News Roundup for June 1, 2020

June 1, 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

‘This Rabbi Has Had Enough’: American Jewish Activists Take to the Streets Following Killing of George Floyd, Haaretz
“J Street wrote that ‘the killing of Mr. Floyd is but the latest in a horrific and seemingly never-ending string of assaults on the lives of African-Americans and other people of color. As Jews, we can recognize a society pervaded by fundamental and structural racism,’ the statement said. ‘It has been clearly demonstrated in the coronavirus pandemic, whose victims are disproportionately black, brown and Native American.’”

J Street Stands Against Racist Violence, in Support of Racial Justice, J Street
“As an organization dedicated to peace, justice, equality and democracy, we take it as a sacred obligation to stand in partnership with communities of color under attack in this country, just as they stand against the scourge of antisemitism. Our country is literally dying and bleeding today. Tragically, our president, rather than looking to heal the nation’s wounds and close its gaping divides, revels in stoking the flames of hate and throwing fuel on the fires of racism and division. We must do everything within our power to defeat President Trump this November. But it would be naive to imagine that a single election could undo centuries of inequity or significantly alter America’s deeply entrenched system of structural racism. In this moment and in every moment, we must recognize our personal, communal and societal complicity in the persistence of racism, injustice and inequality in our country. “

Top News and Analysis

‘Believe us’: Black Jews respond to the George Floyd protests, in their own words, JTA
“As the Jewish community reaches in and says how do we support their cause and how do we support the black community, it’s really important that people reach in to black Jews and other Jews of color and realize that we’re here,” Enzi Tanner said. “And we need our community.”

‘Being Black in America Shouldn’t Be a Death Sentence.’ What About Being Palestinian?, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “A few days after Minneapolis, on Saturday morning, in Jerusalem’s Old City, Eyad Hallaq, a 32-year-old autistic man, was on his way to the Elwyn Center for disabled people. Border Police officers claimed they believed he was holding a gun – there was none – and when they called out for him to stop, he started running. The penalty was death. The Border Police, the most brutal of all units, knows no other way to overpower a fleeing autistic Palestinian except to execute him. The cowardly Border Police officers fired some 10 bullets into Hallaq as he fled, until he died.”

French envoy: We’re not making threats, but annexation will have consequences, Times of Israel
“There are violations of international law of different degrees of severity, and an annexation of the Jordan Valley and the settlements would be considered a serious one,” Eric Danon told The Times of Israel. “This qualification implies that there would be consequences, as it would not be considered ‘serious’ otherwise.”


Israeli Police Officers Shoot and Kill Disabled Palestinian in Jerusalem, Haaretz
Israeli police officers shot to death an unarmed, disabled Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday. Eyad Hallaq, 32, resided in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz. He attended and worked in a special needs school in the Old City, just meters away from where he was shot.  

Hundreds call for revenge at funeral of East Jerusalem man killed by police, Times of Israel
Hundreds marched through the streets of East Jerusalem late Sunday, chanting nationalist slogans of revenge at the funeral of an unarmed Palestinian man with special needs who was killed after Israeli police apparently mistook him for a terrorist.

‘Justice for Iyad, justice for George’: Hundreds protest police killing of Palestinian in Jerusalem, +972 Mag
The demonstrators held signs that read “Palestinian Lives Matter” and “Justice for Iyad, Justice for George,” in reference to George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a white policer officer pinned him to the ground by his neck.

Autistic Palestinian Shot Dead by Israeli Police Laid to Rest: ‘He Didn’t Even Know What a Soldier Is’, Haaretz
Eyad Hallaq, the 32-year-old unarmed Palestinian shot and killed by Israeli police on Saturday in Jerusalem’s Old City, was laid to rest Sunday overnight in his East Jerusalem neighborhood. “He didn’t even know there was such a thing as Jews and Arabs in this country,” said Hallaq’s cousin Dr. Hatem Awiwi.

Gantz expresses sorrow over police killing of East Jerusalem man with autism, Times of Israel
“We are sorry about the incident in which Iyad Halak was shot to death and we share the family’s grief,” Gantz told the cabinet meeting. “I am sure this matter will be investigated quickly and conclusions will be reached.”

Israeli Soldiers Filmed Slashing Tires, Throwing Tear Gas at Palestinian Home, Haaretz
Two new videos released by the non-profit organization B’tselem on Sunday allegedly show Israeli soldiers slashing tires and throwing tear gas canisters toward a house in the Palestinian village of Kafr Qaddum in the West Bank on Saturday.

World Bank: Palestinian economy could contract by 11% due to COVID-19, The Jerusalem Post
The Palestinian economy could contract by as much as 11% this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, after already struggling to survive due to a financial spat with Israel and falling donor funds, the World Bank reported on Monday.

Netanyahu files police complaint over decapitation threat to him and family, Times of Israel
“A few days ago I filed a complaint with the police about a series of threats to murder me and my family. Today, unfortunately, I had to file another complaint against a man detailing how he intended to murder me and my family,” Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post.

UAE: Israel should back off threat to annex occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera
A senior United Arab Emirates official said on Monday that any unilateral move by Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank would be a serious setback for the Middle East peace process.

Opinion and Analysis

As if we ourselves were there, The Forward
Jodi Rudoren writes, “We must imagine that we ourselves were George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, or Breonna Taylor. The horrors of their deaths are literally unimaginable, particularly from our perches of privilege. But this extreme empathy is an essential part of our tradition, indeed of our humanity.”

Annexation threatens the future of both Israelis and Palestinians, The Boston Globe
Nancy Buck and Alan Solomont write, “Annexation is bad for Israelis, Palestinians, and US interests. Our congressional and community leaders would be wise to follow the lead of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in voicing unambiguous opposition to the Trump-Netanyahu annexation plan.”

White Supremacist Provocateurs Are Tipping America’s Protests Into a Race War, Haaretz
Stuart Wexler writes, “In the George Floyd protests, white supremacists are using the same playbook as the race war accelerationists of the 1960s. But it’s coinciding with widespread unemployment, a deep recession and a careless administration in the White House.”

I’m an Israeli-American. Let’s talk about it, The Stanford Daily
Zohar Levy writes, “I am disappointed that for many, ‘pro-Israeli’ and ‘pro-Palestinian’ are mutually exclusive. More distressingly, ‘pro-Israel’ is too often interpreted as ‘anti-Palestine’ or ‘anti-Muslim’ — which is plainly false. “

Israel’s Emergency Coronavirus Bill Could Perpetuate Infringement on Human Rights, Haaretz
Mordechai Kremnitzer writes, “As opposed to standard emergency regulations limited up to three months, the government is trying to extend its special powers for 10 months. Such legislation treats citizens as subjects and would allow chaos to prevail.”