News Roundup for December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019

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Top News and Analysis

Democratic debate highlights: Candidates discuss money in politics, foreign wars, health care, Washington Post
Moderators asked Sanders how Israel’s expansion of settlements in Gaza would affect the way his would-be administration sent aid to the longtime U.S. ally. Sanders, who is Jewish and has been outspoken about the need to work for the security of Palestinians as well as Israel, reiterated that position. “Israel has the right not only to exist, but to exist in peace and security. But what U.S. must be about is not just being pro-Israel. We must be pro-Palestinian as well,” he said. Sanders criticized Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he called a racist. He rued high unemployment rates in Gaza. “What my foreign policy will be about is human rights, is democracy, is bringing people together in a peaceful way, trying to negotiate agreements, not endless wars with trillions of dollars of expenses,” Sanders said. Buttigieg, presented with the same question, called the situation in Gaza and elsewhere the result of the failure of President Trump’s leadership. […] “Making U.S. foreign policy choices in order to effectively interfere in Israeli domestic politics, acting as though that somehow makes him pro-Israel and pro-Jewish while welcoming white nationalists,” Buttigieg said.

Sanders Says Netanyahu Is ‘Racist’, Biden Calls for Two-state Solution in Democratic Debate, Haaretz
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has led most of the national polls in recent weeks, said that under Trump, the United States is “no longer being an honest broker” between Israel and its neighbors. Biden said Trump is making a mistake by not promoting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because “it’s impossible to have a Jewish state otherwise.” Biden also said that “Bibi Netanyahu and I know each other well, he knows that I think what he’s doing is outrageous.” Biden said that two weeks ago Netanyahu has drifted to the “extreme right” in order to survive politically, in the wake of the corruption charges filed against him by Israel’s attorney general. “Netanyahu has gone in a direction that is counterproductive,” Biden said. “He wants to stay in power and has gone to the extreme right in his party and in the country. I think it’s a serious mistake.”

3 winners and 4 losers from the December 2019 Democratic debate, Vox
Vox staff write, “Loser: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu […] This type of critical language — where even moderates call for constant pressure on Israel from the United States — used to be almost unthinkable in the Democratic Party, and shows how far left the party has moved on this issue.”


‘Jew coup’: The anti-Semitic conspiracy theories surrounding Trump’s impeachment, Times of Israel
To far-right anti-Semitic extremists, there’s been something else entirely driving the president’s woes: a cabal of powerful Jews determined to oust him from office.

Netanyahu pledges US support for West Bank settlement annexation, The Jerusalem Post
“The first thing we will do is to apply our sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and also in settlements, and we will do so with American recognition. We are strengthening the State of Israel and ensuring its future,” he said.

Projectile fired from Gaza, drawing retaliatory Israeli strikes, Times of Israel
The projectile — apparently a mortar shell — struck an open field in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, a local government spokesperson said. There were no injuries or damage caused the attack.

Joe Biden accuses Trump of fanning the flames of anti-Semitism, JTA
The former vice president decried the “tide of hatred” that he said had fueled anti-Semitic mass shootings in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California, and condemned the president for failing to take the lead in rooting out extremism and racism.

Palestinians optimistic about new elections next year, The National
Palestinian factions are cautiously optimistic about holding long overdue national elections after all sides gave their approval to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in November, officials say.

Opinion and Analysis

Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism Isn’t About Protecting Jews, The Nation
Eric Alterman writes, “Like so many ‘populists,’ Trump sees considerable advantage in boosting Israel while playing to hometown anti-Jewish prejudices.”

Can U.S. Jews Be Protected by Trump, a President Who Spouts Contempt for Jews?, Haaretz
Eric H. Yoffie asks, “Should Jews rattled by shooting attacks be grateful for Trump’s executive order on anti-Semitism, when days earlier he unleashed a barrage of insults against them? What if it means sacrificing free speech on Israel and Palestine?”

With adoption of major spending bills, Congress signals support for two-state solution, JTA
Ron Kampeas writes, “If where you spend your money is the clearest sign of your priorities, Congress seems to be saying that it remains invested in Israeli-Palestinian peace and in robustly supporting Israel’s defense systems.”

When the Shin Bet rounds up Palestinians, Israeli media stops asking questions, +972 Mag
Oren Ziv writes, “When the Shin Bet announced it arrested 50 Palestinians linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the media simply parroted the agency’s talking points.”

Where There’s Hatred of the European Union, There’s Hatred of the Jews, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer asks, “While many British voters chose to leave Europe from perfectly understandable, if misjudged, reasons of repatriating control of internal affairs from Brussels, it is impossible to overlook that there was a distinctly xenophobic tone to the reasoning behind Brexit.”