feet under me, I very well may choose to resume News of the Jews, as it’s something I’ve loved writing, but I think pausing is the best move for the time being. So, while it’s goodbye for now, it’s not necessarily goodbye forever! Thank you all for joining me on this little adventure! (More on this next week)

Okay, back to the regular newsletter. As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for how to make News of the Jews better at You can follow me on Twitter @skaps1. If you are looking to watch something Jewish or Israeli, definitely check out the News of the Jews Media Guide!

Ben and Jerry’s announces it is ending ice cream sales in the West Bank:

What happened? This past week, popular ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer sell its products in “the Occupied Palestinian Territory” (The company did not specify its definition of occupied Palestinian Territory, though that designation typically refers to the West Bank and Gaza). In a statement, Ben & Jerry’s said that continuing its operations would be “inconsistent” with the company’s values. While Ben & Jerry’s will not be sold in the West Bank after December 2022, Unilever, the ice cream maker’s parent company, decided Ben & Jerry’s would continue selling products within Israel proper. The West Bank is occupied by Israel, though the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords granted the Palestinian Authority limited autonomy over portions of the territory.

Does Ben & Jerry’s support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement? Ben & Jerry’s is the latest example of companies boycotting Israel in hopes of influencing Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. However, though Ben & Jerry’s move to end distribution in the West Bank seemingly aligns with the BDS movement’s goal to economically isolate Israel for its presence in the West Bank and blockade of the Gaza Strip, the decision was more nuanced. While BDS aims to sanction all of Israel for its activities in the Palestinian territories, Ben & Jerry’s new policy only targets the West Bank, rather than the entirety of the state of Israel. Thus, it is not a pure example of BDS.

Source: Ben & Jerry’s.

How has the United States reacted? Several American governors and state lawmakers have voiced their frustration with Ben & Jerry’s. Moreover, Five states (Florida, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York) are looking into taking legal action against Unilever, all of which currently have anti-BDS laws that could allow them to sever financial ties with Unilever. For example, in Florida, Governor Ron Desantis initiated a process pursuant to a 2016 anti-BDS law that could allow Florida to terminate its investments in Unilever. While such a move would affect state-level financial dealings with the firm, it would not prevent Floridians from buying Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in stores. The other four states have taken similar steps to examine possible future action.

What are people saying? Here are some highlights:

Prime Minister Bennett: "There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state. Ben & Jerry's has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream. This decision is morally wrong and I believe that it will become clear that it is also commercially wrong. The boycott against Israel – a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism – reflects a total loss of way. The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force."

Boycott, Divest, Sanctions Movement (BDS): “The BDS movement welcomes Ben and Jerry’s decision as a decisive step towards ending the company's complicity in Israel's occupation and violation of Palestinian rights. Ben and Jerry’s, a leading socially responsible international company, is finally bringing its policy on Israel’s regime of oppression against Palestinians in line with its progressive positions on Black Lives Matter and other justice struggles. We hope Ben and Jerrys realizes has understood that, in harmony with its social justice commitments, there can be no business as usual with apartheid Israel.”

Jeremy Ben-Ami (President of JStreet): “Ben & Jerry’s decision is a legitimate, peaceful protest against the systemic injustice of occupation and a reminder that the settlements are, in fact, illegal under international law.”

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC): “It is discriminatory and against the interests of peace and reconciliation to launch a one-sided boycott when it is the Palestinian leadership that refuses to come to the negotiating table with Israel.”

Anything else? According to the Vice President of the company’s local distributor in the West Bank, Hen Israeli, some Palestinians could be hurt by the decision; Israeli told the Jerusalem Post that there are currently 10 local Palestinians employed by the distribution company.

Another interesting component of the story is that although the announcement did not target the entirety of Israel, it was not for lack of trying. According to various media reports, Ben & Jerry’s pushed for a blanket ban of Israel, but Unilever adjusted the language to only target the West Bank.

