News Roundup for July 9, 2020

July 9, 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

Israeli envoy in NY likens calls to condition US aid to parents who throw out an LGBT child, Times of Israel
“Dani Dayan, Israel’s outgoing consul general in New York, likens those in the American Jewish community calling to cut or condition US aid to Israel to a parent who throws an LGBT child out of their home. ‘Sometimes I think there are American Jews who behave like the bigoted father who throws out of his home the son who comes out of the closet,’ Dayan says in an exit interview with The Forward and the New York Jewish News conducted over Zoom […] Backed by several prominent Jewish groups, including J Street, the amendment to a funding bill introduced by Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen would not allow aid used to ‘deploy or support the deployment of United States defense articles, services or training to territories in the West Bank unilaterally annexed by Israel after July 1, 2020, or to facilitate the unilateral annexation of such territories.’”

Top News and Analysis

Daily cases over 1,200 as Israel inches toward new local lockdowns, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Thursday morning announced that there had been 1,231 new coronavirus cases diagnosed in Israel in the previous 24 hours, as the country seemed to be moving toward local lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.

Abbas says ready to resume peace talks with Israel, The Jerusalem Post
The Palestinians are prepared to return to the negotiating table with Israel under the auspices of the Quartet, which comprises the US, EU, UN and Russia, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday.

House subcommittee advances $250M in spending for dialogue programs and Palestinian business development, JTA
A House subcommittee included $250 million in funding for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue programs and Palestinian business development in a major spending bill — a pushback against Trump administration defunding in both areas.


Benny Gantz enters quarantine as Israel hits highest total of confirmed coronavirus cases in 24 hours, JTA
Israel recorded more than 1,300 new cases of the coronavirus in 24 hours ending on Wednesday morning, its highest total since the start of the pandemic.

Palestinians hope Biden would roll back Trump’s embrace of Israel, Reuters
“If Mr Biden (is) elected in November, we hope that it will be a totally different dynamic,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said last week during a virtual conference with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Facebook’s Decisions Were ‘Setbacks for Civil Rights,’ Audit Finds, New York Times
Auditors handpicked by Facebook to examine its policies said that the company had not done enough to protect people on the platform from discriminatory posts and ads and that its decisions to leave up President Trump’s inflammatory posts were “significant setbacks for civil rights.”

Blue and White reneges on promise to appoint Arab minister for minority affairs, Times of Israel
Despite repeated promises by the centrist Blue and White party, the largest government in Israel’s history won’t be appointing a minister for minority affairs, possibly at the moment when the Arab community most needs one.

Wedding season brings new virus outbreak in West Bank, AP
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told a Cabinet meeting on Monday that 82% of cases in the West Bank were linked to weddings and funerals, saying that such large public gatherings must stop “immediately” or security forces would start breaking them up.

Palestinian Prime Minister Calls on Israel to Close West Bank Crossings to Curb Coronavirus Spread, Haaretz
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday called on Israel to close all crossings to the West Bank, in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Days ahead of 2nd hearing in trial, Netanyahu’s lawyer resigns from defense team, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyer Micha Fettman on Wednesday quit his defense team, days after the premier’s request for permission to receive funds from a foreign benefactor to pay his legal fees in his corruption trial was refused, and ahead of the next hearing in the case.

Opinion and Analysis

Under Cover of Virus, Netanyahu Downgrades Israeli Democracy, Bloomberg
Gwen Ackerman writes, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is increasingly consolidating powers as he tries to rein in a second coronavirus outbreak, fueling new concerns about his respect for democratic processes.”

Cashing in the chips at the Trump casino, The Interpreter
Dr Rodger Shanahan writes, “Israel is wary of being isolated internationally if it makes any substantive move towards the type of annexation allowed for in the plan without Trump there to support it. An expected 1 July announcement has been delayed, but given Israel’s political players will be wary of putting Democrats offside in the event of a Biden victory, what happens next is still being hotly debated.”

Let the world help the US live up to its own values, Responsible Statecraft
Paul Pillar writes, “Subjecting its conduct to scrutiny by bodies such as the ICC and Human Rights Council can aid the United States in living up to its own standards, values, and principles.”