News Roundup for July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020

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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

Israel supporter’s dramatic shift shocks establishment, AP
“Perhaps those most alarmed are Beinart’s ideological brethren on the American left. A journalism professor at City University of New York and contributor to The Atlantic, Beinart is a well-known liberal voice who until recently was an eloquent advocate of the two-state solution. ‘The image of him here is a mainstream, thoughtful, very intelligent, liberal, pro-Israel guy. That he has reached this point has shaken people,’ said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a liberal Jewish advocacy group in Washington that supports the two-state solution. Ben-Ami said he has received calls from members of Congress asking about the piece and had to assure them that, in his opinion at least, the two-state scenario is still feasible. ‘People are feeling depressed about where Israel has ended up and where it’s headed,’ Ben-Ami said. ‘It’s just another bit of fuel on the fire.’”

Despite pressure from progressives, no major changes in Democratic platform on Israel, JTA
“‘We’re very concerned that the draft apparently makes no reference to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory,’ J Street said in a statement. ‘Acknowledging and opposing the daily indignities and injustices that Palestinians face under occupation is an indispensable step on the path to promoting and achieving a viable, lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that can satisfy the fundamental needs and aspirations of both peoples.’”

Top News and Analysis

Hundreds demonstrate against Netanyahu near his official residence, again, Times of Israel
Hundreds of people demonstrated outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem on Thursday, demanding that he resign over his indictment on corruption charges. It was the second such demonstration this week at the junction of Gaza Street and Balfour Street, the road where the Prime Minister’s Residence is located. The previous protest, attended by several thousand people on Tuesday, turned violent and dozens were arrested during clashes with police.

Israel returns to partial lockdown with immediate weekend shutdown, The Guardian
Israel has reimposed some lockdown measures following a vigorous second surge in the number of coronavirus infections, putting in place stringent weekend shutdowns in which shops, hairdressers and attractions will be closed.

Cameras Broke Just When Israeli Forces Killed a Palestinian. Yeah, Right, Haaretz
Noa Osterreicher writes, “No fewer than seven cameras are aimed at this slice of street, documenting every millisecond in real time and transferring the footage to storage – and nothing. Even the two cameras in the garbage room (cameras in the garbage room!) whose lenses saw the moments of the shooting, the shouting, the dying and the death – even they didn’t work; the place was jinxed. They broke down.”


Opposition chiefs slam new lockdown measures; 1,832 new infections over past day, Times of Israel
“An entire country is trying to understand the guidelines for the weekend and isn’t able to. An entire country is trying to understand why decisions are made in the middle of the night without any data and isn’t able to. An entire country is trying to understand why [ministers] are ignoring doctors and economists who say this is complete chaos and aren’t able to,” Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party, wrote on Twitter.

A leading evangelical says nixing West Bank annexation could cost Trump the election. Others disagree, JTA
Israel’s potential annexation of parts of the West Bank may not be a top election issue for American Jews, or even a top issue right now for most Israelis. But some evangelical Christians in America are hoping to make it an animating issue for evangelical voters in this fall’s presidential election.

Trump’s niece: I heard him use anti-Semitic and racist slurs, Times of Israel
In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to promote her new book, Mary Trump was asked if she had ever heard her uncle use the N-word or any anti-Semitic terms. “Oh yeah, of course I did,” she said. “I don’t think that should surprise anybody given how virulently racist he is today.”

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu Pours Billions to Douse Coronavirus Flames. It May Not Be Enough, Haaretz
Amos Harel writes, “The six-billion shekel ($1.74 billion) handout Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised all Israelis Wednesday is much more than an about-face on all the economic positions he has fiercely adhered to over the decades. It’s also a clear sign of the panic sparked in Netanyahu by the recent demonstrations, as well as a bid to somehow mollify the angry, anxious public ahead of the seemingly imminent decision to impose another lockdown, given the renewed coronavirus outbreak in Israel.”

Why are right wing Jews defending Sebastian Gorka, a man with ties to a Nazi-allied group?, The Forward
Joel Swanson writes, “You would think that if there were one thing we could all agree upon, it would be that members of far-right military orders linked to the Nazis are bad and should be condemned. And yet, here we are, divided even by that question.”

Jerusalem Has Seen Many Protests, but This One Was a Turning Point for the anti-Netanyahu Movement, Haaretz
Nir Hasson writes, “Longtime reporters in Jerusalem don’t recall another demonstration likes this, at least not in West Jerusalem. In 2011, during the wave of social protests in Israel, there was a larger protest near the Prime Minister’s Residence, but it dispersed quietly. In 2015, there was a turbulent demonstration by young Ethiopians, but they were smaller in number and it was also less violent.”

The West Bank’s fate is unknown as Netanyahu stalls on annexation, The Conversation
Philip Leech-Ngo writes, “While there is good reason why Netanyahu would have been motivated to move as quickly as possible on annexation, there’s been quite significant resistance to annexation, particularly from the mainstream Israeli military and security community. Although not all of the reasoning behind the resistance has been made public, we can extrapolate at least four main reasons…”

Palestinians Are Building a Village on Their Land. Armed Settlers From an Illegal Outpost Are Sabotaging Them, Haaretz
Gideon Levy and Alex Levac write, “A dream is assuming material form here: The Palestinians are building a new village for themselves, for their own farmers and the Bedouin shepherds in the area, on the hills that overlook Einot Kedem from the east. Meanwhile, Omer Atidiah, with settlers from Mevo’ot Yericho and other nearby communities, are doing everything they can to stop and sabotage the construction work in order to prevent the Palestinians from building a village – God help us! – on their own land, in territory that is supposedly under their control.”