News Roundup for August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018
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J Street in the News

Israeli Officials’ Detention and Questioning of American Jewish Activists Is Part of Anti-Democratic Pattern, J Street

“J Street is outraged by the news that American Jewish activists Simone Zimmerman and Abby Kirschbaum were detained for several hours and extensively questioned by Israeli border agents on Sunday. This disturbing incident is part of the Netanyahu government’s ongoing campaign to demonize and intimidate critics of their policies and of the occupation — with disastrous ramifications for Israeli democracy.”

Trump Administration new Iran Sanctions leave US Isolated and Alone, J Street

“In response to the Trump administration’s re-implementation of nuclear sanctions that were lifted under the JCPOA, Dylan Williams, J Street’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, issued the following statement:

‘With the re-implementation of key nuclear sanctions today, the Trump administration has now unequivocally violated its commitments under the JCPOA. While the previous administration mobilized an international coalition to present Iran with a united front, this president’s disastrous and incoherent policy has left the US isolated and alone. These new sanctions will only further empower Iranian hardliners, harm the Iranian people and alienate our allies.”

Top News and Analysis

IfNotNow Co-Founder Simone Zimmerman Detained and Questioned by Israeli Authorities, New York Magazine

Abraham Riesman writes, “Last month, we profiled one of the fastest-growing American Jewish organizations dedicated to combating Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, a group called IfNotNow. Yesterday, one of its co-founders, Simone Zimmerman, joined an exclusive but fast-growing club: Jews detained and questioned by Israeli authorities about their political beliefs.”

A Top Syrian Scientist Is Killed, and Fingers Point at Israel, The New York Times

David M. Halbfinger and Ronen Bergman report, “Aziz Asbar was one of Syria’s most important rocket scientists, bent on amassing an arsenal of precision-guided missiles that could be launched with pinpoint accuracy against Israeli cities hundreds of miles away. He had free access to the highest levels of the Syrian and Iranian governments, and his own security detail. He led a top-secret weapons-development unit called Sector 4 and was hard at work building an underground weapons factory to replace one destroyed by Israel last year. On Saturday, he was killed by a car bomb — apparently planted by Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.”


Israeli strike kills two Hamas militants in Gaza, Reuters

Israeli tank fire killed two Hamas militants in Gaza on Tuesday in a strike the Israeli military said was launched against a position from which its troops had come under fire.

Israel’s Arab leadership petitions High Court to repeal the nation-state law, i24NEWS

Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Right in Israel, filed a nearly 60-page-long petition against the newly enacted Jewish Nation-State Basic Law on Tuesday.

Netanyahu Tells Panel Set Up to Resolve Druze Protest: ‘No Hasty Decisions’ on Nation-state Law, Haaretz

A ministerial committee, established in the wake of the Druze protest against the nation­­-state law,­­ held its first session on Monday in the presence of five of the 11 ministers appointed to the panel.

State is funding settler institute squatting illegally in Palestinian home, Times of Israel

The Culture Ministry has been funding an Israeli religious institute whose founders illegally took over a Palestinian home in the central West Bank and have continued to operate at the site under IDF protection for over 15 years.

Israel’s Shin Bet: We Recommended Questioning of U.S. Activists, but Not on Political Views, Haaretz

Israel’s Shin Bet security service responded Monday reports on the detention of two American left-wing activists at the Israel-Egypt border. The Shin Bet confirmed it advised to question the two – Simone Zimmerman and Abigail Kirschbaum – but stressed that it was border control officials who asked the questions.

Europe vows to fight for Iran deal as US renews sanctions, Politico

European leaders said Monday that they were working to preserve the nuclear deal with Iran despite renewed U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

Israeli minister says Egypt bears equal responsibility for Gaza, Reuters

Egypt bears as much responsibility for the Gaza Strip as Israel does, an Israeli cabinet minister said on Monday, in remarks that could upset Cairo as it tries to avoid being drawn back into the Palestinian enclave while brokering truce talks there.

Shaked warns of ‘earthquake’ if Israel’s top court quashes nation-state law, i24NEWS

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Sunday warned of an “earthquake” if Israel’s High Court of Justice struck down the widely-contested Jewish nation-state law. In an interview with Army Radio Shaked explained that she did not believe the court had the authority to constitutionally quash the legislation given it was passed as a Basic Law.

Opinion and Analysis

The War on Israel’s Judiciary, Haaretz

The Haaretz editorial board writes, “Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Tourism Minister Yariv Levinare leading an unbridled attack on the judiciary and it seems as if they are competing to see who can be more forceful about it. While Levin casts doubt on the judges of the pre-Shaked era who ruled “according to their political opinions and not according to the legal situation,” Shaked is threatening the court with a war pitting one branch of government against another.”

Israel’s nation-state bill shamed the minorities who gave us pride, Forward

Peter Lerner writes, “The way forward must not only solidify the Jewishness of Israel but also empower our non-Jewish minorities, so that the national question of the state becomes for all minorities an actuality that everybody accepts and understands. After all, Israel gains from our collective existence; Israel is nothing short of the manifestation of the whole that is indeed greater than its parts. And its fundamental laws should reflect that.”

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