Hating on Jews and journalists: 8 things to know for November 27
Israel media review

Hating on Jews and journalists: 8 things to know for November 27

A CNN survey showing anti-Semitic attitudes persisting in Europe has many concerned, and Israel’s culture minister shows how crass she and her supporters can be

Private security personel with 'Aryan Brotherhood' on his T-shirt opens the gate at the venue of the 'Schild und Schwert' (Shield and Sword) neo-Nazi festival, in the small eastern German town of Ostritz on April 20, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL)
Private security personel with 'Aryan Brotherhood' on his T-shirt opens the gate at the venue of the 'Schild und Schwert' (Shield and Sword) neo-Nazi festival, in the small eastern German town of Ostritz on April 20, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL)

1. Not learning from history: A survey by CNN showing high levels of anti-Semitism in Europe is sparking consternation among the Jewish community in Israel and abroad.

  • The survey, which was commissioned and completed before a shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh that left 11 dead, finds that a quarter of Europeans polled think Jews have too much influence in business and in conflicts around the world, one in five think they have too much influence in the media or politics, and one in three know little to nothing about the Holocaust.
  • On the other hand, most Europeans recognized the importance of commemorating the Holocaust, and over half said Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state, while a third said anti-Israel sentiment is motivated by anti-Semitism.
  • Interestingly, support for Israel was highest in Poland, the same place where 15 percent admitted to having an unfavorable opinion of Jews, second only to Hungary, with 19%
  • “The poll uncovered complicated, contrasting and sometimes disturbing attitudes about Jews, and some startling ignorance,” CNN’s Richard Allen Greene writes.
  • In a somewhat extraordinary move, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily prints a translated version of the CNN story in full, under the headline, “One in five Europeans justifies anti-Semitism.”

2. ‘It never went away’: Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum reacts quickly to the poll, saying it’s “ deeply concerned.”

  • “The survey highlights the troubling fact that many entrenched hateful anti-Semitic tropes persist in European civilization, 75 years after the end of the Holocaust. While not all forms of anti-Semitism necessarily lead to genocide, antisemitism was central to the Nazis’ worldview and their “Final Solution” to eradicate all Jews and their culture from the face of the earth,” the museum says in a statement.
  • Isaac Herzog, head of the Jewish Agency for Israel, calls the survey “very worrying.”
  • “History proves that if anti-Semitism is not taken care of in its early stages, it will lead to human lives being harmed, as we saw in past generations in the Holocaust and more recently in Pittsburgh,” he says in a statement.
  • Poland chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich tells CNN the numbers are a reflection of persistent attitudes which are now being expressed more brazenly: “I don’t know if the number has grown, but this new situation today is they feel that it’s more acceptable socially, that they can express these opinions out loud… The feeling beforehand was, ‘This is what I believe but don’t tell anyone.’ It was not perfect but at least there was a social taboo against anti-Semitism.”

3. It’s not always anti-Semitism: On the other hand, an Israeli reporter attacked in Berlin is careful not to assign anti-Semitic motives to her attackers, as many would do.

  • Kan reporter Antonia Yamin, whose ordeal Sunday was caught on video, writes on Twitter, after speaking to police, that while she was speaking Hebrew and holding a microphone with Hebrew lettering, her desire to not assign motive without the facts is driven by the fact that she takes anti-Semitism seriously.
  • “I emphasize that in my opinion it is less important whether the men knew that I was Jewish/Israeli or that they just wanted to harass a woman in the street,” she writes on Twitter.

4. ‘Dirty Jew’ politics: The Israel Hayom tabloid doesn’t shy away from slinging the term at former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who it reports referred to Israeli adviser Moshe Klughaft, working on behalf of the ruling party for elections, as a “dirty Jew” and other lovely terms.

  • The paper notes that Klughaft was given special protection and that Jews in the former Russian republic have protested the comments.
  • On Twitter, Haaretz journalist Noa Landau notes that Klughaft is no stranger to below the belt punches, asking sarcastically if Saakashvili “also by chance called him a mole, put horns on his head and accused him of sticking a knife in the back of the nation.” The comment refers to Kulghaft’s role in crafting campaigns for the far-right in Israel that have essentially made him untouchable to many Israeli politicians.
  • Earlier this year, Meretz head Tamar Zandberg took flak, and was forced to apologize for taking on Klughaft during a leadership race.

5. Tantrum politics: Culture Minister Miri Regev is not apologizing for her attacks on fellow politicians stymieing her culture loyalty bill or for her supporters’ attacks on journalists.

