News Roundup for February 27, 2020

February 27, 2020

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J Street in the News

The Turning point in the Israel-US Jewry Relationship, Jerusalem Post
“AIPAC’s annual policy conference opens this weekend in Washington, gathering and motivating thousands of activists behind a cause that is of diminishing importance to many and possibly most American Jews. The organization itself is threatened with being eclipsed on the Right by the powerful Evangelical lobby Christians United for Israel, in its influence in the Trump administration, and among Republican lawmakers and on the Left by the pro-peace process, pro-Israel J Street.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu’s Latest Election Spin Is a Point of No Return for Israeli Settlements, Haaretz
Over the past decade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has withstood the pressure from the right and maintained the construction freeze on Givat Hamatos and E-1. We will never know if it was fear of international pressure or because he understood the significance of such a step for Israel’s future. But now, only a few days before a third election in a year, while the world is preoccupied with the coronavirus, Netanyahu has chosen to cross the red lines and take us all with him.

Israel’s ‘Zombie’ Voters Stagger to a Third Election, New York Times
Their malady has been given a name: ‘acquired political helplessness.’


Israel to Reopen Gaza Crossings, Expand Palestinians’ Fishing Zone After Two Days of Calm, Haaretz
Coordinator of government activities in the Territories says the restrictions will be lifted on condition that ‘security stability is maintained,’ after two days of hostilities

Polls suggest momentum with Netanyahu, as campaigns turn nasty in final days, Times of Israel
Likud has risen slightly, but the balance between the blocs suggests continued deadlock on March 2 — unless one of the two rivals manages to inspire higher turnout from his camp.

Trump ex-Mideast Envoy Greenblatt Joins Israeli Venture Capital Firm, AP
OurCrowd said the former attorney for Donald Trump will be acting as a partner responsible for “building ties with the Middle East region.”

Ultra-Orthodox MK says he’ll demand law banning public transportation on Shabbat, Times of Israel
An ultra-Orthodox lawmaker on Wednesday said his party would demand a law banning municipalities from operating public transportation on the Jewish rest day of Shabbat, drawing rebuke from secular rivals and the Tel Aviv mayor, and returning the subject of religion and state to the national stage ahead of Monday’s Knesset election.

Bernie Sanders criticizes Netanyahu as Democratic presidential debate turns to Israel, JTA
The Israel segment of the debate, which came near its conclusion, was one of the only moments where candidates took a break from attacking each other. The debate was the last before Saturday’s South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday on March 3, when 14 states will hold nominating contests.

European Jewish group unveils plan to ‘beat anti-Semitism’ amid rise in attacks, Times of Israel
The plan introduced by the European Jewish Association at its annual conference in Paris calls on all European countries to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism; to appoint a special envoy on combating anti-Semitism; to mandate schools include lessons on anti-Semitism; and to legislate bans on anti-Semitic symbols in public, including Nazi imagery.

Opinion and Analysis

AIPAC Pits Itself Against the Democratic Party, Haaretz
Yael Patir writes, “As the AIPAC convention opens to much fanfare, it would be wise not to take the cheers for Trump and the right-wing (American and Israeli) speakers at face value, and, too, to follow the results of Super Tuesday, the most important day of the Democratic primaries, when voters from large states like California and Texas go to the polls. This is where the direction of the Democratic Party and perhaps also of the next U.S. administration will be determined. That administration may not be impressed by the rhetoric heard in the convention hall in Washington.”

Elizabeth Warren: Trump’s Middle East peace plan is a disaster. I’ve got a plan for that, JTA
Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren writes, “I believe in the worth and value of every Israeli and every Palestinian. And I believe that the way we respect all parties is through a two-state solution — an outcome that’s good for U.S. interests, good for Israel’s security and its future, and good for Palestinian rights, dignity and self-determination. To achieve this, there must be an end to the Israeli occupation and the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip living alongside Israel.”

Israel Has to Get Rid of Netanyahu, and Not Because of His Ideology , Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Neither values, principles nor even democracy are at the center of this election. Rather, the election is nearly the last means to uproot an affliction that threatens Israel’s very identity.”