Top News from Israel & Palestine: June 14-21, 2024


  1. New from FMEP

  2. Gaza

  3. Region//Global

  4. River to the Sea

  5. U.S. Scene

  6. Activism//Lawfare//Redefining Antisemitism to Stifle Criticism of Israel

  7. Perspectives//Long Reads


FMEP Legislative Round-Up: June 21, 2024

  1. Bills, Resolutions; 2. Letters; 3. Hearings; 4. Israel/Palestine in 2024 Elex/Politics; 5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements. This week’s round-up was guest-written by Haydn Welch and Sheridan Cole, advocacy officers at the Middle East Democracy Center, with contributions by Lara Friedman.


The war in Gaza has wiped out entire Palestinian families. AP documents 60 who lost dozens or more (AP)

“To a degree never seen before, Israel is killing entire Palestinian families, a loss even more devastating than the physical destruction and the massive displacement. An Associated Press investigation identified at least 60 Palestinian families where at least 25 people were killed — sometimes four generations from the same bloodline — in bombings between October and December, the deadliest and most destructive period of the war. Nearly a quarter of those families lost more than 50 family members in those weeks. Several families have almost no one left to document the toll, especially as documenting and sharing information became harder…In the 51-day war of 2014, the number of families that lost three or more members was less than 150. In this one, nearly 1,900 families have suffered multiple deaths by January, including more than 300 that lost over 10 members in the first month of the war alone, according to Gaza’s health ministry.” See also These “Tent Massacre” Survivors Couldn’t Afford to Leave Rafah. The Next Israeli Attack Nearly Wiped Their Family Out. (The Intercept)

Israeli bombing kills dozens in Gaza in ‘difficult and brutal day’ (Al Jazeera 6/21/24)

“Israeli bombardment of Gaza killed dozens of people as it intensified its attacks on the besieged territory amid a worsening humanitarian crisis. The Gaza health ministry said the bodies of 30 people killed in Israeli raids arrived at al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City on Friday in what it described as a “difficult and brutal day”. At least 25 people were also killed and 50 others wounded in Israeli attacks on tents for displaced Palestinians in al-Mawasi, near Rafah, in the south of the coastal enclave, it said. In a separate incident, the Palestinian Civil Defence agency said crews transported a number of people killed and injured in Israeli shelling of al-Shakoush area, northwest of Rafah. Israeli forces bombed the garage of the Gaza City municipality as well as a five-storey building in the city, Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Ismail al-Ghoul reported. The health ministry said earlier Israel’s military killed at least 35 Palestinians over the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll from the invasion to 37,431 since October 2023.” See also Israel pounds central Gaza camps, deepens invasion of Rafah (Reuters 6/20/24); Israel war on Gaza live: 18 killed, 35 wounded in attack on Mawasi (Al Jazeera 6/21/24); Israeli tanks push deeper into Rafah, forcing people to flee again (Reuters 6/19/24); Israeli forces deepen Rafah invasion, kill 17 in central camps (Reuters 6/18/24) ‘A Hellscape’: Dire Conditions in Gaza Leave a Multitude of Amputees (NYT)

Children starving, parents helpless as famine consumes northern Gaza (Ibrahim Mohammad//+972)

“With the northern Gaza Strip once again facing critical shortages of food, water, and infant formula as a result of Israel’s siege and ongoing military bombardment, Saeed is one of many Palestinian children whose bodies are wasting away from starvation. The doctors at Kamal Adwan Hospital, in the town of Beit Lahia, say Saeed is suffering from severe fatigue, emaciation, and anemia…Khalil fears that Saeed could join a growing list of more than 30 Palestinian children in Gaza who have died of malnutrition and dehydration in recent months. In March, northern Gaza was declared to be facing imminent famine. Now, according to the World Health Organization, “a significant proportion” of Gaza’s entire population is experiencing “catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions.” At Kamal Adwan Hospital alone, 50 children are currently being treated for severe malnutrition. The scarcity of humanitarian aid entering the Strip means that many families have no access to basic essentials. In the north, “there’s no rice, vegetables, or flour,” Khalil explained. “If any of these goods are available [in the market], their prices are insane. The majority of the population cannot afford them.”’ See also With Rafah crossing closed by Israel, Gazans have no way out (WaPo); UN chief says most aid going into Gaza is being looted amid ‘total lawlessness’ (Times of Israel);