Further reading:

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Israeli NSO Group faces allegations of human rights violations:

What happened? Last week, journalists from over 15 publications all over the world published stories detailing the operations and clientele of the Israeli cyber-espionage firm the NSO Group. The reports, based on a leaked list of phone numbers that Amnesty International claims contains NSO group targets, suggested that the NSO Group has used its “Pegasus” software to target journalists, dissidents, and human rights advocates in countries all over the world. NSO clients are reported to include government agencies in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, India, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Hungary, and France. Pegasus allows users to extract messages and recordings from mobile phones and reportedly enables operators to secretly record targets using their cameras and microphones. 

Who was targeted by Pegasus? Amnesty International claims that the NSO Group has targeted at least 180 journalists in 20 countries. According to the Washington Post, more than ten heads of state were also targeted. “[Here’s who is on the list: Three sitting presidents, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Iraq’s Barham Salih and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa. Three current prime ministers, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Egypt’s Mostafa Madbouly and Morocco’s Saad-Eddine El Othmani. Seven former prime ministers, who according to time stamps on the list were placed there while they were still in office: Yemen’s Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, Lebanon’s Saad Hariri, Uganda’s Ruhakana Rugunda, France’s Édouard Philippe, Kazakhstan’s Bakitzhan Sagintayev, Algeria’s Noureddine Bedoui and Belgium’s Charles Michel. And one king: Morocco’s Mohammed VI.” Additionally, the Verge reported that Pegasus targeted 85 human rights activists. 

What has the NSO Group said? In a statement, the company said, “NSO Group will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the results of these investigations. This includes shutting down of a customers’ system, something NSO has proven its ability and willingness to do, due to confirmed misuse, done it multiple times in the past, and will not hesitate to do again if a situation warrants.”

Referring to the list of numbers, an NSO group lawyer said, “The leaked list of 50,000 numbers is not a list of numbers selected for surveillance using Pegasus. It is a list of numbers that anyone can search on an open-source system for reasons other than conducting surveillance using Pegasus. The fact that a number appears on that list is in no way indicative of whether that number was selected for surveillance using Pegasus.”

How has Israel reacted? Israel has formed a task force to respond to the situation. According to media reports, the task force, which consists of officials from across the Israeli government, will consider changes to Israel’s cyber export rules. Israeli leaders are reportedly concerned that the fallout from the Pegasus revelations could affect other Israeli businesses.

Anything else? This story is a really big deal. Israel already struggles to promote a positive image of itself, and episodes like the NSO revelations seriously tarnish Israel’s image, especially since the NSO group reportedly retains close connections to the Israeli government. It remains to be seen whether this will have a long-term impact, but Israel’s association with a number of potential human rights violations in a plethora of countries is a bad look.

Further reading:

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Honorable Mentions:

Olympic News:

“Algerian judoka said to quit Olympics in order to not face Israeli opponent” (The Times of Israel)

“Full schedule for Israel’s athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics” by Michael Bachner (The Times of Israel)

“Olympics Opening Ceremony Director Fired Over Past Holocaust Joke” by Aaron Bandler (Jewish Journal)

“19-year-old taekwando fighter wins Israel’s first Olympic medal in Tokyo” by Gabe Friedman (JTA)

“After 49 years Israelis killed at 1972 Munich Games remembered in opening ceremony” by Karolos Grohmann (Reuters)

“Tokyo Olympics: All the Jewish athletes to watch” by Emily Burrack (JTA)

“Meet the Jewish dancer choreographing Simone Biles’ Olympic floor routine” by Evelyn Frick (Alma)

General News:

“Rabbi stabbed in antisemitic attack said assailant ‘planned for this’” by Julia Gergely (Forward)

‘Daniel Hernandez wants to be the next pro-Israel progressive in Congress” by Matthew Kassel (Jewish Insider)

“A Palestinian Activist Fights the IDF and the Palestinian Authority” by Elhanan Miller (Tablet)

“Cuban Jews step up for their patria” by Gabby Deutch (Jewish Insider)

“Israeli Air Force strikes Gaza Strip in response to incendiary balloons” (The Jerusalem Post)

“Legendary Jewish stand-up comedian Jackie Mason dies at 93” (JNS)

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News from July 12 to July 18

Tisha B'Av tensions and honorable mentions

Hey everyone. As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for how to make News of the Jews better at You can follow me on Twitter @skaps1. If you are looking to watch something Jewish or Israeli, definitely check out the News of the Jews Media Guide! It was a relatively quiet week this week so I’m only going to do one story and some honorable mentions.

