A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
"From the second one arrives at the Washington Convention Center, the AIPAC spectacle is all-encompassing. From the anti-Israel demonstrators clustering around the entrance to the sparkling multi-screen plenaries in the main hall, there is a both a sense of showmanship and a sense that this is, for two days, the only show in town," said Ben Cohen in The Jewish Press. This year's festivities included an address from Vice President Biden. "The president missed AIPAC this year—no great scandal, since he’s making his first in-office trip to Israel later this month," said Slate's Dave Weigel. Not everyone thought the conference covered for it. "There’s elephant in the room in this AIPAC conference, and this elephant is American policy in the region. In one session after another one hears criticism of American inaction, American hesitation, American lack of coherence," said Shmuel Rosner in the Jewish Journal.
Venezuelan Jews and the rest of the world said farewell to leader Hugo Chavez on Tuesday after he passed away at the age of 58. Chavez never explicitly threatened the Jews there, said reports, but he was known to be staunchly anti-Israel. "His one-man style, gleeful nationalizations and often harsh treatment of opponents," said the Jewish Journal, were seen "as traits of an egotistical dictator whose misplaced statist economics wasted a historic bonanza of oil revenues." A new leader will take over within a month. There's no way to know how he will rule. “As part of the security apparatus of the regime, many Venezuelans are under surveillance,” said a Jewish columnist at El Nacional, quoted by JTA. “The Jewish community is obviously perceived as some sort of threat that warrants those actions.”
Ukraine bomb blast
President of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, Vadim Rabinovich, was the target of a bomb attack in Kiev recently, according to reports. An explosive device was thrown into Rabinovich's moving car, resulting in damage to his vehicle and nearby buildings. Miraculously, nobody was injured in the blast. The perpetrator got awaym but police are looking for the suspect. It's too early to know if antisemitism was the motivating factor, but many locals suspect it was.
Weinstein let off
Carmen Weinstein, the president of the Egyptian Jewish community, was acquitted of fraud and embezzlement of roughly $450,000 by the Abdeen Court of Misdemeanors. After Weinstein was sentenced to three years in jail, she had her sentence overturned. An Egyptian businessman had accused Weinstein of stealing from him after he paid for a Jewish community property. Weinstein filed a countersuit arguing that the accusation was baseless.
The hatred in the stands at Israeli soccer games is only getting worse, by the looks of it. Hundreds of fans last weekend left the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team after the first goal was scored by a Muslim player. The match with Maccabi Netanya, which ended in a 1-1 tie, but it was Zaur Sadayev's goal that had people talking afterward. Most of the Beitar Jerusalem fans, however, remained in the stands for the duration of the game. "An obsession with racial purity ... where have we heard that before?" asked Dan Amira in New York Magazine. "Now we have to add Israel to the ever-growing list of countries that are home to bigoted shitbag soccer fans," added Tom Ley at Deadspin.