News Roundup for January 7, 2021

January 7, 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

‘Horrified’ U.S. Jewish Lawmakers, Groups Slam Trump for D.C. Violence, Haaretz
“J Street, blasted Trump earlier on for ‘repeatedly inciting far-right thugs to subvert our democracy, and now they’re trying to do just that. Trump and his allies should tell their supporters to stand down – or else be held fully accountable for their appalling, dangerous actions.’”

Everything you need to know about Jon Ossoff, Georgia’s next senator, The Forward
“He is a supporter of the liberal pro-Israel Jewish group J Street, and has spoken at their Atlanta chapter. He has family in Jerusalem and has stated his commitment to Israel’s security as a Jewish homeland and American diplomatic efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. He defended his fellow Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock, when his opponent Kelly Loeffler attempted to paint the reverend as anti-Israel. “

Jewish groups respond to violence in DC with ‘outrage,’ ‘disgust’ and criticism of Trump, JTA
“J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, said, “The president repeatedly incited far-right thugs to subvert our democracy, and now they’re trying to do just that.” “

Top News and Analysis

Congress Confirms Biden’s Win, Defying Mob Attack, New York Times
Congress certified the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr. early Thursday, hours after loyalists urged on by President Trump stormed and occupied the Capitol, disrupting the final electoral count in a shocking display of violence that shook the core of American democracy. Mr. Trump, who spent months stoking the anger of his supporters with false claims that the election was stolen and refused to condemn the violent protests on Wednesday, said early Thursday that there would be an orderly presidential transition this month. “Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” he said in a statement. The statement, which had to be issued through surrogates since Mr. Trump’s Twitter account was suspended, came moments after Vice President Mike Pence affirmed Mr. Biden as the winner of the presidential election shortly before 4 a.m. after the final electoral votes were tallied in a joint session of Congress. There was no parallel in modern American history, with insurgents acting in the president’s name vandalizing Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, smashing windows, looting art and briefly taking control of the Senate chamber, where they took turns posing for photographs with fists up on the dais where Mr. Pence had just been presiding.

Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, with one woman killed and tear gas fired, Washington Post
As President Trump told a sprawling crowd outside the White House that they should never accept defeat, hundreds of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in what amounted to an attempted coup that they hoped would overturn the election he lost. In the chaos, law enforcement officials said, one woman was shot and killed by Capitol Police.

Lapid, Gantz ‘shocked, horrified’ by violence at US Capitol; Netanyahu silent, Times of Israel
Opposition leader Yair Lapid said Wednesday night he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the violence at the US Capitol after supporters of US President Donald Trump, egged on by the president himself, stormed the building. Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the images being broadcast from Washington “hurt the heart of anyone who believes in democracy.” There was no response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, several hours after the events began.


Biden Denounces Storming of Capitol as a ‘Dark Moment’ in Nation’s History, New York Times
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. denounced the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday as the violent expression of President Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat, calling it “an assault on the citadel of liberty” and saying the president had stoked the mob with his brazen and false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen. In direct, forceful language, Mr. Biden called the scenes of chaos in the halls of Congress “a dark moment” in the nation’s history, appealed for calm and made clear that he held Mr. Trump accountable for instigating violence that left members of both parties and allies around the world appalled. “At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite,” Mr. Biden said.

Aides weigh resignations, removal options as Trump rages against perceived betrayals, Washington Post
President Trump was decamped in the White House residence Wednesday night, raging about his perceived betrayals, as an array of top aides weighed resigning and some senior administration officials began conversations about invoking the 25th Amendment — an extraordinary measure that would remove the president before Trump’s term expires on Jan. 20.

‘Our worst fears realized’: Extremism watchdogs, after months of warnings, watch the violence in DC, JTA
All year, and especially after President Donald Trump said he would not accept the election results in November, people who monitor the far right in America warned about where America could be headed. Officials and analysts worried openly about attacks on police or threats to synagogues or polling places in Black neighborhoods. One dire document, produced by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, predicted, among its more extreme scenarios, that conspiracy theorists may “threaten and target federally elected representatives [and] government institutions.”

U.S. allies react in horror to Capitol assault, while rivals express degree of glee, Washington Post
The traditional friends of the United States reacted in horror to the scenes of police ushering out lawmakers with guns drawn as Trump supporters roamed the hallways of Congress. Some were particularly outspoken; Sweden’s prime minister held Trump directly responsible. “This is an assault on democracy. President Trump and several members of Congress bear substantial responsibility for developments,” tweeted Stefan Lötven, calling for the election result to be respected. Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel also had harsh words for the president on Thursday, saying in an interview with Sky News that Trump must “absolutely condemn everything that has taken place.”

