News Roundup for July 31, 2020

July 31, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

In Washington, despair is becoming dangerous [Hebrew], Walla
Adina Vogel Ayalon, Director of J Street Israel writes, “Criticism of Israeli government policies is not new. American administrations for generations, Democrats and Republicans alike, have expressed dissatisfaction with Israel’s unwillingness to progress towards a two-state solution. Even the vast majority of the American Jewish community has not hidden its discomfort with the policies of settlement expansion and the perpetuation of the occupation. But in recent months, in the shadow of the unilateral annexation discourse, this criticism is evolving into despair. Despair that symbolizes the beginning of a dangerous process in which more elements within the American Jewish community begin to distance themselves from supporting and believing in the State of Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish people.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Has Been Leading a Cold Civil War for Years. Now It’s Threatening to Burst Into Flames, Haaretz
Gidi Weitz writes, “Since the 2015 election, Netanyahu has conducted a civil cold war that is now threatening to burst into flames. For five years, he has been creating a toxic, exclusionary, violent and acrimonious discourse. This debate suits the fighting spirit Netanyahu is addicted to. It seems he also realizes that this is the atmosphere that will guarantee that his base will be sufficiently loaded and fueled up for him to remain in power and save them from the imaginary enemy.”

Why is the Democratic Party so timid on Palestinian rights?, NY Daily News
President of the Arab American Institute James Zogby writes, “For decades prior to Trump, successive U.S. governments called for an end to occupation and expressed opposition to settlements while taking little or no action to back up their words. Now, the overwhelming majority of Democratic members of Congress say they oppose annexation. But precisely because these same lawmakers have been reticent to say that there will be consequences if Israel annexes or continues to expand settlements, Israel has continued to ignore what the U.S. says. When there are no consequences to bad behavior, bad behavior continues.”

Mark Zuckerberg, kick Holocaust denial off Facebook now, Times of Israel
Gideon Taylor writes, “The years long conversation between human rights organizations and Facebook about removing hate speech from its platform is reaching another fever pitch. As the dialogue catches fire yet again, Holocaust survivors around the world are asking Mark Zuckerberg to take one, seemingly simple action – remove Holocaust deniers from Facebook.”


At anti-Netanyahu protests, no clear leaders — and that’s how activists like it, Times of Israel
“No one is the leader, the organizer, the one who’s responsible for telling everyone what to do. That’s how it ought to remain in my view… everyone is leading together,” 35-year-old Mor Elyakim told The Times of Israel this week.

Anarchists? Leftists? These anti-Netanyahu Protesters Used to Vote Bibi, Haaretz
Six Israeli right-wingers who never previously demonstrated against Benjamin Netanyahu tell Haaretz what caused them to turn against the prime minister and take to the streets

With shofars and fasting, Boston Jews use Tisha B’av to commemorate Black grief, Times of Israel
More than 150 participants attended the 90-minute event, in masks and maintaining social distance. The vigil was organized by Kavod, a community of young Jews committed to spiritual practice and justice.

Arrested Hamas member was ordered to shoot down Israeli chopper, Shin Bet says, Haaretz
The Shin Bet announced on Thursday that a Hamas operative who fled the Gaza Strip to Israel revealed to the security agency that he had kept an anti-aircraft missile in his home and that the terror group had instructed him to fire it at an Israeli helicopter if one were to approach.

Jewish charities fear budget cuts are coming as New York State slows government aid, The Forward
The YM and YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood has distributed more than $230,000 in emergency cash assistance since the start of the pandemic. At its peak, the Y’s meal delivery program prepared and dropped off 300 hot meals each day. It opened a childcare center for first responders. It performed wellness checks for the elderly. It hosted a Ukulele Shabbat.

Opinion and Analysis

A bipartisan protest movement is rocking Israel and growing by the week. Here’s why, JTA
Sam Sokol writes, “Thousands of Israelis have been staging loud protests for weeks, mostly outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, but also in Tel Aviv and other spots across the country. Some commentators have called it the country’s largest grassroots movement since 2011, when hundreds of thousands of Israelis protested the cost of living.”

Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, says she won’t stand for authoritarianism in Portland, JTA
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency spoke with Rosenblum Wednesday about her next steps and how she sees her role as the state attorney general and a Jewish elected official.

Congress’s Hidden Strengths: Wielding Informal Tools of National Security Oversight, CNAS
Richard Fontaine and Loren DeJonge Schulman write, “The Founders were correct to vest national security decisionmaking in not only one branch of government, and history shows numerous examples of Congress positively influencing matters of war and peace. An inactive or indifferent legislature leaves power overconcentrated in the executive, while an engaged Congress may not just check presidential reach but can actively improve the conduct of American conflicts.”

Controversy Over Seth Rogen’s Israel Comments Exposes Widening Rift With US Jews, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, “Cherry-picked quotes from talk between Rogen and Marc Maron on ‘being lied to about Israel’ not only ignored the humor in their conversation, but overlooked the fact it was the deepest dive into Jewish identity in modern celebrity culture in recent memory.”

‘No longer outcasts’: Anti-occupation activists find their place in Israeli protests, +972 Mag
Oren Ziv writes, “Left-wingers tried to insert their messages into mainstream Israeli protests for years, only to be rejected. Today’s anti-Netanyahu protests are very different.”

Palestinian hands tied as crime rises in East Jerusalem, Al-Monitor
Daoud Kuttab writes, “Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are concerned by rising crime among the Arab population and complain that Israeli security forces are turning a blind eye while blocking Palestinian security forces from establishing control.”