News Roundup for January 8, 2021

January 8, 2021

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

To Defend Our Democracy, Remove Trump from Office, J Street
“This attack had a clear goal: To overturn the results of a free and fair democratic election by obstructing the certification of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. It had clear ideological instigators: President Trump and numerous Republican leaders and members of Congress who have repeatedly refused to respect the election results, who have lied to their supporters about nonexistent election fraud and who have called on their most extreme followers to mobilize and challenge the implementation of the election results. Their seditious behavior has marked them as opponents of democracy and a danger to our country […] J Street calls on leaders and lawmakers to take whatever legal steps are necessary to remove him from office immediately.”

Top News and Analysis

Pelosi, Schumer call for Trump’s removal; Trump acknowledges new administration, Washington Post
The top Democrats in Congress — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) — on Thursday called for President Trump’s immediate removal from office, either by his Cabinet or possibly through impeachment. “By inciting sedition as he did yesterday, he must be removed for office. While there’s only 13 days left, any day could be a horror show for America,” Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill. In the evening, Trump released a two-and-a-half-minute video, calling for tempers to cool, acknowledging there will be a new administration Jan. 20 and saying he is now focused on a “smooth, orderly, seamless transition of power.”

Netanyahu condemns Capitol violence — and then praises Trump, JTA
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the pro-Trump mob violence that engulfed the U.S. Capitol, as did other Israeli leaders, but hours later Thursday released another statement praising Trump.

Netanyahu demands full control over Israel’s Iran policy, sparking pushback, Axios
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to take a very hard line over Biden’s plan to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, in contrast with the more moderate approach favored by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and the heads of Israel’s security services.


Pressure on Trump Intensifies as Resignations Roil End of His Term, New York Times
With less than two weeks before President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the oath of office, it seemed on Thursday that the wheels might finally be coming off the Trump administration. In 24 hours, Congress reconvened in a Capitol breached and battered by a pro-Trump mob, formalized Mr. Biden’s victory over the objections of more than 100 Republican lawmakers and found itself on the brink of impeaching President Trump a second time. A growing cohort of legislators, including at least one Republican, expressed support for stripping Mr. Trump of his powers under the 25th Amendment, even as Vice President Mike Pence — who would have to lead that process — was said to oppose the idea.

Pelosi, Schumer Join Chorus Of Calls For Invocation Of 25th Amendment Against Trump, NPR
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have called for President Trump to be removed from office via the 25th Amendment. “I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th Amendment,” Pelosi said at a news conference Thursday. “If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.” Pelosi said she does not expect they will wait long for Vice President Pence to respond. “It will be ‘yes’ or it will be ‘no,’” she said.

Hitler was right on one thing,’ Republican congresswoman tells pro-Trump rally, Times of Israel
A newly sworn-in Republican congresswoman declared that “Hitler was right on one thing” at a pro-Trump Washington rally against certifying the Democratic results of the presidential election.

Florida Congresswoman announces she’ll be taunting Rashida Tlaib with Israeli flag, The Forward
Rep. Kat Cammack, a new Republican congresswoman from Florida, announced on Twitter Wednesday that she plans to use the emblem of the state of Israel to taunt her new office neighbor, Rep. Rashida Tlaib […] Cammack, who had been chief of staff for the district’s last representative, Ted Yoho, campaigned as a strong supporter for continued U.S. military aid to Israel, and received the endorsements of the several pro-Israel groups, according to the right-leaning Jewish News service. In response, Tlaib’s office called the act a publicity stunt.

Unarmed Palestinian Shot by Accident, ‘Soldiers’ Lives Were Threatened,’ Israeli Army Says, Haaretz
Forces present at the shooting of Harun Abu Aram were in a “life-threatening situation,” the Israeli army said Thursday, following the conclusion of the investigation into the incident.

After ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt gains notoriety, copycat versions appear online, The Forward
Hours after an unidentified man wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt entered the U.S. Capitol as part of a violent mob on Wednesday, copycat versions of the garment appeared on e-commerce platforms.

Israeli center-left reaches out to Arab voters, Al-Monitor
Seeking support from the Arab electorate at the upcoming March elections, the parties of the Israeli left and center are suddenly adding Arab candidates to their Knesset lists.

Planners override opposition, approve 5,000 homes on pastoral Jerusalem hill, Times of Israel
An appeals committee on Thursday approved plans to build some 5,000 residential units at Reches Lavan, a popular, pastoral site of agricultural terraces and springs just west of Jerusalem.

After Quick Vaccine Success, Israel Faces New Virus Woes, New York Times
Israel imposed a tighter lockdown as coronavirus infections soared, the variant spread, vaccines were running out and a debate erupted over the country’s responsibility to the Palestinians.

