News Roundup for August 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

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J Street in the News

Stressing They’re Not All in the ‘AOC Camp,’ Democrats Reaffirm Support During Israel Visit, Haaretz
“‘The atmosphere is changing in the Democratic Party,’ said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president and founder of J Street, the progressive Jewish group that has become the main left-wing alternative to AIPAC over the past decade. ‘The party’s approach is becoming more moderate and balanced. More than 170 Democrats have already expressed support for a resolution in favor of a two-state solution. More and more Democrats recognize that being critical towards Netanyahu is well within the bounds of being pro-Israel.’ J Street has been organizing its own congressional trips to Israel that so far have attracted around 50 participants overall. The organization’s next congressional trip to Israel will take place this fall. ‘Our trips are different,’ Ben-Ami said. ‘They are more balanced and provide a more in-depth look. We don’t hide the occupation from the participants. We take them to Hebron, we have meetings with both settlers and Palestinian human rights activists.’”

Progressive groups mark Tisha B’Av with monthlong ICE protests
, The Jewish News of Northern California
“On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11, Jewish groups around the country — T’ruah, Bend the Arc, HIAS, J Street, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the National Council of Jewish Women and Torah Trumps Hate — will hold Tisha B’Av vigils at ICE offices. In the Bay Area, vigils will be held in San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Jose. Tisha B’Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, but is also used as an occasion for mourning a wide range of tragedies.”

Top News and Analysis

‘A Good Boy, a Poet’: 19-year-old Israeli Yeshiva Student Slain in West Bank Attack, Haaretz
19-year-old yeshiva student Dvir Sorek has been identified as the Israeli soldier who was murdered on Thursday in a West Bank terror attack. Sorek was a student at the modern Orthodox Machanim yeshiva, situated in the settlement of Migdal Oz. He was stabbed to death when he was making his way home to the settlement of Ofra from Jerusalem. 

Hamas refers to multiple ‘fighters’ in heaping praising for deadly attack, Times of Israel
“We salute our people’s heroic fighters who carried out the heroic operation that killed a soldier in the occupation’s army, who was studying at a military college known for graduating extremists who hold Talmud- and Torah-based beliefs that support killing our people and seizing its lands,” the Hamas terror group says in a statement, stopping short of taking responsibility for the killing.

After West Bank Murder, Netanyahu Vows to Build ‘In All Parts of Our Historic Homeland’, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to ensure Israel’s sovereignty and continue to build throughout the country, including in the West Bank, in the wake of a stabbing attack that claimed the life of a 19-year-old soldier and yeshiva student near Gush Etzion. Speaking at a ceremony marking the establishment of a new neighborhood in the settlement of Beit El, the premier said: “These despicable terrorists, they come to uproot – we come to plant. They come to destroy – we come to build.”


IDF raids Palestinian village as troops hunt for student’s killer, Times of Israel
Israeli security forces launched a massive search effort after the body of a yeshiva student who had been stabbed to death was found outside a settlement in the Gush Etzion area of the West Bank in the predawn hours of Thursday morning. Authorities were treating the killing as a terror attack.

Netanyahu Calls Far-right Leader’s Campaign for Israel to Follow Biblical Law ‘Utter BS’, Haaretz
Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the chairman of the National Union party, traded barbs with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday after the premier dismissed his call for Israel to follow biblical law as “nothing but BS.”

‘We’ve lost a part of ourselves’: El Paso’s Jews grapple with mass shooting, JTA
There are approximately 5,000 Jews in El Paso, and even for those who do not have Latino family members, the shooting hit hard. The Jewish community is close with the Latino community, which makes up 80 percent of the city. Members mix socially and at interfaith events.

Son of Palestinian Who Had Gun Planted in His House Was Blinded by Police. Israel Closed the Case, Haaretz
The son of Samer Sleiman, in whose house police planted a rifle for the filming of the docudrama “Jerusalem District,” was recognized by Israel as a victim of a hostile act after a policeman blinded him by shooting him in the face with a rubber bullet. However, the Police Investigations Unit at the Justice Ministry, which probes police misconduct, never identified the policeman and closed the case.

Opinion and Analysis

Rouhani takes fire from hard-liners for defending nuclear deal, Al-Monitor
Al-Monitor writes, “Iran’s hard-liners have spared no opportunity to attack President Hassan Rouhani and his team of nuclear negotiators ever since Tehran clinched the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) with major world powers back in 2015. To those relentless critics, the US administration’s pullout from the pact last year brought a moment of triumph. They accused Rouhani of refusing to listen to their advice and avert the humiliating loss. With little of the JCPOA’s economic relief delivered, the hard-liners insist that it is high time Rouhani apologized over what they view as damage inflicted upon the Islamic Republic. Unsurprisingly, Rouhani’s refusal to do so in his latest speech Aug. 6 reignited the rage.”

Soldier’s Stabbing May Have Been a Botched Kidnapping – West Bank Terrorists’ Ultimate Mission, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “Kidnapping, even more than the murder of Israelis, is the supreme goal of the terror organizations operating in the West Bank. Local activists, who are unconnected to terror groups with an organized hierarchy, could very well be tempted to try and kidnap an Israeli. The use of force to free Palestinian prisoners is considered to be a holy cause in Palestinian ethos.”

How Likud weaponized cameras in Arab polling stations and intends to do so again, Times of Israel
Jacob Magid writes, “Outrage over the cameras was widespread, but the clandestine project funded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own party — and under his close supervision — turned out to be legal enough to receive a stamp of approval later in the day from the Central Elections Committee.”

Palestinian and Israeli discovered a shared past when they met as Washington interns, JTA
Ron Kampeas writes, “In its 10 years of placing young Palestinian and Israeli leaders with Congress members, no lawmaker asked New Story Leadership for one of each — until Jamie Raskin did. No one knew until well into the summer, however, that the two young men had a deeper connection than they realized: When Ahmad described the unsettling nightly intrusions by Israeli troops and their trained search dogs into his West Bank village, Azzun, it dawned on Nissan that he had led such patrols while Ahmad lived there.”