News Roundup for June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!


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

Overwhelming Majority of House Democrats Sign New Letter Opposing West Bank Annexation, J Street
“‘The Democratic party, from the House to the Senate to the next president of the United States, has now made absolutely clear that they do not and cannot support unilateral annexation in the West Bank,’ said J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami. ‘For the Israeli government to carry out annexation in the face of this overwhelming opposition would be incredibly harmful to the future of Israelis and Palestinians and to US interests.’”

What Would Jamaal Bowman’s Win Over Pro-Israel Eliot Engel Mean for Palestinian Rights?, The Intercept
“While Israel lobby groups attempted to paint Bowman as some kind of wild-eyed anti-Israel extremist, his rhetoric was moderate on the Jewish state, much closer to the rhetoric of J Street, the liberal Jewish pro-Israel group, than to any Palestinian group.”

Top News and Analysis

House Democrats overwhelmingly sign letter to Israel warning about annexation, JTA
As of Thursday, a letter to Israeli leaders warning of annexation’s perils had garnered 191 of the 233 members of the Democratic caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Among Jewish Democrats, 23 of 25 signed on. “Our fear is that unilateral actions, taken by either side, will push the parties further from negotiations and the possibility of a final, negotiated agreement,” says the letter initiated by Reps. Ted Deutch of Florida, Jan Schakowsky and Brad Schneider of Illinois, and David Price of North Carolina. All are Jewish but Price.

White House punts on Israel annexation; more talks planned, AP
President Donald Trump’s top national security aides have been unable to reach a decision on whether to support an Israeli plan to annex significant parts of land the Palestinians claim for a future state, an impasse that could affect the timing of any action by Prime Minister Benjaimin Netanyahu. The White House said Thursday that consultations with Israeli officials will continue as they try to formulate a proposal that would support Trump’s plan for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Annexation could extinguish Palestinian hope. That’s dangerous, Washington Post
Daoud Kuttab writes, “Even though the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands has gone on for decades, the only times that people have really erupted in opposition to Israel have been when they have lost hope.”


House passes broad police reform legislation in wake of George Floyd’s killing, Washington Post
The House on Thursday passed an expansive Democratic-led measure that would revamp law enforcement practices following the public clamor for change after the death of George Floyd. The largely party-line vote of 236 to 181 epitomized the polarized debate in recent weeks, despite public polling showing broad support for some restrictions on law enforcement after the high-profile deaths of Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of police.

Belgian parliament calls for sanctions against Israel if annexation goes ahead, Times of Israel
The Belgian parliament on Friday morning passed with an overwhelming majority a resolution urging the government to act to prevent Israel from unilaterally annexing parts of the West Bank and to actively advocate for European-wide punitive measures against Jerusalem if it proceeds with its controversial plan.

Facebook failing to contain content from far-right ‘Boogaloo’ movement, experts say, The Forward
Researchers from Avaaz, a not-for-profit that works to combat disinformation, found more than 20 Facebook pages calling for armed violence and promoting conspiracy theories about the George Floyd protests by self-identified “Boogaloo Boys,” members of an anti-government movement. Another advocacy group, the Tech Transparency Project, found that there are at least 125 active Boogaloo groups on Facebook. Many Boogaloos have expressed white nationalist views.

Hamas: Israeli annexation would be declaration of war, Times of Israel
Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank constitutes a “declaration of war,” a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, said in a speech on Thursday.

UN envoy warns Israeli annexation could fuel extremism, AFP
The UN’s Middle East envoy warned Thursday that Israel’s aim to annex parts of the occupied West Bank may fuel extremism and ignite a regional conflict.

Report: Israel has told Abbas it will limit annexation to 2-3 settlement blocs, Times of Israel
Israel has conveyed a message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that its annexation plans have been greatly reduced, will no longer apply to the Jordan Valley and will be limited to only two or three settlements blocs, Channel 12 reported Friday, citing a senior official in Ramallah.

Opinion and Analysis

For Netanyahu, Annexation May Spell Little Gain, and Lots of Pain, Times of Israel
Amos Harel writes, “The assessment that’s increasingly taking hold in the defense establishment and in the political arena is that Netanyahu is considering a symbolic, limited annexation, possibly of the Ma’aleh Adumim area, which is close to Jerusalem and deep within the Israeli national consensus. In the prime minister’s meeting with the settlers’ leaders, the idea was raised of a two-pronged annexation. But a good many in the Yesha leadership are opposed to a partial annexation (of even 30 percent of the territory), suspecting that Netanyahu will not keep his promise of a second annexation in the future.”

Israel Annex the West Bank? How a Taboo Idea Got Real, Bloomberg
The plan, which only a few years ago was regarded as a fringe idea within Israel, reflects changes in the country’s politics and in its relationship with the U.S. as well as an expectation, possibly false, of a mild reaction from the Palestinians’ traditional supporters in the Arab world.