News Roundup for December 15, 2020

December 15, 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.

Ex-Israeli consul general to Boston tapped for J Street senior post, Times of Israel
“Nadav Tamir, a longtime diplomat who most recently served as director of international affairs at the Peres Center for Peace, will lead the liberal lobby’s operations in Israel.”

15 American-Jewish Leaders on how to bridge the divide between Israel and the Diaspora, The Forward
“Jeremey Ben-Ami, President of J-Street: The lived experiences, values and politics of the two Jewish communities are extraordinarily different and the gap is growing. The importance of non-Orthodox Jewish practice in the U.S. and its deep roots in social justice can’t be overstated. While a large majority of Jewish Americans lean to the left politically, an increasing majority of Jewish Israelis lean to the right. The criticisms of Israeli policy from that liberal majority — in particular, criticism of the ongoing occupation — are not well-received in Israel. A ‘reverse Birthright’ — Israelis spending time in the American Jewish community — could help as could other forms of engagement.”

J Street Announces Nadav Tamir, Former Diplomat and Advisor to the Late President Peres, as Israel Executive Director, J Street
“I’m excited to be joining J Street at the dawn of a new era for American diplomacy. I’ve been a fan of the organization since it was first founded during my time as consul in Boston, and I’m so impressed with its growth since then,” Tamir said. “Having been in the room with Israeli leaders and US presidents, I’ve seen first-hand how American leadership can have a deep impact on the Israeli government’s decision-making, for better and for worse. I’m looking forward to working with the team in Israel and in the US to advance policies that truly help secure Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people, living in peace and security alongside an independent Palestinian state.”

Top News and Analysis

Biden calls Trump’s attacks on voting ‘unconscionable.’, New York Times
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday denounced the attacks on voting by President Trump and his allies, calling them “unconscionable” and saying that no officials should ever face the kind of pressure they received to falsely proclaim an election to be fraudulent. “They saw it with their own eyes,” Mr. Biden said, speaking in Wilmington, Del. “And they wouldn’t be bullied into saying anything different.”

Loeffler’s campaign says senator had ‘no idea’ she took picture with former KKK leader, Washington Post
Smiling and sporting a dark green cap with an American flag, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) posed side by side with a former Ku Klux Klan leader at a Friday campaign event in Dawsonville, Ga.

The Next Week Will Determine Whether Israel Goes to Election. Here’s How It Could Play Out, Haaretz
Chaim Levinson writes, “Eight days remain until the automatic dissolution of the Knesset due to the lack of a state budget, and there doesn’t seem to be any compromise on the horizon that would prevent the holding of a fourth election over the course of two years.”


Israel records more than 2,200 daily cases as it barrels toward new restrictions, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Tuesday said 2,279 new coronavirus cases were confirmed the day before, with the rising infection rate nearing the threshold set by the government for renewed restrictions.

Coronavirus Israel Live: Gaza Sees Spike in Serious Cases, Ventilated Patients, Haaretz
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza are dealing with a renewed coronavirus outbreak, leading to proposals and measures intended to curb its spread and mitigate the economic ramifications of the crisis by both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

Furious, Knesset panel head confirms Israel in talks with Hamas on prisoner swap, Times of Israel
The head of the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee confirmed that Israel is negotiating with the Hamas terror group for the return of two Israeli civilians and the remains of two soldiers in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners and civil aid.

In Gaza and West Bank, COVID Vaccination Campaign Shrouded in Uncertainty, Haaretz
The Palestinian Authority is preparing to launch its coronavirus vaccination campaign, but officials say it’s still unclear whether they will be able to get any vaccines besides the Russian Sputnik V.

Morocco’s police disperse protest against ties with Israel, AP
Moroccan authorities on Monday dispersed a group of activists who tried to hold a protest outside the parliament building in the capital to denounce the country’s recent decision to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

Hamas says ready to resume Palestinian unity talks, Al Jazeera
Palestinian group Hamas has signalled readiness to resume talks for healing the inter-Palestinian rift with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) government in the occupied West Bank. Over the weekend, five Palestinian factions called for the resumption of inter-Palestinian dialogue to achieve Palestinian national unity.

Opinion and Analysis

The Iran Deal Lives, Slate
Fred Kaplan writes, “Good news for the chances of reviving the Iran nuclear deal: President Hassan Rouhani announced on Monday that if the United States returns to the deal, Iran will also return, with no preconditions.”

Trump continues to mock international law with move on Israel-Morocco, Responsible Statecraft
Alexander Bertschi Wrigley writes, “The Trump administration’s decision to recognize Moroccan control over Western Sahara in exchange for Moroccan normalization of relations with Israel marks a shameful day for America’s commitment to international law, human rights, and diplomacy. With this decision, the United States becomes the only country in the world to recognize Morocco’s unilateral annexation of Western Sahara and further isolates itself on the international stage through its wanton disregard of the international norm of self-determination.”

The IDF defends killing a Palestinian teen. Witnesses rebuff its story, +972 Mag
Oren Ziv writes, “The IDF defended its shooting of Ali Abu Aliya, 15, by claiming that a protest was endangering nearby drivers. But witnesses say the teen was nowhere near the road in question when he was shot.”

How Trump’s War on Fox News Is Amplifying Conspiracy Theories and Antisemitism, Haaretz
Alexander Griffing writes, “Following Trump’s loss to Joe Biden last month, and the rise of unfounded conspiracy theories about voter fraud as part of Trump’s efforts to subvert the outcome, the right-wing media landscape in the United States is undergoing a massive shift. New outlets with few to no safeguards when it comes to fact-checking and accuracy are gaining traction, at the expense of right-leaning media platforms that still adhere to at least some rules of journalistic integrity.”

Biden cannot ignore Uyghur ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang, Responsible Statecraft
Allison Quatrini writes, “Beginning in 2017, up to 1.8 million Turkic Muslims, many of whom are Uyghur and Kazakh, have been interned in re-education camps in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. While imprisoned, they suffer bullying, brainwashing, and beatings simply for practicing Islam, mild acts of dissent, and contact with Uyghurs living abroad. “