Tensions rise in Jerusalem as a small group of Israelis commemorates Tisha B’av on the Temple Mount:

Background: Last week, Israeli reports emerged suggesting that the Israeli police had been permitting organized prayer on the Temple Mount. The reports were very controversial as Israel has operated under a status quo that prohibits Jewish prayer at the Jordanian-administered holy site for decades. While Jews may access the Temple Mount, they may not recite any bible verses or engage in prayer. 

What happened? Yesterday was Tisha B’Av, the yearly commemoration of the destruction of the two Jewish temples that once stood on the Temple Mount. During the day, more than 1,600 Israelis ascended to the Temple Mount, and Muslim worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque reportedly barricaded themselves in and clashed with Israeli police. Palestinian leaders said that the Israeli police cleared out Muslim worshippers to make room for the visiting Jews. As Israel’s apparently new policy threatened to upend the Temple Mount status quo, Prime Minister Bennett issued a statement indicating that both Jews and Muslims would have “freedom of worship” at the Temple Mount. It is unclear if Bennett and the Israeli government intend to formally change the prayer prohibition.

How did people react? Here are some notable reactions:

Jordan: “The Israeli actions against the mosque are rejected and condemned, and represent a violation of the historical and legal status quo, international law, and Israel’s obligations as an occupying power in East Jerusalem.”

PM Bennett’s Office: “Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Public Security Minister Bar-Lev and Israel Police Inspector General Shabtai and thanked them for managing the events on the Temple Mount with responsibility and consideration, while maintaining freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount...Prime Minister Bennett emphasized that freedom of worship on the Temple Mount will be fully preserved for Muslims as well, who will soon be marking the fast of the Day of Arafah and the Eid al-Adha.”

Turkey: “Israeli security forces have once again violated the sanctity of al-Haram al-Sharif by allowing racist Jewish groups to raid Al-Aqsa Mosque, attacking Palestinian civilians praying in the area and detaining Palestinian civilians, including children and women, leading to images that offended human dignity...The continuation of such provocations, at a time when the memories of the atmosphere of tension, escalation, and conflict caused by Israel’s attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque in the holy month of Ramadan are still fresh in our minds, is extremely dangerous”

Ra’am (Islamist party in Israel’s governing coalition): “The Al-Aqsa Mosque, in its 144 dunams, is solely the property of Muslims, and no one else has any right to it….the events that may result from it could inflame the situation in Jerusalem and the entire region, leading to a catastrophic religious war.”

Mahmoud Habbash (Religious Affairs Advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas): “Our people will not accept any attempt to change the historical status of the holy site. The occupation state has no religious, historical or legal right to any inch of occupied Jerusalem and the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque...The Palestinian bond in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa will continue and escalate, because we are exercising our legitimate right to protect our land and our holy sites and to defend ourselves.”

Why is this important? Jerusalem is always a powder keg. Even though the Tisha B’Av situation was only about one and a half thousand people, it was still highly symbolic of perceived Israeli encroachment on the Temple Mount. The status quo has been in place for decades and any attempt to change it will likely be met with a fierce response from Palestinians and the Muslim world. In the coming days and months, keep an eye on Jerusalem as the situation there could easily devolve into a wider, regional conflict. 

Anything else? It was not only Israeli-Palestinian relations that were strained at the Temple Mount last week. During Tisha B’Av commemorations at the egalitarian part of the Western Wall, far-right Orthodox Jews disrupted a Conservative Jewish service to install a gender separation barrier. The allocation of space for egalitarian prayer remains a controversial topic in Israel, though no major change to the status quo is likely under the current government.

