News Roundup for June 29, 2020

June 29, 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

400+ Jewish Organizations and Synagogues say: Black Lives Matter, Medium
“We are Jewish organizations and synagogues from across the racial and political spectrum; from different streams of Judaism; whose members trace their lineage from countries around the world. We speak with one voice when we say, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.”

Top News and Analysis

Even AIPAC: Mainstream U.S. Jewish Groups Struggling to Defend Israeli Annexation, Haaretz
Amir Tibon writes, “Having argued for decades in favor of a two-state solution and no unilateral moves, AIPAC, ADL and AJC are facing a potential Israeli move that could scupper both of those claims.”

Gantz tells US envoys July 1 annexation start date ‘not sacred’, Times of Israel
Defense Minister Benny Gantz told US diplomats that West Bank annexation moves should not be rushed through this week but can wait until after Israel deals with more pressing issues, pushing back against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s self-imposed July 1 start date for the controversial step.

Coalition Against Annexation Meets Israeli Diplomats in 18 Cities Worldwide, Haaretz
An international coalition of progressive Jewish organizations has reached out in recent weeks to Israeli diplomats in 18 consulates and embassies around the world, in order to present a message of opposition to unilateral Israeli annexation of settlements in the West Bank. Representatives of the group have met with diplomats in large American cities and in European capitals, and are planning more such meetings in the coming days.


Virus cases jump by nearly 500; ministers resume talks on restrictions, Times of Israel
The Health Ministry on Monday afternoon recorded 492 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, as government ministers convened to decide whether to reintroduce virus restrictions.

Gantz tells Trump aides that fighting coronavirus is more important than annexation, Axios
Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz told President Trump’s advisers on Monday that he thinks the Israeli government should prioritize the fight against the coronavirus pandemic over moving forward with annexation of parts of the West Bank, Gantz aides said.

Ex-general arrested at anti-Netanyahu rally says a ‘line was crossed’, Times of Israel
A former Air Force general arrested during a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following his release on Sunday that his detention “crossed a line” but was “worth it” if it galvanized others to rally against the premier over his criminal charges.

Netanyahu presses Trump by lobbying U.S. evangelicals to back annexation, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked evangelical supporters to lobby in favor of Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank, via a speech Sunday night to the American group the Christians United for Israel (CUFI).

As annexation looms, PM urges Palestinians to talks on basis of Trump plan, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinian Authority to enter negotiations based on US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, saying he and his government were prepared for talks, days before he is expected to annex parts of the West Bank with Washington’s approval.

Israel orders US-based Christian TV channel off air, AP
Israeli regulators on Sunday announced they ordered a U.S.-based evangelical broadcaster taken off the air, saying the channel hid its missionary agenda when it applied for a license.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s Annexation of the West Bank Would be a Gift to Iran, Foreign Policy
Ariane Tabatabai and Henry Rome write, “Beleaguered by regional tensions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic woes, Tehran could use anti-Israel sentiment to restore its reputation.”

AJC: We’ll Defend Annexation If Needed – But Here’s The Thing, Times of Israel
Jason Isaacson, the AJC’s Chief Policy and Political Affairs Officer writes, “If annexation – the application of Israeli law unilaterally over portions of the West Bank – comes to pass, we will make the strongest possible case for a decision reached by an elected Israeli government and supported by Israel’s (and anyone’s) most powerful partner, the United States […] What I also expect is that annexation, should it come, will exact a price – in spite of Israel’s, and our, most compelling arguments […] The price will be borne, of course, by the Palestinians themselves, their opportunities and movement perpetually restricted, consigned to citizenship of no land. The price will be borne in the erosion of Israel’s longstanding claims against Palestinian unilateralism, in breach of Oslo Accords promises, and in increasing cynicism in multiple constituencies – including within our own community – about Israel’s commitment to peace.”

The Blatant Moral Bankruptcy of U.S. Jewish Groups Shilling for Israel’s Annexation, Haaretz
Russel Neiss writes, “Why are establishment U.S. Jewish organizations like the AJC doubling down on defending Israeli government actions that violate the values they’re supposed to represent?”

Everyone loses from Netanyahu’s territorial ambitions, The Guardian
Simon Tisdall writes, “Although Netanyahu appears determined to push ahead, it is hard to see an upside to his plan, which is illegal under international law. It will mortally wound the Palestinians. But it could also damage Israel, regional stability and the international community, which has wrestled in vain with the Israel-Palestine conundrum.”

Arab governments denounce Israel’s plans to annex the West Bank, warning it will imperil regional security and peace building. But will Israel listen?, Washington Post
Sudarsan Raghavan and Steve Hendrix write, “A succession of Arab leaders and officials have sharply warned Israel against moving forward with a controversial plan to annex Palestinian lands in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as early as this week — an action they say could destabilize the region and undermine peace efforts.”

A former top IDF law expert questions the benefits of annexation, Times of Israel
Pnina Sharvit Baruch led the unit that handles Israel’s rights and responsibilities in the West Bank. The PM’s plan, she says, could make everything, including building, harder.

‘I feel sad, helpless:’ 6 Palestinians on the prospect of Israel annexing the West Bank, The Forward
During this time of extreme uncertainty and anxiety, we asked six Palestinians to share their perspectives on this phase of the long-running conflict.

What Jamaal Bowman’s victory means for America’s progressive movements, +972 Mag
Alex Kane writes, “The AIPAC-linked Democratic Majority for Israel spent $2 million on behalf of Engel. Pro-Israel America PAC, another AIPAC-linked group, gave Engel’s campaign nearly $130,000, while NORPAC, another pro-Israel campaign group, bundled over $630,000 in campaign contributions for the congressman.”