News Roundup for July 8, 2020

July 8, 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

Senate amendment seeks to ban use of US defense funding for Israeli annexation, Times of Israel
“The US-Israel relationship ‘will continue to be unbreakable in the sense the United States will always stand up for the security of the state of Israel,’ Van Hollen told J Street. ‘There is a difference between ‘We’re not going to provide assistance if there is annexation’ and saying ‘The dollars of the United States cannot go toward unilateral annexation.’ It’s important to draw the line with respect to those dollars being used to advance unilateral annexation. J Street came out this week in favor of the Van Hollen amendment.”

Can foreign policy progressives push Joe Biden to the left?, Washington Post
“With domestic policy grabbing much attention, a coalition of progressive foreign policy groups is releasing a new letter to Biden that’s designed to stake out the terms of a debate over what progressive foreign policy might look like in the Biden administration, should he get elected. The letter — which is signed by organizations that include Win Without War, J Street, Indivisible, MoveOn, Justice Democrats, and Demand Progress — calls on Biden to undertake a ‘fundamental re-envisioning of the United States’ role in the world.’”

Congress Votes to Include Legislation for Israeli-Palestinian Peace Fund in 2021 Budget, Haaretz
“The fund has become a rare issue of consensus among leading Jewish American organizations, winning support and praise from both AIPAC and J Street, as well as from the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, Americans for Peace Now and American Jewish Committee. These organizations, as well as others in the Jewish community, have publicly expressed their support for the initiative.”

West Bank annexation would be a bad move for Israel, St Louis Post-Dispatch
J Street U’s Michael Berkowitz and former WIPAC board member Arielle Imber write, “As the Israeli government moves closer and closer to annexing vast swaths of the West Bank — a move that could proceed any day now — the pair of us helped organize a joint letter from student leaders calling on the entire American Jewish community to condemn annexation. In just days, more than 200 Jewish campus leaders signed on — including many leaders of local Hillels — to condemn annexation as an unlawful act that would deny basic rights and freedoms to millions of Palestinians and threaten Israel’s long-term security as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people.”

Dear Vice President Biden, Joint letter, signed by J Street
“The Trump era has sparked a long overdue, and fundamental rethinking of U.S. national security within the Democratic party. A potential Biden administration presents an opportunity to begin to challenge the institutions and groupthink that have led to a disastrous, overly-militarized, unilateral approach to foreign affairs, and put the United States in a position to credibly lead on addressing the existential threats the world faces in the coming century.”

Top News and Analysis

Coronavirus Infections All Over Israel Shot Up 500% in Past Month, Haaretz
The number of people in Israel with COVID-19 multiplied over the past month in all areas of the country, according to an examination by Haaretz of Health Ministry figures issued between June 7 and July 6. The number of people with active infections rose in 262 communities, by an overall average of 499 percent; in some communities, the rise was many times that.

Once a source of pride, Israel’s virus response now a cautionary tale for world, Times of Israel
After inspiring worldwide praise, Israel’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has now emerged globally as a blueprint for how not to reopen the economy too fast as a second wave of infections, worse than the first, sweeps the nation.

4 countries warn Israel against annexing Palestinian territories, Politico
Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan on Tuesday said Israel should refrain from annexing parts of the Palestinian territories, warning that doing so could harm bilateral relations.


House Democrats revive bid to fully restore Palestinian aid, Al-Monitor
The Democratic-held House is launching another bid to increase Palestinian economic aid while facilitating people-to-people programs with Israel.

Serious COVID-19 cases surge overnight as new record daily tally reported, Times of Israel
The number of serious cases has been steadily increasing since the start of the current outbreak. Two weeks ago Israel had 45 serious coronavirus patients. On Thursday the number stood at 65, it then jumped to 86 on Tuesday evening, and leaped overnight to 107.

ZOA fires back at critics with official Conference of Presidents grievance, The Forward
The right-wing ZOA, which is financed by the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, filed an official complaint on June 23 against 16 member-organizations that signed an open letter condemning the ZOA’s leader, Mort Klein, for his tweets attacking Black Lives Matter amid nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.

Netanyahu said to have rejected plan in April to prevent renewed virus outbreak, Times of Israel
The report said the plan called for the appointment of a “coronavirus czar,” who would oversee Israel’s response to the pandemic; creating a system to detect and “extinguish” virus hotspots; forming a computerized system to centralize data on infections and the number of people in quarantine; and dividing Israel into zones, which would be assigned designations based on their infection rates.

Israel’s public health director resigns, criticizes government handling of coronavirus, JTA
Israel’s director of public health has resigned and criticized the government for its quick reopening of the country following the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Opinion and Analysis

Why I Gave Up on the Two-State Solution, New York Times
Peter Beinart writes, “For decades I argued for separation between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, I can imagine a Jewish home that is not a Jewish state.”

Warning to Netanyahu: Israel’s Middle Class Is Getting Angry, Haaretz
David Rosenberg writes, “Israel could be on the precipice of a social explosion as the resurgent coronavirus finally hits the middle class in the pocket.”

Mysterious explosions escalate Israel, Iran tensions, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Ahead of the US presidential elections, and on the backdrop of mysterious explosions, Israel prepares for various escalation scenarios on Iran’s part.”

How Hebron became the epicenter of the West Bank’s coronavirus outbreak, Times of Israel
Aaron Boxerman writes, “Logging 82% of the Palestinian territory’s COVID-19 cases, the city’s unique social conditions have generated as many infections as Israel’s three hardest-hit cities combined.”