News Roundup for August 14, 2017

August 14, 2017

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J Street in the News

J Street Condemns White Supremacist Violence; Appalled by President’s Equivocation, J Street

“J Street condemns the white supremacist violence and rhetoric on display by hate groups and their supporters in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend. J Street is especially horrified by the apparent car-ramming attack on counter-protestors that has so far resulted in one death and many others injured. We express our condolences to those and the families of those hurt in what the facts may ultimately show was an act of terrorism. We are also disgusted by President Donald Trump’s obfuscating response to this hate-driven, far-right violence in which he sought to lay blame ‘on many sides.’ The president’s equivocation minimizes the magnitude of tragedy and the seriousness of the spike in acts and expressions of anti-minority bigotry during his campaign and presidency. The president and the advisers who counseled him to offer such an egregiously insufficient and even harmful response should be ashamed. J Street stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the communities under threat from this surge of hatred, and all Americans who seek to exercise their rights to resist it.”

Top News and Analysis

Analysis: Why won’t Donald Trump condemn white nationalism?, Washington Post

Julie Pace writes, “Why doesn’t President Donald Trump just unequivocally condemn white supremacists? It’s a jarring question to ask about an American president. But it’s also one made unavoidable by Trump’s delayed, blame-both-sides response to the violence that erupted Saturday when neo-Nazis, skinheads and members of the Ku Klux Klan protested in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump has faced such a moment before — one that would have certainly drawn swift, almost predictable condemnations from his recent predecessors, regardless of party. As a candidate and now as president, when racial tensions flared or fringe groups rallied around his message, Trump has shown uncharacteristic caution and a reluctance to distance himself from the hate.”

Inside The Charlottesville Rally, Jews Targeted For Special Abuse, Forward

Ron Kampeas reports, “Among the 500 white supremacists were men and women bearing signs like ‘Goyim know!’ (Know what?) and ‘Jews are satans children.’ There were Nazi flags. There were men all in black, t-shirts and slacks and army boots and helmets, jogging along with plastic shields. There were the men who sang of ‘blood and soil’ as they marched to the Emancipation Park event. And when the white supremacists got their act together and gathered in McIntire Park, they shouted ‘Jew’ every time the name of Charlotteville’s Jewish mayor, Michael Signer, was mentioned. And of course, the hostility was not confined to Jews: As targets, Jews were not even preeminent; blacks were. There were the ‘White lives matter’ t-shirts. Marching along McIntire Road, the white supremacists shouted out the N-word at drivers passing by. More prominent than the Nazi flags were the Confederate flags and their variants.”

Trump to Send Delegation to Israel, Palestinian Authority and Arab States in New Peace Push, Haaretz

President Donald Trump is preparing to send a delegation of senior officials to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and several Arab states in an effort to renew the peace process. According to a senior Israeli official, the delegation is evidently expected to arrive in the last week of August. A senior White House official said that the delegation will be headed by Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who will be joined by the president’s envoy to the peace process Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell.

The terrible timing of the newest American peace delegation, Times of Israel

Avi Issacharoff writes, “Trump’s aides are drowning in FBI investigations into the campaign’s alleged ties with Russia, and the White House is struggling to offer a consistent policy on nuclear war with North Korea, let alone a coherent voice on racial violence within America’s borders….If Netanyahu tries to move even a millimeter from the commitments of most of his coalition — no settlement freeze, or any other concessions, for that matter — he will pay for it dearly. All those now urging him to remain in office even if he is indicted will quickly begin demanding his dismissal if he demonstrates the slightest flexibility toward the Palestinians. As for Abbas, in the wake of the storm surrounding the Temple Mount and the short-lived metal detectors posted there by Israel, the Palestinian leader and his aides have been shouting to anyone who will listen that they have frozen security coordination with Israel, that Netanyahu is not a peace partner because of his legal troubles, is not interested in a peace agreement, is ‘doing everything the Israeli right tells him.’….And yet, despite all that, it must be said: The very fact that each leader finds himself in such a difficult situation could give a rejuvenated peace process some appeal — a kind of long-shot escape hatch from their current troubles that has the benefit of reshuffling each leader’s political deck.”


