News Roundup for April 13, 2017

April 13, 2017

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J Street in the News

Democratic leader calls on Trump to fire spokesman over Hitler comments, Times of Israel

“Jeremy Ben-Ami, head of the liberal lobby group J Street, said Spicer’s comments were ‘unforgivable.’ ‘WH must address its issues recognizing Jewish suffering at Hitler’s hands in WWII,’ he wrote on Twitter, adding, ‘For refresher course on Holocaust history @PressSec only needs to walk half a mile to Holocaust Museum.’”

Evangelicals Lead The Call To Cut Palestinian Aid, Despite Israel’s Reservations, Forward

“The Taylor Force Act, a bill named after a U.S. citizen murdered by a Palestinian terrorist in Jaffa, would cut all American funding to the Palestinian Authority because of its longstanding practice of providing financial stipends to families of prisoners who carried out attacks against Israelis. But the seemingly simple measure, meant to ensure U.S. taxpayer dollars do not go to supporting terrorists, has put the traditional mainstream pro-Israel community in a bind and has highlighted the growing power of Christian evangelical supporters of Israel, who have taken the lead on this issue….J Street, which is lobbying against the bill, said that while it opposes the idea of using U.S. aid to support families of Palestinian terrorists, it believes that existing laws requiring a dollar-for-dollar deducting from U.S. assistance for any money the Palestinians spend on supporting terrorists’ families, are sufficient. ‘We oppose the Taylor Force Act because it would, in effect, zero out aid to the Palestinian Authority — a move which many in the Israeli security establishment have warned would have dire consequences for Israel’s own security,’ said J Street spokeswoman Jessica Rosenblum.”

Top News and Analysis

Sean Spicer Raises Outcry With Talk of Hitler, Assad and Poison Gas, The New York Times

“The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, set off an intense backlash on Tuesday when he suggested that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was guilty of acts worse than Hitler and asserted that Hitler had not used chemical weapons, ignoring the use of gas chambers at concentration camps during the Holocaust. Mr. Spicer later apologized. During his daily briefing for reporters, Mr. Spicer was defending President Trump’s decision to order a missile strike on Syria by trying to lend gravity to the actions of Mr. Assad. American officials accuse the Syrian president of using sarin gas, a lethal chemical weapon, in an attack on a rebel-held area of Idlib Province last week that killed dozens, many of them children. But in misconstruing the facts of the Holocaust — Nazi Germany’s brutally efficient, carefully orchestrated extermination of six million Jews and others — Mr. Spicer instead drew a torrent of criticism and added to the perception that the Trump White House lacks sensitivity and has a tenuous grasp of history.”

The political scenarios to defeat Netanyahu in early elections, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar argues, “If Lapid wins over Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman with the six Knesset seats that Liberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party was given in the poll, as well as the half-dozen expected seats of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party, and mobilizes the support of the center-left Zionist Camp, left-wing Meretz party and the Arab Joint List, he would be able to head off Netanyahu on his way to a fifth term as prime minister. But it’s one thing to move a new tenant into the Jerusalem prime minister’s official residence and quite another to bring about a significant transformation of the diplomatic and social reality in Israel — a goal that appears all but unachievable.”


Macron: France Unilaterally Recognizing State of Palestine ‘Would Not Serve Anyone’, Haaretz

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron came out against efforts to unilaterally recognize the State of Palestine. Speaking to France’s Radio J, Macron broke with the government policy and said unilaterally recognizing Palestine “would not serve anyone” and claimed the move would “create instability.” “The key is recognizing two states in the area, with diplomatic balance work to build peace,” Macron said. “If France commits to unilateral recognition of Palestinian we are contributing to an imbalance and will weaken France’s ability to play a role in regional stability and in this conflict.”

Yad Vashem says Spicer’s Hitler comments ‘distort history’, Times of Israel

The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum on Wednesday said that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s comments saying Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did not use chemical weapons “strengthen the hands of those whose goal is to distort history.”

Newcomer Avi Gabbay Beats Labor Chief Herzog in Fundraising for Leadership Race, Haaretz

Businessman and former Netanyahu minister Avi Gabbay outperformed other Labor Party candidates in fundraising donations ahead of the party’s leadership race.

Liberman bashes UN for silence on Palestinians killed in Gaza, Lebanon, Times of Israel

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman chastised United Nations envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov for not commenting on recent cases of Palestinians being killed in Lebanon and Gaza, saying it showed the “hypocrisy and double standards” the world has against Israel. Last week, five people were killed in clashes at the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, while three Palestinians were executed by hanging in Gaza by Hamas for allegedly “collaborating” with Israel

Israeli Supreme Court temporarily halts construction of illegal settlement outpost, Ma’an

The Israeli Supreme Court has issued a temporary stop-work order against the construction of an illegal Israeli outpost in the central occupied West bank district of Ramallah, according to Israeli human rights watchdog Peace Now, which submitted the petition against the outpost to the court last month. Peace Now released a statement on Sunday that the order was issued against the Kerem Reim outpost, which is located in western Ramallah. According to the group, the court’s decision also prohibited the sale or population of the structures in the outpost.

Israel warns that Gaza will face power supply crisis, Al-Monitor

Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai is warning that the diesel fuel donated by Qatar to enable the operation of the Gaza Strip’s only power station will run out on April 14. According to Mordechai, the enclave is facing yet another power supply crisis, as electricity production was halted in January due to a dispute between the Hamas rulers of Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank over which of them should pay for the fuel.

Why Did Sean Spicer Apologize To Sheldon Adelson For Hitler Comments?, Forward

Amid broad condemnation for his assertion that Adolf Hitler did not use poison gas “on his own people,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer called billionaire Jewish casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to apologize. Adelson is a major donor to conservative and Jewish causes. He is not the leader of any major Jewish organization. He does, however, have a special relationship with President Donald Trump: He got prime seats at Trump’s inauguration after pouring massive amounts of cash into the campaign.

Opinions and Analysis

Israel’s anti-Zionist Celebration of the Six-Day War, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev observes, “The Israeli cabinet decided this week that the main event marking the 50-year jubilee of the Six-Day War will be held in the West Bank settlement bloc of Gush Etzion and will be dedicated to the “liberation of Judea, Samaria, Benjamin, the Golan and the Jordan Valley.” Rather than focusing on aspects of the war that are in near-consensus in Israel and among Jews abroad, such as the excellence of the Israeli army, the victory of few against the many or the revolutionary change in Israel’s self-confidence and international standing following the war, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government opted to appropriate the war’s legacy for the settlers and the Israeli right and to alienate the many Jews in Israel and abroad who have mixed feelings about the so-called ‘liberation’ and certainly do not view it as a cause for celebration.”

IfNotNow And The Challenge Of The Millennial Left, Forward

Peter Beinart writes, “IfNotNow and Black Lives Matter, for all their obvious differences, are both manifestations of a generational political awakening that holds tremendous promise. America — and the American Jewish community — badly needs the change they’re trying to bring. Older progressives like myself can help that process by offering our admiration, our support, and yes, sometimes our criticism, too.”

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