News Roundup for November 6, 2019

November 6, 2019

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J Street in the News

Resumed Iranian Activity at Fordow Highlights Disastrous Failure of Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’, J Street
“The alarming news that sensitive activity halted under the JCPOA will now resume is just the latest destabilizing result of the Trump Administration’s reckless decision to violate the agreement, impose sanctions that are disproportionately harming Iranian civilians and pressure other countries, including our European allies, to do the same. It marks the latest failure of a ‘maximum pressure’ strategy that risks reopening Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon, has emboldened and empowered Iran’s hardliners and made our troops and allies in the region less safe.”

Nita Lowey, retiring after 32 years in Congress, gets teary recalling her Jewish legacy, JTA
“Lowey pressed AIPAC hard to join J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, and the Alliance for Middle East Peace in backing a bill that would budget $50 million to support grassroots peace programs for which the Trump administration has eliminated funding.”

Top News and Analysis

Gantz accuses Netanyahu of refusing any compromise in unity government talks, Times of Israel
Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz launched a fresh attack Tuesday on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying his refusal to negotiate on any of his demands in the ongoing coalition talks would ultimately lead to a third election in Israel in under a year. In a tweet, Gantz said Netanyahu was preventing a Blue and White-Likud unity government from being formed by refusing to abandon his 55 seat-strong bloc of right-wing allies and the prospect of immunity from prosecution in three corruption cases in which charges are pending against him and could be announced this month. ‘Netanyahu isn’t willing to give up his bloc. Netanyahu isn’t willing to give up his immunity,’ Gantz tweeted. ‘Netanyahu isn’t willing to discuss the basic guidelines for a unity government.’

Israel to Expel Human Rights Worker, Citing Anti-Boycott Law, New York Times
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a senior official of the advocacy group Human Rights Watch must leave the country within 20 days, invoking a contentious law that bars entry to foreigners who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel or its settlements in the occupied West Bank.


In probe transcripts, police threaten key witness against PM with loss of assets, Times of Israel
Police appeared to threaten a key witness in a case involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to interrogation transcripts released by Channel 12 news on Tuesday, raising further questions about police conduct during the investigation, as well as the veracity of Nir Hefetz’s testimony.

Attorney General Vows to Handle Any Misconduct in Probe of Witness in Netanyahu Case, Haaretz
Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit vowed on Tuesday to address any improper actions during the interrogation of a key witness against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in one out of his three pending corruption cases, if such actions had taken place.

Poll predicts slight edge for Netanyahu over Gantz if direct elections were held, Times of Israel
A poll published Tuesday predicted a close race if direct elections for prime minister were held in a bid to solve the current political stalemate — a far-fetched option floated this week by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

Gantz: Israel Must Not Sell Arms to Genocidal Countries, Legitimize Racist Regimes, Haaretz
“We are moral people, a moral country, and we must act that way at home toward one another, and also in our foreign relations,” Gantz told the Anti-Defamation League’s Israel Social Cohesion Summit.

With unity talks stalled, Blue and White discusses economy with Labor-Gesher, Times of Israel
As Blue and White once again accused Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu of stymieing unity talks, the centrist party continued its coalition talks with potential left-wing partners on Tuesday.

IDF Operations Head: Threat Posed by Iran Is Not ‘Fear-Mongering’, The Jerusalem Post
The Head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva warned Tuesday night while asking for a budget increase that the next year will not be favorable to Israel’s security due to the increased threat posed by Iran.

IDF troops filmed shoving, aiming gun at Palestinian father in front of child, Times of Israel
Israeli soldiers in Hebron were filmed Tuesday shouting and shoving a Palestinian man in front of his young child, whom they claimed had been throwing rocks at security forces nearby.

Opinion and Analysis

Police Misconduct in Interrogation of Netanyahu Witness Won’t Be What Collapses the Case, Haaretz
Gidi Weitz writes, “Despite his close supervision of the pending criminal cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has not kept his promise to cure the major crimes unit of the Israel Police of the ills that plague it: Overaggressiveness on the part of some detectives, investigative actions carried out without requisite court approval and violations of human rights.”

The American Jewish Community Is Lurching Leftward, The Forward
Samuel J. Abrams writes, “What is newsworthy is that the Trump Presidency, during which the American embassy was moved to Jerusalem, has coincided with American Jews drifting leftward — indeed, the furthest left they have positioned themselves in recent history.”

With Latest Nuke Deal Breach, Iran Forces Remaining Signatories to Face Hard Dilemma, Haaretz
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Putting a stop to these violations, which Iran isn’t even making an effort to hide, lies in direct negotiations between Tehran and Washington.”

A look at Iran’s nuclear program as atomic deal unravels, AP
Jon Gambrell writes, “The deal began to unravel over a year ago when President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled America out of the accord. In the time since, regional tensions have risen dramatically.”

US Politicians Are Finally Acknowledging Palestinians, The Forward
Muhammad Shehada writes, “The 2019 J Street Conference, held last week in Washington, was the first time in recent memory that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was openly discussed and critically assessed in the mainstream American public sphere […] My eyes filled with tears as I watched Bernie Sanders demand that Israel ‘fundamentally change [its] relationship to the people of Gaza,’ my home.”

A Wall, Arrests and Close Surveillance: How Israel Fences in a Palestinian Family, Haaretz
Amira Hass writes, “Their every move is filmed, every exit from their house depends on the army and they may access their land three times a year at most. The Gharib family has been living this way since Israel surrounded them with settlers.”