News Roundup for June 11, 2020

June 11, 2020

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J Street in the News

In a dramatic shift, AIPAC gives lawmakers a green light to criticize Israel over annexation, JTA
“Two sources say the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is delivering that guidance in Zoom meetings and phone calls with lawmakers. The message is unusual because the group assiduously discourages public criticism of Israel […] Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, the liberal Middle East lobbying group that is sometimes seen as AIPAC’s rival, said that if Democrats sweep the November elections, his group would not advocate for cuts in aid, but for tougher oversight to make sure that the assistance not go to upholding the annexation. He would also expect a Democratic administration to join others in the international community pressuring Israel to roll back annexation. Ben-Ami said that annexing the West Bank would be inherently destabilizing and threaten Israel. ‘The aid that the United States provides Israel is intended to help Israel deal with meaningful security threats, weapons systems, missile defense systems, to deal with the serious threats they face,’ he said. ‘Why would you provide money to enhance threats?’”

Top News and Analysis

Future Casualties of Netanyahu’s Annexation Still Live Among Us, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “In its more ominous version, annexation will exact a far heavier price: Security being compromised, the eastern front with Jordan collapsing, the Palestinian Authority disbanding, Gaza and the West Bank erupting in violence and the Israeli economy sustainining a heavy and unnecessary blow in one of its darkest hours.”

World should not be silent on Israeli annexation, The Financial Times
The Editorial Board writes, “Mr Netanyahu should be deterred before he acts. Shouting after the fact will achieve little — it will be virtually impossible to reverse illegitimate territorial gains. Many Israelis may consider annexation a victory, but the destruction of Palestinian hopes for a just settlement with the Jewish state will store up bigger problems for the future. Young Palestinians hemmed in and under the thumb of occupation are more likely to have their heads turned by the rhetoric of extremism. ”

“As a Jew of Color, I Need More People in My Community to Speak Up”, Haaretz
“I had an understanding of that in general from a young age: oppression isn’t actually about you; it’s just about power and the confusion folks have,” says Baskin, a diversity consultant and racial justice director at the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable. She says that both her father and brother were stopped by the police at gunpoint when she was growing up, and that “every time that happens” to someone else, “it brings up a lot of terror for my family.”


Senior source to ‘Post’: If Israel annexes, it will annex all settlements, The Jerusalem Post
Israel has not proposed to extend sovereignty to part of the settlements or to move forward in stages, a source involved in the matter said on Thursday. The US-Israel mapping committee is still working on outlining all settlements and the Jordan Valley, making up 30% of the West Bank, that would be part of sovereign Israel according to US President Donald Trump’s peace plan. The source denied media reports that Israel has moved to a phased annexation plan and proposed to only annex Maale Adumim, Ariel and Gush Etzion in the short term.

In Jordan, German foreign minister agrees preventing annexation a ‘priority’, Times of Israel
In a joint statement issued together with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, Maas agreed that “an annexation would be contrary to international law and that it is now a matter of priority to prevent it.”

Trump administration proposes toughest asylum rules yet, Axios
If implemented after a public comment period, the Rule on Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal, proposed by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, would streamline the asylum application process but prevent most applicants from being entitled to a full court proceeding on their claims.

Israel’s coronavirus death toll hits 300, as new infections spike overnight, Times of Israel
Israel’s coronavirus death toll hit 300 on Thursday, as infections continued to spike with more than 100 cases confirmed overnight, the Health Ministry said.

Gallup: Trump’s net approval rating drops 19 points in a month, Axios
President Trump’s approval rating has dropped from 49% to 39%, while his disapproval rating has shot up from 48% to 57%, according to the latest Gallup tracking poll out Wednesday. It’s the lowest net approval rating the president has recorded since October. The poll is Gallup’s first since nationwide protests erupted in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

800 rabbis and cantors sign statement supporting peaceful protest against racism, JTA
The statement invoked Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, an iconic Jewish civil rights activist who marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It was written and distributed by the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, a political advocacy organization that has a long history of civil rights activism.

Opinion and Analysis

Stop using Israel as an excuse not to support Black Lives Matter, JTA
Maayan Belding-Zidon writes, “I am an Israeli citizen and a proud Zionist. I oppose BDS because I believe full civil rights and security for Palestinians will only be achieved through Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and trust building. By the same token, I cannot refuse to engage with Black Lives Matter. The history of racism and white supremacy in the United States is violent and painful, like that of Israel and Palestine. No American of good conscience can simply opt out of racism in America — no more than Israelis can simply ignore the existence of Palestinians or vice versa.”

Another military incursion into a refugee camp, another teen egregiously killed, B’Tselem
Musa Abu Hashhash writes, “Zeid Qaysiyah (17), who lived in a building located a few hundred meters from Beit Jibrin, was standing outside his house playing with his mobile phone. When the soldiers advanced up to about 100 meters from his home, he went up to the roof, where several of his relatives were watching the unfolding scene. The relatives warned him not to go near the edge of the roof, which is surrounded by a low wall, because an Israeli sniper was standing on a street corner nearby. Zeid did not heed their warnings. As he approached the edge of the roof to see what was going on, an Israeli sniper standing about 100 meters away shot him with a 0.22-inch caliber bullet.”

Israel’s annexation puzzle in the age of great power competition, Brookings
Eyal Tsir Cohen writes, “Jerusalem’s plan to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank next month poses a unique challenge to geopolitical alliances. As Washington adopts a more assertive China strategy, annexation has become a high-stakes political puzzle.”

Gantz’s Inexperience Gives Netanyahu an Opening to Call a New Election, Haaretz
Chaim Levinson writes, “Likud ministers are talking about another election as a plain fact. The only question, they say, is whether it will be held in the winter or spring.”

How Europe could rethink its economic ties with Israel, +972 Mag
Rob Swift and Ben Fisher write, “Israel has ignored EU criticisms of West Bank annexation while enjoying funds for science and technology. It will not halt its plans if relations are unchanged.”

Israel could annex parts of the West Bank on July 1. Here’s what you need to know., JTA
What happens with annexation has potentially steep stakes for Israel’s relationship with the United States, with its allies in Europe and beyond, and with American Jews. Some of the country’s fiercest supporters oppose Netanyahu’s annexation push. The opposition and other factors complicate the chances of annexation happening on July 1, but the possibility remains on the table. So here’s what you need to know before that important date…