News Roundup for June 2, 2020

June 2, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street in the News

14 Jewish organizations speak out on the death of George Floyd, The Forward
“J-Street issued a statement ‘in solidarity with communities of color all across the nation today as they express continued shock, grief and anger at the killing of George Floyd’: ‘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. We join all who are calling for arrests, criminal charges and justice related to Mr. Floyd’s death.’”

J Street’s Statement on the Killing of Iyad El-Hallak, J Street
“J Street is outraged by the killing of Iyad el-Hallak, an unarmed Palestinian man with special needs, by Israeli police officers. According to reports, el-Hallak was unable to understand the commands of Israeli officers. Confused and afraid, he hid behind a dumpster, where he was shot to death. We express our solidarity with non-violent protesters in Israel and the Palestinian territory who took to the streets to demand justice for el-Hallak, many carrying ‘Palestinian Lives Matter’ signs and drawing parallels to the killing of George Floyd.”

Top News and Analysis

Annexing the West Bank Is a Brazen Violation of International Law, New York Times
The annexation would render the West Bank into a patchwork of simmering, unstable Bantustans, forever threatening a new intifada. It would further weaken Israel’s support in the Democratic Party and among American youth. It may destabilize Jordan, a country where Palestinians form the majority, and it could strain Israel’s new ties with Sunni Arab states. It could also end what security cooperation still exists between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 

Gantz Orders Army to Speed Up Work as Annexation Date Nears, Bloomberg
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the army to accelerate its preparedness ahead of the government’s stated plan to begin annexing territory in the West Bank that Palestinians have vociferously protested. The ministry will set up a team to coordinate the military’s moves in the West Bank, which the Palestinians want at the heart of a future state, and the area around the Gaza Strip, according to a statement on Monday.

Family of East Jerusalem man killed by cops: We don’t believe he’ll get justice, Times of Israel
The family of an East Jerusalem man with autism shot to death by police officers said Monday that they didn’t believe Israel would do “anything” to the offending cops because their victim was Palestinian.


‘Palestinian lives matter’: Israeli police killing of autistic man draws US comparison, The Guardian
A caregiver for an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man killed in Jerusalem by Israeli police has said she repeatedly warned officers he was disabled before they opened fire, in a case that has drawn parallels with US police violence. The body of Iyad Halak, 32, was buried late on Sunday night. He was shot dead the day before, reportedly after becoming confused by shouting police and fleeing in a panic to hide among rubbish bins.

Minnesota Jewish Leaders Speak Out On Death Of George Floyd, The Forward
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, in its statement released Tuesday afternoon, said: “The Jewish community is outraged by the killing of George Floyd, a subdued and handcuffed African-American man, by Minneapolis police officers. We demand justice for his killing.

Netanyahu talks annexation with Kushner; US said to want to ‘slow the process’, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz held separate talks Monday with top US officials about West Bank annexation plans. Netanyahu has stated repeatedly in recent weeks that he intends to move ahead with the annexation of parts of the West Bank, beginning next month.

Pompeo Threatens to Target ‘Corrupt’ ICC Over Israel, U.S. War Crime Probes, Haaretz
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the Trump administration would soon release a series of announcements against the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Caregiver says she told cops East Jerusalem man was disabled before he was shot, Times of Israel
A woman who was accompanying an unarmed, autistic East Jerusalem man to his special needs institution said Sunday she repeatedly told police he was “disabled,” before they opened fire and killed him.

Britain, France, Germany ‘Regret’ U.S. Decision To End Sanctions Waivers On Iran’s Nuclear Program, Radio Liberty
Britain, France, and Germany have criticized a decision by the United States to end sanctions waivers for companies from countries that remain in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. “We deeply regret the U.S. decision to end the three waivers covering key JCPOA nuclear projects in Iran,” a joint May 30 statement from the three European powers said.

Almost 10,000 students, teachers quarantined as 217 infected in Israeli schools, Times of Israel
Many additional school students were told Tuesday to go into quarantine for 14 days — adding to a large number previously instructed to do so — including almost 2,000 pupils at a Beersheba high school where a girl was diagnosed with the coronavirus, as the Health Ministry announced two more deaths from the illness.

Opinion and Analysis

How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change, Medium
President Barack Obama writes, “Ultimately, it’s going to be up to a new generation of activists to shape strategies that best fit the times. But I believe there are some basic lessons to draw from past efforts that are worth remembering.”

Here’s how white Jews can support black people right now, The Jerusalem Post
Rev. Anthony A. Johnson writes, “One of the main challenges to interfaith collaboration is that since every group prioritizes its own challenges, we put less work into reciprocity and interfaith collaboration. But those of us who seek to once again reestablish black-Jewish relations, we simply must learn to prioritize one another’s efforts as we do our own. “

With Israel’s annexation plans looming, an hour of decision for Jordan’s Hashemites, Brookings
Bruce Riedel writes, “Jordan’s King Abdullah is facing what may well prove to be the most consequential decision of his 22 years on the throne: how to respond to an Israeli annexation of the occupied Jordan Valley. He will face enormous pressure from the Jordanian public to firmly oppose Israeli action, but he has to contend with the Trump administration’s enthusiasm for annexation and its tepid support for him.”

What will you do to end systematic racism?, The Forward
Carly Pildis writes, “It’s not enough to quote Abraham Joshua Heschel marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the sixties. Heschel took risks. Raise your voice. Push back. Take risks to push everyone to be better.”

The US, like Israel, is wielding the violence of an occupying power, +972 Mag
Mairav Zonszein writes, “As I watch everything unfold, I cannot help but notice the striking parallels between George Floyd’s murder and the countless Palestinians killed at the hands of Israeli forces. I write this as someone who is neither Palestinian nor Black, but as a journalist and activist in solidarity with both communities, who has witnessed such events both in the United States and Israel-Palestine.”

If It Had Been My Son, I’d Find It Hard to Go on Living, Haaretz
Rogel Alpher writes, “Hallaq was all alone when he was murdered in cold blood. He escaped in fright to that shed, searching for shelter after fleeing from policemen who wanted to search him. He didn’t understand them. He didn’t know what they wanted from him. They scared him.”

A former Israeli general cautions against a unilateral annexation, New York Times
Former Commander of the IDF Central Command Gadi Shamni writes, “It would jeopardize the security coordination with the Palestinian Authority that has saved many lives, imperil the peace treaty with Jordan that provides Israel with invaluable strategic depth vis-à-vis Iran, and undermine the security cooperation with Egypt that has successfully checked destabilizing forces like ISIS.”