News Roundup for May 19, 2020

May 19, 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.

Top News and Analysis

Biden would keep any disputes with Israel out of public view, a top adviser says, JTA
‘Joe Biden believes strongly in keeping your differences as far as possible between friends, behind doors, maintaining as little distance in public as possible,’ Tony Blinken, a top adviser to Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said Monday.

Biden ‘Completely’ Opposes Withholding Aid to Israel Over West Bank Policy, Adviser Says, Haaretz
Biden has said in the past that curtailing military assistance to Israel would be ‘outrageous’ and ‘wrong.’ His adviser, former State Department official Anthony Blinken, said that Biden stands by his previous remarks.

Canada’s Trudeau Joins International Opposition to Israel’s Annexation Plans, Haaretz
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday in a statement congratulating Israel’s new government that “in these times of uncertainty, our commitment to international law and the rules-based international order is more important than ever,” hinting at the government’s pledge to annex parts of the West Bank. Trudeau’s remarks, touting Canada and Israel’s “long history as close friends,” is the latest in statements made by leaders and international groups, warning the new government, sworn in on Sunday, against its annexation proposal.


EU says it won’t recognize unilateral Israeli annexation in West Bank, Times of Israel
The European Union’s top diplomat on Monday warned Israel against annexing parts of the West Bank, saying the bloc would not recognize any changes to the 1967 lines not agreed upon in a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli Settler Found Guilty of Murdering Palestinian Family in 2015 Arson, New York Times
An Israeli settler was convicted Monday of murdering a Palestinian couple and their young son in an arson attack in 2015 that enraged Palestinians and drew condemnation from Israeli leaders. The case also stirred controversy after investigators used harsh interrogation measures normally reserved for non-Jewish terrorism suspects.

Trump retweets video by conservative shunned for her support of Holocaust denier, JTA
Michelle Malkin, a former Fox News contributor, complains in the video about the silencing of conservatives on social media. She has become a symbol of the groyper army, a far-right movement seeking to take over for the “alt-right.”

Officials: Israel linked to a disruptive cyberattack on Iranian port facility, Washington Post
The attack, which snarled traffic around the port for days, was carried out by Israeli operatives, presumably in retaliation for an earlier attempt to penetrate computers that operate rural water distribution systems in Israel, according to intelligence and cybersecurity officials familiar with the matter.

Israel counting on European friends to thwart EU sanctions, Al-Monitor
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction over the results of the May 15 meeting of European Union foreign ministers. In a statement released after this monthly meeting, the EU said, “Ministers expressed their willingness to work comprehensively and constructively with the new government [of Israel] once it is sworn in, but also reaffirmed their support for a negotiated two state solution.’’ The short statement did not refer directly to the issue of Israel’s annexation plans, nor did it refer specifically to any possible European sanctions.

State Department says annexation should be part of peace process with Palestinians, JTA
Israel’s annexation of West Bank settlements should be part of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as part of the framework of the Trump administration’s peace plan, the State Department said.

US biggest source by far of Israel’s COVID-19 cases, genome sequencing shows, Times of Israel
A team of Israeli scientists have concluded that America was Israel’s biggest source of coronavirus by far, after running genomic sequencing on the virus.

Police shut down a Brooklyn yeshiva with approximately 60 students, JTA
Police shut down an Orthodox yeshiva in Brooklyn on Monday for violations of social distancing.

1,000 protest in Tel Aviv over wave of violence toward women, Times of Israel
More than a thousand women demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Monday evening against the way the government and authorities have been handling domestic violence against women.

Opinion and Analysis

A very dangerous government, +972 Mag
Haggai Matar writes, “The Netanyahu-Gantz coalition threatens to harm the poorest Israelis, maintain the occupation, and ignore gender violence and climate disaster.”