News Roundup for June 17, 2020

June 17, 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

Anti-annexation advocate asks readers to encourage US to oppose plan, Jewish World News
“On July 1 Israel’s new government will begin to consider unilateral annexation in the West Bank. Voices as different as J Street and Daniel Pipes agree that, as Pipes wrote, annexation is “dumb.” […] According to Ami Ayalon, annexation will likely lead to the end of Israel, as we know it, as a secure Jewish and democratic state […] If you believe in a secure, Jewish and democratic state of Israel, please let your president, senators and congressperson know that you want them to publicly and unequivocally oppose annexation.”

Trump is pushing annexation as political tool to cast Dems as anti-Israel, says J Street expert, Mondoweiss
“Israeli journalist Neri Zilber was on a J Street zoom session today and said that Donald Trump is pushing Israeli annexation of the West Bank to have a tool to divide the Democratic Party ahead of the election and paint the party as anti-Israel.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Aides Fear US May Drop Annexation if PM Can’t Reach Deal With Gantz, Haaretz
In Israel there is a growing feeling that the annexation process will accentuate the disputes over Israeli policy between the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States. The presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, has publicly expressed opposition to annexation. If the Democrats win the November presidential election, annexation will put the Netanyahu government on a collision course with the new Biden administration […] The Democratic party is united in its opposition to annexing the settlements. More than 60 percent of Democratic senators have either issued statements to this effect, or sent letters objecting to annexation to Netanyahu and Gantz, and the number is expected to grow. The opposition is not just coming from the “usual suspects” – Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and members of the party’s left – but also from firm supporters of Israel, senators and House members from the moderate wing of the party considered close to AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying organization.

UN rights experts say West Bank annexation will create ’21st-century apartheid’, Times of Israel
Israel’s plan to annex nearly a third of the West Bank is a vision of “21st-century apartheid,” a large group of independent United Nations experts warned Tuesday. The experts argued that annexation would be a “serious violation” of the United Nations charter and the Geneva Conventions, and would only intensify human rights violations in the West Bank.

The Annexation’s Ambassador to Israel, Haaretz
The Haaretz Editorial Board writes, “As an ‘honest broker,’ Friedman’s behavior is unprecedented. Instead of mediating between Israel and the Palestinians and getting the Palestinian president to return to the negotiating table, Friedman has spent the last few weeks energetically mediating between Netanyahu and his alternate prime minister, Benny Gantz. For anyone observing from the sidelines, from any side, it’s clear that the only consensus Friedman seeks as a ‘broker’ is an internal Israeli one.”


UN panel: Israel annexation of West Bank ‘violates international law’, DW
A group of human rights experts at the United Nations on Tuesday condemned the decision of the Israeli coalition government to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank from July 1. The 47 independent experts were appointed by the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Jewish Studies scholars: ‘We reject apartheid, annexation, and occupation’, +972 Mag
Over 500 Jewish Studies professors sign petition against Israel’s annexation plans, which they say will cement ‘conditions of apartheid’ in the occupied territories.

European Union asks US to ditch Trump peace plan and join new Middle East peace effort, JTA
The European Union’s foreign policy chief effectively rejected President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan and asked the United States to join a new international effort to broker a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

‘American Road’ to cut off West Bank from East Jerusalem, Al Jazeera
Palestinian activists say the so-called “American Road” is part of a wide-ranging plan to cut the eastern half of the city off from the occupied West Bank.

Israel records almost 300 new virus cases in single day as infections swell, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry said Wednesday morning that Israel had confirmed almost 300 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily rise in nearly two months, amid worries that the country had entered a second major outbreak of the deadly pathogen.

Once touted as Palestinians’ capital, Abu Dis may shrink under annexation, The Jerusalem Post
“I can tell you 100% that the implementation of the annexation plan has begun,” Abu Hilal said. “I see what happened today in Abu Dis as the beginning of the annexation plan.”

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s annexation plan: the ‘existential threat’ to Palestinian dreams, Financial Times
Mehul Srivastava writes, “The Israeli leader sees an opportunity to permanently and fundamentally alter the map in way that would have caused international uproar only a few years ago, but which might be possible while he has a favourable administration in power in the US, at a time when regional support for the Palestinians has declined and while much of the world is distracted by the pandemic.  For the Palestinians, it could be the end of a deeply-held promise of what their nation could one day look like — and the potential spark of a new wave of unrest.  Palestinian leaders and western diplomats argue that unilateral annexation would be the final nail in the coffin of the 1993 Oslo Accords, signed when Mr Netanyahu was a neophyte opposition lawmaker in the Knesset, famously shouting at then prime minister Yitzak Rabin that the Bible was Israel’s ‘deed to the land.’”

Flying Checkpoints and Traffic Jams: The Genius of the Israeli Occupation’s Architecture, Haaretz
Umm Forat writes, “So-called flying checkpoints are not unusual in the West Bank, but they still manage to achieve their goal: to undermine Palestinians’ control over their daily routine.”

Netanyahu’s associates escalate campaign against legal system, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “Supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu increase their campaign against the legal system, Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit and the courts.”

Why Israelis Backed the Civil Rights Movement but Fear Black Lives Matter, Haaretz
Chemi Shalev writes, “53 years of occupation shifted sympathies from oppressed African-Americans to their white oppressors.”

My fellow white Jews: We can’t sit this one out., The Forward
Julia Appel writes, “I want to speak to my fellow white-skinned Jews. You may be among the majority of us who are generally liberal and definitely do not think of yourself as racist. You may be more politically conservative and feel ambivalent about where racial equity fits in your political identity. Or you may be a single-issue voter around Zionist causes and feel this is not your fight. Please understand, though: White Jews cannot sit this one out.”

Jewish Publications Really Shouldn’t Platform Jew-hating White Supremacists, Haaretz
Esther Solomon writes, “It is not courage, it is self-abasement, for any Jewish publication to call up a antisemitic white supremacist and be grateful for their time”