Unveiling deal, Netanyahu promises enough vaccines to beat COVID by end of March, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday that Israel would be the first country in the world to inoculate all of its citizens over the age of 16 and that it will do so by the end of March.

Israeli reporter’s live broadcast during Capitol riot interrupted by agitator hurling anti-Semitic slurs, JTA
A live broadcast from the U.S. Capitol chaos on Wednesday by Israel’s Channel 13 chief Washington correspondent, Gil Tamary, was interrupted by an agitator who used anti-Semitic slurs.

Israel tightens nationwide coronavirus lockdown, Reuters
Israel tightened a national lockdown on Friday in a bid to curb a sharp rise in new COVID-19 cases, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising that all Israeli adults could be vaccinated by the end of March.

Opinion and Analysis

How Georgia’s Glorious Black-Jewish Alliance Triumphed Over the pro-Trump Mob, Haaretz
Etan Nechin writes, “The hypocrisy and mayhem of the mob invasion of the Capitol is the critical issue of the moment. The historic Georgia runoff results should be the more lasting monument to American democracy.”

Trump and Kushner are claiming credit for solving a conflict they helped inflame, Washington Post
Mohamad Bazzi writes, “On Tuesday, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and President Trump’s son-in-law, attended a summit meeting in Saudi Arabia with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The leaders signed an agreement to restore full diplomatic relations with Qatar and end a three-year blockade, a rift that had divided the Arab world and pit U.S. allies against one another. Kushner was taking a victory lap, having negotiated for months to help resolve the conflict. But the photo-op obscured a simple fact: Kushner and Trump played a major role in instigating the 2017 crisis that led to the intra-Arab rift and Qatar’s regional isolation.”

Putin’s Disinformation Campaign Claims Stunning Victory With Capitol Hill ‘Coup’, Haaretz
Omer Benjakob writes, “We tend to think of disinformation as a social media problem. We also tend to think of it as a new issue. However, research such as Benkler and Rand’s shines a light on the infrastructure of the #StopTheSteal campaign, which morphed into Wednesday’s violent attack on democracy.  Research into disinformation paints a more complex picture, helping us understand the events that led up to the ridiculous yet seemingly sincere bid to prevent the formation of a democratically elected U.S. government.”

Yes, Israel should be providing COVID vaccines for Palestinians, +972 Mag
Ran Goldstein writes, “Areas B and C of the West Bank — the former is under Israeli military control and Palestinian civil control, the latter is fully under Israeli rule — are home to both Palestinians and Israeli settlers. Although Israel seeks to separate the two populations via walls, fences and separate roads, it is impossible to truly segregate between Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Palestinian workers continue to work in the settlements and in Israel, while Palestinians and their family members can — with Israeli permission — go to hospitals in Israel or East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, both Palestinian citizens of Israel and a good number of Israeli Jews continue to visit the West Bank. The repercussions of not vaccinating the Palestinians will only prolong Israel’s battle. The 25 years that have passed since the Oslo Accords have not brought about the development of an independent Palestinian healthcare system. There is no independent Palestinian state, and Palestinians still do not have  control over things like building permits, freedom of movement, imports and exports, and access to water. Lastly, due to its control of the occupied territories (I would love to hear a right-wing politician claim those territories do not belong to Israel), Israel has the legal, moral, and humanitarian responsibility for the vaccination of the Palestinian population. This obligation appears in various conventions, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

Ami Ayalon on the two-state solution, The Foreign Desk Podcast
The retired admiral and former director of Israel’s Shin Bet security service talks about his book ‘Friendly Fire: How Israel Became its Own Worst Enemy’. It is a memoir criticising Israel’s counterterrorism policies and arguing for a two-state solution in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. He argues that it is not only the morally just thing to do, it is the only road to national security.

The Far-right Will Be One of Biden’s Biggest Problems – Here’s How He Can Fight Back, Haaretz
The ADL’s Jonathan Greenblatt and AJC’s Holly Huffnagle tell Haaretz how the new administration should combat hate crimes, which spiked during the Trump presidency and aren’t disappearing when he vacates the White House.

How the Capitol riot exposed our national security blind spots, Responsible Statecraft
Paul R. Pillar writes, “The bedrock on which everything the U.S. government does to promote the security, health, and well-being of the American people is the ability of the people to choose in free elections those who will govern them and make the policies. Thus, the attack on the ability of the American people to so choose their leaders—of which the physical attack on the Capitol was a violent punctuation mark—is in a fundamental way an undermining of U.S. national security.”