News Roundup for December 13, 2019

December 13, 2019

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J Street in the News

Trump’s Executive Order To Allegedly Fight Anti-Semitism, WGBH News
Adam Reilly is joined by Janette Hillis-Jaffe, the New England Regional Director of J Street, and Robert Leikind, regional director of American Jewish Committee (AJC) New England, to discuss the latest Trump executive order.

Amid criticism, Trump signs order targeting anti-Semitism at universities, Reuters
“J Street, a liberal Jewish-American lobbying group, criticized the order. ‘This executive order, like the stalled congressional legislation it is based on, appears designed less to combat anti-Semitism than to have a chilling effect on free speech and to crack down on campus critics of Israel,’ it said in a statement.”

Trump signs order targeting college anti-Semitism, Star Tribune
“‘We feel it is misguided and harmful for the White House to unilaterally declare a broad range of nonviolent campus criticism of Israel to be anti-Semitic, especially at a time when the prime driver of anti-Semitism in this country is the xenophobic, white nationalist far-right,’ said Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a Democratic-aligned advocacy group.”

Trapped by multiple narratives, Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle
We recently visited Israel, accompanying four members of Congress — Jan Schakowsky (Illinois), Peter Welch (Vermont), Andy Levin (Michigan) and Deborah Halland (New Mexico) — and 11 J Street leaders. Our goal was to see and hear a wide range of views on the political relationships between Israelis and Palestinians.

Top News and Analysis

Trump’s Executive Order and the Rise of Anti-Semitism, New York Times
The Editorial Board writes, “Last year, anti-Semitic attacks killed more Jews around the globe than in any year in decades. Worshipers were gunned down during Saturday services at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue. Attackers took the lives of a Jewish college student in California and a Holocaust survivor in France. German Jews were cautioned not to wear skullcaps or Stars of David on the street […] While Mr. Trump’s action might seem like a gesture of real concern, it does little to target the larger source of violent anti-Semitism in America and possibly threatens free speech rights.”

Trump still appears to believe all Jews are really Israelis, Washington Post
Jill Jacobs writes, “On Saturday night, President Trump stood in front of a roomful of Jews and invoked one of the oldest anti-Semitic stereotypes in the book: that Jews care only about money. Four days later, he purported to protect Jewish college students from anti-Semitism on campuses by signing an executive order with a broad definition of the problem that is likely to have a chilling effect on criticism of Israel. Thanks, but no thanks.”

Poll shows Gantz’s Blue and White opening 6-seat lead over Netanyahu’s Likud, Times of Israel
An opinion poll published Friday showed the Blue and White party opening a six-seat lead, its biggest yet, over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, but still lacking the power needed to form a center-left government.


Abbas urges Arab Israelis to vote for Knesset: They can have ‘major influence’, Times of Israel
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently asserted that Arab Israelis would become a “major influencer” in Israel’s politics, if only they would turn out for national elections at similar levels as they do for municipal votes.

Kosher Supermarket Owner Mourns His Wife: ‘I Have To Do It All Without You’, The Forward
“You gave me everything I ever wanted,” he said in Yiddish, sobbing and gripping the podium, leaning on it like a walker. “And now, I have to do it all without you.”

Gantz says he’ll weigh backing Netanyahu pardon in exchange for his retirement, Times of Israel
Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz said Thursday that he would consider supporting a deal in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is allowed to avoid prison in exchange for an agreement to retire from politics, a proposal backed earlier in the day by Yisrael Beytenu party chief Avigdor Liberman.

Israel: Cars of Palestinians vandalised in apparent hate crime, Al Jazeera
The tyres of about 20 cars have been punctured and anti-Arab slogans scrawled on buildings in a Palestinian town in northern Israel, police said, in an apparent hate crime.

Israel says Gazan Christians can’t travel to Israel, West Bank for Christmas, Times of Israel
Israel will not allow Christians in the Gaza Strip to visit the West Bank or East Jerusalem for Christmas, the military liaison to the Palestinians said Thursday.

Netanyahu can keep prime minister’s post despite indictments, Israel’s Supreme Court says, JTA
Responding to a lawsuit seeking Netanyahu’s ouster, Israel’s Supreme Court said it was not practical to rule on the issue because a prime minister’s resignation would bring about new elections, which are already scheduled. During the run-up to the election, the court noted, the outgoing prime minister remains in his job.

Poll shows Gantz’s Blue and White opening 6-seat lead over Netanyahu’s Likud, Times of Israel
An opinion poll published Friday showed the Blue and White party opening a six-seat lead, its biggest yet, over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, but still lacking the power needed to form a center-left government.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump casts criticism of Israel as dangerous as he courts Jewish voters for 2020, Washington Post
Anne Gearan writes, “The message the White House wanted to send heading into the 2020 election as it seeks to build support among Jewish conservatives and maintain the strong backing of evangelicals was clear: Trump is using support for Israel as the defining characteristic of fighting anti-Semitism.”

Why Israel’s third elections might not be such a disaster, after all, Times of Israel
David Horovitz writes, “Rather than look at round three of elections as proof of that system’s failure and paralysis, perhaps, in its purity, it is enabling the electorate to work through the hugely sensitive decision of who should lead this country, and thus how and where it should be led, a little more protractedly than is the norm. Perhaps our system is actually working for us rather than against us.”

Why Trump’s Judaism executive order is too narrow and too broad, Washington Post
The Editorial Board writes, “The President who said there were ‘very fine people on both sides’ in Charlottesville days after neo-Nazis there chanted ‘Jews will not replace us!’ now summons the nation to reject bigotry by threatening to withhold federal aid from colleges and universities where anti-Semitism is tolerated. The response is at once too narrow and too broad.”

Thanks to Netanyahu, Gantz Is Now Ready to Be Prime Minister, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “With each election – and yet another one was called this week – his chances of gaining the top spot again recede further into the distance, but Benjamin Netanyahu remains determined to hold on.”

Why is Israel preventing me from accompanying my mother to chemotherapy?, +972 Mag
Laith Abu Zeyad writes, “Israel’s occupation manages to separate us from our loved ones in life and death, in the most hideous and punitive ways. Now, I can no longer leave the occupied West Bank at all. In the simplest and most definitive terms: I am locked in.”

Third Time’s a Charm? Why This Israeli Election Could Be Different, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “These are the five pressing questions that arise as Israelis head to the ballot boxes for a third time in one year…”