News Roundup for September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

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

Critics Blast Trump’s ‘Good Genes’ Rally Call As A Chilling Echo Of Hitler’s Eugenics, Huffington Post
“Critics continue to tear into President Donald Trump’s shocking praise for Minnesota’s ‘good genes’ as chillingly reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s murderous eugenics policy. Holocaust historian Steve Silberman on Sunday called Trump’s determination of who possesses worthy genes ‘indistinguishable from the Nazi rhetoric that led to Jews, disabled people, LGBTQ, Romani and others being exterminated.’ A spokesperson for the progressive Jewish advocacy organization J Street told HuffPost on Monday: ‘Again and again, President Trump and his allies publicly, gleefully embrace incredibly dangerous white nationalist tropes and ideas.’ It’s ‘clear the president’s far-right worldview poses an unprecedented threat to refugees, immigrants and vulnerable minorities in this country ― one of the many reasons why he faces vehement opposition from the large majority of American Jewish voters,’ said J Street communications director Logan Bayroff.”

Jewish Groups Mourn Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Jewish Journal
“J Street tweeted, ‘If this year has taught us anything, it’s how to mourn as we fight and fight as we mourn. RBG’s memory shall be a blessing and her example an inspiration as we give our all to defend our democracy.’”

Top News and Analysis

Alone among nations, US moves to restore UN Iran sanctions, AP
The United States slapped additional sanctions on Iran on Monday after the Trump administration’s disputed unilateral weekend declaration that all United Nations penalties eased under the 2015 nuclear deal had been restored. The announcement came in defiance of nearly all U.N. members, including U.S. allies in Europe, who have rejected U.S. legal standing to impose the international sanctions. It set the stage for an ugly showdown at the annual U.N. General Assembly this week and also came as President Donald Trump seeks to portray himself as a champion for Middle East stability ahead of November’s presidential election.

Cabinet mulls new restrictions as treasury warns of ‘irreversible’ economic harm, Times of Israel
With the cabinet set to convene to consider further tightening of the coronavirus lockdown amid runaway infection rates, Israel’s top treasury official warned Tuesday that further choking the economy could cause “irreversible” harm.


Road to Saudi ties with Israel being paved, cautiously, AP
Saudi Arabia, the most powerful Arab nation and home to Islam’s holiest sites, has made its official position on the region’s longest-running conflict clear: Full ties between the kingdom and Israel can only happen when peace is reached with the Palestinians.

U.S. and UAE Eye December Goal to Agree on F-35 Deal, Sources Say, Reuters
The United States and the United Arab Emirates hope to have an initial agreement on the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Gulf state in place by December, as the Trump administration studies how to structure a deal without running afoul of Israel.

‘We feel betrayed’: Palestinians fear cost of Arab states’ deals with Israel, The Guardian
“We definitely feel betrayed,” said senior Palestinian politician Saeb Erekat, condemning the deals as a “tremendous encouragement for the Israeli government to continue their occupation”.

Why Ruth Bader Ginsburg Had an Intimate, Yet Ambivalent, Relationship With Judaism and Israel, Haaretz
In 2004, in a speech at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event held in the Capitol rotunda, she declared that her “heritage as a Jew and my occupation as a judge fit together symmetrically. The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition. I take pride in and draw strength from my heritage, as signs in my chambers attest: a large silver mezuzah on my door post, gift from the Shulamith School for Girls in Brooklyn; on three walls, in artists’ renditions of Hebrew letters, the command from Deuteronomy: ‘Zedek, zedek, tirdof’ – ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue.’ Those words are ever-present reminders of what judges must do that they ‘may thrive.’”

Reports: Israeli PM’s aides break quarantine after US visit, AP
Two of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior aides broke quarantine regulations after returning from an official visit to Washington last week, Israeli media reported Monday.

Netanyahu defends quarantine-breaking aides, chiding ‘selective enforcement’, Times of Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday resisted calls to fire or punish two of his senior aides who were accused of breaking quarantine imposed on them after flying to the US with the premier last week, and claimed the public attention they have been receiving is politically motivated.

Israeli Students in State-funded Scholarship Program Guard Illegal West Bank Outposts, Haaretz
Student villages belonging to the Kedma association, which receives funding from the Israeli government, are providing security services for illegal outposts as part of the terms of the scholarships they receive from the NGO.

Hamas, Fatah delegations in Istanbul for another attempt at reconciliation talks, Times of Israel
Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas are set to meet in in Istanbul, Turkey for direct talks aimed at ending the 15-year-long rift in Palestinian politics, Fatah said Monday.

Palestinians arrest supporters of Abbas rival close to UAE, AP
Palestinian security forces have detained dozens of supporters of a rival to President Mahmoud Abbas who is based in the United Arab Emirates, his political group said Monday.

Opinion and Analysis

RBG: A Brave Justice Warrior Whose Voice Is Needed in Our Tough Times, Haaretz
Dorit Beinisch writes, “Her path, so loved and admired by the public, was not characteristic of judges. She was open to participating in performances, was interviewed often, lived in a world that loved music and art of any kind, and shared her love of opera with her colleagues on the bench – and also with the wider public – accepted criticism with great humor at her own expense from television entertainment shows, and most of all was accessible and attentive.”

The UAE-Bahrain-Israel accords are a big step — in the wrong direction, Washington Post
Ezzedine C. Fishere writes, “Unless the UAE and Bahrain miraculously turn their normalization with Israel into a broader process that revives the Arab Peace Initiative and bring Palestinians and Israelis closer to a two-state solution, these agreements will end up undermining the security of all the players in the Middle East.”

US image hits record lows with closest Western allies, but views of Trump even worse, Responsible Statecraft
Grace Cabuena writes, “Positive perceptions of the United States by the citizens of Washington’s most important Western allies across the globe have fallen to record lows, in some cases even lower than during the nadir of the George W. Bush administration after its invasion of Iraq. The findings, published this week by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes project, reveal consistently unfavorable opinions of both the United States and President Donald Trump’s leadership.”

With No Clear Goal for Second COVID Lockdown, Israeli Economy Could Spiral Out of Control, Haaretz
Sami Peretz writes, “This lockdown is less rigid than that of the spring, but Israel’s infection rate is much higher, and the levels of economic freedom are narrowing. What was possible to do during the first lockdown is much harder to do in the second one, because the cost of the crisis is going up by billions of shekels a week, and because the level of obedience is dropping as the crisis of confidence in the government soars.”

‘A glimpse into the chaos’: How Israel’s COVID-19 policy neglects Palestinian citizens, +972 Mag
Makbula Nassar writes, “Israel’s failure to conduct Arabic outreach and include Arab professionals has made it harder to stem the virus’ spread in Palestinian towns, experts warn.”

Anyone but Naftali Bennett, Haaretz
Aluf Benn writes, “Exhausted from the lockdowns, quarantines and economic anxiety, disappointed over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s loss of control, many Israelis are hanging their hopes on Hayamin Hehadash Chairman Naftali Bennett as the savior from the coronavirus. They are streaming to him in the opinion polls, where he has soared to 22 Knesset seats and is seen as a leading candidate in the race to the premiership.”