News Roundup for August 6, 2019

August 6, 2019

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J Street in the News

Unlike Birthright, J Street’s trip shows the toll of occupation on both sides, The Jewish News of North California
“For some, Israel does not feel like our birthright, but rather a distant land mired in controversy. I knew the issues, but none of the people who were affected by their consequence, so countless perspectives went unheard. This is what J Street U’s “Let Our People Know” trip in July sought to rectify — the growing indifference toward Israel-Palestine in the diaspora and the lack of true, educated and informed connection.”

Taking a Stand for Immigrants on Tisha B’Av, Tablet
“This Tisha B’Av, a coalition of progressive Jewish organizations—T’ruah, the National Council of Jewish Women, Bend the Arc, the Religious Action Center, Torah Trumps Hate, and J Street—propose that Jews throughout the United States stand in solidarity with immigrant communities.”

Top News and Analysis

War with Iran is the mother of all wars: Iran president, Reuters
Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since last year when the United States pulled out of an international agreement which curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions on Iran. “Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said at the Foreign Ministry in a speech which also praised Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the United States imposed sanctions on him on July 31.

Zarif says he was sanctioned for refusing to meet Trump, Al-Monitor
During an Aug. 5 press conference, Zarif was asked by reporters about his meeting with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) while he was in New York. “I was told that in two weeks I would be sanctioned unless I agreed” to meet at the White House, Zarif said.


National Republican Congressional Committee chairman sent letter saying Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg bought Congress, JTA
A letter sent by National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer to party members identified three “left-wing radicals” that he says “bought control of Congress for the Democrats.” […] Soros and Bloomberg are Jewish and Steyer had a Jewish father and has in the past identified as Jewish although now he is a practicing Episcopalian.

Palestinian premier threatens Israel with extending control of occupied West Bank, The National
The Palestinian prime minister has said that he will extend Palestinian administrative and security control in the occupied West Bank in response to recent Israeli violations of the agreements governing the disputed territory. “Israel does not respect any of the signed agreements and deals with the entire occupied Palestinian territory as Area C,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Sunday. “Accordingly, we will deal with all the lands belonging to the State of Palestine as Area A, including occupied East Jerusalem.”

Yair Lapid will petition elections committee to disqualify Jewish Power party, JTA
The Yesh Atid party, part of the Blue and White center-left coalition, will ask the Central Elections Committee to disqualify the far-right Jewish Power, or Otzma Yehudit party from the upcoming national elections.

Iran said increasing Hamas funding to $30m per month, wants intel on Israel, Times of Israel
Iran has agreed to massively increase its monthly payments to Palestinian terror group Hamas in exchange for intelligence on Israeli missile capabilities, an Israeli television network reported Monday.

Benny Gantz Threatens War Against Hamas During Tour of Gaza Border, The Jerusalem Post
“We will not allow our deterrence to be eroded, and for rounds of rocket attacks to continue,” Gantz said. “Next time we are attacked, I will make sure it will be the last time. We will not make agreements with Hamas. We will defeat Hamas militarily.”

Israeli police recommend charges against deputy minister, AP
Police said Tuesday that among the charges, Yaacov Litzman is suspected of obstructing justice by attempting to prevent the extradition of a woman accused of sex crimes in Australia.

Netanyahu’s party steps up tactics to suppress Arab voters before election, The National
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is reportedly doubling its budget for surveillance operations, like hidden cameras, targeting polling stations and voter in Arab communities. Israel’s election committee will consider a petition on Thursday calling for this practice to be banned as discriminatory racial profiling.

Opinion and Analysis

‘Delegitimizing Israel’ Is Code For Pointing Out Truths Israel Doesn’t Want To Admit, The Forward
Peter Beinart writes, “As a Zionist, I see immense value in having one state on earth that makes protecting Jewish life its mission. But only by being honest about the real tension between that mission and complete equality for Israel’s Palestinian citizens can Israel begin to reduce that tension—for instance, by reexamining its land and immigration laws, and adding a stanza to Hatikva that allows Palestinian citizens of Israel to proudly sing their own country’s national anthem. The goal should be a more inclusive Israel that still offers Jews protection and refuge.”

Likud Loyalty Oath Shows Level of Hysteria at Netanyahu’s Residence, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “Even before the work on collecting the signatures was finished – or more precisely the confirmation through emojis and WhatsApp messages – the initiative seeking to force Likud Knesset candidates to declare their support for Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister following next month’s election ranks just in the middle of the 10 most ridiculous moments in Israeli political history.”

Why are Democrats afraid to say Israel is occupying the West Bank?, Washington Post
Nathan Hersh writes, “Whatever the explanation, the failure of Democrats to remain consistent on policies toward Israel is alarming, as successive Likud governments legitimize new settlement outposts and as President Trump indicates that Israel will be used as a divisive issue in his 2020 campaign. The party must be honest about Israel’s dangerous trajectory — and it will find plenty of Israeli allies if it is honest about the occupation. Criticism of Israel by some Democrats — such as Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) — has gotten attention recently, and perhaps that’s why the party appears skittish about how it describes the situation in the West Bank, for fear of alienating voters who feel strongly about Israel.”

We Must Bear Witness to Our Moral Failure, J Street
Jason Kaufman writes, “As I stood outside the detention center, I didn’t see the ridiculous, incessant political infighting that is plaguing our country and lowering our nation’s moral standing by the day. I saw children. Refugees. Asylum-seeking kids. Separated from their families. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of kids, walking one by one, single file. I saw children imprisoned by systemic evil and by the collective ability of our country to turn a blind eye to their pain.”

The lost moral compass of Israeli politics, Times of Israel
Alon Tal writes, “Back in 1984, the Knesset rejected Meir Kahane’s racist views; now, we’re at risk of a government that will welcome them, for a few thousand votes”