States and companies must end arms transfers to Israel immediately or risk responsibility for human rights violations: UN experts (UN Human Rights Office fo the High Commissioner)

“The transfer of weapons and ammunition to Israel may constitute serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws and risk State complicity in international crimes, possibly including genocide, UN experts said today, reiterating their demand to stop transfers immediately …“These companies, by sending weapons, parts, components, and ammunition to Israeli forces, risk being complicit in serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws,” the experts said. This risk is heightened by the recent decision from the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in Rafah, having recognised genocide as a plausible risk, as well as the request filed by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court seeking arrest warrants for Israeli leaders on allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. “In this context, continuing arms transfers to Israel may be seen as knowingly providing assistance for operations that contravene international human rights and international humanitarian laws and may result in profit from such assistance.”’ See also Israel may have violated laws of war in Gaza, UN rights office says (Reuters); Israel’s actions in Gaza ‘intentional attack on civilians’: UN inquiry (Al Jazeera); Gaza Is World’s Deadliest Place for Aid Workers, U.N. Says (NYT); U.N. says Israeli use of bombs in civilian areas may have violated laws of war (WaPo); Israel’s systematic sexual abuse and torture of Palestinians detailed in new reports (Middle East Eye)

U.S. Pier for Gaza Aid Is Failing, and Could Be Dismantled Early (NYT)

“The $230 million temporary pier that the U.S. military built on short notice to rush humanitarian aid to Gaza has largely failed in its mission, aid organizations say, and will probably end operations weeks earlier than originally expected. In the month since it was attached to the shoreline, the pier has been in service only about 10 days. The rest of the time, it was being repaired after rough seas broke it apart, detached to avoid further damage or paused because of security concerns.”

Report claims only 50 hostages in Gaza still thought alive (Times of Israel)

“United States officials estimate that as few as 50 hostages in Gaza are still alive, according to a report Thursday, confirming the worst fears of family members who say time is running out for their loved ones after nearly nine months in captivity. The assessment, based on a combination of Israeli and American intelligence, put the number of deceased hostages at 66, a far higher number than Israel has publicly confirmed, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Israel Defense Forces have confirmed the deaths of 41 hostages still in captivity, based on intelligence and findings obtained by troops operating in Gaza. Talks for a deal to free the hostages, including the remains of those killed in captivity or during the October 7 Hamas onslaught on southern Israel, have failed to notch progress in recent weeks, with the terror group insisting on a permanent halt to fighting in Gaza, a condition rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” See also Freed Israeli hostage recounts ordeal in Gaza, where she says she was held in a hospital and civilian homes (CBS)

Report: Israeli Army Ignored Warning by Spotter That Hamas Held ‘Unusual’ Training Near Border Days Before October 7 (Haaretz)

“A female Israeli army spotter who was stationed at the Nahal Oz outpost on the Gaza border reported on October 3, four days before Hamas’ attack on Israel, that the group conducted an unusual training exercise near the border fence, according to a report published Thursday by Israeli public broadcaster Kan 11. The spotter reported to her commanders that around 9 A.M. Hamas operatives conducted an extensive and unusual training session, but that security officials decided that it was “another training session.” The spotter, according to the report, said that some 170 Hamas terrorists were training to launch rockets while attacking Israeli tank crews. The routine rehearsed by the militants was eventually implemented almost exactly on October 7, when Hamas terrorists raided the outpost, killed soldiers, set fire to the observation posts, and kidnapped female soldiers to the Gaza Strip.” See also 8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months (AP News 6/15/24)

Women and children of Gaza are killed less frequently as war’s toll rises, AP data analysis finds (AP)

“The proportion of Palestinian women and children being killed in the Israel-Hamas war appears to have declined sharply, an Associated Press analysis of Gaza Health Ministry data has found, a trend that both coincides with Israel’s changing battlefield tactics and contradicts the ministry’s own public statements. The trend is significant because the death rate for women and children is the best available proxy for civilian casualties in one of the 21st century’s most destructive conflicts. In October, when the war began, it was above 60%. For the month of April, it was below 40%…Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director for Human Rights Watch, said his group has always found the Health Ministry’s numbers to be “generally reliable” because it has direct access to hospitals and morgues. Whatever the reason for fewer women and child being killed, Shakir said, in the grand scheme, the trend pales when compared with the war’s overall devastation. “The death toll may be an undercount,” he added, because many bodies are still under rubble and the war has made it difficult for the Health Ministry to comprehensively gather data.”


