A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:
More fighting between police and protesters in Egypt has some people feeling uneasy. “Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel has always been hated by the masses. This is a country where loathing of Jews, and venomous resentment of the Jewish state, are common among all classes,” said Peter Hitchens in The Daily Mail. But there’s reason to remain hopeful, said a Jewish Week editorial. “Israel has good reason to worry in the short term while hoping that, down the road, Arab citizens will choose human rights over rigid ideologies.” Reuven Firestone in the Jewish Journal added: “Egyptians have tasted freedom, and they want it.” And some Israeli women are showing solidarity in unique ways...
Was Kibbutz Meirav seized?
According to an AP report citing an Israeli researcher this week, some West Bank land was seized by Kibbutz Meirav. But those reports turned out to be false, opponents said. “Is it any wonder, with so many journalists more concerned about being the first to expose dirt than about doing their job, that the public is increasingly distrustful of what they read in the mainstream press?” asked a blogger at Camera. Who do you trust?
One year out
“These are very dangerous times, and I think the Jewish community will be looking to see how the Arab Spring is looking to be more like an Arab Winter,” said Matt Brooks in a Tablet interview. But how could this all play out for Republicans, who will need the Jewish vote to win? “Mitt Romney is an attractive candidate for Jewish Republicans for reasons that include his outspoken backing of Jerusalem, relatively moderate positions, past business success and his having served as governor of Massachusetts,” said Gary Rosenblatt in The Jewish Week. It’ll just take embracing Mormonism.
Identity theft of Holocaust survivors
A woman who worked for a Jewish community organization in Florida was arrested for selling a Holocaust survivors’ identity information for $1,000. Crystal Thorne had access her clients’ info, as they sought help from the Holocaust Survivors Assistance Program. Thorne was apprehended trying to sell the info as part of a tax refund scam. “The recorded conversation indicated the (confidential informant) informed Thorne he would use the identities for tax return fraud and let Thorne know if they worked,” according to the affidavit.
A vodka company posted a billboard alongside New York’s West Side Highway that promised “Christmas Quality, Hanukkah Pricing,” drawing criticism from Jewish groups and prompting the company to promise to remove the ad. The Wódka vodka ad featured the image of two dogs, one wearing a Santa hat, the other wearing a yarmulke. “Booze with a splash of anti-Semitism is what Wodka Vodka is serving up this holiday season,” joked Julia Rubin at Styleite. “Actually it got the company’s the cheap publicity it wanted,” said Don Surber in the Daily Mail. Other agreed that it was an expensive stunt.