News Roundup for January 10, 2020

January 10, 2020

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J Street in the News

J Street Commends House Passage of War Powers Resolution to Block Iran War, Urges Senate to Follow Suit, J Street
“J Street commends the House of Representatives’s passage of a war powers resolution to prevent the president from carrying out a disastrous, unauthorized war of choice with Iran. By taking this step, Congress has acted to restrain an out-of-control president and assert its constitutional authority to decide whether, when and where our country goes to war.”

Editorial: Free speech rights must outweigh support of Israel in anti-boycott court case, St Louis Post-Dispatch
“The issue before the court isn’t Israel’s policies. It’s about protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights […] Nationally, 2,000 rabbis and cantors belonging to the T’ruah human rights group are supporting Leveritt’s court challenge, as is J Street, the Washington-based liberal Jewish advocacy organization. The two groups are quick to condemn increasingly pervasive anti-Semitic rhetoric among boycott supporters that too often equates all things Israel and Jewish with the oppression of Palestinian rights.”

Top News and Analysis

House approves measure limiting Trump’s authority to take further military action against Iran, Washington Post
The 224-to-194 vote, which came a day after the administration’s senior national security officials briefed lawmakers about the strike that killed a top Iranian commander, fell largely along party lines, with three Republicans and a Republican-turned-independent endorsing the resolution. Eight Democrats opposed the measure, which instructs Trump “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military” unless Congress declares war or there is “an imminent armed attack upon the United States.”

‘What’s in It for Trump?’: White House Debating Release of Mideast Peace Plan Before Third Israeli Election, Haaretz
Despite Israel being in the midst of another election campaign, the Trump administration is once again considering whether to publish its Middle East peace plan. While no decision has been made, there is real debate within the White House about releasing the plan in the next few weeks.

How Israel Views Trump’s Strike Against Iran, The New Yorker
Bernard Avishai writes, “The killing of Suleimani feels quite different in Israel than it does in the United States—a somewhat more decisive, if not exactly recommended, move in a game that has been playing out in the region for years. “


Iraqi PM tells US to decide mechanism for troop withdrawal, AP
Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi’s comments to Pompeo suggests he was standing by his previous statements that U.S troops should leave Iraq despite recent signals toward de-escalation between Tehran and Washington following the tit-for-tat attacks that brought Iraq to the brink of a proxy war.

Exclusive: Informants in Iraq, Syria helped U.S. kill Iran’s Soleimani, Reuters
Investigators have focused on how suspected informants inside the Damascus and Baghdad airports collaborated with the U.S. military to help track and pinpoint Soleimani’s position, according to Reuters interviews with two security officials with direct knowledge of Iraq’s investigation, two Baghdad airport employees, two police officials and two employees of Syria’s Cham Wings Airlines, a private commercial airline headquartered in Damascus.

Trump boasts Iranian general’s death was ‘American justice’, AP
President Donald Trump used his first campaign election rally of 2020 to argue that he served up “American justice” by ordering a drone strike to take out Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, while jeering Democratic leaders for questioning his decision to carry out the attack without first consulting Congress.

‘No War With Iran’ Protesters Demonstrate Across U.S., Huffington Post
Hundreds of peace demonstrations took place across America on Thursday to protest any further actions toward war with Iran after a week of escalating tensions that were ignited when the U.S. killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani in Iraq last week.

Iran denies shooting down Ukrainian passenger jet, CBS
CBS News has learned U.S. officials are confident Iran shot down the jetliner in the hours after the Iranian missile attack on U.S. targets earlier this week. There were 176 people killed in the crash: 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals.

With deadly floods, Israel endures rising waters amid growing geopolitical tensions, Washington Post
With rains continuing Thursday, rising waters had killed at least five people, including a young couple who drowned in an elevator and a man swept away as he tried to rescue a family stuck in a drifting vehicle.

Annual survey finds growing numbers of Israelis believe the country’s leaders are corrupt, JTA
Some 58 percent of Israelis believe that the country’s leadership is corrupt, up from 43 percent in 2014, a survey found.

Opinion and Analysis

The trauma of sending children from Gaza to fight illness alone, +972 Mag
Ghada Majadle writes, “In 2019, more parents from Gaza were able to travel with their children for treatment outside the strip. But the numbers leave out a crucial part of the story.”

The Only Winner of the U.S.-Iran Showdown Is Russia, Slate
Maggie Tennis and Strobe Talbott write, “Hours before Iran launched a missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq, Vladimir Putin visited Syria to huddle with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad over the mounting U.S.-Iran crisis. Russia has repeatedly condemned the U.S. airstrikes that killed Iranian Major Gen. Qassem Soleimani. It’s fair to assume that leaders in Moscow are seeking to turn the situation to their advantage.”

The conspiracy theories behind the anti-Semitic violence in New York, Vox
Jane Coaston writes, “There’s no clear movement or entity behind the rise of anti-Semitic attacks in New York and elsewhere, no single group that can be blamed for random assaults on Jewish children. Rather, there is a stew of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, coupled with political cowardice and outright victim blaming, that is putting visibly Jewish people at risk.”

Netanyahu’s Latest Ploy Against the Justice System: Bash the Knesset’s Legal Adviser, Haaretz
Yossi Verter writes, “The saga of Eyal Yinon, the Knesset legal adviser, is a typical example of Benjamin Netanyahu’s gangster-style tactics in the twilight of his tenure.”