News Roundup for January 22, 2021

January 22, 2021

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J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street in the News

New antisemitism hates Jews, loves Israel, The Jerusalem Post
J Street’s Nadav Tamir writes, “Many contemporary antisemites are actually lovers of Israel. The classical Catholic antisemitism, which accused us of crucifying Jesus, has disappeared due to both theological changes and developments at the Vatican, especially with Pope Francis, who is a sworn lover of Jews. On the contrary, the new antisemitism hates Jews and loves Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

House Democrats call on Biden to reform Middle East war powers, Al-Monitor
California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee and House committee leaders wasted no time calling on the new president to rein in two-decade-old legislation on the authorization of military force.

Democracy ‘Prevailed’? Survived Is More Like It., New York Times
Jamelle Bouie writes, “The Republican Party in 2021 is a party in near total thrall to its most radical elements, a party that in the main — as we just witnessed a few weeks ago — does not accept that it can lose elections and seeks to overturn or delegitimize the result when it does. It disseminates false accusations of voter fraud and then uses those accusations to justify voter suppression and disenfranchisement. It feeds lies to its supporters and uses those lies, as Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley did, to challenge the fundamental processes of our democracy. When in power in Washington, the Republican Party can barely govern, and when out of power, it does almost everything it can to stymie the government’s ability to act. To even begin to fix American democracy, we have to make the Republican Party less dangerous than it is.”


Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington, Axios
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

New Israeli envoy arrives in Washington, turning page on Trump era, The Hill
Israel’s new ambassador to the U.S., Gilad Erdan, began his tenure in Washington, D.C., on Thursday with his appointment coinciding with the inauguration of President Biden.

5-year-old Palestinian boy hurt by rock thrown at car in reported settler attack, Times of Israel
A 5-year-old Palestinian boy was injured Thursday night by a rock thrown by West Bank settlers toward a vehicle he was traveling in, according to an Israeli rights group. The boy was in the car with his parents when settlers hurled rocks at them near the Givat Assaf outpost, Yesh Din said.

Police, ultra-Orthodox Groups Clash Over Restrictions; Minister Urges Calm, Haaretz
After weeks of a steady rise in coronavirus cases, infection rates in Israel are showing positive signs amid a third national lockdown, while an ambitious vaccination campaign is underway. Meanwhile, Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip await vaccines, which could take at least a few more months to get to a big enough part of society. Infection rates in both territories, however, are being kept relatively low.

Tel Aviv University faculty condemn deal with settlement medical school, +972 Mag
“They try to whitewash [the issue], as if the occupied territories and Israel are the same thing,” said a faculty member at the medical school who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions. “They want to stick to a seemingly non-political agenda, when in fact it is actually political. Now I’m being forced to cooperate with this.”

Israel Rearrests Palestinian Teen Who Was Released by a Military Judge, Haaretz
 A 17-year-old Palestinian who was arrested on November 2, charged with hurling stones and released on bail, was arrested again Thursday by Israeli soldiers. Amal Nakhleh, who suffers from a rare autoimmune disease, was released on bail 40 days ago by a military judge. Before the judge’s decision, military prosecutors said he would be put in administrative detention – detention without trial – if released.

Daily infections, positive test rate drop further as outbreak seems to abate, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Friday reported a further decline in daily coronavirus infections the day before, as Israel’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began appeared to ease after weeks of strict lockdown rules.

Netanyahu’s Lawyers Make Unprecedented Request to Delay Bribery Trial Again, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attorneys have once again asked that his trial be postponed, this time until the attorney general decides whether to indict three companies involved in his alleged crimes. The prosecution deemed this “a request the likes of which has never been submitted in Israel’s legal history.”

Opinion and Analysis

Conspiracy and complicity got our democracy here, The Forward
Omer Bartov writes, “Two phenomena have characterized the outgoing Trump administration and spilled over to other countries around the world. The first is the astonishing power of conspiracy theories. The second is the no less astonishing capacity of generally honorable men and women to become complicit in the crimes and misdemeanors of the leaders for whom they work.”

The Duty to End Israeli Apartheid, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “The system they are subject to is without question one of discrimination, oppression, dispossession and separation on the basis of nationality, and therefore is an apartheid system. Democracy for Jews only is of course a joke of democracy. Therefore, if Israel is tyrannical in some of its territory toward some of its subjects – all of Israel is tyrannical. If apartheid exists in some of its territory for some of its residents – it is an apartheid state. No democracy can contain regional tyranny or regional apartheid.”