Salvo of rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel as Cyprus responds to Hezbollah (Al Monitor)

“A fresh salvo of rockets was fired from Lebanon toward northern Israel on Thursday, one day after Hezbollah’s chief warned that “no place” in Israel would be spared if war began amid escalating fears of an all-out conflict. The scope of escalation grew on Thursday with Cyprus finding itself drawn into the picture as Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened to attack the country if its territory were used by Israel in a full-blown war against Lebanon. In a phone call with his Lebanese counterpart on Thursday, Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos reiterated his country’s position and stressed that “Cyprus has no intention of getting involved in any way in the ongoing war in the region.”’ See also Hezbollah threatens war against Cyprus if it helps Israel (Politico); Israel’s air defense caught off guard by Hezbollah’s low-tech drones (WaPo); Conflict in Lebanon displaces vulnerable Syrian refugee communities (WaPo)

Iran signals a major boost in nuclear program at key site (WaPo)

“A major expansion underway inside Iran’s most heavily protected nuclear facility could soon triple the site’s production of enriched uranium and give Tehran new options for quickly assembling a nuclear arsenal if it chooses to, according to confidential documents and analysis by weapons experts. Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed new construction activity inside the Fordow enrichment plant, just days after Tehran formally notified the nuclear watchdog of plans for a substantial upgrade at the underground facility built inside a mountain in north-central Iran.”

Israel defence exports hit record $13.1 billion in 2023 (Reuters)

“Israeli defence exports rose to a record $13.1 billion in 2023, a government report said on Monday, citing hundreds of contracts signed at various defence firms.Some 36% of exports came from missile, rocket and air defence systems, followed by radar and electronic warfare, weapon stations and launchers at 11% each, with crewed aircraft and avionics at 9%, the Defence Ministry said. Defence exports, which totalled $12.5 billion in 2022, have doubled over the past five years.” See also French Court Strikes Down Ban on Israeli Companies at Weapons Show (NYT)

Shipping industry groups call for action after Houthis sink second vessel (Al Jazeera)

“Yemen’s Houthi armed group has been launching attacks on shipping lanes in the region since November in what it says is an effort to support Palestinians and pressure Israel to end its war on Gaza. In response, the United States and its allies have attacked Houthi targets in Yemen since January. The Houthis, however, have pledged to continue targeting ships if Israel continues to press its war on Gaza.” See also U.S. Treasury Imposes New Sanctions to Cut Off Weapons to Houthis in Yemen (NYT)


IDF transfers powers in occupied West Bank to pro-settler civil servants (Guardian)

“The Israeli military has quietly handed over significant legal powers in the occupied West Bank to pro-settler civil servants working for the far-right minister Bezalel Smotrich. An order posted by the Israel Defense Forces on its website on 29 May transfers responsibility for dozens of bylaws at the Civil Administration – the Israeli body governing in the West Bank – from the military to officials led by Smotrich at the defence ministry. Smotrich and his allies have long seen control of the Civil Administration, or significant parts of it, as a means of extending Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank. Their ultimate goal is direct control by central government and its ministries…The transfer of laws, which was largely unremarked upon in Israel, follows a years-long campaign by pro-settlement politicians to accrue many of the legal powers previously wielded by the military chain of command…Mairav Zonszein, a senior analyst for Israel-Palestine at Crisis Group, said: “The big story is that this is no longer ‘creeping annexation’ or ‘de facto annexation’, it is actual annexation.”’ See also Is the US poised to sanction an Israeli minister for the first time? (Times of Israel);

Israeli Official Describes Secret Government Bid to Cement Control of West Bank (NYT)

“An influential member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition told settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that the government is engaged in a stealthy effort to irreversibly change the way the territory is governed, to cement Israel’s control over it without being accused of formally annexing it. In a taped recording of the speech, the official, Bezalel Smotrich, can be heard suggesting at a private event earlier this month that the goal was to prevent the West Bank from becoming part of a Palestinian state. “I’m telling you, it’s mega-dramatic,” Mr. Smotrich told the settlers. “Such changes change a system’s DNA.”…“We created a separate civilian system,” Mr. Smotrich said. To deflect international scrutiny, the government has allowed the defense ministry to remain involved in the process, he said, so that it seems that the military is still at the heart of West Bank governance. “It will be easier to swallow in the international and legal context,” Mr. Smotrich said. “So that they won’t say that we are doing annexation here.”’

