News Roundup for September 11, 2020

September 11, 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

What Joe Biden told donors at a J Street fundraiser, Jewish Insider
“Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indefinitely postponed plans to annex portions of the West Bank during a virtual fundraiser hosted by J Street’s political action committee on Thursday. In his remarks, obtained by Jewish Insider, Biden said that while ‘it’s a good thing’ that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank is ‘off the table for now,’ — with the announcement of the U.S. brokered Israel-United Arab Emirates normalization deal — ‘I don’t know how much is off the table in terms of Netanyahu’s notions.’ Biden told the group that he assumes ‘Netanyahu knows and the Israelis know my position’ on the matter. ‘I’ve made clear that I’m going to oppose annexation as president,’ he said. ‘A two-state solution is the only way to ensure Israel’s long-term security while sustaining its Jewish and democratic identity. I don’t know how they do it without a two-state solution.’”

Biden Says Trump Is ‘Dangerous’ to Israel – and Bad for American Jews, Haaretz
“Former Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday in a briefing to supporters in the Jewish community that his rival in the upcoming U.S. election, President Donald Trump, has ‘put Israel in danger’ by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and has also endangered American Jews by embracing far-right conspiracy theories.”

In back-handed compliment, Biden praises Trump for Israel-UAE deal, Times of Israel
“Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden railed against US President Donald Trump’s record in the Middle East during a Thursday campaign event, but acknowledged that the administration’s brokering of a normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates was a positive development. ‘I think Trump is going to accidentally do something positive here, in terms of this issue of… other Arab states’ acknowledging Israel, Biden said during a virtual fundraiser organized by the liberal, pro-Israel lobby J Street.”

J Street Hosts Vice President Joe Biden for Reception in Support of Biden-Harris Campaign, J Street
“‘Like the vast majority of American Jews, J Street’s top priority is to do all that we can between now and November to help defeat Donald Trump and his enablers, elect the Biden-Harris ticket and bring our country the new leadership it so desperately needs,’ said J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami. ‘We’re deeply honored to have hosted Vice President Biden for this event to support his campaign, and to hear some of his vision for how the next administration can promote peace and democratic values in the Middle East and counter the rising forces of xenophobia and bigotry here in the United States.’ To date in the 2020 cycle, JStreetPAC has raised over $2 million from its members in contributions for the Biden-Harris campaign and over $5 million in contributions to its over 185 endorsed House and Senate candidates.”

Top News and Analysis

Netanyahu Apology to Bedouins Is Taken as an Affront, New York Times
It took nearly four years for the Israeli government to apologize to a Bedouin family from the Negev desert after a relative whose car had fatally run over a police officer, and who was killed by police fire, was hastily and wrongly labeled a terrorist. The belated apology came a day after a television news report asserted that the police and the state attorney’s office had covered up the true — and accidental — circumstances of the deaths of Mr. al-Qian and the police officer in order to preserve the credibility of the police, and with it, the integrity of the criminal investigations against Mr. Netanyahu.

Setting new one-day COVID records, Israel gears up for extended lockdown starting on Rosh Hashanah, JTA
Israel appears poised to return all of its citizens to lockdown just before Rosh Hashanah next week, in a decisive action that comes as the country’s coronavirus outbreak spirals out of control. The country recorded more than 4,000 new cases Thursday and 22 new deaths, both records. Israel hurtled past the grim 1,000-death threshold last weekend, and it has the highest per-capita new infection rate in the world. The daily case total would be the equivalent of nearly 150,000 new cases in the United States.


Israel Headed for Second Nationwide Coronavirus Lockdown, Haaretz
Israel is set to enter a second coronavirus lockdown and become the only developed country to shut down again nationwide, after a botched reopening of the economy sent infections soaring.

Virus task force: At least 3 months needed to bring cases down to 400 a day, Times of Israel
A new report by a government coronavirus task force assesses that it will take no less than 90 days to bring infections down to 400 cases a day, given the current rate of some 4,000 daily diagnoses.

Widow of Bedouin Man Killed by Police Demands Probe, Says Netanyahu’s Apology Not Enough, Haaretz
Everyone knew he was innocent from the first moment, but they closed the case because he’s a Bedouin,’ says Amal Abu Sa’ad, whose husband was killed by cops in 2017 in what authorities had erroneously said was a terror attack.

Netanyahu ditches plan to fly to Washington on private jet after criticism, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family have dropped a plan to fly to Washington on a private plane to attend the signing ceremony of Israel’s normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates, after public criticism.

Israel Police Obstructed Investigation of 2017 Killing of Bedouin Man, Official Says, Haaretz
Police obstructed a Justice Ministry unit’s inquiry into the killing of Bedouin teacher Yakub Abu al-Kiyan in Umm al-Hiran in 2017, a senior law enforcement official said this week.

Opinion and Analysis

Israel’s COVID-19 Tragedy: How Hubris, Hasbara and Netanyahu Downed the Start-Up Nation, Haaretz
Anshel Pfeffer writes, “Seven months into the crisis, there are finally sufficient numbers of daily tests, but they are still not easily accessible, and the results not rapid enough. After the health ministry had insisted for half a year that it control contact-tracing, responsibility has finally been passed to the IDF, which is only now appealing for help from private companies, and saying it will be ready, at the earliest, in November. Looking back, this is all drearily predictable. In fact, if we’re honest with ourselves, COVID-stricken Israel makes a lot more sense than Start-Up Nation.”

The Netanyahu-Gantz government is a failure, pure and simple – opinion, The Jerusalem Post
Yaakov Katz writes, “It is time to admit that it is simply not working. This government is a failure. It is that simple. There is no other way to say it. Every decision is politicized; everything is made into a game. If peoples’ lives were not on the line, we might be able to ignore what is happening; to push it away and pretend that everything is okay. But with Israel’s infection rate staggering – on Thursday it climbed to nearly 4,000 infections in one day – this has got to stop.”

Zionism split the women’s movement in the ’70s. Will it do the same to BLM?, +972 Mag
Dikla Taylor-Sheinman writes, “This is not the first time that American-Jewish progressives have found themselves struggling to reconcile their conflicting values. The 1967 Six-Day War and the newly imposed occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Golan Heights, and the Sinai forced a similar moral quandary among American-Jewish feminists of the 1970s and 1980s, just as second-wave feminism was at its peak.