News Roundup for December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017

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J Street in the News

American Jews: Stop Getting Distracted By BDS, Forward

J Street U Director Ben Elkind writes, “As BDS resolutions come to a vote on campuses across the country, the issue dominates how we talk about Israel. This is to our detriment. The single-minded focus on BDS in fact only makes it harder to fight, and distracts us from the critical issues that are fueling its rise….BDS holds such sway over the American Jewish community because Israel is so dearly important to us, and because we are so deeply concerned for its future. But in the no-holds-barred fight against BDS, we have lost sight of the bigger picture.”

US Jews losing faith in Israel, Al-Monitor

“Israel Director of J Street Yael Patir told Al-Monitor, ‘The Israeli government has given up on the traditional bi-partisan approach [working equally with Democrats and with Republicans], and this is of great concern to the majority of American Jews who tend to vote for the Democrats.’ She added, ‘American Jews active in their communities are asking Israel for a dialogue between equals,’ explaining that young Jews in particular want to feel free to express simultaneously their affection for Israel and their views on its policies.”

Top News and Analysis

Trump poised to move U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and declare the ancient city the capital of Israel, LA Times

Brian Bennett and Tracy Wilkinson report, “President Trump is preparing to formally declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel and order a review of the best way to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, two officials said Thursday, actions that would reverse decades of U.S. policy and international peacemaking efforts, and could inflame the Arab world. The White House hosted a high-level meeting Monday to discuss plans for transferring the embassy to the ancient holy city and to discuss a deadline Friday that requires the administration to notify Congress every six months if it will order the move — or issue a waiver, as previous administrations have done….Trump is likely to issue a waiver again Friday, but order a review of moving the embassy with the intention of eventually doing so, said the person familiar with the deliberations. In recent months, aides have persuaded him to delay a move to minimize the potentially disastrous impact on U.S. interests in the Middle East. A final decision has not been made, however. Aides are preparing a speech about Israel for Trump to deliver next week and he may use it to make a strong pronouncement about Jerusalem being the capital of Israel.”

Trump Expected to Sign Order Delaying U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem, Haaretz

Amir Tibon reports, “U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign a presidential waiver delaying the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, breaking his campaign promise on the matter for the second time since entering the White House. According to multiple press reports in the U.S., Trump’s signing of the waiver will be accompanied by a speech in which he will declare recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – although those reports did not include specific details about the speech, and the White House has remained officially mum on the subject. “

White House Plans Tillerson Ouster From State Dept., to Be Replaced by Pompeo, The New York Times

“The White House has developed a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, and replace him with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, perhaps within the next several weeks, senior administration officials said on Thursday. Mr. Pompeo would be replaced at the C.I.A. by Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas who has been a key ally of the president on national security matters, according to the White House plan. Mr. Cotton has signaled that he would accept the job if offered, said the officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations before decisions are announced.”

Man Stabbed to Death in Southern Israel in Suspected Terror Attack, Haaretz

A man was stabbed to death in the southern Israeli town of Arad on Thursday evening in a suspected terror attack. Police are currently searching for suspects who are thought to have fled the scene.


Kushner to talk Mideast peace efforts at Sunday forum, Axios

Jared Kushner will make his first public remarks on the Trump administration’s Mideast peace initiative on Sunday at the Saban Forum, an annual meeting of U.S. and Israeli leaders organized by the Brookings Institution, according to a source familiar with the event. He’ll answer questions from Haim Saban, the billionaire investor — and Clinton donor — who hosts the forum.

Israeli Hikers Attacked by Palestinians in West Bank; Jewish Settler Shoots Dead Palestinian Man, Haaretz

A Palestinian man was shot and killed Thursday morning by a Jewish settler near the West Bank village of Qusra. Later in the day, settlers reportedly attacked villagers, injuring six of them. From conversations with three witnesses to the incident and two sources close to the investigation, Haaretz learned that dozens of Palestinians surrounded a group of Israeli youths hiking in the area and threw rocks at them. One the adults accompanying the youths drew his gun and said he fired in the air.

Abbas demands international protection for Palestinians after West Bank shooting, Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Thursday for “immediate international protection” after a Palestinian was shot dead by an Israeli in the West Bank.

Jewish Groups Urge Israel Not To Deport African Refugees, Forward

An array of U.S. Jewish groups urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt plans to deport tens of thousands of African refugees, offering to assist in their care.

Israel intelligence chief says he plans to succeed Netanyahu, ABC News

Israel’s intelligence minister said Thursday he plans to succeed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is embroiled in corruption scandals and a police investigation. But Israel Katz said in an interview with The Associated Press he hopes Netanyahu will be able to continue as prime minister, and “that the clouds that are hanging over his head now will pass.” “I’m planning to be after him, leader of the Likkud (party) and prime minister of Israel,” he said.

Jordanian king warns US against moving embassy to Jerusalem, Times of Israel

Moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would threaten the prospects for peace, the Jordanian king told US decision-makers on Wednesday. Emphasizing that there is no alternative to the two-state solution, King Abdullah II said in Washington that it was important no measures be taken to undermine US efforts to kickstart peace talks, the Jordan Times reported.

Jordan Won’t Allow Israeli Embassy to Reopen Until ‘Justice Served’ to Security Guard, Source Says, Haaretz

Jordan will not allow Israel to reopen its embassy in Amman until it has launched legal proceedings against an Israeli security guard who shot dead two Jordanian citizens in July, a Jordanian diplomatic source said on Thursday. Israel must also be able to assure its Arab neighbor that “justice has been served” in the case, the senior source said, asking not to be named.

Opinions and Analysis

Piss Off the Left, Seduce the Right: Avi Gabbay Wants to Replace Netanyahu, and Claims He’s Found the Formula, Haaretz

Anshel Pfeffer writes, “In his short leadership, Gabbay has managed to anger large swathes of his own party membership and the wider Israeli left. His remarks on Israeli-Arab politicians, the settlements and the left’s lack of Jewish values has transformed him into a figure of controversy, but, he hopes, also a candidate that many traditional, centrist and right-wing voters can contemplate as their prime minister….But he is not only challenging the left: he is also challenging a whole set of beliefs that have become stuck in the collective political mind – that Israelis have shifted too far to the right for a Labor victory; that Mizrahi Israelis whose families came from North African or Middle Eastern countries, like Gabbay, are wedded to the right-wing Likud and its satellite parties; that only a former army general has sufficient kudos to shift voters back to the center-left; and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is unbeatable.”

Toward Israeli-Palestinian Peace: The Two-embassy Solution, Haaretz

Caroline Landsmann asks, “[W]hy doesn’t Trump open two embassies now, one in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and one in Al Quds, the capital of the future Palestine? He would thus be fulfilling two promises: transferring the embassy and advancing the resolution of the conflict, since this would demarcate a clear goal, creating facts on the ground for both sides.”

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