News Roundup for September 10, 2020

September 10, 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.

J Street in the News

Broad coalition of progressive groups launches effort to aid with voting protection, NBC News
“In the closing weeks of a general election, the vanguard of Democratic advocacy groups would typically be focused on electing candidates championing their various issue agendas — from gun safety to veterans and women’s issues. But this year, a number of such groups are banding together for what they say is an unprecedented and necessary cause: preserving the integrity of the 2020 vote […] Other participants in the coalition include: NARAL Pro Choice America, J Street, Democracy Docket, the Communications Workers of America, Vote Vets, the Latino Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. “

Biden campaign launches PA Jewish outreach effort, Jewish Chronicle
“Dan Siegel, 32, let his co-speakers spell out the case that he’ll be making in the months to come as the new Jewish Outreach Firector for Joe Biden’s Pennsylvania campaign team […] Siegel spent time as deputy regional director for J Street in Pennsylvania and New Jersey before he left for Dover Strategy Group, a communications firm where he remained until a few weeks ago. A phone call from the Biden campaign’s Pennsylvania state director, Brendan McPhillips, brought him aboard.”

Sherman slams rivals on their Israel record in race for Foreign Affairs chairmanship, Jewish Insider
“Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), one of several legislators vying to succeed Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) as chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, questioned the other candidates’ commitments to a strong and bipartisan U.S.-Israel alliance on Wednesday as he seeks to ramp up support for his candidacy […] Last month, The Times of Israel reported that — following a public lobbying effort by J Street and other groups — Meeks and Castro had expressed support for a measure that would prohibit Israel from using U.S. military assistance to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank […] ‘You went to bat for Eliot Engel in a huge way, and demonstrated that you understood how important that chairmanship is,’ Sherman told the group on the Zoom call with  Democratic Majority for Israel. ‘Eliot Engel was Plan A. I strongly supported him. But now I’m going to try to ask you to go with Plan B. And I won’t compare myself to my good friend Eliot Engel, except to say that when it comes to having one’s heart in the right place, Eliot and I are in the exact same place.’”

Top News and Analysis

Kushner: Our plan is bid to save 2-state solution; Israel was eating up the land, Times of Israel
Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s peace plan is an attempt to “save the two state solution” because it stops Israel from further expanding its presence in the West Bank. “The reality today is that a lot of this land is inhabited with Israelis,” Kushner told reporters during a phone briefing ahead of the White House signing next week of the Israel-UAE normalization deal […] “What we did with our plan was we were trying to save the two-state solution, because… if we kept going with the status quo… ultimately, Israel would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank,” Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser specified. The comments mark some of the most specific the Trump administration has made at odds with Israel’s expanding settlement enterprise.

Palestinian FM urges Arab states to dismiss Israel-UAE deal, AP
The Palestinian foreign minister Wednesday called on Arab states to dismiss a deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalize relations, describing the agreement scheduled to be finalized next week as “an earthquake.”

Health officials brief Netanyahu on lockdown options, urge immediate action, Times of Israel
Top health officials on Wednesday night reportedly urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to place the country under immediate lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus, ahead of a critical meeting Thursday of the so-called coronavirus cabinet.


Benny Gantz, Israel’s prime minister in waiting, asks to convene committee to approve new West Bank housing, JTA
Benny Gantz, Israel’s prime minister in waiting, has become much friendlier with the settler community in recent weeks following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to declare sovereignty over all or part of the West Bank. That vow has been put on indefinite hold following the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Congress questions sale of US residence in Israel to Adelson, AP
The State Department has informally confirmed to Congress that Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson is the buyer of the U.S. ambassador’s official residence in Israel, a congressional aide told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Lawmakers in the House and Senate are now looking into whether the deal complied with regulations.

Palestinian indicted for terror, attempted murder in Rosh Ha’ayin stabbing, Times of Israel
A Palestinian man was indicted Wednesday on charges of attempted murder and terror activity for a stabbing attack in Rosh Ha’ayin last month when he allegedly plunged a knife some 20 times into his victim, causing serious injury.

Opinion and Analysis

Israeli Filmmakers Put AIPAC and U.S. Evangelicals Under the Spotlight – and Are Alarmed at What They Find, Haaretz
Allison Kaplan Sommer writes, ” As one lobby group, which cherishes bipartisanship and is mostly reliant on the Jewish community, is slowly losing influence, another hyperpartisan group, tied tightly to the Republican Party and the Trump presidency, is growing stronger and stronger.”

Why the FBI had to pretend Hamas wanted to plot with ‘boogaloo boys’, Washington Post
Seamus Hughes and Jon Lewis write, “Without a dedicated statute, domestic extremists are typically charged with crimes such as making false statements to illegally purchase a firearm or conspiring to mail threatening communications, which usually carry considerably less prison time than terrorism charges would. Other members of the nascent boogaloo movement have been charged with relatively minor offenses, such as illegal possession of a machine gun or possession of illegal destructive devices. Those carry weaker criminal penalties when compared with the material support to a foreign terrorist organization charge, which recommends a sentence of 20 years in prison.”

Meet the J Streeters: Six Questions With Assistant Israel Director Eve Lifson, J Street
Assistant Israel Director Eve Lifson made aliyah from the United States shortly after college. Working in J Street’s Tel Aviv office, she coordinates Israeli and Palestinian speaker programs and designs and runs J Street’s on-the-ground trips with students, foreign policy professionals and members of Congress.

In This Bedouin Town, Murder Wasn’t the Only Crime, Haaretz
Gideon Levy writes, “The murder of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan was not the only crime committed by the State of Israel against his village, Umm al-Hiran, and it may not even be the worst. Of course, killing is killing. Abu al-Kiyan, a beloved math teacher and the first Bedouin Ph.D. in chemistry, was executed by incited policemen who were too quick on the trigger, who also let him bleed to death without giving him medical assistance that could have potentially saved him. But anyone who thinks that wraps up Israel’s crimes against Umm al-Hiran is deluding himself. The hollow apology by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t even begin the series of apologies that Israel owes the people of that village.”

The UAE–Israel deal isn’t about peace, The Strategist
Mohammed Ayoob writes, “The temporary suspension of Israel’s annexation plan is a concession not to the UAE but one that has been forced on him temporarily by American policy and the contingencies of the American election. But, as Netanyahu’s pronouncements indicate, in the long run Israel is likely to have its cake and eat it too.”

The killing of a Bedouin man is a weapon in Netanyahu’s war for survival, +972 Mag
Edo Konrad writes, “Netanyahu is using the wrongful police shooting of Yacoub Abu al-Qi’an as a cudgel to attack the authorities charging him with corruption.”