News Roundup for August 23, 2019

August 23, 2019

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J Street in the News

When silence is akin to complicity, Jewish Standard
“Under the leadership of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, there were more than 50 such gatherings that took place throughout the country on Tisha B’Av morning. These observances were co-sponsored by six other national Jewish organizations: The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the National Council of Jewish Women, HIAS, Bend the Arc, J Street, and Torah Trumps Hate.”

US justice department news email links to white nationalist website, The Guardian
“According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of Jewish voters supported Democratic candidates in the 2018 midterm election. According to 2018 Election Day polling by J Street, a progressive Jewish American lobbying group, the top two voting issues for Jews in 2018 were healthcare and gun violence. Just 4% of American Jewish voters selected Israel as one of their top two voting issues.”

Top News and Analysis

17-year-old Israeli Murdered in West Bank Terror Attack; Father and Brother Wounded, Haaretz
A 17-year-old Israeli was killed in an explosion near the West Bank settlement of Dolev on Friday caused by an improvised explosive device, the Israeli army said. She was hiking with her father and brother, who were moderately and seriously wounded, respectively. A military helicopter evacuated two of the wounded – the 46-year-old father and his son, aged 21 – to Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem. The father is said to be conscious and in moderate condition, while his son suffered bruises and wounds to his entire body. The son is sedated and on life support. The 17-year-old daughter, Rina Shnerb, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Teen girl killed as Israeli family hit by bomb at West Bank spring, Times of Israel
Security services were reportedly tracking a car that fled the scene shortly after the explosion. “IDF soldiers are searching the area,” the military said in a statement. Manelis said the IDF did not yet know the identities of the culprits or if they belonged to an established terror group or were acting alone. In a statement Netanyahu offered his “deep condolences” to the family and wished swift recuperation to the wounded. “We will continue to strengthen [Jewish] communities. We will spread our roots deeper and strike out at our enemies.”

Netanyahu puts West Bank at heart of election strategy, Financial Times
Mehul Srivastava writes, “Dogged by corruption allegations and running neck-and-neck with rival Benny Gantz ahead of September’s vote, Mr Netanyahu has largely abandoned his previous election strategy that saw him focus on his international standing, Iran and the threat from the political left. Instead he has seized upon a reliably incendiary issue to rally his rightwing base: the future of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.”


Top Arab lawmaker says he is willing to join a center-left government, Times of Israel
Israel’s top Arab lawmaker, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, said he is willing under certain conditions to join a center-left government, in a reversal of the longstanding opposition of Arab-majority parties to joining a coalition. His comments were made in an interview snippet published Thursday.

‘Fuel Crisis Between PA and Israel Over’: Palestinians to Accept $568 Million in Tax Money, Haaretz
Israel decided on Thursday to transfer the Palestinian Authority two billion shekels ($568,320,000). The decision came following a recommendation from the defense establishment, which issued the suggestion in light of the ongoing economic crisis plaguing the PA.

The Justice Department Sent Immigration Judges A White Nationalist Blog Post With Anti-Semitic Attacks, Buzzfeed
An email sent from the Justice Department to all immigration court employees this week included a link to an article posted on a white nationalist website that “directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs,” according to a letter sent by an immigration judges union and obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Israel Braces for Potentially Explosive Gaza Protests After Tense Week at Border, Haaretz
Israel is bracing for explosive protests at the Gaza border on Friday after a week of tensions that saw three incidents of rocket fire from the Strip and retaliatory airstrikes carried out by the Israeli military.

High Court hears petitions against Otzma Yehudit, Arab parties, Times of Israel
In a contentious hearing punctuated by protests from outside the courtroom, the High Court of Justice on Thursday heard left-wing petitions to disqualify the extremist Otzma Yehudit political party from running in the September elections, and right-wing ones to disqualify several Arab-majority factions.

Linda Sarsour, Jewish Voice for Peace Take Aim at CNN’s Jake Tapper Over ‘Dangerous Islamophobia’, Haaretz
A group of activists led by Women’s March co-chair Linda Sarsour and Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson demonstrated Thursday in front of the New York offices of CNN, demanding they hold anchorman Jake Tapper accountable for what they claim is “dangerous anti-Palestinian, anti-Muslim Islamophobia.”

Israeli Airstrike Hits Weapons Depot in Iraq, New York Times
Israel has carried out an airstrike on a weapons depot in Iraq that officials said was being used by Iran to move weapons to Syria, an attack that could destabilize Iraq and thrust it deeper into the conflict between the United States and Iran.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump Has Made It Official: He Is the Greatest anti-Semite of Our Age, Haaretz
Bradley Burston writes, “For years he’s boogalooed and pirouetted around the issue, dog whistling Dixie at every opportunity. This week though, he made it official, gnawing on and extracting with his very teeth the pin on the fragmentation grenade that went: ‘Any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.’”

Trump sees all U.S. Jews as Israelis because his Christian Zionist allies do, too, Washington Post
Talia Lavin writes, “We are not temporarily dislocated Israelis, and despite what Trump’s Jew-turned-evangelical-Christian friend says about the president’s theological status, our God has only ever come once. Suggesting that our loyalty and our vote should be determined only by the geopolitics of another country, thousands of miles away, requires the erasure of centuries of American Jewish life, from the Jews who won the right to vote with the promulgation of the Bill of Rights onward, with no destination in mind but the ‘golden land’ America was supposed to be.”

In Netanyahu’s hour of need, Trump is nowhere to be seen, CNN
Aaron David Miller writes, “Right now, polls show that Netanyahu’s Likud Party, even with the support of various right wing factions, does not have the majority needed to provide him parliamentary immunity from a likely indictment for breach of trust, bribery and fraud — or the political support necessary to remain in office while his trial takes place. Polls, of course, can always be wrong. But the more intriguing question at the moment is where Netanyahu’s good friend and supporter President Donald Trump is in his hour of need. “

Israeli Arab Party Leader Signals Historic Shift – and Brews a Political Storm, Haaretz
Jack Khoury writes, “Odeh’s terms for joining are centered around four issues: Urban planning and building, violence, welfare and policy. He is requesting, among other things, freezing private home demolitions in the West Bank, repealing a law that dispenses harsher punishments for building infractions and the construction of a new Arab city.”

Face Recognition Lets Palestinians Cross Israeli Checkposts Fast, But Raises Concerns, NPR
Daniel Estrin writes, “Israel is upgrading its West Bank checkpoints with facial recognition technology to verify Palestinians’ identities as they cross into Israel. The new system, which began rolling out late last year, eases their passage with shorter wait times — but is drawing criticism about the role the controversial technology plays in Israel’s military control over Palestinians.”

Israeli Arabs Want In, Center-left Says No, Haaretz
Ravit Hecht writes, “In a week that featured the horrific specter of the ruling party advocating for the disqualification of Arab political representation in the Knesset, the chairman of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, did the most fitting, justified, wise thing: He declared he would be willing to join a center-left coalition. That is what should happen. Against the racism, against cowardice, against oppositional radicalism that improves nothing except the self-image of those who hold to it. Arab ministers in the government of Israel. That should be the norm. What a pity that Odeh’s potential partners insist on continuing to dance to the tune of stupidity. “

Displaced again: Palestinian refugees from Syria struggle to survive in Gaza, +972 Mag
Amjad Yaghi writes, “With surging unemployment rates and high rents, Palestinian refugees who fled the Syrian war for Gaza are struggling to climb out of poverty. Like many Gazans, they hope to leave the strip in search of a better life.”