Daily Kickoff, Jewish Insider
“J Street along with Jewish American progressive groups sent a letter yesterday to Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan criticizing his call on U.S. governors to open an investigation into Airbnb’s removal of listings in Israeli West Bank settlements. J Street’s Jeremy Ben-Ami tells us… ‘The biggest problem with Israel’s response is that here’s a company that continues to do business in the State of Israel. It has thousands and thousands of listings in the State of Israel. It has thousands and thousands of listings of Jews around the world. It is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Israeli. The problem with the government’s response is the conflation of those who are truly anti-Semitic with those who are opposed to the policy of the government of Israel. And those two are not equivalent, and it is a big mistake of the government of Israel. But I would add also of the American Jewish establishment. When we put the two in the same bucket, when we say that those who are opposed to the occupation, who are opposed to settlement extension, are somehow anti-Semitic, that’s a very big mistake.’”
“Israeli security officials urged the government to take additional steps to promote a long-term cease-fire with Hamas as Qatari aid money was delivered to Gaza on Thursday. If Israel does not act within several weeks, the officials claim, another round of fighting is likely. Israeli officers have argued during recent security briefings that the decision to allow Qatari funding, which was criticized by many Israelis, creates a narrow window of opportunity for Israel to propose solutions to Gaza’s humanitarian woes in return for a truce. The opportunity will not last more than a few weeks, they say. Hamas is trying to make the most of its recent achievement to secure financial aid and would not want to resume fighting before reaping maximum benefit from the latest round, the officers assess.”
US fails to win UN condemnation of Hamas militants in Gaza, Washington Post
“A U.S.-sponsored draft resolution that for the first time would have condemned the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls Gaza, failed to win the required two-thirds majority in the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. Before the vote on the resolution, the 193-member world body had narrowly voted to require a two-thirds majority for approval as sought by Arab nations for rather than the simple majority urged by the United States.”
The Israeli military said Thursday afternoon that it has discovered another tunnel dug by the terror organization Hezbollah and has asked the United Nations to help efforts to destroy it. The commander of the Israeli army’s Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, asked the commander of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col, on Thursday to assist in neutralizing an attack tunnel being dug from Lebanon into Israeli territory.
A Qatari envoy will deliver $15 million to Gaza on Thursday, according to an economic newspaper published in the Strip. Reports in Gaza say the envoy, Mohammed el-Amadi, has arrived in Gaza through Israel’s Erez crossing. Five million dollars will be used to pay Hamas officials’ wages, an additional five will be transferred to the families of those killed and wounded and the rest will be allocated to foster employment, according to assessments.
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday acknowledged that Israeli officials lied about the existence of Hezbollah’s cross-border attack tunnels for years before the military announced this week that it was setting out to destroy them in a new operation dubbed Northern Shield. A number of former military officials and opposition politicians have accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of overdramatizing the operation, though they nevertheless acknowledged its importance to Israel’s security. Some took issue with referring to Northern Shield as an operation — which gives an impression of an offensive campaign — rather than as an effort or an action.
The European Union issued a new declaration on Thursday regarding its fight against anti-Semitism, adopting a softer tone than the one originally proposed by Austria, which was promoted over the past few months by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu had requested that the EU adopt the working definition of anti-Semitism issued by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, an intergovernmental organization that was founded 20 years ago. Some EU countries, however, were concerned that this definition could prevent criticism of Israel’s policy in the Palestinian territories. A compromise was therefore reached and the final statement calls on member states to use the IHRA definition as a “guidance tool,” without making it obligatory.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) is coming under criticism for falsely claiming in an interview that billionaire philanthropist George Soros, known for his funding of liberal and pro-democracy groups, “helped take the property” owned by fellow Jews. Patrick Gaspard, president of Soros’s Open Society Foundations, sent a letter to Gohmert on Thursday afternoon asking him to apologize for the “disturbing and false anti-Semitic slur.”
Abe Silberstein writes, “When it comes to the Palestinians, the Iranian regime, the BDS movement and even a targeted boycott of settlements, the Israeli government, and Netanyahu in particular, do not hesitate to invoke anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, sometimes making embarrassing errors. For the memory of the actual Holocaust, however, less care is taken and political alliances are a superior concern. As a result, the Polish and Hungarian governments can point to the approval of the Jewish state in de-legitimizing the fears of local Jews. This is not only a grave betrayal of Jewish history but a wholly unnecessary one. Silence, or declining to contradict the response of Jewish communities to anti-Semitism in their own countries, is a more respectable and readily available option that would not put foreign relations at serious risk. Unfortunately, it appears Israel is intent on using its status to burnish the reputation of morally dubious allies, and not just in Europe and the United States.”
The Steady Drumbeat On Iran Continues, The National Interest
Curt Mills writes, “Something resembling a regime change policy on Iran is at the core of the White House’s foreign policy. Many in the hawkish contingent insist they are not building the case for war—rather, they seek to collapse the regime from within or inspire a radical change in behavior —but that’s cold comfort to those who note the hawks have made common cause with the very set that mired America in Iraq . A former senior White House official told me earlier this year that war with the country is “very” much possible….Whether Trump will ever be able to satisfy the most ardent Iran hawks remains an open question.”
A Haaretz investigation reveals that Christian groups have invested up to $65 million in projects in the ‘Biblical Heartland’ over the past decade. That doesn’t include services they provide free of charge, like volunteer laborers.