News Roundup for June 4, 2018

June 4, 2018

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J Street in the News

Democrats Chide Ambassador David Friedman for Playing Partisan Politics With Israel, Haaretz

“Democratic legislators on Capitol Hill are angry at David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, for claiming that Republicans support Israel more than Democrats….Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) released a combative statement, saying Friedman has disgraced American foreign policy….Schakowsky is considered an ally of the left-wing Jewish group J Street, and recently led a group of 76 members of Congress in writing a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank. J Street, for its part, called on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate Friedman’s conduct as ambassador, following his comments.”

No, Smearing Democratic Candidates as ‘Anti-Israel’ Won’t Sway Voters, Forward

J Street National Political Director Aaron Davis writes, “Jewish voters support Israel, and they want their elected representatives to support it too. But they also fear for Israel’s future and worry about the direction in which it is heading. Many feel deep concern about the actions of Israel’s current government, and about the converging agendas and ideologies of President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. These voters understand that some criticism of Israeli government policies, and support for proactive US diplomacy to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, does not make a candidate anti-Israel. Increasingly concerned about US and Israeli policies that exacerbate conflict, scorn diplomacy and entrench occupation, they know that unquestioning support for the incendiary actions of the Trump administration does nothing to help secure a peaceful future for Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

Jordan’s King at Critical Juncture as Public Unrest Boils Over Into Mass Protests, Haaretz

“Jordan’s King Abdullah decided this week to cancel his overseas trip after realizing that his kingdom is quaking. Estimates are that more than 200,000 citizens demonstrated across the country on Saturday, following tens of thousands who had demonstrated on Thursday and Friday in solidarity with the general strike called on Wednesday by 33 workers’ organizations. Tens of thousands of people clogged social network websites with slogans such as ‘don’t touch my salary’, ‘a government of thieves’ and ‘don’t steal our rights.”

Time Is Now for Deal With Hamas, Senior Israeli Military Officer Says, Haaretz

“The Israel Defense Forces believes that now is the time to reach an agreement with Hamas to improve life for Gazans and prevent further rounds of fighting, a senior officer in the IDF’s Southern Command said Thursday. ‘In the past four years since Operation Protective Edge, this is the closest we’ve come to a war in Gaza. But the reason is the situation and the distress in Gaza rather than Hamas’ military ambitions. In this situation, there’s an opportunity for various agreements in Gaza,’ the officer said.”

News

After embassy move, Trump weighs giving envoy control over consulate too, Times of Israel

US President Donald Trump is considering giving US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the US outpost that handles Palestinian affairs, five US officials said, a shift that could further dampen Palestinian hopes for an independent state.

Netanyahu Denies He Ordered Phone Tap on Mossad and Army Chiefs, Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently denied reports Friday that he asked the head of Israel’s security service to listen to the telephone conversations of the head of the army and Mossad spy agency a number of years ago.

EU, China Vow to Uphold Iran Nuclear Deal, Associated Press

The European Union and China say they will do their utmost to keep afloat an international agreement to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons despite the U.S. abandoning the pact.

Israel Warily Watches as Jordan Rocked by Biggest Protests in Years, Haaretz

Israel has been forced over the past several days to direct more attention to events in happening in Jordan. Huge demonstrations have been organized there over the past week, attended by tens of thousands of people in a number of cities in protest at the rising cost of living and the Jordanian government’s economic policies.

Iranian General Denies Reports of Withdrawal From Southern Syria: ‘It’s Not Going to Happen’, Haaretz

The impression one gets is that anyone who thinks differently from Netanyahu, and not just on security issues, is immediately suspected of sabotaging him, and in the prime minister’s view, all means of acting against such people are legitimate. After all, Netanyahu also frequently and irresponsibly throws out hints of “coups” and accusations that he’s being undermined by the police, the police commissioner and the judicial system.

Israel’s conversion laws are about to get stricter, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Jewish converts in America may have a much harder time being accepted in Israel because of a new set of regulations proposed by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

Opinion and Analysis

You, the Silent Majority, Go to This Palestinian Village, Haaretz

Odeh Bisharat writes, “This expulsion won’t take place following a questionable military order, or following a hand gesture by a founding father that led to the expulsion of more than 50,000 Arabs from Lod and Ramle, or because of the extreme right’s desire to cleanse the country of Arabs, or because of evil bureaucrats. This has been approved by the judges of Israel’s Supreme Court, the symbol of justice and compassion. So if this is what the symbol of justice does, what’s left for evil to destroy?”

Netanyahu Is ‘Sabotaged’ Again, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “The impression one gets is that anyone who thinks differently from Netanyahu, and not just on security issues, is immediately suspected of sabotaging him, and in the prime minister’s view, all means of acting against such people are legitimate. After all, Netanyahu also frequently and irresponsibly throws out hints of “coups” and accusations that he’s being undermined by the police, the police commissioner and the judicial system. “

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