Israeli Minister Calls on Trump Administration to Condemn Nazi Symbols in Charlottesville, Haaretz

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that the US administration must condemn the use of Nazi symbols in a white supremacist rally a day earlier in Charlottesville, Virginia. Bennett was the first Israeli minister to denounce the demonstration. “Flags and symbols that go unobstructed in the United States not only harm the Jewish community and other minorities, but humiliate the millions of American soldiers who paid with their lives to protect the U.S. and the entire world from the Nazis,” said Bennett. “It is on the leaders of the U.S. to condemn and denounce manifestations of anti-Semitism that we have seen in recent days.”

Arab Woman Stabs Israeli Man Near Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, Forward

An Arab woman from eastern Jerusalem stabbed an Israeli man near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. The victim was lightly injured in the Saturday afternoon stabbing attack, according to reports. He was taken to the Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus.

Israel Won’t Release ‘Blacklist’ of BDS Activists Barred Entry to Country, Haaretz

The Population, Immigration and Border Authority in the Interior Ministry is refusing to release any so-called “blacklist” of BDS activists who will not be allowed to enter Israel because of their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. The authority says it cannot release such a list because to would violate the privacy of any such individuals. The authority, along with the Strategic Affairs Ministry, compiled a list of activists at the instructions of Interior Minister Arye Dery and Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

Jordan said to demand trial for guard before return of embassy staff, Times of Israel

Jordan is demanding Israel bring to trial an Israeli embassy guard involved in a deadly shooting in Amman last month before it allows Jerusalem to send its ambassador back to the country, Jordanian government officials told the media on Sunday. Jordanian government sources told the Jordanian daily Ad-dustor that Amman sent an official letter to Jerusalem on Wednesday saying Israel’s ambassador to the Hashemite kingdom, Einat Schlein, could not return to her post without “guarantees of a serious and thorough investigation of the embassy guard and the bringing of him to trial.”

Former A-G: Give Jewish-owned Sheikh Jarrah Properties to Palestinians, Jerusalem Post

The government should expropriate disputed properties in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem and give them to Arabs living in them, former attorney-general Michael Ben- Yair said on Friday. Ben-Yair, whose family owned properties in the neighborhood before 1948, was speaking from the house of the Shamasneh family, who are under threat of eviction and supposed to leave their home on Sunday.

Palestinian man shot, detained by Israeli forces in Jerusalem, Ma’an

A Palestinian resident of occupied East Jerusalem was shot and wounded when he was detained by Israeli forces on Sunday afternoon, Israeli police said. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said that police and general intelligence officers detained the 52-year-old Palestinian man after issuing a “security warning.” Al-Samri said that Israeli officers shot the man in the foot during the detention, and that the man was taken to a hospital while in police custody.

After Charlottesville, ADL Calls on Trump to ‘Name the Hate’ of White Supremacy, Haaretz

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish NGO that combats bigotry, released a statement on Sunday afternoon calling on U.S. President Donald Trump to call out and condemn white supremacy in the wake of the violence that broke out the day before in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Dozens of Israelis enter Al-Aqsa compound under armed guard, Ma’an

Dozens of far-right Israelis toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound early on Monday under heavy police protection, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. According to Wafa, the Israelis entered the compound through the Morrocans’ Gate while dozens of Palestinian Muslim worshipers were attending a religious seminar in the courtyard of the compound.

