News Roundup for November 22, 2019

November 22, 2019

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J Street in the News

Jewish Groups Demand Stephen Miller Resign From White House, Huffington Post
“The eight organizations — Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, The Jewish Vote, T’ruah, Never Again Action, J Street, IfNotNow, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, and the Jewish Vote — launched an online petition addressed to Miller. ‘As your fellow American Jews,’ the petition states, ‘we will not rest until you resign.’”

Jewish Groups, More Than 100 House Democrats Call On Stephen Miller To Resign, Forbes
“The Anti-Defamation League, the Union for Reform Judaism, J-Street and several progressive Jewish organizations, including Bend The Arc and IfNotNow, and are among those calling on Miller to resign. ‘As American Jews, we are outraged that this administration would use the rising antisemitism for which it is responsible to deflect away from its embrace of white nationalists like Miller,’ a petition signed by several Jewish groups reads.”

Netanyahu’s Indictment Just Plunged Israel Deeper Into Political Chaos, Vice
“‘The whole system is frozen,’ said Yael Pattir, the Israel director for J Street, a liberal, pro-Israel group based in Washington, D.C. ‘For people who are working with the government these days, nothing can be promoted and done.’”

J Street event: an important message, St Louis Jewish Light
Neil Jaffe, Chair of the St. Louis J Street chapter writes, “These may not be messages or perspectives that many in our community are used to hearing, but they are commonplace in Israeli politics and among the Israeli security establishment. Similar messages were recently shared at the J Street conference in Washington by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Shin Bet director Ami Ayalon. It’s valuable and important that the St. Louis Jewish community has the opportunity to hear these messages and perspectives to form their own opinions.”

Israeli Defense Force vets reflect on their service, The Johns Hopkins News-Letter
“Bentley Addison, co-chair of J Street U at Hopkins, described how the conversations Breaking the Silence encourages are important and necessary.  ‘No matter what our individual political beliefs are, we have to stop and think about what we’re lending our support to,’ he said. ‘BtS is one of those groups that enables us to understand the situation even if we’re uncomfortable — leaning into that discomfort, leaning into things that might distress our political views or feel a little bit strange in order to realize that this is a real crisis.’ “

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Charged With Bribery, Fraud and Breach of Trust, Capping a Dramatic Political Year, Haaretz
For the first time in Israel’s history, a sitting prime minister is accused of bribery: Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be charged with bribery, fraud and breach in three corruption cases, dubbed Cases 4000, 2000 and 1000. The indictment comes after a four-day hearing with Netanyahu’s defense team last month, followed by weeks of intensive discussion at the attorney general’s offices. Laying out the charges in a press conference, Mendelblit said he made the decision to indict the prime minister “with a heavy heart, but wholeheartedly,” stressing it was not an issue of left-wing or right-wing politics and that enforcing the law is not a matter of choice.

POLITICO Playbook: 11/22/2019, Politico
NEW … REP. ANDY LEVIN (D-Mich.) and 106 Democrats wrote Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO to express “strong disagreement” with his decision to change U.S. policy when it comes to settlements in Israel.


After charges, Gantz demands Netanyahu quit his ministries, right pledges faith, Times of Israel
Two groups were gearing up to file petitions against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued rule Friday, following the attorney general’s explosive Thursday announcement that he will indict the Israeli leader in three corruption cases.

Netanyahu Decries ‘Attempted Coup’ Against Him After Corruption Charges, Haaretz
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday called the corruption charges filed against him “an attempted coup” against an acting prime minister, and that the process is meant to topple him.

PM ‘cannot serve one more day’: Calls for resignation multiply over indictment, Times of Israel
Centrist and left-wing political leaders called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign after the bombshell announcement Thursday that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had decided to charge the premier in three criminal corruption cases.

After Indictment, Gantz’s Party Quotes Netanyahu: ‘A PM Up to His Neck in Investigations Has No Mandate’, Haaretz
The Kahol Lavan party, led by Benny Gantz, responded to the indictment filed against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday by quoting the the premier himself, tweeting that “A prime minister steeped up to his neck in investigations doesn’t have a moral or public mandate to make such fateful decisions regarding the state of Israel.”

‘A time of unprecedented darkness’: Rivlin passes coalition-building buck to MKs, Times of Israel
President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday handed Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein formal notice that Benny Gantz’s mandate to form a government had ended, after the Blue and White party leader conceded failure in the task a day earlier.

Opinion and Analysis

U.S. Recognition of Settlements Will Harm Israel More Than It Helps, Foreign Policy
Michael Koplow writes, “The Trump administration’s disdain for international consensus on the West Bank will encourage previously cautious governments to support BDS and Palestinian statehood.”

Facing Corruption Trial, Netanyahu Aims to Bring the House Down on the State of Israel, Haaretz
Noa Landau writes, “The media, the police, the witnesses who turned state’s evidence, the prosecution, the attorney general and soon the judges who will hear the cases – they all came in for slander and for both generalized and personal attacks at the hands of the prime minister, his family, advisers and admirers.”

Asking us to side with him against the state, Netanyahu harms his beloved Israel, Times of Israel
David Horovitz writes, “Few people who have followed the investigations of Netanyahu, and his public efforts to discredit them, would have been surprised that he chose to go on the offensive. Few would have expected him to tell the public that he had changed course, and that, while protesting his innocence, he would temporarily step down to fight his legal battles, expecting to return once his name has been cleared.”

What’s Next for Netanyahu?, New York Times
Isabel Kershner writes, “Under current Israeli law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can remain under indictment and even stand trial while in office. Lawmakers can vote to oust him only if he’s convicted in a final verdict, once the appeals process has been exhausted. That could take years.”

The charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, explained, Washington Post
Miriam Berger writes, “Netanyahu has denied all allegations. He is under no legal obligation to resign now that he has been indicted. He would only have to step down if convicted, a process that could take many more years.”

Indicted for bribery, Netanyahu ramps up his victimization campaign, Al-Monitor
Ben Caspit writes, “In the past, Netanyahu rejected suggestions by his lawyers that he give up the fight and strive to reach a plea deal, which could have gotten him off the hook with a symbolic penalty in exchange for having the cases against him closed. But will Netanyahu give up? Will he make his final bow and leave the stage? It doesn’t look like it. The prime minister is the ultimate comeback kid. The man never gives up.”

Let’s not pretend Washington ever really tried to stop Israeli settlements, Washington Post
Aaron David Miller and Daniel Kurtzer write, “The United States has known for decades how damaging settlement activity is in the search for peace — Palestinians cannot trade land for it if they don’t possess the land — but with one major exception during the George H.W. Bush administration (when Washington refused for a year to extend $10 billion in housing loan guarantees for absorption of Soviet Jews because of Israeli settlement expansion), we have essentially turned a blind eye.”