News Roundup for February 13, 2020

February 13, 2020

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Top News and Analysis

U.N. report identifies 112 companies doing business with Israeli settlements, Washington Post
The United Nations released a long-anticipated, and explosive, list of companies doing business with Israeli settlements in the West Bank on Wednesday, a compilation hailed by activists as potential leverage against expanding communities they see as illegal and condemned by Israeli officials as biased and, by some, as anti-Semitic.

Trump Pressures Palestinians and Allies Over Peace Plan, Foreign Policy
The White House thwarted a Palestinian drive for a U.N. Security Council resolution denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump’s much-criticized peace plan as illegal, and it appeared to threaten to withhold Palestinian aid as part of a diplomatic pressure campaign. The collapse of the Palestinian diplomatic initiative at the U.N. came shortly before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appeared Tuesday before the Security Council to denounce the Trump plan, which he warned would undermine peace in the region and break up a future Palestinian state into a collection of enclaves that resemble of block of swiss cheese more than a viable new state. This account reveals behind-the-scenes diplomatic wrangling at the U.N. and in Washington and draws on interviews from a dozen diplomats and other officials familiar with the matter.

Gantz’s Slap in the Face to All Democratic Israelis, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “Remarks Tuesday night by Kahol Lavan chief Benny Gantz are a slap in the face to democratic Israelis – Jews and Arabs alike – who yearn for a change in Israel’s dangerous political direction. During an event launching his party’s election headquarters for Arab women in Kafr Bana, Gantz said the Joint List of Arab parties couldn’t be part of any government he would form.”


Ex-Israeli PM Olmert: Abbas Is the Only Partner for Peace, Haaretz
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is Israel’s only partner for peace, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a joint press conference with the Palestinian leader in New York on Tuesday, in which Abbas called for a resumption of peace talks from where they left off during Olmert’s term.

Israel freezes ties with UN rights chief after release of settlement blacklist, Times of Israel
Israel is suspending its ties with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday, several hours after the UN body published a list of 112 companies that do business in West Bank settlements.

White supremacists are putting out more propaganda than ever, but meeting less, The Forward
2019 saw a doubling in propaganda activity since 2018. The ADL said last year’s 2,713 reported cases made up the highest number of incidents they’ve ever recorded.

Shin Bet said to rage against Bennett for releasing Jewish terror suspect, Times of Israel
The Shin Bet internal security agency was reportedly livid at Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday for ordering the release of a Jewish terror suspect from administrative detention on Tuesday — a day after he signed the order to arrest him.

Israel to Ask U.S. Governors to Condemn UN List of Companies Tied to Settlements, Haaretz
Israel’s Foreign Ministry Wednesday instructed its U.S. consulates to approach governors of states in which firms named in the UN human rights office database of companies that operate in West Bank settlements are based, and to ask them to condemn the list.

Netanyahu said to gripe to Zuckerberg that Facebook is undermining his campaign, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly phoned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday to complain that the social media giant was taking action against his supporters in Israel’s recent elections.

Opinion and Analysis

Jews Fighting Jerusalem Arab Project Will Soon Find They’re on the Losing Side, Haaretz
Nir Hasson writes, “The combination of blatant, covert racism and local politicians who promoted the fight for a third national election have led the plan to its premature doom”

One Great Reason to Vote for the Hatikvah Slate: Funding for Progressive Zionist Youth Movements, Jew School
Minna Elias and Joel Winograd write, “The two youth movements included in the Hatikvah slate each have their own unique niches and ideologies, but they are united in a belief that Israel must fulfill the founders’ vision of a country based on justice and equality.”

Israel cannot escape all of international law all of the time, Brookings
Noha Aboueldahab writes, “US President Donald Trump’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict flagrantly violates international law. But it also confirms Israel’s recognition that it cannot escape all of international law all of the time. In particular, it demonstrates that the potential reach of the International Criminal Court (ICC) represents a threat to Israel in a way that unenforced UN resolutions do not.”

What I saw in Area C, J Street
Robin Podolsky writes, “I found myself caught between political despair and rising hope. Trump and Netanyahu’s annexation plan only exacerbated the despair — but hope remains.”

Bernie vs Bloomberg: Prepare for the Trump-fueled Right-wing anti-Semitic Storm, Haaretz
Noah Berlatsky writes, “If Sanders or Bloomberg win the nomination, Trump will drench the 2020 campaign in anti-Semitic slurs, accusations of disloyalty and Soros conspiracy theories. Be ready to identify and refute them.”