News Roundup for August 3, 2020

August 3, 2020

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street in the News

The Less Impossible Israeli-Palestinian Peace, New York Times
Roger Cohen writes, “It’s a tough call. I think a two-state peace is less impossible and more desirable in part because I am sure the only way to something resembling one state, a confederation for example, is through the establishment of two states, Israeli and Palestinian, living beside each other in peace and security for decades […] The two-state idea is comatose until Trump is gone, and Netanyahu is gone, and Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, is gone — and then some. But it is no more ‘impossible’ than was the fall of the Berlin Wall or the disappearance of the Soviet Union. ‘There is a distinction between a coma and being dead,’ Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the nonprofit advocacy group J Street, told me.”

Top News and Analysis

Twelve anti-Netanyahu Protesters Arrested at Thousands-strong Rally Outside PM’s Residence, Haaretz
Police arrested 12 people as thousands gathered Saturday evening outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem, his private home in Caesarea and junctions throughout the country in the latest wave of protests calling for his resignation.  Some 10,000 people protested near the prime minister’s official residence in Jerusalem and began marching toward the city center. The protest and march were approved by the Israel Police, saying they will not tolerate any disturbances of the public order. Last week, five protesters were injured after being attacked by far-right counter demonstrators.

Israelis in US join anti-Netanyahu protests as sweeping rallies take place at home, JTA
Israelis living in the United States demonstrated against what they called anti-democratic regulations and the weakening of democracy in Israel, adding to massive rallies taking place throughout Israel this weekend. About 150 Israeli expats demonstrated at Crissy Field next to the Golden Gate bridge on Friday night, an organizer, Rachel Batish, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

After rocket attack, Israel hits ‘underground’ Hamas targets in Gaza, Times of Israel
Israeli warplanes hit several Hamas sites in central and southern Gaza Strip early Monday, the Israel Defense Forces said, hours after Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel from the coastal enclave. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted the rocket, the IDF said. The army said warplanes hit an cement factory used in the construction of underground infrastructure and “underground facilities used by the Hamas terror group.”


Israeli Court Rebukes Prime Minister’s Son Over Harassing Protest Leaders, New York Times
An Israeli court on Sunday ordered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s older son to stop harassing three people helping to lead protests against his father’s administration after he tweeted out their home addresses and cellphone numbers. Judge Dorit Feinstein of the Jerusalem Magistrates Court also ordered Yair Netanyahu, to delete the tweet, which called on his more than 88,000 followers to demonstrate in front of the homes of the protest leaders. “I instruct him to refrain for the next six months from harassing the petitioners in every shape, way and form,” Judge Feinstein wrote in her decision.

Israel says it thwarted an attack on its northern border with Syria, Washington Post
The incident took place around midnight Sunday in the Golan Heights, when Israeli troops spotted a squad placing the explosive devices adjacent to the security fence. An Israeli military statement said that troops and aircraft fired on the cell simultaneously, “identifying a hit.”

Health minister says Israel has ‘stopped the rise in infections’, Times of Israel
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Sunday that the number of coronavirus cases in the country was stabilizing, but cautioned that it was not enough. “We managed to stop the rise in infections,” Edelstein said at a press conference. “It’s good, but it’s certainly not enough. The numbers are still high and worrisome, including the number of serious patients,” added Edelstein.

Israeli Expats Hold anti-Netanyahu Solidarity Protest in New York’s Washington Square, Haaretz
A few dozen Israelis living in New York City held an anti-Netanyahu rally in Washington Square Park on Sunday in solidarity with the protests in Israel. “I think in normal times I would be in Israel, but times are not normal,” Kobi Cohen, one of the organizers, told Haaretz.

Opinion and Analysis

In the Name of My Future Grandchildren, I Refuse to Be a Citizen of an Apartheid State, Haaretz
Adi Granot writes, “Current annexation plans (and primarily Trump’s plan) carry a great similarity to the apartheid regime in South Africa, not only geographically but mostly in terms of the regime’s nature: The very existence of Bantustans, residential areas designated for the black population, is what ultimately allowed the South African government to avoid giving any rights to the blacks living in their own county, claiming they were citizens of the so-called autonomous areas. That is exactly how partial annexation will allow Israel to have its cake and eat it, too.”

Anti-Semitism thrives on rumor. Trump is a rumor machine, The Forward
Adam Jortner writes, “What does it mean when the White House—but not the president—gives press credentials to a pastor who then called COVID19 a divine judgment on the Jews? What does it mean that Trump praised Henry Ford (publisher of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion) by saying he had “good bloodlines”?”

Netanyahu’s Tirades Against Protesters Highlight His Growing Detachment From Reality, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “Benjamin Netanyahu lives in a world of his own. It is a dark and treacherous place. The Israeli prime minister believes he is surrounded by powerful enemies who have banded together to destroy him. The elites, media, police, justice system, malevolent external forces and the thousands of protestors demonstrating outside his home in Jerusalem are all part of a ‘Deep State’ plot aimed at getting rid of him by whatever means possible.”

‘A queer cry for freedom’: Meet the LGBTQ Palestinians demanding liberation, +972 Mag
Lilach Ben David writes, “Hundreds of queer Palestinians protested last week following a tumultuous year for the community, which is forced to navigate between homophobia and anti-Palestinian racism.”

I’m Black and Jewish. I can’t let a social struggle define me, The Forward
Xhosa Frazier writes, “I was trapped in a paradox: too Black to get in the door, too white to be accepted on the basketball court. I had thought I was going to the promised land, but learned that navigating the issue of race was far trickier than I had imagined.”

Israel attempts to de-escalate tensions with Hezbollah, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “The decision to allow members of a Hezbollah terror cell who tried to attack an Israeli army post to get home safely has generated considerable criticism in Israel. Critics targeted the politicians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, but also the IDF, which they accused of losing its lethal instinct and agreeing to overlook a blatant challenge to Israeli sovereignty and an attempted attack on its troops.”

Often on brink, Lebanon hurtles toward collapse, AP
Zeina Karam writes, “Every day brings darker signs Lebanon has rarely seen in past crises: Mass layoffs, hospitals threatened with closure, shuttered shops and restaurants, crimes driven by desperation, a military that can no longer afford to feed its soldiers meat and warehouses that sell expired poultry.”