Further reading:

Honorable Mentions:

“Israeli Companies Aided Saudi Spying Despite Khashoggi Killing” by Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti (The New York Times) (This is going to be a huge story as the NSO group has extensive ties to Israeli intelligence)

“How Israel became a judo powerhouse” by Cnaan Liphshiz (JTA)

“‘Why can’t I be the first?’ Orthodox baseball prospect Jacob Steinmetz on the history he hopes to make” by Rob Charry (JTA)

“Google Exec Out After Admitting He Used to Be Antisemitic” by Aaron Bandler (Jewish Journal)

“Barcelona requests not to play in Jerusalem, and its Israeli opponent cancels their match” by Ben Sales (JTA)

“Poll: 25% of American Jewish Voters Believe Israel is an Apartheid State” by Aaron Bandler (Jewish Journal)

Months after UN lifted arms embargo on Iran, ‘dam hasn’t burst’ yet by Yaakov Lappin (JNS)

“Countdown has begun: Israel redoubles efforts for second attempt to land on moon” by Josh Hasten (JNS)

“A Black Jewish filmmaker brings her dual identities to BET” by Gabby Deutch (Jewish Insider)

“Biden gives UNRWA $135m. after agency condemns anti-Israel hatred” by Tovah Lazaroff (The Jerusalem Post)

“Which Israeli athletes have a shot at the Olympic podium?” by Abigail Klein Leichman (JNS)

“Netanyahu urged Trump to strike Iran after election loss - New Yorker” (The Jerusalem Post) (Defense Minister Benny Gantz denied the report, saying that he would have known)

“No Rockets, but Anxiety Persists in Southern Israel” by Brent McDonald, Danielle Miller, Oren Rosenfeld, and David Blumenfeld (The New York Times)

“Former Official Wanted by Mexico Takes Refuge in Israel” by Ronen Bergman and Oscar Lopez (The New York Times)

“Presidential candidate with Jewish parent could be disqualified if a new law passes in the Democratic Republic of Congo” by David Ian Klein (The Forward)

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News from July 5 to July 11

Israeli PM Bennett reportedly meets with Jordanian King Abdullah, Israeli-South Korean vaccine deal, and honorable mentions

Hey everyone. As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for how to make News of the Jews better at You can follow me on Twitter @skaps1. If you are looking to watch something Jewish or Israeli, definitely check out the News of the Jews Media Guide

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reportedly traveled to Jordan to meet King Abdullah in secret:

What happened? Last week, Israeli media reports emerged claiming Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett secretly traveled to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah. Importantly, the pair reportedly negotiated and reached an agreement that would see Israel provide an additional 50 million cubic meters of water a year to Jordan (Israel already provides about 55 million cubic meters a year under the terms of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty). The meeting comes as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also traveled to Jordan to meet his counterpart to discuss the water arrangement as well as a separate deal to increase Jordanian exports to the West Bank. Both Prime Minister Bennett and King Abdullah are set to travel to Washington this summer. 

Why is this important? Under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s relationship with Jordan deteriorated, especially over the past few years. As you may recall, Israel and Jordan had a diplomatic spat earlier this year when Israeli officials refused to allow the Jordanian crown prince’s security team into the country ahead of a planned visit to the Temple Mount. Afterward, Jordan refused to allow then-Prime Minister Netanyahu’s UAE-bound plane to cross Jordanian airspace. Jordanian and Israeli officials have also clashed on Temple Mount policies, water allocations, and the latter’s policies towards the Palestinians for some time now, leading King Abdullah to describe relations between the two countries as “at an all time low” in November 2019.

King Abdullah. Source: European Union 

Even though the relationship has been rocky in recent years, the Israel-Jordan relationship carries substantial strategic importance for both countries. For one, the countries rely on each other for security cooperation as both benefit from stability. They also share water resources, are important trade partners, and generally prefer quiet along their shared border. Restoring and improving the relationship between Jordan and Israel was clearly a priority for Bennett and Lapid, and their efforts appear to be paying off; on a recent phone call with new Israeli President Isaac Herzog, King Abdullah said that he was satisfied with the new Israeli government’s efforts to rehabilitate relations. 

Anything else? Bennett and Lapid’s Jordan policy is the first example of a clean break from their predecessor in foreign policy. Another area where Bennett and Lapid appear to be making changes is Israel’s Iran policy. Prime Minister Bennett reportedly ordered the security establishment to review Israel’s Iran strategy ahead of Bennett’s meeting with Biden later this summer. 

