News Roundup for January 6, 2021

January 6, 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

J Street Urges Biden to Dump Trump’s Peace Plan, Adopt Fresh Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Haaretz
“J Street will call on President-elect Joe Biden to reverse many of the previous U.S. administration’s moves concerning Israel and the Palestinians, including taking President Donald Trump’s Mideast peace plan off the table, Haaretz has learned. The left-wing, pro-Israel political organization has prepared a set of policy recommendations for the incoming Biden administration that are based on adopting a fresh approach toward the conflict, going beyond what previous administrations have attempted. The group argues in the policy agenda document, obtained by Haaretz, that this approach begins with reversing much of the Trump administration’s moves over the past four years.”

Israel’s Impressive Vaccination Efforts Are Commendable; Israel Also Obligated to Work With PA to Ensure Palestinians in Occupied Territories Receive Vaccines, J Street
“As an occupying power, Israel has a legal and moral obligation to work with Palestinian authorities to ensure that all residents of the territory it rules over — not only Israeli citizens — receive necessary medical services.”

Top News and Analysis

Democrats win the Senate — by the slimmest margin possible, Vox
By capturing Georgia’s Senate seats — an impressive feat few political observers thought likely after the November election — Democrats have given themselves the barest of Senate majorities. They are technically split 50-50 with Republicans, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaker for simple majority votes. Importantly, though, it will be Democrat Chuck Schumer, not Republican Mitch McConnell, who will hold the title of majority leader. Tuesday’s victory solidifies the party’s control of Congress as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office with an ambitious policy agenda. It guarantees Democrats will at least be able to decide what bills make it to the Senate floor, as well as be able to more easily confirm Biden’s Cabinet appointments and judicial nominees.

Georgia’s Senate runoffs: Ossoff surges ahead as Warnock makes history with runoff victory, USA Today
“When all the votes are counted we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won this election to represent Georgia in the United States Senate,” Ossoff campaign manager Ellen Foster said in a statement. “The outstanding vote is squarely in parts of the state where Jon’s performance has been dominant.”

Warnock, Georgia’s first Black senator, honors mother and ‘the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton’, Washington Post
“The 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” Warnock said in a live-streamed address. “The improbable journey that led me to this place in this historic moment in America could only happen here.”


Fears of violence simmer as Trump supporters, including anti-Semitic extremists, descend on D.C., JTA
“The concern for violence is always number one when you know extremists are showing up or talking about showing up to an event,” said Oren Segal, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. “The second concern is that this is a broader illustration of how disinformation is animating people to action.”

Trump supporters protesting the election begin demonstrating in D.C., Washington Post
One day before Congress votes to certify that Joe Biden won the presidential election, Trump supporters who refuse to accept the reality of his defeat demonstrated in Washington again. The city is bracing for potentially violent protests, egged on by President Trump himself. All Tuesday afternoon, people bundled against the cold but free of masks arrived in downtown Washington for what they see as a last stand for Trump, who has continued to falsely assert that the election was stolen from him.

Pro-Trump Protesters Gather Amid Warnings of Violence, New York Times
Thousands of Trump supporters are expected to gather Wednesday in the nation’s capital to hear a defeated president and his allies amplify false claims of election fraud during a rally steps from the White House.

Amnesty calls on Israel to give Palestinians virus vaccine, AFP
Amnesty International on Wednesday called on Israel to provide coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, saying the Jewish state was obligated to do so under international law.

Israel offers aggressive COVID-19 vaccine rollout, but Palestinians left behind, LA Times
A consortium of 15 Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations has called on Israel to ensure that vaccines that meet the rigorous standards of the Israeli health system be procured and delivered to Palestinian lands as soon as possible.

Biden camp girds for Wednesday’s culminating electoral dispute, Washington Post
While President-elect Joe Biden plans an outward show of calm heading into the final major challenge to his election victory, his aides are deploying a behind-the-scenes strategy with Senate allies to derail and marginalize the objections to be raised by rebellious Republican lawmakers.

Virus cases top 8,000 for 2nd straight day as minister warns against complacency, Times of Israel
Daily coronavirus cases have topped 8,000 for the second day in a row, according to Health Ministry figures published Wednesday morning, as the health minister cautioned against complacency but a mass wedding was held in one of the country’s worst virus hotspots.

Opinion and Analysis

Georgia Could Be a Big Win for American Jews – and a Big Loss for Netanyahu, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “The liberal-leaning majority of American Jews, which once again came through in big numbers for the Democratic Party in the 2020 election cycle, couldn’t have asked for a happier ending than the one likely to be produced by Georgia’s 4.5 million voters. American Jews have been dreaming for years about patching back up the old Black-Jewish alliance from the 1960’s civil rights movement, symbolized by the famous photographs of Martin Luther King, Jr. marching against segregation arm-in-arm with leading rabbis.”

Does Netanyahu really think he can win over Israel’s Arabs?, Times of Israel
Haviv Rettig Gur writes, “Over the past week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked hard to showcase what his Likud party has called a new campaign reaching out to Israel’s Arab community. At first glance, the effort seems ludicrous. For years, Arab-led parties and Arab voters have been Likud’s favorite electoral bogeymen and punching bags. Now, Netanyahu claims large numbers of Arabs will vote for his party.”

How Israel and Antisemitism Helped Shape Georgia’s High-stake Senate Race, Haaretz
Ben Samuels writes, “Both Democrats and Republicans have used antisemitism and ‘anti-Israel’ scandals as talking points in a razor-thin election that will determine Senate control, and could be decided by the state’s 100,000 registered Jewish voters.”