News Roundup for November 5, 2019

November 5, 2019

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J Street in the News

Where J Street Stands in the Discussion on Aid to Israel, J Street
Jeremy Ben-Ami writes, “I couldn’t be more pleased that J Street’s National Conference last week has sparked an energetic and long-needed discussion about the role that US assistance to Israel should play, not only in supporting Israel’s long-term security, but in advancing the goal of peacefully resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and bringing an end to the occupation.”

How Jewish Organizations Are Responding to the Kurdish Crisis, Jewish Currents
“J Street’s vice president of Government Affairs, Dylan Williams, also condemned Trump’s role in stoking the conflict unfolding in Syria while emphasizing the strategic damage his actions will incur. ‘The abandonment of the Kurdish people is emblematic of Trump’s reckless, unstable and self-serving foreign policy.’ Williams told me by email. ‘It shows again that U.S. interests and those of our closest allies don’t factor into his venal, incompetent decision making, even on matters of life and death.’ ”

Top News and Analysis

F.B.I. Says White Supremacist Plotted to Blow Up Colorado Synagogue, New York Times
Federal authorities in Colorado have arrested a man they said was known to promote white supremacy, accusing him of taking part in a plot to blow up a synagogue in Pueblo, a city two hours south of Denver, according to federal court documents.

EU slams Israel for okaying 2,342 settler homes, road that ‘fragments’ West Bank, Times of Israel
The European Union on Monday condemned Israel after construction plans for 2,342 settlement homes were green-lighted last month. The bloc said its position on Israel building in the West Bank remains unchanged: “All settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.” The EU also criticized the decision to approve the expansion of a road that connects settlements to Jerusalem while bypassing Bethlehem, referred to by locals as the tunnel road, saying it is “entrenching the fragmentation of the West Bank.”

With Israel in Limbo, Benny Gantz Vows to Seek a ‘Peace Within’, New York Times
Israel seems stuck. Benny Gantz, the former army chief whose party narrowly defeated that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is trying to form a government and drive Mr. Netanyahu from office for the first time in a decade. The prime minister, clinging to power, hopes Mr. Gantz will fail, forcing a third election that few in Israel want. Nothing important can get done until the country resolves the question of who will lead it. And weighty decisions about Israel’s future await…


Israel Supreme Court allows expulsion of human rights activist, Washington Post
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the government could expel the head of Human Rights Watch’s Israel and Palestine office after accusing him of supporting boycotts against the country. The ruling represents the likely culmination of the protracted effort to expel Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen, and marks an escalation in Israel’s determination to prevent critics from operating in the country under new laws that equate support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS) with challenging Israel’s right to exist.

Netanyahu ally elected head of settler umbrella body, Times of Israel
Settler leaders elected Jordan Valley Regional Council chairman David Elhayani as the next head of the Yesha Council umbrella body, which represents the settlement movement, Monday in a razor-thin vote.

Hamas Leader in Gaza Threatens His Group Can Strike Tel Aviv ‘For Six Consecutive Months’, Haaretz
The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, said Monday that if Israel doesn’t ease up the blockade on the coastal enclave, the current situation will “lead to an explosion.”

Labor presents Hamas demilitarization ultimatum as coalition demand, Times of Israel
Labor leader Amir Peretz said Israel should present Gaza’s Hamas rulers with an ultimatum to demilitarize or face an Israeli military operation, adopting the stance as a demand to be put forward to Blue and White in ongoing coalition negotiations.

Palestinian families fight for relatives’ remains held by Israel, +972 Mag
A recent Supreme Court ruling has rubber-stamped Israel’s policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed by its security forces.

Israel slams Iran for ‘murderous’ intervention in Iraq protests, Times of Israel
Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Monday expressed support for Iraqi protesters, Jerusalem’s first public backing for the anti-government rallies that broke out across Iraq last month.

Footage leaked of Israeli officer shooting Palestinian in the back, The Guardian
Israel has completed an investigation into the case of a former police officer who shot an unarmed Palestinian in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet. The incident, which took place more than a year ago, was revisited over the weekend when a domestic television channel aired leaked footage of it.

Opinion and Analysis

The US-Israel relationship, revisited, Times of Israel
Naomi Chazan writes, “The American political discourse on Israel is becoming increasingly nuanced and critical. The automatic backing Israel received over the years can no longer be sustained when current US policy towards Israel upholds policies that are at odds with the proclaimed values of equality, justice, tolerance, and liberty so central to the core liberal values of so many Americans (and the vast majority of American Jews). From this perspective, the discussion over approaches toward Israel is very much an extension of the increasingly heated debate over democracy at home.”

U.S. Jews Treat Israeli Arab Leaders as Equals. Decent Israelis Should Try It, Haaretz
Anat Saragusti writes, “Israel’s political discourse excludes Arab citizens from the governing equation and the public square; the progressive American Jewish scene not only included them, but invited them to take a central place. The gap between the two is both dark and disturbing.”