News Roundup for February 22, 2018

February 22, 2018

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J Street in the News

J Street And The Republican Jewish Coalition Are At War—And Fundraising Off It, The Forward

Nathan Guttman reports, “Trading barbs is nothing new for the Republican Jewish Coalition or the dovish lobby J Street. One supports Republicans running for Congress, the other raises money for Democrats who share liberal views on Israel, and both have a lot to say about each other. This latest round of sniping began with the launch of ‘Stop J Street,’ a joint fundraising committee aimed at getting Jewish donors to support Wisconsin Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman, who is being challenged by former J Street political director Dan Kohl. The new fundraising operation was announced on the eve of RJC’s annual meeting held in Las Vegas on February 8.”

Top News and Analysis

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Dangerous Obsession With the Media, The Atlantic

Amir Tibon writes, “The Netanyahu-Mozes affair has become a source of embarrassment for some of Netanyahu’s supporters, who had attacked Yediot for years, only to discover that he was dealing with its publisher behind closed doors. At the same time, the episode has appeared to affirm many of the criticisms against Yediot, providing strong evidence that Mozes used his paper’s influence to promote his business interests…How those biographies detail the current drama remains to be seen. But based on the events of the last few weeks, a happy ending may elude Netanyahu.”

Palestinians’ envoy to US faces silence from White House, Washington Post

Josh Lederman reports, “A few miles down the road from Israel’s gated embassy, the Palestinian envoy to Washington sits in his office wrestling with a unique diplomatic dilemma: how to advance his people’s cause when relations with the United States are so distant that he hasn’t even spoken to the White House in months. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has written off President Donald Trump, cursing him and declaring him an illegitimate broker for peace. Trump has reacted angrily, threatening to cut off all U.S. aid and dismissing Palestinian claims that he blew up any semblance of impartiality by declaring Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital…So what’s a diplomat to do?”

Trump cuts jeopardize lives of millions of Palestinian refugees, UN warns, The Guardian

Peter Beaumont reports, “The head of the main United Nations agency supporting Palestinian refugees has warned that the organization is facing the most severe funding crisis in its history, threatening its support to an estimated 5.3 million people, including more than 400,000 inside Syria. Pierre Krähenbühl, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency, added that cuts in support to the already impoverished and demoralized population his organization supports – many of them victims of recent conflict – risked radicalizing a new generation of young Palestinians.”


Palestinian Dies in Military Custody After Beating by Israeli Soldiers in Jericho, Haaretz

A Palestinian man died after he was arrested overnight by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Jericho on Thursday. A Palestinian NGO said that the man was beaten to death by the soldiers.

Police Have Tape of Telecom Mogul Pushing for Positive Netanyahu News Coverage, Haaretz

The police reportedly have a tape of Israeli telecom mogul Shaul Elovitch pushing for positive coverage of Benjamin Netanyahu on his company’s news site, the latest thorn in the prime minister’s side as he tries to deflect claims that he offered a quid pro quo for positive news coverage.

African asylum seekers hope love of Israel can win them stay of deportation, Times of Israel

Having experienced both warm welcome and strong opposition, some of the tens of thousands of migrants believe prison in the Jewish state preferable to dangers of leaving

New West Bank settlement brings in temporary housing for outpost evacuees, JTA

Trailers for the families evacuated last year from the Amona outpost were installed at the site of a new West Bank settlement established for them.

Amid Netanyahu corruption scandals, Israel slips in world corruption index, i24

In the midst of several corruption scandals enveloping Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his inner circle, Israel became perceived globally as a more corrupt country over the past year, according to a corruption watchdog agency.

US congressmen briefly questioned after Temple Mount visit, Times of Israel

Two US congressmen were briefly questioned by Israeli police officers during a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Thursday morning.

Opinions and Analysis

Encountering Peace: It Still is the Occupation, Jerusalem Post

Gershon Baskin writes, “Area C is occupied territory where all of the settlements are located, and it’s 62% of the West Bank. But most of the land there is privately owned Palestinian land and there was never an agreement by the Palestinians or by the international community that it would be part of Israel. Occupation is real, very real, and it will never be accepted by any of our neighbors. Perhaps the most graphic and shocking aspect of this unjust reality is the fact that life expectancy in the West Bank for Palestinians is 10 years less than it is for Israelis. These two peoples are living next to each other in a very small geographic area. The discrepancies between the two societies are so blatantly obvious and so blatantly unjust, and so blatantly un-Jewish.”

Netanyahu’s real crime: Plundering land for settlers, Al-Monitor

Akiva Eldar writes, “The police in Israel can recommend indicting a prime minister for accepting gifts from billionaires in return for promoting their business interests. The attorney general might be able to translate the recommendations into an indictment, and a court might even send a prime minister to jail. A recent amendment to Israeli law, the so-called Regularization Law, allows the taking of territorial ‘gifts’ from Palestinians and bestowing them on their Jewish neighbors, in violation of the national strategic interest in ending the bloody conflict. This has been going on for more than 50 years under the auspices of law enforcement authorities, with the cooperation of successive attorneys general, with the blessing of the Supreme Court and the support of most Israeli citizens.

Israel Is Fast Becoming a Rogue State. And Trump Is Complicit in That Downfall, Haaretz

Stephen Robert writes, “Many, including myself, fight ferociously for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. We give of our voices, time, money and risk our standing in our communities. Now, however, Israel’s extreme right-wing government and the cynically political calculations of the current American administration have driven a stake through our goal of a sustainable future for both Israelis and Palestinians.”