Man wearing ‘Camp Auschwitz’ shirt among mob who stormed U.S. Capitol, The Forward
An unidentified man wearing a sweatshirt reading “Camp Auschwitz” was among the violent mob that entered the U.S. Capitol Wednesday after a series of rallies that involved antisemitic conspiracy theories.

As House Was Breached, a Fear ‘We’d Have to Fight’ to Get Out, New York Times
The mob of Trump supporters pressed through police barricades, broke windows and battered their way with metal poles through entrances to the Capitol. Then, stunningly, they breached the “People’s House” itself, forcing masked police officers to draw their guns to keep the insurgents off the chamber floor.

Intel: Biden to pick Brett McGurk for top White House Middle East role, Al-Monitor
President-elect Joe Biden is expected to choose Brett McGurk, the former envoy to the US-led international coalition to defeat the Islamic State (IS), for the lead role in the White House overseeing US policy in the Middle East and North Africa.

Netanyahu reelection hopes hinge on vaccination campaign, AP
With elections approaching in March, Netanyahu has placed his world-leading vaccination drive at the center of his reelection campaign — launching an aggressive media blitz portraying him as almost singlehandedly leading the country out of the pandemic. He appears to be betting that a successful vaccination effort can persuade voters to forget about his corruption trial and the economic damage caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Kid glove treatment of pro-Trump mob contrasts with strong-arm police tactics against Black Lives Matter, activists say, Washington Post
“Our activists are still to this day met with hyper-police violence,” Helm said. “And today you see this full-on riot — literally a coup — with people toting guns, which the police knew was coming and they just let it happen. I don’t understand where the ‘law and order’ is. This is what white supremacy looks like.”

Orthodox Jewish Trump supporters decry violence but not the movement that fueled the mob, JTA
Some of the Orthodox Jewish Trump supporters who attended even traveled to the rally on specially chartered buses from Orthodox Jewish communities, some of which were organized in special WhatsApp groups. One person who attended the rally said there were at least eight buses to Washington organized by Orthodox Jews.

Opinion and Analysis

Flying the flag of fascism for Trump, Washington Post
Robin Givhan writes, “What to call these people? To describe them as protesters is to undermine those who take to the streets in peace, who raise their voices in hopes of making the country better — not to demolish it. Are they traitors? Terrorists? Radicals? Thugs? They are all of those things — a national quilt of our worst impulses and characteristics. They are young and old. They are men. They are women. They are mostly White. And they rampaged through the Capitol posting photos of themselves and one another breaking into the offices of the speaker of the House, looting and rioting and threatening — and, at least initially, being greeted like overzealous tourists compared with the way in which some law enforcement has beaten back Black Lives Matter and racial justice demonstrators.”

Trump’s Legacy: From Charlottesville to Coup Attempt, an Embrace of Far-right Violence, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “A clear line of violence and antisemitism connects the dots of Trump’s presidency. This is the single most important thing he will go down in history for.”

Trump’s presidency finishes in ‘American carnage’ as rioters storm the Capitol, Washington Post
Philip Rucker writes, “The marauders freely roamed the building’s stately halls, some carrying Confederate flags. They occupied the Senate and House chambers and rummaged through desks. They vandalized the offices of congressional leaders. They assaulted police and other public servants. They trampled on the gleaming white platform constructed for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. One tried to replace the U.S. flag flying above the balcony with a Trump campaign flag. Lawmakers and staffers hid in locked bunkers. Vice President Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were spirited away by security to undisclosed locations. For hours through the afternoon, police struggled — and failed — to contain and disperse the mob. One rioter was shot under unclear circumstances during the melee and later died.”

Israel Must Provide Necessary Vaccines to Palestinian Health Care Systems, B’Tselem
B’Tselem writes, “As the Israeli healthcare system begins the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines to the Israeli public, we, the undersigned organizations, urge the Israeli authorities to live up to their legal obligations and ensure that quality vaccines be provided to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and control in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well.”

Netanyahu should treat Arabs better if he wants their votes, Arab News
Roy Hanania writes, “He just needs to win a small portion of the Palestinian Arab vote to solidify his leadership and maybe even wriggle out of the corruption prosecution that looms over him. He certainly has an open road to try. The Palestinian Arab leaders in Israel have never reached their full potential and really don’t understand the power that strategic communications has on election results. They will respond to his strategy by advancing a very emotion-driven campaign, as they are already doing.”