News Roundup for January 16, 2020

January 16, 2020

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J Street in the News

The Soleimani threat brought Israel and Sunni states closer, The Jewish Chronicle
“The JCPOA was vehemently opposed by Netanyahu, but welcomed by the Israeli intelligence community. In 2010, leading figures in the Mossad, Shin Bet and the IDF all attacked Netanyahu’s order to prepare for an imminent assault on Iranian nuclear facilities […] American Jewish organisations were also divided — establishment groups were critical whereas J-Street and Americans for Peace Now endorsed the JCPOA. All this changed with the election of Donald Trump, who revoked the agreement and imposed biting sanctions on Iran.”

Press Watch: Wolf Blitzer wanted war drums; Democrats made the case for peace, Salon
“On Tuesday night, leading Democrats celebrated Lee as a voice of reason. As the communications director for J Street tweeted: ‘We’re now living in a world where Barbara Lee is among the most universally revered figures in a Democratic presidential debate. This is what it looks like when history proves you absolutely right.’”

Diaspora Jews Have Their Say: World Zionist Congress 2020, The Jewish Exponent
“Meanwhile, Hatikvah, the progressive Israel slate, counts J Street and New Israel Fund among its partners, with writer and activist Peter Beinart among the potential delegates, along with local liberal activist Jill Zipin. Hatikvah, according to campaign director Hadar Susskind, boasts a ‘strong, pro-Israel, progressive platform,’ focused on ending the occupation of the West Bank and pursuing a two-state solution, among many other priorities. ‘For a lot of American Jews, they’ve struggled for years to figure out what is a way to make your voice heard in what’s really happening on the ground in Israel,’ Susskind said, ‘and this is one that goes back to 1897.’”

Top News and Analysis

Rouhani: Iran enriching more uranium than before 2015 deal, Al Jazeera
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that his country is enriching more uranium than Tehran did before it agreed to a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.

IDF strikes Hamas in Gaza in response to rocket fire, as sustained calm tested, Times of Israel
The Israeli Air Force launched a series of strikes on Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip Wednesday evening in response to rocket fire on Israeli communities hours earlier, the military said.

Betrayals, Defections and Fewer Women: The Losers and Winners of Israel’s New Political Map, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “Stav Shaffir, Rafi Peretz, Moshe Kahlon and female representation are among the most high-profile victims after Israel’s political parties finalized their slates.”


Right-wing Party Ditches Kahanists to Join Broad Union as Israeli Parties Submit Final Rosters, Haaretz
In a last-minute deal, an Israeli right-wing leader dismantled a short-lived alliance with a Kahanist party to join a broad right-wing slate, as parties finalize their rosters ahead of the March 2 election.

Women’s group says parties pushing female candidates to ‘the back benches’, Times of Israel
A women’s advocacy group on Thursday criticized the dearth of top female candidates in the upcoming national elections, accusing political factions of relegating them to the back of the bus.

State Department abruptly cancels briefings on Iran, embassy security, Politico
The State Department abruptly canceled two classified congressional briefings Wednesday that were supposed to focus on embassy security and the U.S. relationship with Iran, Capitol Hill aides said, infuriating lawmakers and staffers seeking answers on the fallout from President Donald Trump’s decision to kill a senior Iranian general.

Iran accuses Europe of yielding to ‘high school bully’ Trump in nuclear row, Reuters
Iran said on Thursday three European states had succumbed to “high school bully” Donald Trump when they triggered a dispute mechanism in a nuclear pact the U.S. president opposes, a step that could eventually lead to reimposing U.N. sanctions.

Virginia man charged in targeting of Jews and African-Americans with fake bomb threats, JTA
Kelley is accused of being part of a network that “shared racist views” and had a “particular disdain for African Americans and Jewish people,” and targeted them in the swatting attacks, a practice in which fake emergencies are called in to authorities to draw a large law enforcement response, according to an FBI affidavit unsealed Friday, The Associated Press reported..

Thousands of teens protest education minister’s remarks about LGBT couples, Times of Israel
Thousands of high school students held a demonstration Wednesday protesting remarks last week by Education Minister Rafi Peretz in which he appeared to call same-sex marriage unnatural.

Israel creates seven ‘nature reserves’ in occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera
Israel’s defence minister has announced the creation of seven nature reserves in the occupied West Bank as part of efforts to maintain Israeli control of the area, saying the move would strengthen Israel and further develop Jewish settlements.

ADL tells Congress to curb online hate speech if social media giants won’t, Times of Israel
The head of the Anti-Defamation League told House lawmakers Wednesday to craft legislation that would force social media giants to take neo-Nazis and others spewing anti-Semitic hatred off the platforms if the companies won’t do so on their own.

Israeli security forces take down Palestinian homes in South Hebron Hills, The Jerusalem Post
The family who owned the home was in the process of appealing to the Civil Administration to legalize the house, and had not known that the Israeli security forces would appear at their door.

Opinion and Analysis

Religious Zionists, Stop Pretending You’re Any Better Than the Kahanists, Haaretz
Zehava Galon writes, “For if there is any difference between Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir and neo-Kahanist Bezalel Smotrich, apparently you have to be Bennett to discern it. And what difference is there really between those two and Rabbi Rafi Peretz? Peretz will smile at LGBTQ people before sending them off for reeducation?”

Europe’s Gamble: Can It Save Iran Deal by Threatening to Kill It?, New York Times
Steven Erlanger writes, “A risky strategy to keep the nuclear agreement alive could backfire. Badly. But no one else is even trying, Europeans argue.”

Rosove Shares His Progressive Take on Israel and Its Future in  “Why Israel (and Its Future) Matters”, Jewish Journal
Jonathan Kirsch writes, “Rosove, the senior rabbi emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood and a prominent voice in the Reform movement, looks at Israel from the stance of someone who proudly calls himself a progressive and an activist. He understands that the case for Israel must be made for American Jews who embrace these values and believe the pursuit of social justice is a core value of Judaism. For Rosove, as for the State of Israel and the Zionist world, the problem to be solved is the gap between Israel and the Diaspora, and millennials are the ones who must close the gap.”

The Dirty Politics Behind Israel’s Capitulation to Putin’s WWII Revisionism, Haaretz
Ofer Aderet writes, “Hosting an event marking 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance authority is now facilitating the Kremlin campaign to blame Poland for the outbreak of WWII – and to whitewash the Soviet Union’s handshake with Hitler.”

Soleimani’s killing strengthens Putin’s hand in Syria and Iraq, Al Jazeera
Anton Mardasov writes, “The death of the Iranian general could cause more instability in the region, but for Russia, this may mean more opportunities to grow its clout in the Middle East.”