News Roundup for September 14, 2020

September 14, 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

Progressives urge House Dems to help Biden save the Iran nuclear deal, Responsible Statecraft
“Sixteen progressive groups have signed a letter urging the next House Foreign Affairs Committee chair to help a ‘potential Biden administration’ save the nuclear deal with Iran. All three candidates to run the committee — one of two powerful foreign policy bodies in Congress — have voiced their support for the deal. Progressives are now asking for specific commitments from the candidates, including a promise to put economic sanctions relief on the table and stop any ‘poison pill’ legislation that would undermine diplomacy with Iran […] The letter was also signed by the Arms Control Association, the progressive Jewish organization J Street, and foreign policy-focused groups Just Foreign Policy and Win Without War.”

Top News and Analysis

Israel to reimpose 3-week lockdown after surge in coronavirus cases, Axios
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday the government will impose a three-week lockdown in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza following a major resurgence in coronavirus cases, AP reports. Israel is the first developed country to re-enter lockdown, which it had initially lifted in May, according to Haaretz. The lockdown will begin on Friday, coinciding with the start of Rosh Hashanah.

Netanyahu Used Doctored Video of Abbas to Influence Trump’s Policy, Woodward Reveals, Haaretz
The incident occurred on May 22, 2017, at a time when Trump was beginning to have doubts about Netanyahu and wondering aloud if the Israeli prime minister might be the real obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, Woodward wrote, according to excerpts from the book published by U.S. media. A day after watching the “spliced-together” video intended to “counter any pro-Palestinian sentiments that were surfacing,” Trump confronted Abbas, calling him a “murderer” and “liar,” and shortly after ordered the closure of the Palestinian representative office in Washington and cut nearly all U.S. aid to the West Bank, Gaza and Palestinian refugees.

Trump’s Mideast deals tout ‘peace’ where there was never war, AP
Joseph Krauss writes, “The United Arab Emirates will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, a fellow U.S. ally it has never gone to war with, formalizing ties that go back several years. The agreement cements an informal alliance against Iran and could pave the way for the UAE to acquire advanced U.S. weapons, while leaving the far more contentious Israeli-Palestinian conflict as intractable as ever.”


Violent clashes in Bnei Brak as police fail to enforce nightly curfew, Times of Israel
Footage from the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak on Sunday showed residents clashing with police officers enforcing a nightly curfew, throwing garbage bags at them and repeatedly calling them “Nazis.”

Netanyahu lands in Washington to sign deals with UAE, Bahrain, The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in Washington on Monday as Israel prepared to lock down to combat the spread of coronavirus. He left for the airport Sunday night immediately after a press conference in which he announced new restrictions.

Iran said to be plotting to assassinate US envoy to South Africa to avenge Soleimani, Times of Israel
Iran is plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa as it seeks to further avenge the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the Politico news site reported Sunday.

Palestinians rally against Bahrain-Israel normalisation, Reuters
Palestinians in Gaza burnt pictures of Israeli, U.S., Bahraini and United Arab Emirates leaders on Saturday in protest over the two Gulf countries’ moves to normalize ties with Israel.

Health Ministry head: We’ll weigh easing lockdown when daily cases fall to 1,000, Times of Israel
Health Ministry Director-General Chezy Levy said Monday the government could ease the nationwide lockdown when the daily coronavirus infections drop to 1,000 a day, but admitted final criteria have yet to be set.

Opinion and Analysis

The Arab tide turns against the Palestinians, Washington Post
Ishaan Tharoor writes, “The Palestinians’ feeling of isolation is not new. For close to two decades, they have watched the facts on the ground shift inexorably against them, as Israel expanded settlements, bulldozed Palestinian homes and steadily set about extending its control over life in the West Bank. Meanwhile, a host of Gulf monarchies cultivated de facto ties with the Israelis, establishing various areas of clandestine cooperation.”