Israel’s Netanyahu is at war with almost everyone (Ishaan Tharoor//WaPo)

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a leader locked in battle — many battles. His nation is still in the depths of an unprecedented military offensive against militant group Hamas that has pulverized the Gaza Strip, killed tens of thousands of people and displaced most of the territory’s population. Meanwhile, tensions on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon are spiking, with both Israeli officials and the leader of Lebanese militant organization Hezbollah trading threats of war as Iran’s proxies in the region maintain their antagonism with the Jewish state. But Netanyahu is also picking fights closer to home and much further away. He recently folded his wartime “cabinet,” a small clique of officials including more moderate political rivals that formed in “unity” to administer Israel’s response to Hamas’s shocking Oct. 7 terrorist strike on the country’s south. Differences over Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict and his pandering to Israel’s far right obviated the purpose of the panel. The Israeli prime minister has sparred with Israel’s generals, with a growing number of public dissensions coming from the top brass. And then there’s President Biden, whom Netanyahu attacked earlier this week for supposedly withholding weapons from Israel and thwarting its goal to fully defeat Hamas. Netanyahu’s broadside against the White House, which brushed under the rug the huge amount of support that the Biden administration has offered Israel, seemed calculated to curry favor with his right-wing base and boost Biden’s own Republican opponents, who led the charge in inviting the polarizing Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress next month. Netanyahu, a wily politician and Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, is pulling what levers he can in an increasingly desperate quest to cling to power.” See also The many battles of Benjamin Netanyahu (WaPo); Rift grows between Netanyahu and Israeli military over Hamas elimination (WaPo); Benjamin Netanyahu dissolves Israeli war cabinet (Guardian); Amid Gaza War, Netanyahu Feuds With Military, His Coalition and Washington (NYT)

Rifts seem to appear between Israel’s political and military leadership over conduct of the Gaza war (AP News)

“The Israeli army’s chief spokesman on Wednesday appeared to question the stated goal of destroying the Hamas militant group in Gaza in a rare public rift between the country’s political and military leadership…“This business of destroying Hamas, making Hamas disappear — it’s simply throwing sand in the eyes of the public,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the military spokesperson, told Israel’s Channel 13 TV. “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It’s rooted in the hearts of the people — whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.” Netanyahu’s office responded by saying that the country’s security Cabinet, chaired by the prime minister, “has defined the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities as one of the goals of the war. The Israeli military, of course, is committed to this.”’

A settler shot my husband. Then Israel bulldozed my childhood home (Shoug Al Adara//+972)

“Since October 7, the entire world has focused on the war between Israel and Hamas. But here in At-Tuwani, there is no Hamas. I want the whole world to know that an Israeli settler shot my husband with an illegal bullet, and see the lasting effects of settler violence on our families and communities. I want the whole world to understand what it is like to watch Israeli soldiers turn your home to rubble, while you stand helplessly by. The settler who shot Zakariyah hasn’t been seen in At-Tuwani since, nor has he been charged or prosecuted for his crime. Meanwhile, Zakariyah and our whole family continue to suffer. Occupation and war inflict wounds that are slow to heal.”

Polls show soaring Palestinian support for Barghouti as Hamas, Abbas stumble (Al Monitor)

“Three Palestinian public opinion polls conducted in May 2024 and published in recent weeks showed sustained support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza and a slight improvement in support for Fatah. Notably, since the Oct. 7 attack and subsequent war, Hamas has been more popular than Fatah in the West Bank, while Fatah is more popular than Hamas in the Gaza Strip…All three polls showed extremely low favorability ratings for President Mahmoud Abbas and his handpicked prime minister, Mohammad Mustafa…Meanwhile, all three polls show overwhelming support for the imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, putting him ahead of any possible opponent if he were to run to replace Abbas.” See also As War Drags On, Gazans More Willing to Speak Out Against Hamas (NYT)

Israel’s New Air War in the West Bank: Nearly Half the Dead are Children (The Intercept)

“Israel has also transformed its tactics in the West Bank. Since June of last year, and with increasing regularity during the Gaza offensive, the Israel Defense Forces have shown a new willingness to use air power in the West Bank, regardless of the collateral damage to children and other civilians caught in the blasts. An open-source Intercept investigation documented at least 37 Israeli airstrikes, drone strikes, and attacks by helicopter gunships in the West Bank since June 2023, which have killed 55 Palestinians, according to the United Nations. Most attacks struck densely populated urban areas and refugee camps in Jenin, Tulkarem, and Nablus, all in the northern part of the West Bank. The Israeli military repeatedly stated on social media that the strikes were carried out to kill terrorists. But this investigation identified a different pattern: Nearly half of the people killed in the strikes were children.”

Protesters block major highways and interchanges in call for early elections (Times of Israel)

“Anti-government protesters blocked several major highways and interchanges across the country on Sunday in a call for early elections…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is facing massive blame over its failure to prevent the October 7 massacre, with some also charging that it has fumbled when dealing with key matters relating to the conflict such as negotiating a deal to release the hostages.” See also Israeli anti-government protesters rally in Jerusalem (Reuters); Jerusalem police forcefully disperse protesters demanding Netanyahu’s departure (WaPo); Israeli Police Crack Down on Protesters With Violence, False Arrests and Surveillance (Haaretz)

How Israeli Society Has Unified, and Divided, in Wartime (Pew Research Center 6/20/24)

“93% of Jewish Israelis think the military has a positive influence on the way things are going in Israel, while just 34% of Arab Israelis agree. This gap has grown significantly since we last asked the question in 2007, when 77% of Israeli Jews and 57% of Israeli Arabs said the military’s influence was positive. (Read more about confidence in the government and institutions in Chapter 2.) Israelis as a whole are still divided over whether the building of Jewish settlements in the West Bank helps (40%) or hurts (35%) Israel’s security. But Jewish Israelis have grown more likely to see the settlements as helping security, widening the ethnic gap on this question. (Read more about views of settlements in Chapter 3.) Fewer Israelis think a way can be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to coexist peacefully than said the same last year (26%, down from 35%).”


White House baffled by Netanyahu’s claim Biden is withholding weapons (Axios)

“A White House spokesperson responded bluntly on Tuesday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claim that the Biden administration is withholding weapons from Israel: “We genuinely do not know what he is talking about.” Netanyahu’s remarks, made on video in English, were one of his harshest public criticisms of the Biden administration since the war in Gaza began on October 7. They come despite the fact that the U.S. has only withheld one weapons shipment since the war began, while providing billions worth of arms and ammunition.” See also Report: Netanyahu ignored warnings from ministers, advisers not to openly criticize US (Times of Israel); Netanyahu accuses Biden of withholding weapons. White House: We ‘do not know what he’s talking about.’ (JTA); Key Democrats approve major arms sale to Israel, including F-15s (WaPo); US vexed, disappointed by Netanyahu claim of arms holdup: ‘No one has done more for him’ (Times of Israel); U.S. officials say Netanyahu’s accusation video hurts effort to avoid war in Lebanon (Axios); Scoop: White House cancels meeting, scolds Netanyahu in protest over video (Axios); As Netanyahu protests, Blinken says Israel arms shipments moving ‘normally’ (Al Monitor)

State Dept. expert on Israeli-Palestinian affairs resigns amid Gaza crisis (WaPo)

“A senior State Department official and skeptic of the Biden administration’s “bear hug” approach to the government of Israel resigned this week in a setback for U.S. diplomats pushing for a sharper break with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right coalition, said three people familiar with the matter. Andrew Miller, the deputy assistant secretary for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, told colleagues Friday that he had decided to leave his job. He cited his family, saying he has seen them sparingly as the eight-month war in Gaza has become all-consuming…Miller’s resignation, which has not been previously reported, comes amid growing frustration inside and outside government over the war’s steep civilian death toll and concerns among some that influence over policy matters has been dominated by a narrow coterie of President Biden’s closest advisers. Miller is the most senior U.S. official to resign to date whose portfolio focuses on Israeli-Palestinian issues.” See also ‘Should be wakeup call to Jerusalem’: US pointman on Israeli-Palestinian conflict resigns (Times of Israel)