Further reading:

Israel agrees to swap vaccines with South Korea after deal with the Palestinian Authority collapses:

What happened? As you may recall from a few weeks ago, Israel had agreed to swap soon-to-be-expired vaccines with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in a deal that would have netted Israel an equal quantity of doses later in the year. The logic behind the swap was that Israel’s vaccination rates have plummeted and the unused doses would expire if they were not sent where they were needed quickly. After initially agreeing to the deal, the PA backed out, saying the doses were too close to their expiration date, though many suspected that the PA’s true motivation was to avoid criticism that it was collaborating with Israel. Last week, Israel agreed to send about 700,000 doses that would expire at the end of July to South Korea in exchange for an equal number of vaccines later this year. 

Is this story significant? Where can I read more about it? This episode is a good example of how blindly partisan politics can sometimes really interfere with good policymaking. I’m not sure I can explain this better than Yair Rosenberg, who wrote an excellent piece this week explaining how the entire fiasco came to be, and I encourage you to read it here. He does a great job of breaking down the different political factors and what could (and should) have happened differently.

Honorable Mentions:

“How Orthodox Jewish Voters Helped Eric Adams Win the N.Y.C. Primary Battle” by Etan Nechin (Haaretz)

“Teachers’ unions are increasingly debating Israel — and in some places are backing boycotts” by Andrew Lapin and Gabriel Greschler (JTA)

“Former Egyptian First Lady dies at 88, Israeli officials send condolences” by Gadi Zaig (The Jerusalem Post)

Broken bodies and grieving souls: A rabbi cares for the dead in Surfside” by Louis Keene (Forward)

“University of Chicago’s Jewish community reels with 1 student missing in Surfside and another killed by a stray bullet” by Ben Sales (JTA)

“It's Time to Admit It: The Left Has an Antisemitism Problem” by Jonathan Greenblatt (Newsweek) (Greenblatt is the CEO of the Anti-defamation League, the premier antisemitism watchdog)

Report: Palestinians compile long list of preconditions for restarting talks with Israel” (JNS)

A rally against antisemitism hopes to present a united front, but its message on Israel has driven away some left-wing groups” by Ron Kampeas (JTA) (For more on the rally, which occurred yesterday, check out this article)

“Orthodox Jewish ace from Long Island expected to be picked in MLB draft” by Zach Braziller (NY Post)

“Israeli officials: Belgium airport scare likely Iranian test of Israeli security” (The Times of Israel)

“Djokovic sweeps past Israeli-born Shapovalov in tight Wimbledon semifinal” (The Times of Israel)

“Twitter Deplatforms White Nationalist Nick Fuentes” by Aaron Bandler (Jewish Journal)

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News from June 28 to July 4

Cynthia McKinney's antisemitic tweet, a Rabbi stabbed in Boston, and honorable mentions

I hope you had a great July 4th! As always, feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for how to make News of the Jews better at You can follow me on Twitter @skaps1. If you are looking to watch something Jewish or Israeli, definitely check out the News of the Jews Media Guide! Since it was a holiday weekend, this week’s edition is just going to feature some short news blurbs and honorable mentions.

Former Representative Cynthia McKinney appears to blame “Zionists” for 9/11 in antisemitic tweet:

What happened? Former six-term Georgia Democratic Congresswoman and former Green Party Presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney posted a photo on Twitter last Monday of a puzzle of the World Trade Center in flames with its missing piece labeled “Zionists did it.” McKinney’s tweet is the latest in a trend of antisemitic posts and comments that she has made in the past, including posts about the political and financial influence of Jews and the pro-Israel community, among others. At first, Twitter did not remove the tweet, claiming it was “strong political commentary,” but soon removed it, stating that it violated their user rules. The tweet has since reappeared and remains on McKinney’s Twitter.

What are people saying: Here are some highlights:

David Harris, American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO: “This blood libel — trying to shift blame for the 3000 deaths on 9/11 from al-Qaeda to “Zionists” — is one of the most outrageous examples of antisemitism imaginable. Note: It comes from an ex-Congresswoman, whose hatred for Israel & those who support it clearly knows no bounds.”

