News Roundup for November 15, 2019

November 15, 2019

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J Street in the News

Jewish Groups Blast Fox News for Joe diGenova’s Anti-Semitic Soros Conspiracy Theory, The Daily Beast
“Fox has come under fire from Jewish organizations following a Wednesday night segment on Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs Tonight in which Trump-boosting lawyer Joe diGenova seemingly trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes by accusing Jewish financier George Soros of controlling ‘very large parts’ of the U.S. Department of State […] A spokesperson for J Street, a liberal Jewish advocacy group, told The Daily Beast that there was ‘no excuse’ in providing diGenova a platform to push his ‘hateful’ conspiracies. ‘The fact that Fox News guests have repeatedly promulgated anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about George Soros and other wealthy Jewish people is dangerous and outrageous,’ spokesman Logan Bayroff said in an email. ‘It’s part of a trend of rising xenophobia in which far-right activists and their political allies demonize immigrants, Jews, Muslims and other vulnerable minority communities…’”

Top News and Analysis

Local councils in southern Israel announce return to normal after hours of calm, Times of Israel
Following a quiet morning and over 14 hours since the last rocket was fired at Israel, local councils in the Gaza periphery announced a return to normal life Friday noon. Israelis in southern Israel had faced an unsure morning following a siren-free night — but with the very real prospect of fresh alarms after a day of rocket attacks and Israeli retaliatory strikes despite a supposed ceasefire. Schools were shuttered throughout the region, including in Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, amid fears of renewed barrages from the territory.

Israeli Army Admits: Strike That Killed Gaza Family Was Supposed to Target Empty House, Haaretz
The Israeli military admitted on Thursday that it made a mistake in targeting a Gaza building Wednesday night which housed a family of eight, all of whom died in the strike. The Israeli army said it assessed that the building in the Deir al-Balah neighborhood was empty, not realizing it was populated by a family. The Israel Defense Forces are investigating the strike, which took place a few hours before a cease-fire came into effect, and its consequences.

Democrats want Stephen Miller to resign after report exposes emails promoting white nationalism, Washington Post
A slew of House Democratic leaders called on White House senior adviser Stephen Miller to resign Thursday after a report that he promoted white nationalist ideas and championed xenophobic rhetoric through the conservative website Breitbart before the 2016 election. The report, released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, analyzed more than 900 emails Miller purportedly sent to former Breitbart writer Katie McHugh in 2015 and 2016. The report’s author said that after reviewing the emails — which were provided to the SPLC by McHugh — he was “unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.”


Sanders, Warren speak out against Israel-Gaza violence, The Hill
“Israelis should not have to live in fear of rocket fire. Palestinians should not have to live under occupation and blockade,” Sanders tweeted. “I welcome the Gaza ceasefire. Dozens were killed in Gaza, and hundreds of rockets fired at Israel,” Warren wrote in her own tweet.

Amid Gaza fighting, Israel could face questions on tactics, AP
Residents say the airstrike came without warning: With fighting raging between Israel and Islamic Jihad militants throughout Gaza, two loud blasts shook the night, destroying the Abu Malhous home and killing eight members of the family in a split second. As Israel claims victory in its latest battle against Gaza militants, its tactics of carrying out airstrikes on private homes suspected of harboring militants could once again come under scrutiny over the civilian death toll. Among the 34 people killed in the two-day flareup were 16 civilians, including two 7-year-old boys and two toddlers, according to human rights investigators.

As fighting fades, Islamic Jihad’s losses seen as less than catastrophic, Times of Israel
After two days of intense fighting in Gaza, Israel’s military is contending that its forces dealt a “severe blow” to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group. But some Israeli and Palestinian analysts have expressed disagreement over the extent of the damage the military actually caused the Iran-backed organization via its air campaign.

Tenuous truce in Gaza as Islamic Jihad, Israel differ on terms, Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military operation was drawing to a conclusion with its goals met. “Our enemies got the message – we can reach anyone,” Netanyahu said, as he visited soldiers at a missile interception battery.

Unity talks stalled over Netanyahu immunity demand — report, Times of Israel
A unity coalition proposal by President Reuven Rivlin stalled when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wouldn’t commit to not seek parliamentary immunity from his corruption investigations, according to a TV report Thursday.

Opinion and Analysis

Netanyahu could emerge as the real winner in the latest Gaza flare-up, CNN
Oren Liebermann writes, “Whether or not the decision to kill militant leader Baha Abu Al-Ata was made with political considerations in mind, it has clear political consequences, and most of those appear to favor Netanyahu. Few in Israel question the intent behind the operation, but the timing has come under intense scrutiny.”

5 days before deadline, Gantz’s chances of forming coalition seen as fading away, Times of Israel
TOI Staff write, “With no breakthrough in negotiations with Likud, internal disagreements in Blue and White, and expectations of coming indictment against PM, political deadlock persists.”

Hamas Stopped Gaza Escalation This Time — but Israel Should Know There Are No Free Gifts, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “The government, the army, the Shin Bet security service and Israeli citizens are all hoping that Hamas will act in a responsible and rational manner and calm down Islamic Jihad or at least hold its own fire. If Hamas does persist in its policy of restraint and does not expand the scope of the fighting — possibly causing it to escalate even more dangerously — Israel will have to reexamine its playbook vis-a-vis Hamas.”

Flareup bequeaths new ‘alliance,’ as Hamas, Israel keep from fighting each other, Times of Israel
Avi Issacharoff writes, “Previously, Israel always blamed Hamas for Gaza terror; not this time. And Gaza’s rulers were happy for Islamic Jihad to fight alone. Why the change, and what does it presage?”

Iran and Europe play nuclear chicken, Atlantic Council
Barbara Slavin writes, “The exchange of threats can be seen as a kind of nuclear chicken. Neither Europe nor Iran wants to see the destruction of the JCPOA, which represented for each the culmination of twelve years of hard diplomatic work, initially without US participation. Both have been trying to shield the deal from the Trump administration’s efforts to destroy it and to preserve at least the skeleton of the 2015 agreement for a second Trump administration or a successor democratic administration to rejoin and fortify.”

Two States for Two Peoples: A Personal Report, Times of Israel
Steven Moskowitz writes, “I desperately want Israel to remain faithful to its democratic and Jewish values as enshrined in its founding declaration of independence. And that is why I continue to believe in the two-state solution because a separation from the Palestinians is the only way to preserve Israel as both Jewish and democratic. ”

Why Hamas is staying out of Israel’s fight with Islamic Jihad, +972 Mag
Menachem Klein writes, “Israeli security and political coordination with Hamas has served mutual interests for many years. Now Hamas is hoping to stay out of the current fighting in order to potentially expand its political power in the West Bank.”