Opinions and Analysis

Trump and Netanyahu Promote Resentment, Sow Division and Peddle Hate, Haaretz

Chemi Shalev writes, “Trump and Netanyahu are inciters. Both are experts at spurring resentment, stirring hate and sowing division. Both made their way to the top by savaging the elites of which they are members. Both are world-class experts at manipulating their followers, stoking their anger and envy, turning their rage into political energy and using them as a locomotive that drives them to power….Both Trump and Netanyahu are quick to denounce attacks by Muslims, slow to react to those carried out against them. Trump has yet to denounce the bombing of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota while Netanyahu only rarely speaks out against so-called price tag attacks carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinians. Trump and Netanyahu turn every fanatic imam into the face of true Islam but ignore their own proto-fascist fanatics or portray them as an aberration. Both owe their success to the support and enthusiasm of the most reactionary, racist and violence-prone segments of their societies….Both Trump and Netanyahu are the most powerful men in their countries, but both feel victimized, maligned and unfairly singled out for rebuke. Their narcissistic personalities prevent them from seeing any fault in themselves, so the problem must lie in their real and imaginary enemies. The worse their plight gets, the more embittered they become, the worse they agitate against others, the more they return to their bedrock of fomenting hatred and inspiring rage.”

Booker unfairly criticized over Israel-Palestine related vote, Newark Star-Ledger

Rabbi David Teutsch writes, “Booker’s record shows he’s knowledgeable and passionate about the challenges faced by our closest ally. That is why it is so disturbing to see unjustified partisan attacks on him emanating from fringe corners of the pro-Israel community, in the wake of his recent committee vote on the Taylor Force Act….Booker’s proactive and nuanced approach to this legislation should be respected by those who care about Israel and its security. Portraying his vote as somehow anti-Israel or unconcerned about Palestinian terrorism is an unfair attack on a friend of Israel. When Israeli lives are on the line, it’s important to have leaders who carefully study complex pieces of legislation – and pay attention to the advice and warnings of Israel’s own security professionals. Going forward, I am confident that Booker will continue to work on behalf of American policies that increase security, combat terror and promote peace.”

Capitol Hill Clash Pits Israel’s Army Vs. Knesset, Sidelining AIPAC, Forward

JJ Goldberg writes, “The United States Senate is putting the last touches on an anti-terrorism bill that’s opened a new era in Washington’s pro-Israel politics. It’s a rare case of a pro-Israel bill that stirred intense partisan debate, at least in its initial version. Even more unusual, the fight over the bill didn’t pit Israel against its critics, nor was it between clashing Israeli and American interests. This was a fight between Israel’s political leadership and its military leadership. That’s something new in Washington. It’s probably going to alter the landscape and change the rules.”

Israel, Palestinians anticipate return of the generals, Al-Monitor

Uri Savir writes, “Erekat has been viewed by many as the unofficial No. 2 and possible heir to Abbas. The PLO official noted that now that Erekat is sick, discussions concerning the future of the Palestinian leadership, even post-Abbas, are not a taboo topic anymore amid Abbas’ close circles. He said that in any case, be it under Abbas or the period after, the Palestinian Preventive Security Service headed by Gen. Majid Faraj will play an internal stabilizing role. Faraj is the strongman of the West Bank; he followed Jibril Rajoub in this position and is considered close to him….As Israel’s security predicaments will become only graver, the Israeli public will accept at the helm only people with a strong security background. The names of Yoav Galant, a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general and minister; Ehud Barak, a former defense minister, prime minister and IDF chief of staff; Moshe Ya’alon, a former defense minister and IDF chief of staff; Gabi Ashkenazi, a former IDF chief of staff; and Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet director and Knesset member came up as people with such a background. There is a mirror image between Ramallah and Jerusalem’s political instability, opening the way for graduates of the strong security establishment on both sides to take over political leadership sooner rather than later. But until that happens, the main and immediate victim of the current political situation on both sides is the US-sponsored peace process.”

Netanyahu’s show of strength actually reflects weakness, Al-Monitor

Mazal Mualem observes, “Apart from Bitan, there isn’t a single minister or Knesset member left that Netanyahu can consider a political ally. He doesn’t trust any of them, and the truth is that they also prefer to keep their distance from him. Now that Harow has reached an agreement with the police, Netanyahu — who has a hard time trusting the people around him anyway — finds himself more isolated than usual. The recent show of support doesn’t change that.”

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