  • On Monday, Regev went off on Moshe Kahlon and Avigdor Liberman, at a hastily prepared press conference, for not guaranteeing her legislation the majority it needed to pass, seemingly killing it.
  • Liberman went as far as saying he would not support any coalition legislation unless they backed his death penalty bill, giving the government its latest lesson in how difficult it will be to pass laws with a 61-seat coalition.
  • Yedioth writes that Regev showed up to the press conference “in an especially combative mood, ” and even Israel Hayom, which normally handles the Likud with kid gloves, accuses her of “firing in all directions” in a headline.
  • In Haaretz, Yossi Verter writes that Regev’s coarse attacks show she hasn’t quite figured out that finesse is needed sometimes, surmising that she could have still won over Liberman and Khalon if she hadn’t thrown a fit: “Passing laws during such an unstable period and with such a small majority, when people have their sights set on elections that are not so far off, requires sensitive and secretive work behind the scenes. Based on Regev’s spectacle in the Knesset, it seems that somebody there hasn’t changed their way of thinking — and hasn’t noticed that the coalition now controls 61 seats rather than 66.”

6. Regev’s kind of ‘culture’: Regev’s press conference was marked by her initial refusal to take questions, with several journalists in attendance protesting that that’s not what happens at a press conference.

  • Regev eventually acquiesced, but her supporters constantly interrupted the journalists with vulgar epithets, ToI’s Raoul Wootliff writes.
  • “One activist branded a female correspondent a ‘bitch’ for asking a question, while another labeled a religious journalist ‘a traitor.’ When this reporter challenged some of the rowdy activists, he was called a ‘son of a whore,’” he writes.
  • When he asked if Regev would respond to her supporters’ attacks, a spokesman would say only that she had not invited them, so they were not her responsibility, even though she also never asked them to leave.
  • “The treatment of journalists at Monday’s event was almost unprecedented for a ‘press conference’ taking place at the Knesset, where political reporters are supposed to be able to cover events freely and without fear of intimidation,” he notes.

7. Murder of teen girl shocks: In Tel Aviv, the suspected murder of a 13-year-old girl is leading the news cycle, with the partner of the girl’s mother the main suspect.

  • Hadashot news reports that Sylvana Tsegai, the daughter of Eritrean asylum seekers, was found dead by her mother returning to their south Tel Aviv apartment and police are searching for Tesfebarhan Tesfasion, considered the main suspect, and have asked the public to be on the lookout as well.
  • Describing the scene at the girl’s home this morning, Walla news reports that her friends showed up to walk with her to school as they do every morning. “They stood on the sidewalk and called for her to come again and again, but the girl’s uncle eventually had to tell them that she would not be coming with them, since she had been murdered the night before.”
  • Haaretz’s Lee Yaron writes that the most shocking thing about the case is that it hasn’t happened more often, shining a light on domestic violence in Israel’s asylum-seeker community and authorities’ refusal to deal with it.
  • “Despite the fact that many asylum-seekers need social services, including to prevent domestic violence cases, the various welfare divisions do not provide them with social help, except in extreme cases of life and death,” she writes.

8. Rate hike too soon, or not soon enough: The decision by the Bank of Israel to raise interests rates for the first time since 2011, and bring it above 0.1% for the first time since 2015, is seen as having a direct impact on home-buyers, and pundits chafe at the fact that it was instituted by an interim bank chief before new BoI governor Amir Yaron could take over from Karnit Flug.

  • According to Hadashot news, the rate means an average mortgage will go up by some NIS 500 a year, not a ton, but enough to add up to thousands over a few years.
  • In Haaretz’s The Marker financial magazine, Sami Peretz writes that “it’s hard to find any reason to have raised rates rights now.”
  • Israel Hayom’s Eran Bar-Tal says the same, dismissing interim head Nadine Baudot-Trajtenberg’s explanations about inflation targets and accusing her of simply “wanting to leave a mark,” before the new boss takes over.
  • In Globes, though, columnist Eran Hymer writes that the low interest rates may have been helping brew another crash similar to that of 2008, which Israel successfully avoided thanks to more sound fiscal policy.
  • “However, it seems that 10 years on, the logic that protected us back then has cracked and similarities with the US on the eve of the crash have risen,” he writes, without mentioning the rate hike directly. “The low interest rates around the world have inflated home prices to an all-time high, much like before the US crisis. At the same time, the low interests rates in Israel created an incentive for taking more and more loans, for homes, cars, vacations, dentist work, with consumer credit burden rising to an all-time high.”
read more: