News Roundup for April 10, 2017

April 10, 2017

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J Street in the News

Want to Stop BDS? Stop Alienating Progressives, The Forward

J Street U Northwest Campus Organizer Catie Stewart writes, “The students I work with continue to fight for a principled and effective middle ground. When we succeed, we win new advocates for the two-state solution and make major contributions to the defeat of BDS efforts. But empowering people on the political extreme and mainstreaming their ideas makes our work harder and only harms the long-term interests of Israelis, Palestinians and the American Jewish community. Defending progressive students against hate speech is important –- but it won’t get to the root of the problem. The pro-Israel establishment needs to realize that their efforts have gone down a dangerous path -– and take real steps to change course.”

IfNotNow Is the Jewish Black Lives Matter, The Forward

Peter Beinart argues, “One way of understanding IfNotNow is by comparing it with J Street. The latter organization was born in 2007 as a part of a movement by liberal activists frustrated that Democratic Party leaders had not more fervently opposed President George W. Bush. Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street’s president and founder, had served as the policy director for Howard Dean, who almost won the 2004 Democratic nomination by blasting his opponents for having supported the Iraq War. J Street gained support from “netroots” blogs like Daily Kos, which wanted to liberate the party from hawkish, pro-corporate “New Democrats.” J Street wanted to liberate the party from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and its assumption that being “pro-Israel” meant supporting Israeli policy in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Top News and Analysis

Palm Sunday bombs rock Egyptian churches, as state of emergency is declared, Washington Post

Moments after the explosion rocked her church Sunday morning, Mona Faiez’s phone rang. It was her sister, checking to see if she was alive.. . Less than three hours later, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the entrance to St. Mark’s Cathedral in the northern city of Alexandria, killing 17 and injuring many more. The dead included three police officers who stopped the bomber from entering the site. The head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was presiding over Palm Sunday Mass at the church, also packed with worshipers, but he was unharmed. By Sunday night, President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi had declared a state of emergency across the country for three months.

Trump’s envoy pushing two-state solution as Abbas’ US visit near, Al-Monitor

Uri Savir writes, “After the US elections, the Trump administration was viewed by the Israeli right as a redemption of all anti-settlement and pro-two-state positions of the Obama era. The Palestinians, for their part, saw Trump’s victory as “the end of the world.” Today, positions have changed. The main sense one gets from talking with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials is one of confusion. Despite some similar positions, Trump is not Barack Obama, and he is therefore totally unpredictable. Initial signs indicate that a dealmaking attempt is not out of the question.”

Sinai Rocket Strikes Israel Moments After Egypt Border Shuts for Fear of Imminent Attack, Haaretz

Militants in Sinai fired a rocket at Israel on Monday, the army said, moments after Israel closed its southern border with Egypt for fear of an imminent attack. The rocket hit a greenhouse in a southern Israeli community near the Egypt and Gaza borders.


Israel Warns UN of Imminent Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza Strip, Haaretz

Israel warned the United Nations of an impending humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip because of severe infrastructure problems there.

Israel’s Supreme Court calls on government to respond to Western Wall prayer lawsuits, JTA

Israel’s Supreme Court called on the Israeli government to respond to lawsuits regarding the establishment of an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.

Palestinians in Silwan defend their homes from ongoing settler excavations, Ma’an News

After Israel ordered the evacuation of three homes in occupied East Jerusalem due to severe structural damage caused by settler-led tunnel construction below, Palestinian residents say they refuse to leave, and accuse Israel of indirectly attempting to expel them the city.

Bannon and Kushner Feud Brings anti-Semitism Out of Hiding, Haaretz

Media reports of a feud between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner  has triggered what seems to be a new wave of anti-Semitism among far rightists in the United States.

Israel Decides to Offer Medical Treatment to Syrian Children Wounded in Chemical Attack, Haaretz

Decision by the security cabinet reached despite defense chief’s opposition; ministers see the move as symbolic, but of moral importance, which could also help Israel’s image

Israel slams Marine Le Pen’s Holocaust comments as ‘contradicting historical truth,’ Times of Israel

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Monday said far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen “contradicted historical truth” when she said that her country was not responsible for the rounding up of Jews during the Holocaust. The response came a day after Le Pen, who leads the National Front party, said that it was the wartime Vichy government that was to blame for the capture and deportation to Nazi death camps of thousands of Jews, and not France as a whole.

IDF to partially lift West Bank closure to let Palestinian Christians into Jerusalem for Easter, Times of Israel

Israel will allow Christian Palestinians into Jerusalem for the Easter holiday next week, the army said, despite a general, week-long closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip that began Monday at midnight. As it does for almost all major Jewish holidays, the IDF announced last week that it would be shutting down the crossings in the West Bank and Gaza for the duration of the Passover holiday.

2,000 Protest Killing of Jewish Woman Outside Paris, The Forward

Two thousand French Jews demonstrated outside of the home of an ultra-Orthodox woman who is believed to have been pushed out of her third-floor apartment by a neighbor to her death.

Opinions and Analysis

‘He has caused chaos’: How Netanyahu’s media war nearly split his government, Washington Post

Writing in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharanoth, which Netanyahu considers among his main media foes, political commentator Sima Kadmon noted that no other Israeli prime minister had “succeeded so well in causing a rift and schism among his people.” She said Netanyahu had managed to divide and conquer Israel’s media outlets on this issue. “And you, Prime Minister, enjoy it.” This is a blow to the most important part of democracy — the news,” said opposition leader Isaac Herzog.

A Shift in Israel Palestinian Narrative, Huffington Post

Andrew Braner and Sascha Topreich write, “On February 27, 2017, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduced HR 1221, seeking to establish an International Fund for Israeli – Palestinian Peace. This bipartisan Bill is co-sponsored by Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY), and is seeking the signatures of both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress interested in shaping a peaceful solution to a conflict fueling rising tensions in the Middle East.”

Lend a Hand to the Gazens, Haaretz

The Haaretz Editorial board argues, “In order to resolve a humanitarian crisis, one must be humane. Hamas is Israel’s enemy, but the people of the Gaza Strip are not its enemies. Gazans are people who are suffering and who need help. Israel can and should come to their aid.”

Why the Ken Livingstone anti-Semitism Affair Matters, Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer argues, “The case of the former London mayor should show the left what happens when ideology blinds it to its own homegrown brands of bias and racism.”

Marking 50 Years of Occupation at the Seder Table, J Street Blog

Josh Friedes writes, “This Passover, as we reflect on fifty years of occupation, let us take the opportunity for the Jewish people to affirm that the fates of Jews and Palestinians are inexorably linked. Israel’s future will not be guaranteed — and the Jewish people will not be truly free or secure — until there is a two-state solution and an end to the occupation.”