News Roundup for April 25, 2017

April 25, 2017

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J Street in the News

Gorka Storms Out Of Georgetown Panel After Tough Student Questions, Talking Points Memo

“Students from J Street U, the Jewish Student Association, and the Muslim Student Association, many of whom carried signs expressing disapproval for Gorka’s ties to the Order and rhetoric about Muslims, came prepared to press the Trump aide on his views.”

Seb Gorka Said ‘Fake News’ Impacts Lives in Heated Exchange, The Daily Beast

“Students in attendance described a contentious atmosphere as organizations such as J Street U, the Jewish Student Association and the Muslim Student Association came prepared with signs condemning alleged ties between Gorka and the Order of Vitez, an order in Hungary created by a Nazi collaborator.”

Why J Street U is bringing Breaking the Silence to campus, Student Life

J Street U WashU leader Aitan Groener writes: “J Street U is bringing Breaking the Silence to our campus because we need our communities to acknowledge the threat that the occupation poses to Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic country. Breaking the Silence reminds me that it is powerful and possible to support Israel, while working to fix its broken politics. It reminds me that I can create a place for myself in Jewish communities by bringing together my Jewish values and my desire for an end to the occupation and a two-state solution.”

Top News and Analysis

German minister says Netanyahu ultimatum ‘regrettable,’ won’t cancel plans, Times of Israel

Visiting German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday morning that it would be “regrettable” if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were to refuse to meet him due to his planned meeting with groups critical of the Israeli army, but insisted that he will not change his plans. “It’s difficult for me to imagine that the meeting will be canceled, because this would be very regrettable,” he said. “I don’t want to make a drama about it,” he said in a television interview, but added that it would be “exceptional” if the Israeli prime minister were to boycott


Report: Trump Plans to Cut Foreign Aid Across World – but Increase Aid to Palestinians, Haaretz

State Department documents published Monday by Foreign Policy magazine show that while the Trump administration is preparing major cuts in U.S. foreign aid across the world, one of the few areas where the administration actually wants to increase spending is in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.

New Study Shows Anti-Semitism Soared Last Year, Huffington Post

“Harassment, vandalism and other hostile acts against Jewish people and sites in the U.S. increased by 34 percent last year and are up 86 percent through the first three months of 2017, according to data released on Monday. A spate of bomb threats against Jewish community centers and schools, and vandalism at Jewish cemeteries in the U.S. this year have contributed to the surge, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s report. There have been more than 100 bomb threats against 75 Jewish community centers and eight Jewish day schools around the country this year through early March. Vandals have toppled headstones and inflicted other damage at Jewish graveyards in St. Louis, Philadelphia and other cities this year. A swastika made from feces besmirched an art school bathroom in Rhode Island.“

Israel Museum Remembers Holocaust With New Message, New York Times

The closing event of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place in an amphitheater outside the museum on Monday….“Our answer is to position the Holocaust as a warning sign,” he said, pointing to the international growth of xenophobia, threats to liberalism and democracy, and the challenge of alternative truth enabled by social media. He described Auschwitz as the nadir of what he called “a deteriorating continuum of evil.” So instead of dealing with the Holocaust as a static historical event, and only a Jewish tragedy, the museum is advocating a more dynamic approach with a focus on the moral lessons for all of humanity.


PM’s ultimatum to Germany causes ‘serious harm’ to ties, Herzog warns, Times of Israel

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog warned Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was dealing a heavy blow to Israel’s relationship with “a true friend,” after the premier threatened to boycott a meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel if he meets with two Israeli rights groups during his visit to the country.

Security chiefs slam Netanyahu over planned cyber defense body, Times of Israel

Leaders of Israel’s security establishment sent an angry letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning against the establishment of a planned National Cyber Authority, according to a Monday report. The letter signed by Mossad head Yossi Cohen, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman, IDF deputy chief of staff Yair Golan and Defense Ministry director general Udi Adam warns Netanyahu that in its current proposed form, the cyber authority would cause “severe harm to the security of the State of Israel.”

Israeli authorities demolish Bedouin village in Negev for 112th time, Ma’an

Israeli forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region of southern Israel for the 112th time since 2010 Tuesday morning, and for the fourth time this year.

Trump said bidding to defeat new anti-Israel UNESCO resolution, Times of Israel

Administration reportedly orders its envoys worldwide to try to persuade UN body’s member-states to oppose Israel-bashing motion next week

6 Palestinians Arrested After Caught on Tape Throwing Stones at Israeli Police Jeep, Haaretz

Israeli police arrested six Palestinians in the West Bank on Sunday night on suspicion of throwing stones at a police jeep in March. The Border Police said dozens of officers and Israeli soldiers entered the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, to conduct the arrests.

Opinions and Analysis

Stage Rightist: Why is Sebastion Gorka Speaking At A Major Jewish Conference? The Forward

Jane Eisner writes: “[Gorka’s] views are beyond the mainstream of even conventional Republican thinking, but in the interest of free expression, they deserve a hearing at the Post conference and any other venue where debate is valued. My dispute is not over his political ideology. My dispute is over his qualifications, his alarming associations, his questionable past and his refusal to consistently explain it. Until we know the truth about Sebastian Gorka, invite someone else to express his extreme worldview and share the stage with Jewish leaders. Right now, that’s not his place.”’

Rivlin Uses Holocaust Day to Challenge Netanyahu’s Darkness and Despair, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev argues: “Even though they grew up in the same political camp, in many ways Rivlin is the polar opposite of Netanyahu. He is avuncular, good-humored, a people-oriented politician, a fair-minded right winger who fostered good relations with Israeli Arab Members of Knesset even when it was unpopular in his Likud party. Netanyahu has a much darker personality. He is obsessively suspicious not only of external enemies but also of fellow politicians, who invariably transform from allies and supporters to rivals and dejected enemies. Where Rivlin sees a glass half full, Netanyahu sees a glass half full of poison. Like his predecessor Shimon Peres, Rivlin is an optimist; Netanyahu, on the other hand, seems enemies and misfortunes everywhere. It is one of the common traits he shares with Donald Trump.”

Will Radiohead Resist The Call To Boycott Israel? The Forward

In an interview, former J Street U President Amna Farooqi comments on calls for Radiohead to boycott Israel, saying that: “Israel isn’t an apartheid state, and acting like Tel Aviv and Amona [the settlement in the West Bank] are the same thing erases a lot of complicated realities about how the occupation functions,and what life is like for Israelis, Palestinian citizens in Israel, and Palestinians under occupation. Calling for everyone to avoid traveling to Israel and engaging with any sort of Israeli culture punishes all of Israeli society without actually building real political power to ending the occupation. If boycotts as a strategy alone would secure peace for Palestinians and Israelis, we wouldn’t be approaching 50 years of occupation of Palestinian territories.”

Who Failed the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Test?, Haaretz

The Haaretz Editorial Board writes: “Despite continually seeking ‘tests’ for the Palestinians, without which Israel cannot conduct peace talks with them, the one who has consistently failed the test of peace is Netanyahu himself.”

Welcoming the Stranger: A Conference Call on Refugees in the Age of Trump, J Street Blog

A conference call with HIAS CEO Mark Hetfield on what we can do to support refugees. We also discussed judicial proceedings against Trump’s immigration measures and the impact of these policies on America’s international reputation and national security.

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