AIPAC Unleashes a Record $14.5 Million Bid to Defeat a Critic of Israel (NYT)

“Pro-Israel political groups have transformed a Democratic primary on the outskirts of New York City, overwhelming the race with record-shattering outside spending to take down one of Israel’s most outspoken detractors, Representative Jamaal Bowman. The onslaught by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and allied groups has made good on a warning delivered to lawmakers like Mr. Bowman after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack: Moderate your views or face a deluge of political attacks. Now, in barely a month, an AIPAC-affiliated super PAC has spent $14.5 million — up to $17,000 an hour — on the race, filling television screens, stuffing mailboxes and clogging phone lines with caustic attacks. With days to go, the expenditures have already eclipsed what any interest group has ever spent on a single House race. Pro-Israel groups are using the same approach elsewhere, most notably in an August primary in St. Louis. AIPAC’s super PAC, the United Democracy Project, has already spent $1.5 million there to take out Representative Cori Bush, who is a Black member of the House’s left-wing “squad” like Mr. Bowman.” See also Bowman slams AIPAC in final debate with Latimer (Punchbowl)

Nonprofits Are Taking a Stance on Gaza — and Paying the Price (Chronicle of Philanthropy)

“A donor pulling a longtime grant in response to a nonprofit executive’s politically-charged social media post. A family foundation forced to bring in an outside facilitator to mediate internal divisions over the war in Gaza. Risk-averse grant makers asking organizations to scrub language like “ceasefire” from their websites. Those are just some of the conflicts brewing over language, funding, and free speech that have engulfed the progressive nonprofit world in recent months, as a growing number of foundations threaten to pull support from grantees over their stance on the war in Gaza…For the progressive groups most affected, many of them small and BIPOC-led, the funding cuts and censorship demands have started to hit hard — forcing painful conversations about whether to tone down messaging to preserve needed revenue and avoid layoffs and program cuts. After multiple complaints from progressive grantees with similar experiences, a group of Jewish philanthropy professionals and major donors composed an open letter last month deriding what they called a “dramatic ramping up of efforts in philanthropy to marginalize, discredit, and censor voices — including Jewish voices — that dissent from certain orthodoxies.”…Nonprofits known to the letter’s signatories say they’ve collectively lost $5 million to $10 million over the past several months related to their stance on the ongoing hostilities, and Lynch says the actual number is likely much higher.”


ADL faces Wikipedia ban over reliability concerns on Israel, antisemitism (Asaf Elia-Shalev//JTA)

“Wikipedia’s editors have voted to declare the Anti-Defamation League “generally unreliable” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding it to a list of banned and partially banned sources. An overwhelming majority of editors involved in the debate about the ADL also voted to deem the organization unreliable on the topic of antisemitism, its core focus. A formal declaration on that count is expected next. The decision about Israel-related citations, made last week, means that one of the most prominent and longstanding Jewish advocacy groups in the United States — and one historically seen as the leading U.S. authority on antisemitism — is now grouped together with the National Inquirer, Newsmax, and Occupy Democrats as a source of propaganda or misinformation in the eyes of the online encyclopedia. Moreover, in a near consensus, dozens of Wikipedia editors involved in the discussion said they believe the ADL should not be cited for factual information on antisemitism as well because it acts primarily as a pro-Israel organization and tends to label legitimate criticism of Israel as antisemitism.”

Examining the ADL’s Antisemitism Audit (Shane Burley and Jonah ben Avraham//Jewish Currents)

“In mid-April, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a report tallying the total number of antisemitic incidents in the United States in 2023. The annual audit highlights 8,873 instances of antisemitic “harassment, vandalism and assault”—a 140% increase from the organization’s 2022 numbers, and the highest since the organization began tracking such incidents in 1979. The report was quickly picked up by Axios, The Seattle Times, and various local TV stations, among other outlets, and often uncritically cited as evidence that the movement for a ceasefire in Gaza is a wellspring of rising antisemitism….But considering that the ADL has recently attracted scrutiny over its ongoing effort to categorize anti-Zionism as antisemitism—and has historically faced broader questions over its statistical methods—it is unclear whether the organization’s audit provides an accurate portrait of American antisemitism. So we reanalyzed the ADL’s data line-by-line, drawing on our expertise as researchers and writers on contemporary antisemitism. …While we expected that this difference in methodology would create a disparity between our findings and the ADL’s, our reappraisal also highlighted more basic problems with the ADL’s tracking system. In addition to identifying more than a thousand items we believe were misclassified as antisemitic—all cases of speech critical of Israel or Zionism—we found that the data included misapplications of the organization’s own standards and often did not provide enough information for us to assess the group’s judgment. Our analysis clarifies what the ADL’s prominent report captures and excludes, and shows how the conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism skews the data—ultimately serving as a reminder of the need for serious statistical analysis done by an organization not beholden to Israel advocacy.

Apple Matches Worker Donations to IDF and Illegal Settlements, Employees Allege (The Intercept)

“As with many large corporations, Apple employees can make donations to a number of nonprofit organizations and receive matching contributions from their employer through a platform called Benevity. Among the charitable organizations eligible for dollar-matching from Apple are Friends of the IDF, an organization that collects donations on behalf of soldiers in the Israeli military, as well as a number of groups that contribute to the settlement enterprise in the West Bank, including HaYovel, One Israel Fund, the Jewish National Fund, and IsraelGives.”


Why Palestinian Unity Matters (Salam Fayyad//Foreign Affairs)

“As I argued in Foreign Affairs last fall, the Palestinian national movement’s leadership must unite under the auspices of the Palestine Liberation Organization. To do so, the PLO must admit Hamas, as well as other significant outlying factions, to its membership. Doing so is key to enabling the Palestinian Authority to assume its rightful role in governing both Gaza and the West Bank—consistent with the PA’s mandate when it was created, in 1994…Hamas is not going away. When the so-called day after arrives in Gaza, Hamas will still be around. In fact, having survived the full brunt of Israel’s military might in an enclave that Israel took literally only a few hours to capture in 1967, Hamas will credibly claim to be victorious. The sense that the group will win has tempered voices of dissent, particularly in Gaza. It has enabled the Islamist movement to stem and withstand second-guessing of its decision to attack Israel last October.”

Hamas Is Winning (Robert Pape//Foreign Affairs)

“Nine months of Israeli air and ground combat operations in Gaza have not defeated Hamas, nor is Israel close to vanquishing the terrorist group. To the contrary, according to the measures that matter, Hamas is stronger today than it was on October 7…Despite its losses, Hamas remains in de facto control of large swaths of Gaza, including those areas where the territory’s civilians are now concentrated…Hamas is now waging a guerrilla war, involving ambushes and improvised bombs (often made from unexploded ordnance or captured IDF weapons), protracted operations that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser recently said could last through the end of 2024 at least. It could still strike in Israel; Hamas likely has some 15,000 mobilized fighters—roughly ten times the number of fighters who carried out the October 7 attacks. Further, more than 80 percent of the group’s underground tunnel network remains usable for planning, storing weapons, and evading Israeli surveillance, capture, and attacks. Most of Hamas’s top leadership in Gaza remains intact. In sum, Israel’s fast-moving offensive in the fall has given way to a grinding war of attrition that would leave Hamas with the ability to attack Israeli civilians even if the IDF presses ahead with its campaign in southern Gaza…For a terrorist or insurgent group, the key source of power is not the size of its current generation of fighters but its potential to gain supporters from the local community in the future… And that ability to recruit is rooted, ultimately, in a single factor: the scale and intensity of support a group derives from its community…To assess the group’s true strength, analysts should consider the various dimensions of its support among Palestinians…Five PSR surveys from June 2023 to the most recent, completed in June 2024, present a striking finding: on virtually every measure, Hamas has more support among Palestinians today than before October 7.”

Black Liberation and Palestinian Liberation Are Interconnected (Nina Turner & Rashida Tlaib//The Nation)

“In this spirit, it has been deeply inspiring to see organizations focused on Black liberation, from the NAACP to the Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to The King Center, embrace the cause of Palestinian human rights. All of these groups have called for a cease-fire in Gaza—and recently, the NAACP, the nation’s leading civil rights organization, went a step further, urging the Biden administration to stop weapons shipments to Israel. This courageous declaration by the NAACP is the latest example of the shared struggle for Black and Palestinian liberation. When we come together in solidarity to build a multi-racial, cross-faith, multi-generational movement, we realize our power to bend the arc of the moral universe. Just as our civil rights leaders who came before us did, we all have a moral responsibility to speak out against injustice everywhere and dismantle systemic racism, white supremacy, and all systems of oppression. We also have to unite because our struggles are so interconnected; for instance, according to US Census Bureau estimates, the poverty rate is 33.8 percent in Detroit and 31.8 percent in Cleveland—two of the highest rates among America’s largest cities. In a country that wastes trillions of dollars on war while continuing to defund our social safety net, we know that poverty is a policy choice…Why is it that our country always has enough money to bomb people, but never enough to provide people with health care, housing, and enough food to feed their families?…The movement that forces our government to stop funding endless war is the same movement demanding universal healthcare, housing for all, reparations, and clean air and water. The same students, teachers, labor leaders, and community activists who are organizing for a permanent cease-fire are also organizing for the liberation of all people, including Black liberation.”

Self-Rule Without Sovereignty (Dana El Kurd//Jewish Currents)

“In the months since Israel began its annihilatory assault on Gaza, there has been extensive discussion in global policy circles about Palestinian governance on the elusive “day after.” For its part, the Israeli government has refused to entertain the idea of Palestinian self-government or statehood, with members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet instead pledging their full support for ethnic cleansing and re-settlement of the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the Biden administration, until recently, has supported bringing the Palestinian Authority (PA) back into Gaza, even as PA officials warn that they cannot arrive “on the back of an Israeli tank.” The idea of multinational or Arab peacekeeping forces administering Gaza has also been floated, with almost no input from Palestinians. Meanwhile, Palestinians have been debating the role Hamas should play in future governance, with some insisting that Hamas cannot be sidestepped in any post-war coalition, others holding that Hamas should play no role, and yet others arguing that it is time to move beyond the PA–Hamas paradigm entirely, possibly reviving the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and creating space for more diverse Palestinian political perspectives. Political scientist Diana B. Greenwald’s new book, Mayors in the Middle: Indirect Rule and Local Government in Occupied Palestine, historicizes this debate, showing how Palestinian governance, even at the local level, has long been connected to the context of the occupation and the question of Palestinian national liberation. Focusing largely on the West Bank in the period immediately following the Second Intifada—a rare time of electoral competition in Palestinian towns and cities—Greenwald documents how Palestinian local leaders navigated Israel’s regime of territorial domination, alternately working amidst, upholding, or resisting it. I spoke to Greenwald about Palestinian local politics, the promises and limitations of self-rule under occupation, and thinking about the future of Palestinian governance amidst Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip.”

An Israeli Hostage’s Parent: This Is Not the Holocaust (Jonathan Dekel-Chen//NYT)

“That horrific day and the devastation of Gaza caused by Israel’s military response have led to countless references to the Holocaust and related terms: genocide, Nazis, pogroms. Some of Israel’s opponents have loosely and irresponsibly accused Israel of genocide against the Palestinians. My own government has also invoked those terms, mainly to convince Israelis of the magnitude of the threat they face from Hamas. As the son of a father who survived the Holocaust and a mother who fled Nazi Germany, I find our government’s use of such references to the Nazi genocide to be deeply offensive. As the father of a hostage, I find the use of such language excruciating. And as a professor of history, I am appalled at the inaccuracy of such statements and frightened by their implications for Israeli society. There is one truth to our leaders’ invoking of the Holocaust: Oct. 7 was indeed the deadliest single day for world Jewry since the Holocaust. The comparison ends there. By invoking collective memories of the Holocaust, Israeli government ministers and other leaders are effectively absolving themselves of the horrors of that “Black Saturday” — in effect, shirking their own accountability for the massacre and their sacred responsibility to return all the hostages alive.”