New York Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman: “At a time when antisemitic hate is increasing nationwide & solidarity has never been more important, this is what we're not going to do. This is antisemitic. It is hateful. It is misguided and ignorant.”

Georgia State Senator Butch Miller: "Cynthia McKinney's comments are indefensible, as well as nuts. Next year, I'll introduce legislation to change the name of the road in DeKalb that's named for her because we refuse to honor those who spew hate.”

Further reading:

Chabad Rabbi stabbed outside Jewish facility in Boston:

What happened? On Thursday, Rabbi Shlomo Noginski was stabbed eight times by a man armed with a knife and gun outside of a Chabad facility that serves as a day school and summer camp for Russian-speaking Jews in the Brighton area of Boston. Here’s how Chabad described the incident: “According to a report, Noginski was sitting on the front steps of the Shaloh House on his cell phone. The suspect approached him, drew a gun and asked Noginski to take him to his car. When the suspect attempted to force Noginski into the car, the rabbi tried running across the street to a small park called Brighton Common, where the suspect stabbed Noginski multiple times in the arm. As the rabbi tried to fend off the attacker he raised a commotion, finally causing the suspect to flee. The suspect was apprehended by police almost immediately.”

Police have since named the suspect as 24-year-old Khaled Awad and charged him with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer. Noginski was treated at a local hospital and is now recovering in his home. 

What are people saying: Here are a few highlights:

Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley: “Rabbi Noginski and his family are in my prayers tonight. While we await further details & pray for his recovery, let me say plainly that all of our neighbors deserve to live free from fear. Antisemitism is a clear and persistent threat to our communities.” (The stabbing occurred in her district)

Robert Trestan, New England Regional Director of the Anti-defamation League: “Facts emerging from the stabbing of a Rabbi in Brighton, MA yesterday include multiple indicators pointing towards antisemitism. We call on the Boston Police Department Civil Rights Unit to investigate yesterday’s violent attack as a hate crime. Boston’s Jewish community is angry, living in fear, and needs answers, accountability, and security.”

Jeremy Burton, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston: “The Jewish community is angry. And the Jewish community is united. At a time of rising violence and anti-Semitism across this country, no Jew, no building, no part of our community, no neighborhood will stand alone. And we expect – we demand – that we have the right to live, to walk in the streets, to be visible or not visible as Jews, to gather together, to celebrate and to live our lives as Jews fully, with joy and without fear.”

Further reading:

Honorable Mentions:

Not just neo-Nazis with tiki torches: Why Jewish students say they also fear cloaked anti-Semitism” by Mallory Simon (CNN)

“Adam Fox named hockey’s top defenseman, first Jewish player to win a major NHL award” by Marc Brodsky (JTA)

“New Israeli Diaspora minister travels to comfort Jews in Surfside — and looks to mend US ties” by Ron Kampeas (JTA)

“Lapid inaugurates Israeli Consulate in Dubai: ‘We created the incredible’” by Lahav Harkov (The Jerusalem Post)

An inside look at the Israeli rescue effort in Surfside” by Yaakov Lappin (JNS)

These are the Jewish victims of the Surfside building collapse” by Ben Harris and Shira Hanau (JTA)

“Police probing state’s payment for $15K jacuzzi at Netanyahu home – report” (Times of Israel)

Tokyo Olympics: All the Jewish athletes to watch” by Emily Burack (JTA)

“Iran said to restrict UN inspectors’ access to Natanz nuclear site after attack” (Times of Israel)

Meet the Jewish trio who just raised $1.35 million for Surfside” by Louis Keene (Forward)

“Israel cybersecurity firms raise record $3.4b, 41% of global sector investment” by Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)

Biden kneels before Orthodox adviser to Israel’s president after learning she has 12 children” by Cnaan Lipshiz (JTA)

Leah Goldin’s years-long crusade to bring her son home” by Melissa Weiss (Jewish Insider)

“Ilhan Omar derided for ‘bigoted’ comments directed at Jewish colleagues in Congress” (JNS)

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