News Roundup for July 28, 2020

July 28, 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

The First Draft of Biden’s Israel Policy, Jewish Currents
“Logan Bayroff, J Street’s director of communications, said ‘it’s become clear that progressives in the Democratic Party and the American Jewish community have a huge amount of momentum,’ and characterized groups like AIPAC as ‘a still-vocal, but small fringe of voices that are trying to hold on to a outdated, unpopular, unhelpful foreign policy approach.’”

Top News and Analysis

Israeli says it repelled incursion from Lebanon; Hezbollah denies launching attack, Washington Post
Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon escalated Monday as Israeli forces repelled what security officials described as a border infiltration with heavy shelling in a clash that had both sides on high alert.Hezbollah, which is known for claiming responsibility for its actions, denied launching an operation against Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused its patron, Iran, of stoking the unrest by “entrenching its military in our region.” In a televised address, Netanyahu said Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah was “embroiling Lebanon” at the behest of Iran. “Hezbollah needs to understand that it is playing with fire,” Netanyahu said. “Any attack against us will be met with great strength.”

Georgia senator removes ad that made opponent’s nose bigger, AP
Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia has taken down a digital campaign ad featuring a manipulated picture of his Democratic opponent Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, with an enlarged nose. Before being removed, the Facebook ad showed grainy pictures of Ossoff and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, who is also Jewish, above a banner reading “DEMOCRATS ARE TRYING TO BUY GEORGIA! HELP DAVID PERDUE FIGHT BACK.”

U.S. Elections Far More Critical to Israel’s Future Than Its Own, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “A Joe Biden victory will be greeted with a collective sigh of relief throughout the democratic world. It would resuscitate the United States, calm its internal strife and reinstate its commanding role in world affairs. A Biden victory is also likely to revert Israel to its former sanity, such as it was, force it to engage once again with Palestinians and save its bleeding democracy.”


IDF stays on high alert as Lebanese PM accuses Israel of ‘dangerous escalation’, Times of Israel
The Israeli military on Tuesday remained on high alert along the northern border amid fears that the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group would try to carry out an attack, following an alleged attempted assault the day before in a contested area on the frontier.

Netanyahu, Gantz Publicly Warn Against New Election While Budget Stalemate Continues, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz both argued against the holding of a new election on Monday, amid a disagreement between the coalition partners ahead of the August 25 deadline to pass a budget.

Hamas head: We refused $15 billion in aid conditioned on disarming, Times of Israel
Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh said that his terror group had turned down as much as $15 billion in development aid to Gaza two months ago which he claimed had been conditioned on demilitarizing the Gaza-based terror group.

Balloons carrying rocket explosive lands in southern Israel, JTA
A bundle of balloons carrying the explosive head of an RPG rocket was found in an agricultural area of southern Israel.

Opinion and Analysis

Is this the beginning of an Israeli Spring?, Washington Post
Gershom Gorenberg writes, “The babel of messages reflected the breadth of the ersatz, ever-growing coalition supporting the protests, from the veteran Israeli left to the newly unemployed and the owners of failing restaurants. The unifying meaning of the cacophonous roar was: Netanyahu, we want our country back.”

Who are the Israeli protesters at Netanyahu’s doorstep?, +972 Mag
Robert Swift writes, “The disparate protest groups filling Jerusalem’s streets have been labeled by Israeli authorities as anarchists and even traitors. But who are the demonstrators, and what do they want?”

Israel’s nightmare: The dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, Al Jazeera
The sidelining of the PA is not only a problem for Ramallah, it will soon be a problem for Israel as well. If the PA proceeds with dissolving its security apparatus, the onus of providing security in the West Bank will fall on the Israeli authorities, which hides many risks for them. Israeli scholars have already warned of the consequences of sidelining the PA. In an op-ed for Israeli media outlet Ynet, Michael Milstein, the head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at Tel Aviv University, wrote that the present situation can turn into a “nightmare” for Israel.

Netanyahu’s Enforcer Is Trying to Stymie the Right to Protest. The Attorney General Must Intervene, Haaretz
Mordechai Kremnitzer writes, “Public Security Minister Ohana calls anti-government demonstrators outside the prime minister’s residence anarchists, so far-rightists on the street and bad cops act accordingly. But the right to protest is vital for democracy.”

With Lebanon in virus lockdown, Hezbollah can’t afford an Israel flare-up — yet, Times of Israel
Avi Issacharoff writes, “Inflation is out of control, sharply hiking the prices of basic supplies. A sack of rice costs three times what it did last year. The national economy is on the verge of bankruptcy, with overseas investors and firms unprepared to put money into the state. Locals don’t even have the money to seek hospital care when they need it.”

What Fuels Evangelical Christians’ Love-hate Relationship With Jews, Haaretz
Richard Landes writes, “A cyclical, volatile and dangerous form of apocalyptic Christian belief moves rapidly from philo-Semitism to hating Jews. Will this be the playbook for pro-Israel evangelicals surrounding Donald Trump?”