News Roundup for June 5, 2020

June 5, 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

Annexation threatens the future of both Israelis and Palestinians, Boston Globe
“The fact is, annexation is bad for Israelis, Palestinians, and US interests. Our congressional and community leaders would be wise to follow the lead of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in voicing unambiguous opposition to the Trump-Netanyahu annexation plan […] Nancy Buck is chair of J Street Boston and a member of the organization’s national board. Alan Solomont, vice chair of the national board, is a former ambassador to Spain and Andorra.”

Top News and Analysis

Pelosi Says Unilateral Israeli Annexation ‘Undermines U.S. National Security Interests’, Haaretz
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank would undermine American national security interests and would harm bi-partisan support for Israel in America. Speaking at an online event organized by the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Pelosi added that she is “very concerned” about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements promising annexation moves as early as July 1.  Pelosi also noted that House Democrats passed a resolution recently in support of the two-state solution, which includes opposition to any unilateral steps, from either Israel or the Palestinians, which would harm the prospect of peace. “Unilateral annexation undermines U.S. national security interests, our interests,” Pelosi said, adding that she believes in the importance of bi-partisan support for Israel, and that annexation would undermine it.

Killing of Palestinian man with autism draws Floyd parallel, AP
The shooting has drawn comparisons to the death of George Floyd in the U.S. and prompted a series of small demonstrations against police violence toward Palestinians. The calls for justice have crossed Jewish-Arab lines, a rarity in this deeply polarized society.

Why Israel Must Remove West Bank Annexation From Its Agenda, Haaretz
The Editorial Board writes, “Expropriating this territory, and especially the Jordan Valley, would thwart any chance of creating a territorially contiguous Palestinian state and turn it into a collection of enclaves with no land reserves to meet the needs of natural growth and refugee absorption.”


Annexation will mean apartheid, warns Mandela ally who always fought comparison, Times of Israel
An early ally of Nelson Mandela, journalist and author Benjamin Pogrund was among the first Jews to fight the South African apartheid regime. After he moved to Israel in the 1990s, he fought the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state. But if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with his plan to unilaterally annex large parts of the West Bank, apparently without offering Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians who live in these areas, Israel will indeed turn into an apartheid state, Pogrund warned.

AIPAC hasn’t made a public statement about George Floyd. Activists are outraged, The Forward
“AIPAC will argue that it’s outside their purview. But they often rely on the African-American and Latino communities to advocate on their behalf in communities with little to no Jewish presence,” said former AIPAC employee Julian Viso. “I would imagine there will be many difficult conversations ahead with these activists, as there should be.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s ‘very concerned’ about annexation, Jewish Insider
“Unilateral annexation puts the future [of peace] at risk and undermines our national security interest and decades of bipartisan policy,” Pelosi said during a Zoom call hosted by the Jewish Democratic Council of America. Pelosi’s comments echo a draft version of a letter sent from 18 Democratic senators to top Israeli officials last month, which suggested that annexation would “undermine” the U.S.-Israel relationship.

U.S. Navy vet freed from Iran after nearly 2 years in custody, CBS
A U.S. Navy veteran who was detained in Iran for nearly two years is returning to the U.S., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

Likud MK: Arab lawmaker’s coronavirus infection a ‘terror attack’ on Knesset, Times of Israel
A lawmaker from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party said the news Thursday that a Joint List MK had been diagnosed with coronavirus was a “terror attack” by the predominantly Arab faction.

Israel’s planned annexation of Palestinian land is illegal, says UK PM, The National
The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, says the annexation of large areas of the Palestinian Territories by Israel would be illegal and “damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations”.

Opinion and Analysis

A Would-Be Netanyahu Nemesis Snipes From the Sidelines, New York Times
David M. Halbfinger writes, “A settler himself, Avigdor Liberman taunts Israel’s prime minister for talking endlessly about annexing West Bank territory, giving opponents time to mobilize.”

Excluded from Netanyahu’s annexation plans, military must somehow prepare anyway, Times of Israel
Judah Ari Gross writes, “With less than a month to go before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intends to annex portions of the West Bank — a move with potentially immense security and geopolitical ramifications — the country’s security forces remain overwhelmingly in the dark about what exactly the government plans to do.”

We Cannot Justify Israel’s West Bank Annexation, Haaretz
The following letter was sent by leading members of the UK Jewish community to Israel’s Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, Mark Regev: Dear Mark, We are writing to convey our concern and alarm at the policy proposal to unilaterally annex areas of the West Bank, as outlined in the coalition agreement of Israel’s new government…

A Growing Crisis in the American Jewish Community, Times of Israel
John Rosove writes, “The political values of the American Jewish community majority opposes the policies of an increasingly more conservative and right-wing Israeli government, the settlement enterprise, Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Netanyahu’s threat to annex parts of the West Bank after July 1, the Israeli Orthodox Chief Rabbinate’s suppression of religious pluralism and its vilification of non-Orthodox Jews and liberal Judaism, and the close relationship between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu who cares more about the American right-wing Christian evangelical movement and right-wing Jews than he does about the majority of the moderate and liberal American Jewish community.”

US Jews are standing up for Black lives. Why aren’t we doing so for Palestinians?, +972 Mag
Oren Kroll-Zeldin writes, “By failing to speak out over the killings of Palestinians like Iyad al-Hallaq, US Jewish groups are devaluing our stance against state violence at home.”