The American Press’s Predictable Indifference to the Anti-Semitic Attack in Los Angeles

Nov. 29 2018

Last Friday evening, Mohamed Mohamed Abdi tried to run over two Jews coming out of a Los Angeles synagogue while yelling anti-Semitic epithets; fortunately, both survived unharmed. Yet the Los Angeles Times reports that “authorities are trying to determine [the attacker’s] motivations.” Other national papers have given the story minimal coverage, notes Armin Rosen:

Despite the increased attention to anti-Semitism in America that followed the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, this attack in LA hasn’t been treated as a national story. Maybe that shouldn’t be too surprising: the recent string of arsons against Jewish targets in Brooklyn, and the fairly common harassment of Orthodox Jews throughout the city—which takes the form of actual violence with distressing frequency—haven’t garnered anything beyond local, attention either.

In the former case, it seems mental illness and addiction were to blame for a series of attacks on Jewish targets and only Jewish targets. Maybe that’s because even these fairly threatening yet grindingly routinized manifestations of anti-Semitism don’t fit into an existing media or political narrative: as the New York Times noted last month, none of the anti-Semitic incidents in New York during the previous 22 months was the responsibility of anyone associated with a far right-wing group.

The attack in LA may have been of a kind that just isn’t deemed to be important or notable at the moment. Or maybe, because it can’t be blamed on a neo-fascist extremist, its contours are somehow more difficult for journalists and political leaders to recognize.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Media, Poltics & Current Affairs

 

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy