News Roundup for June 10 2021

June 9, 2021

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J Street in the News

Netanyahu Attacks ‘Radical Left’ J Street; Organization Slams Damage to U.S.-Israel Relations, Haaretz
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday attacked J Street, claiming that the ‘radical leftist U.S. organization,’ is rooting for his ouster due to its support for the Iran nuclear deal. […] In response to Netanyahu’s post, Ben-Ami said, ‘it’s too bad that outgoing Prime Minister Netanyahu doesn’t understand that damaging the U.S.-Israel relationship in the way he has is not something to boast about. Driving a partisan wedge into U.S.-Israel relations is an accomplishment he should be ashamed not proud of.’ He added that ‘hopefully, the next government will understand the importance of a stable US-Israel relationship and will aim to repair relations with Democrats and liberal Jews rather than drive them away.’”

Young Jewish Americans Question Boomer Consensus on Israel, Bloomberg
“‘For my generation, Israel was the David,’ says 58-year-old Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a liberal lobbying group that describes itself as ‘pro-Israel and pro-peace.’ To some young people today, says Ben-Ami, Israel looks more like the Goliath. Part of the shift has to do with what’s happening in the U.S., especially the Black Lives Matter movement. ‘The left wing is getting more engaged in a whole set of issues and seeing it through a lens of racial justice, and they apply that lens to what’s going on in Palestine,’ Ben-Ami says.”

Blinken meets with Palestinian Americans & U.S. Jewish organizations, Axios
“Shortly after the meeting with Palestinian Americans, Blinken met with the leaders of several U.S. Jewish organizations and told them the administration would soon announce an envoy for fighting antisemitism, three people who attended the virtual meeting say. […] Both Daroff and J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami told Blinken the administration needs to appoint an envoy to deal with the normalization process between Israel and the Arab world as well as the Israeli-Palestinian issue.”

Top News and Analysis

Arrests targeting Palestinians in East Jerusalem and across Israel continue in wake of conflict and protests, Washington Post
Israeli police have arrested more than 2,100 people and issued 380 indictments against 184 people as part of a campaign that began in May. More than 91 percent of those arrested have been Arab, Ha’aretz Newspaper reported, citing police sources. Israel’s Arab citizens, many of whom identify as Palestinian, make up about 20 percent of the country’s 9 million citizens. Most of the 350,000 Palestinian Arab residents of East Jerusalem are not Israeli citizens.

Biden embraces a Trump policy in backing Arab-Israeli deals, AP
The Biden administration is laying the groundwork for a renewed push to encourage more Arab countries to sign accords with Israel and working to strengthen existing deals after last month’s devastating war in the Gaza Strip interrupted those diplomatic efforts. The embrace of the so-called Abraham Accords is a rare carryover of a signature Trump administration policy by President Joe Biden and other Democrats.

US, Iran nuclear talks to resume this weekend, The Hill
The Biden administration plans to resume indirect negotiations with Iran this weekend as part of its efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday. Sherman made her remarks, which were first reported by Reuters, during a virtual event hosted by the German Marshall Fund, saying that “there’s been a lot of progress made” but that no agreement is finalized until the last detail is “nailed down.”


Anti-Semitic incidents more than doubled in May compared to last year following Mideast violence, Anti-Defamation League reports, CNN
A group of Jewish Democrats in the House is publicly feuding with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) after she tweeted about “unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” in reference to investigations by the International Criminal Court. The fight threatens to reopen a fault line within the party that could cost Omar her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, writes Punchbowl News.

Jewish Democrats clash with Ilhan Omar after comments on U.S. and Israel, Axios
A group of Jewish Democrats in the House is publicly feuding with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) after she tweeted about “unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban,” in reference to investigations by the International Criminal Court. The fight threatens to reopen a fault line within the party that could cost Omar her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, writes Punchbowl News.

‘Islamophobia Tropes Are Offensive’: Ilhan Omar Slams Jewish Critics, Haaretz
Rep. Ilhan Omar sharply criticized the 12 Jewish House Democrats lawmakers who urged her to clarify a statement that they say places the United States and Israel in the same category as Hamas and the Taliban. “It’s shameful for colleagues who call me when they need my support to now put out a statement asking for ‘clarification’ and not just call,” Omar tweeted. None of those who signed reached out to Omar over the course of the day, despite the Minnesota congresswoman’s attempts to provide clarification.

Amnesty raises alarm as Israel shuts Palestinian health provider, Al Jazeera
Israel’s move to shut down a key healthcare body in the occupied territories will have “catastrophic consequences” for Palestinians in need of medical attention, global rights group Amnesty International warned. Israeli army forces raided the Palestinian Union of Health Workers Committee (UHWC) headquarters in Ramallah on Wednesday, breaking down the door, confiscating computers and memory drives, and issuing a military order forcing the office to close for six months.

Basking in the Spotlight on Israel, GOP Hopefuls Storm the Holy Land, Haaretz
The imminent arrival of Nikki Haley this weekend is just the latest evidence of what has become a trend: prominent Republicans, particularly those eyeing the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, suddenly deciding to pay a visit to Israel. Since the latest bout of fighting between Israel and Hamas ended last month, the country has become a hot destination for high-profile Republicans who launched White House bids in the past or are considering them in the future.

What Washington can expect from the new government in Israel, Forward
This uniquely new government will also be served a full plate of urgent and thorny issues — the situation in Gaza, the conflict with the Palestinians, the Iranian threat, and frayed relations with U.S. officials, the Democratic Party and large swaths of American Jewry. The question yet unanswered in Washington is: how will Bennett handle these challenges?

Likud MK: I can’t see any way to prevent ‘change government,’ Netanyahu’s ouster, Times of Israel
Likud MK Miki Zohar, the outgoing coalition chairman, on Wednesday said he doesn’t believe Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can thwart his rivals from forming a “change government” that will see the long-time premier removed from power.

Netanyahu Had Adelson and Trump. Who Are Bennett and Lapid’s Allies in D.C.?, Haaretz
As Americans watch what appear to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s final days in office, many are wondering how his expected successors, Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, will prioritize restoring bipartisan U.S. support for Israel in D.C. Their preexisting contacts and personal backgrounds, as well as a shared desire to improve and build upon ties, help provide insight into how the incoming Israeli government will approach the so-called “special relationship” with its most important strategic ally.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu is failing, but not exactly the way Trump did, CNN
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Given the similarity in Netanyahu and Trump’s rhetoric, it’s worth asking: Is Israel about to face its own January 6, with thousands of armed right-wing militia members storming the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, before the new government is likely sworn-in on Sunday? Probably not. However, Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, felt the need on Saturday night to issue a rare public warning against the toxic discourse and incitement to violence, especially on social media.”

The conflict in the Middle East is sustained by the silencing of Palestinians, The Guardian
Ghada Karmi writes, “Racism is a well-documented feature of Israel’s conduct towards its Arab citizens. It permeates every level of Israeli society: housing, social life, education, immigration rights, the legal system and more. Anti-Arab, even anti-Mizrahi (Jews of Middle-Eastern origin) discrimination was so widespread in 2014 that the Israeli president, Reuven Rivlin, was moved to declare: ‘Israeli society is sick. It is our duty to treat this disease.’”

A Young Woman Refused to Serve in the Israeli Army. This Is What Happened to Her, Haaretz
Atalya Ben-Abba decided to refuse to serve in the Israeli military, due to her opposition to the occupation and Israeli policy. She tells Haaretz why there are more female than male conscientious objectors and the prices she paid for her decision.